A Travel Price Comparison for Virginia Shenandoah National Park vs. Virginia Beach for Families, Couples, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a scenic, breathtaking, and serene national park. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the food, hiking, and skiing.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a fun-filled, relaxing, and bustling coastal city. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the nightlife and beaches.

Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Skyline Drive
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students


Is there more to do in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Shenandoah National Park. Although Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach are both popular with visitors, Shenandoah National Park has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Shenandoah National Park is more popular for its skiing, museums, food, hiking, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Virginia Beach is known for its nightlife, resorts, and beaches. Shenandoah National Park is more touristy than Virginia Beach and is known for its local wildlife, dramatic viewpoints, and world class hiking trails. It is also home to Skyline Drive. Virginia Beach is popular for its fun boardwalk, many seafood restaurants, and classic beach town vibe.

How is Shenandoah National Park different from Virginia Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Skiing?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Shenandoah National Park is a nice place to visit for skiing. However, Virginia Beach is not a skiing destination.

For winter sports and skiing, Shenandoah National Park is a great destination to visit. You'll find skiing and snowboarding at nearby Massanutten Resort, which is near Harrisonburg, Virginia. It's a family-friendly setting with slopes that are classified as "easiest", "more difficult", and "most difficult".

Virginia Beach is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Shenandoah National Park is adequate for its historical sights. However, Virginia Beach does not have museums and landmarks.

While most people don't head to Shenandoah National Park specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. While most people spend their time outdoors enjoying the setting, there are museums in the area, as well as visitor centers that have exhibits and informative displays.

Virginia Beach does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Shenandoah National Park is a nice place to visit for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Shenandoah National Park has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There are several restaurants along skyline drive where you can pick up a casual meal like fried chicken, burgers, or pasta.

Virginia Beach may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Seafood is plentiful around town and there are all-you-can-eat buffets as well as high end, waterfront seafood restaurants. Make sure you try the She Crab Soup, soft shell crabs, and oysters.

Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Nightlife?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a coastal city with good options for its evening party scene. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Virginia Beach has a few options to choose from. While it's a family-friendly beach, there's still a great nightlife scene with many bars and clubs in the area. Popular places to hang out at night include Omega Bar, Peabody's Nightclub, and Sky Bar.

Most people don't head to Shenandoah National Park specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. There are a number of breweries in the area, but most people enjoy stargazing and sitting by the campfire at night.


Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Resorts?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a coastal city with good options for its luxury resorts. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a resort destination.

Virginia Beach has a few great resort options. Some of the best resorts in the area include the Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club, the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, and The Founders Inn and Spa.

Shenandoah National Park is not a resort destination.

Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Beaches?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a coastal city with good options for the beach. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a beach destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Virginia Beach. The beaches are long and sandy, but they can get crowded during the summer months. The waves are just the right size for playing in the surf and the water temperature is usually warm enough to swim well into the fall months.

Shenandoah National Park is not a beach destination.

Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Hiking?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Shenandoah National Park is terrific for hiking. However, Virginia Beach is not a hiking destination.

Known for its hiking, Shenandoah National Park draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. There are more than 500 miles of trails in the park that pass through varied landscapes and take you to beautiful viewpoints. Visitors range from weekend visitors to long term hikers who come to experience the breathtaking beauty and serene setting.

Virginia Beach is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Shenandoah National Park is adequate for its shopping opportunities. However, Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

If you're looking to go shopping, Shenandoah National Park has some nice offerings. There are a handful of gift shops along Skyline Drive were you can pick up souvenirs or t-shirts.

Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Families?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Both Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach are high quality to visit with kids.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Shenandoah National Park. There are tons of kid-friendly hikes to overlooks or waterfalls. Kids will love scrambling over the rocks or running through the forest. There are also plenty of campgrounds where families can hang out, toast marshmallows and enjoy some quality time together.

Virginia Beach is a very family-friendly place to visit. This is a popular family-friendly beach with a nice boardwalk, a fun waterpark, aquarium, and nice beaches. It attracts families in the area for its long beaches and fun atmosphere. Most restaurants have kid's menus and there are ice cream shops and minigolf around.

Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Couples?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Shenandoah National Park is great for its romantic activities. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for couples.

Shenandoah National Park is a great national park if you're traveling as a couple. Couples who enjoy nature will love a visit to the park. There are beautiful views and scenic spots that will make for a wonderful and romantic trip. Hiking, biking, and exploring will fill your time with adventure and fun.

Virginia Beach is a good national park for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy a nice escape to the beaches and boardwalk. There are many great seafood restaurants, some with waterfront settings. There's also a variety of activities ranging from many golf to dance clubs.


Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Shenandoah National Park is terrific for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Virginia Beach is not a backpacker-friendly destination.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Shenandoah National Park is extremely popular for backpackers. Backpackers love the hiking trails and backcountry camping. Many people head to the park to escape into nature and enjoy some low key time in a serene setting.

Virginia Beach is not a backpacker-friendly destination.

Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Students?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a coastal city with good options for its student-friendly activities. However, Shenandoah National Park is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Virginia Beach. It's not as popular as more southern beach towns, but you'll still find students heading here for the spring break holidays.

Shenandoah National Park is not popular with students.

Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Neither Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach offer decent public transit.

Public transit is quite limited in Shenandoah National Park. There's no real public transit in the park.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Virginia Beach. There is very limited public transit in the area so you'll need to have a car to get around.


Is Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach a more walkable city?

Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is adequate for its ease of walking around. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for its walkability.

Virginia Beach is generally not a very walkable coastal city. Most people prefer to have a car but do note that parking can be a nightmare, particularly during the summer season.

Shenandoah National Park is not a walkable national park. While there are plenty of hiking trails, a car is a must to reach most trailheads.

For even more information, also check out Is Shenandoah National Park Worth Visiting? and Is Virginia Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Virginia Beach or Shenandoah National Park?

How long in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

Both Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Virginia Beach than in Shenandoah National Park. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Shenandoah National Park, and 5-7 days is enough time in Virginia Beach.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Shenandoah National Park than Virginia Beach if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Shenandoah National Park.


  • How many days in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach? Ideal Length of Stay
    Shenandoah National Park 3-5 
    Virginia Beach 5-7

One day in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

In Shenandoah National Park, you'll find food and skiing. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

With nightlife around the fun-filled coastal city of Virginia Beach, there's plenty to do. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A weekend in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

Shenandoah National Park is a great place to explore. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

With nightlife around the relaxing destination of Virginia Beach, there's plenty to do. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


Five days in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Shenandoah National Park. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. It offers something for everyone. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

With nightlife around the bustling coastal city of Virginia Beach, there's plenty to do. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Five days here is typical. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.

A week in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

Travelers enjoy the skiing and food when visiting the national park of Shenandoah National Park. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Virginia Beach is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. So, one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America, The Best Train & Rail Tours in United States of America, The Best Sightseeing Tours in United States of America, and The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Virginia Beach or Shenandoah National Park?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Shenandoah National Park is $125, while the average daily cost in Virginia Beach is $126. 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 Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shenandoah National Park $53
    Virginia Beach $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shenandoah National Park $106
    Virginia Beach $142
Compare Hotels in Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach

Looking for a hotel in Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach? 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 Shenandoah National Park


Hotels in Virginia Beach


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: Virginia Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shenandoah National Park $70
    Virginia Beach $39

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Virginia Beach

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Virginia Beach:


  • Beach Parking
    $10

Is it cheaper to fly into Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

Prices for flights to both Virginia Beach and Shenandoah National Park 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
    Shenandoah National Park $28
    Virginia Beach $30

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shenandoah National Park $34
    Virginia Beach $21

Tours and Activities in Virginia Beach

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Virginia Beach.

  • Dolphin Kayak Tour in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $77
  • Kayak Dolphin Experience in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $77
  • Neptune Ghosts: Ghosts of the Coast By US Ghost Adventures: $24
  • Small Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour: $68
  • Sunset Dolphin Kayak Tours: $68
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Virginia Beach by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Virginia Historic Adventure!: $200
  • Wetland Zip Tour: $65
  • Ziplining and Climbing at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium: $59

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shenandoah National Park $7.14
    Virginia Beach $11


When comparing the travel costs between Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach, we can see that Virginia Beach is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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



When is the best time to visit Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach in the Summer?

Both Virginia Beach and Shenandoah National Park are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Shenandoah National Park for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Virginia Beach because of the beaches and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Shenandoah National Park is generally around the same temperature as Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Shenandoah National Park average around 77°F (25°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Virginia Beach. In July, Shenandoah National Park usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Shenandoah National Park gets 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Shenandoah National Park 77°F (25°C) 
    Virginia Beach 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach in the Autumn?

Both Virginia Beach and Shenandoah National Park during the autumn are popular places to visit. The autumn months attract visitors to Shenandoah National Park because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Virginia Beach this time of year.

Shenandoah National Park is cooler than Virginia Beach in the autumn. The daily temperature in Shenandoah National Park averages around 56°F (13°C) in October, and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

Shenandoah National Park usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Virginia Beach. Shenandoah National Park gets 3.3 inches (84 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Shenandoah National Park 56°F (13°C) 
    Virginia Beach 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach. The skiing, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Shenandoah National Park this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Virginia Beach for the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Virginia Beach. It's quite cold in Shenandoah National Park in the winter. In the winter, Shenandoah National Park is much colder than Virginia Beach. Typically, the winter temperatures in Shenandoah National Park in January average around 32°F (-0°C), and Virginia Beach averages at about 39°F (4°C).

In January, Shenandoah National Park usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Shenandoah National Park gets 2.8 inches (70 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Shenandoah National Park 32°F (-0°C) 
    Virginia Beach 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Shenandoah National Park or Virginia Beach in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Shenandoah National Park as well as Virginia Beach. Many travelers come to Shenandoah National Park for the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Virginia Beach in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Shenandoah National Park is generally cooler than Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Shenandoah National Park average around 54°F (12°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

Shenandoah National Park usually gets more rain in April than Virginia Beach. Shenandoah National Park gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Shenandoah National Park 54°F (12°C) 
    Virginia Beach 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Virginia Beach and Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park Virginia Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 32°F (-0°C) 2.8 inches (70 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 35°F (1°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 54°F (12°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 63°F (17°C) 4 inches (102 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 72°F (22°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 77°F (25°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 75°F (24°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 68°F (20°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 56°F (13°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 36°F (2°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)