A Travel Price Comparison for California Santa Monica vs. Sequoia National Park for Families, Backpackers, Food, and Couples

Should you visit Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a lively, funfilled, and energetic town. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, food, and beaches.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is a breathtaking, surreal, and impressive national park. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the hiking.

Santa Monica and Sequoia National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Home to the Santa Monica Pier
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the General Sherman tree
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Santa Monica. Although Santa Monica and Sequoia National Park are popular destinations, Santa Monica has more sights and attractions for tourists. Santa Monica is very popular for its museums, food, nightlife, beaches, and shopping, while Sequoia National Park attracts visitors for its resorts, hiking, and impressive beauty. Santa Monica is famous for its active lifestyle and fun-filled activities. It is also well known for the Santa Monica Pier. Sequoia National Park is famous for its spectacularly large sequoia trees and its dramatic beauty.

How is Santa Monica different from Sequoia National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Sequoia National Park and Santa Monica. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Santa Monica is a town with good options for its museums and history. However, Sequoia National Park is lacking in good options for its museums and landmarks.

Santa Monica is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. There's a thriving arts scene and a number of museums around town. Check out the Museum of Flying, the California Heritage Museum, or the Santa Monica History Museum.

Sequoia National Park offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. The visitor centers have informational exhibits and there's also The Giant Forest Museum.


Is the Food Better in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Santa Monica is a very popular place for its restaurants. However, Sequoia National Park is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Santa Monica. You'll find a diversity of restaurants in the area, many of which make use of the town's many farmer's markets. The restaurant scene has a beachy vibe with a lot of outdoor dining opportunities. There are also a range of cuisines to choose from such as Mexican, Italian, casual, and upscale.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Sequoia National Park. There are restaurants, cafes, and markets in the park where you can pick up food. Some options are only open seasonally so check in advance to make sure you understand the options.

Is Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park Better for Nightlife?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Santa Monica is a very popular place for nightlife. However, Sequoia National Park is lacking in good options for nightlife and partying.

Santa Monica has a large number of nightlife venues. There's a relaxed and laid back vibe to the nightlife scene. Many venues offer outdoor seating and live music in a casual setting. You can hang out on a patio and enjoy the California climate while you sip cold drinks and the beach town atmosphere.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Sequoia National Park. Nightlife is limited to stargazing and campfire chats.

Is Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park Better for Resorts?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is a moderate national park for its resorts. However, Santa Monica is not a resort destination.

Not known for its high-end resorts, Sequoia National Park offers a few options. Wuksachi Lodge is the signature hotel option in the park.

Santa Monica is not a resort destination.


Is Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park Better for Beaches?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Santa Monica is an amazing town to visit for its beaches. However, Sequoia National Park is not a beach destination.

Santa Monica is considered to be a world-class beach destination. Santa Monica Beach is large and lined with bike trails. It's also filled with activity and you'll find many water sports, beach volleyball, and surfing in the area. There's also the famous Santa Monica Pier, which has an amusement park aquarium, Ferris wheal, dining, and shopping.

Sequoia National Park is not a beach destination.

Is Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park Better for Hiking?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is an amazing national park to visit for the nearby hiking options. However, Santa Monica is not a hiking destination.

People visit Sequoia National Park specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. Hiking options range from day hiking to overnight backpacking. The hikes can be easy and accessible or more challenging, but whatever your style, you're sure to be amazed by this spectacular setting. The trails wander through high reaching trees or along steep canyons. Some of the most popular trails include Big Trees Trail, Crescent Meadow Loop Trail, Congress Trail, Tokopah Falls Trail, Hazelwood Nature Trail, Alta Peak Trail, and the High Sierra Trail to Bearpaw Meadow.

Santa Monica is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Santa Monica is a very popular place for shopping. However, Sequoia National Park is lacking in good options for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Santa Monica. It's easy to pass the time shopping in Santa Monica. There are independent vendors, fashion boutiques, and art galleries. Head to Montana Avenue or Main Street for some of the best shopping.

If you're looking to go shopping, Sequoia National Park has some nice offerings. There are markets within the park.


Is Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park Better for Families?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Santa Monica is an amazing town to visit for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Sequoia National Park is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Santa Monica is an extremely popular town to visit for families. Many families spend their days hanging out on the beaches, soaking up the sun, and even trying to surf. There's a boardwalk as well as bike paths that are perfect for people watching. You should also check out the Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, which is a thrilling amusement park.

Sequoia National Park is a very kid-friendly town. Kids will enjoy driving through the tunnel log and gazing up at the impressive trees. It feels like a fairytale world where even adults can run around and embrace their inner child. There are also plenty of kid-friendly hikes.

Is Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park Better for Couples?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

With fun activities for couples, both Santa Monica and Sequoia National Park make for a excellent place to visit.

Santa Monica is a very popular place to visit for couples. Fun days on the beach, peaceful walks at sunset, and a wild nightlife scene make this the perfect couples destination for couples who enjoy activity and excitement.

Sequoia National Park makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy the outdoors, hiking, exploring, and camping will embrace the opportunity to visit the spectacular national park. There are beautiful romantic hikes and sunset views that will take your breath away.

Is Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is an amazing national park to visit for backpackers. Also, Santa Monica is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Sequoia National Park. Backpacking through the park will let you experience places that most visitors don't make it to. This is the best way to truly enjoy the nature, serenity, and beauty of the park.

Santa Monica is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There's no shortage of activities in the area, whether you're into surfing, partying, or sunbathing. There's also at least one hostel that's great for budget travelers and backpackers.


Is Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is a moderate national park for its public transit. However, Santa Monica does not have public transit.

Public transit is generally limited in Sequoia National Park. There is a shuttle service, but it's limited to the summer months and other peak travel times.

Santa Monica does not have public transit. The Metro E Line connects the city to downtown Los Angeles. There's also the Big Blue Bus as well the Santa Monica Circuit, which are small electric carts that offer free rides between Wilshire Boulevard and Marine Street, and from the ocean to Fifth Street.

Is Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park a more walkable city?

Santa Monica
Sequoia National Park

Santa Monica is a very popular place for its walkability. However, Sequoia National Park is lacking in good options for its high level of walkability.

Santa Monica is very walkable. The city is very walkable, particularly in the more touristy areas.

Sequoia National Park is generally not very walkable. While there are countless hiking trails, you'll need a car to efficiently get around the park.

For even more information, also check out Is Santa Monica Worth Visiting? and Is Sequoia National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Sequoia National Park or Santa Monica?

How long in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

Both Santa Monica and Sequoia National Park have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Sequoia National Park than in Santa Monica. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Santa Monica, and 2-7 days is enough time in Sequoia National Park.

Families should spend more time in Santa Monica than Sequoia National Park. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Santa Monica, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Santa Monica than Sequoia National Park. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Santa Monica that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.


  • How many days in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Santa Monica 1-3 
    Sequoia National Park 2-7

One day in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

In Santa Monica, you'll find shopping and museums. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Santa Monica, one day is sufficent for most.

In Sequoia National Park, many people enjoy the that this breathtaking national park offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.


A weekend in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Santa Monica. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town. It offers something for everyone.

Sequoia National Park is a fun place to experience. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Lots of people come for the hiking. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

Santa Monica is a fun place to experience. One reason most visitors come is for the beaches. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

In Sequoia National Park, many people enjoy the that this magical destination offers. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Lots of people come for the hiking. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.

A week in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

You'll find food and shopping around the energetic destination of Santa Monica. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Sequoia National Park is a popular place to visit. Many people spend one week here. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage, The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles.


Which place is cheaper, Sequoia National Park or Santa Monica?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Santa Monica is $210, while the average daily cost in Sequoia National Park is $130. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Santa Monica and Sequoia National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Monica $123
    Sequoia National Park $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Monica $246
    Sequoia National Park $128
Compare Hotels in Santa Monica and Sequoia National Park

Looking for a hotel in Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Santa Monica


Hotels in Sequoia National Park


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Santa Monica Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Monica $50
    Sequoia National Park $56

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Monica

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santa Monica:

  • Santa Monica to Los Angeles Airport Departure Private Transfer: $74
  • Santa Monica to Los Angeles Airport (LAX) - Departure Private Transfer: $68
  • Santa Monica to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Deparure Private Transfer: $80

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Monica or Sequoia National Park?

Prices for flights to both Sequoia National Park and Santa Monica change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Monica $52
    Sequoia National Park $31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Monica

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Santa Monica.

  • Los Angeles Premier Dinner Cruise from Marina del Rey: $124

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Monica $38
    Sequoia National Park $31

Tours and Activities in Santa Monica

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Santa Monica are as follows:

  • 15 Passengers Open Ocean/Harbor Cruise Party Boat Marina Del Rey: $129
  • 2 Hour Sailing Adventure From Marina Del Rey: $160
  • 3-Hour Santa Monica and Venice Beach Bike Guided Tour : $72
  • 4.5 Hour Venice Beach Open Air Van Tour: $65
  • 5.5-Hour Exclusive Malibu Stars Homes & Beautiful Beach Tour: $89
  • All Day Tour 6.5 Hour : $111
  • Bring-Your-Own-Food and Drinks Marina del Rey Boat Tour: $80
  • City Tour of Los Angeles from Torrance and El Segundo: $122
  • Dolphin Sighting Sunset Tour: $90
  • Exotic Tijuana Massage Tour in LA: $250
  • Explore Malibu's Coast: PCH & Beyond - Self Guided Audio Tour: $30
  • Karaoke Boat Cruise ( Drinks included) LA's best attraction: $149

Tours and Activities in Sequoia National Park

For Sequoia National Park, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon Self Guided Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • 5 Star Rated Sequoia National Park Tour: $298
  • Sequoia National Park Adventure from Tulare: $299
  • Semi Private Sequoia National Park Tour with lunch.: $299

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Monica $21
    Sequoia National Park $7.84

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Monica

Also in Santa Monica, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Private Vintage VW Hippie Tour to Malibu with wine tasting: $195


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Santa Monica and Sequoia National Park, we can see that Santa Monica is more expensive. And not only is Sequoia National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Sequoia National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Sequoia National Park and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Santa Monica would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Santa Monica than you might in Sequoia National Park.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Santa Monica Expensive? and Is Sequoia National Park Expensive?.