A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Sonoma vs. Durango for Food, Couples, Hiking, and Families

Should you visit Sonoma or Durango?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Sonoma and Durango 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.

Sonoma

Sonoma is a serene, relaxing, and scenic county. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Other reasons to visit include food, beaches, and hiking.

Durango

Durango is a scenic, nature-filled, and historic small town. With amazing attractions and sights, it's also a fun small town not to be missed. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Since it has a quaint atmosphere, you'll want to spend time soaking it all in. It's also popular because of the hiking and museums.

Sonoma and Durango: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Sonoma or Durango?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Sonoma than Durango, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Sonoma is better known for its food, nightlife, resorts, beaches, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Durango is more popular for its skiing, museums, historical sights, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere. Sonoma is more touristy than Durango and is known for its world-class winemaking and sustainable agriculture. Also, Sonoma is famous for Buena Vista Winery. Durango is well known for its historic narrow gauge railroad, its charming small town atmosphere, and its many family-friendly activities.

How is Sonoma different from Durango?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Durango and Sonoma. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Skiing?

Sonoma
Durango

Durango is adequate for skiing. However, Sonoma is not a skiing destination.

While in the area, visitors like to go to Durango for snow skiing. Purgatory Ski Resort is about 20 minutes from town and it's a family-friendly mountain with beginner and intermediate runs. It's small, and geared specifically to the beginner and younger crowd.

Sonoma is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Sonoma or Durango?

Sonoma
Durango

Durango is a small town with good options for its historical sights. However, Sonoma is not known for its sights and museums.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Durango. Most visitors come to town specifically to ride the Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad. There's also the D&SNGRR Railroad Museum, and the Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum.

Sonoma offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. While most people don't think of museums when they think of Sonoma, there are actually some interesting local options. The California Indian Museum, the Cotati Museum, and the Depot Park Museum are also local are fascinating.

Is the Food Better in Sonoma or Durango? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Sonoma
Durango

Sonoma is a world-class destination for its restaurants. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

Eat your way through Sonoma, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. Although wine may be the first thing you think about, the region is also filled with farm-to-table restaurants and award-winning dining options. The food is almost always fresh and local. You can sample many local ingredients such as vegetables, cheeses, olive oils, and fish.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Durango. Most of the restaurants are casual and family-friendly, serving up burgers or sandwiches for a reasonable price. You'll also find some coffeeshops and even a few food trucks and international restaurants.

Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Nightlife?

Sonoma
Durango

Sonoma is a very popular place for nightlife. However, Durango is lacking in good options for nightlife and partying.

Sonoma has a large number of nightlife venues. Lounges, wine bars, and live music venues offer a variety of activities for visitors during the evening hours.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Durango. It's a small town that attracts tourists mainly for its train, so you won't find much in the way of a nightlife scene.


Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Resorts?

Sonoma
Durango

Sonoma is a very popular place for its luxury resorts. However, Durango is not a resort destination.

There are plenty of resorts in Sonoma to choose from. Spa hotels, charming inns, and beautiful resorts all offer a variety of options for visitors.

Durango is not a resort destination.

Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Beaches?

Sonoma
Durango

Sonoma is a very popular place for its beaches. However, Durango is not a beach destination.

Many people visit Sonoma for it's beautiful beaches. The county has a coastline that includes several great beaches as well as rocky shoreline. The beaches include secluded coves and picturesque cliffs as well as sand dunes and sandy beaches.

Durango is not a beach destination.

Is Sonoma or Durango Better for its Old Town?

Sonoma
Durango

Durango is a small town with good options for its historic old town charm. However, Sonoma does not have a historic old town.

Durango has an old town worth visiting. Filled with character, the downtown feels like you've stepped into a Western. The town has a long history as a mining and railroad community, which you can see throughout the historic area. It really feels like you're in the "Wild West."

Sonoma does not have a historic old town.


Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Hiking?

Sonoma
Durango

Both Sonoma and Durango are destinations which offer very good hiking.

Many visitors go to Sonoma for the hiking trails. In between wine tastings you can explore the area's stunning natural beauty. There are hikes through the vineyards, along the coast, or through forested parks. Some of the best hikes are found in Jack London State Historic Park, Sugarloaf State Park, and Armstrong Woods State Park.

Durango is a popular spot for hiking. It's surrounded by plenty of natural beautiful and there is an endless supply of hikes in the region. Popular nearby hikes include Animas Mountain Trail, Falls Creek Trail, and Purgatory Trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Sonoma or Durango?

Sonoma
Durango

Sonoma is a very popular place for shopping. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Sonoma. You'll find a range of local vendors in the area, selling everything from jewelry to art, home decor, and olive oil.

If you're looking to go shopping, Durango has some nice offerings. The charming town has some boutiques that sell beautifully made Native American jewelry and other interesting items. There are also souvenir shops and other venues that target tourists specifically.

Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Christmas?

Sonoma
Durango

Durango is a small town with good options for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Sonoma does not offer Christmas activities.

Durango worth visiting during the Christmas season. It is a great Christmas town where you can meet Santa, go skiing, and even take the Polar Express.

Sonoma does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Families?

Sonoma
Durango

Durango is a great small town for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Sonoma is not as popular, but is still a nice county for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Durango. In the area you'll find ziplining, alpine slides, and plenty of outdoor areas to explore - and of course there's the railroad.

Sonoma is a family-friendly place to visit. While most people think immediately of wine tours, there's actually a lot more to Sonoma County. Kids will enjoy the many outdoor activities in the area, which include beaches, parks, wildlife viewing, and more. There's also horseback riding and even ziplining opportunities.

Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Couples?

Sonoma
Durango

Sonoma is a world-class destination for romance. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its romantic activities.

Sonoma is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. It has long been a favorite honeymoon destination for couples who come for the vineyards and wine tours. There are also charming hotels, award winning restaurants, and beautiful beaches.

Most people don't think of Durango as a couple's destination. The town may not be the first romantic destination that comes to mind, but the railroad combined with wandering the downtown can make for a great couple's getaway.

Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Sonoma
Durango

Durango is a small town with good options for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Sonoma is not known for backpackers.

Durango is a good small town to visit for backpackers. With plenty of parks and outdoor areas nearby, backpackers will have plenty of places to explore.

Sonoma is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There are a few budget hotel options in the area, but not much in the form of hostels.


Is Sonoma or Durango Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Sonoma
Durango

Neither Sonoma or Durango offer decent public transit.

Public transit is quite limited in Sonoma. While there are buses, they are almost never used by tourists. There is the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley which you should purchase tickets for in advance.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Durango. It's a small town with no real public transit options so a car is a must.

Is Sonoma or Durango a more walkable city?

Sonoma
Durango

Durango is adequate for its ease of walking around. However, Sonoma is not known for its walkability.

Durango is generally not a very walkable small town. While the Main Street through town is walkable, it's not as pedestrian-friendly as some small towns.

Sonoma is not a walkable county. You really must have a car to get around the area and explore it efficiently.

For even more information, also check out Is Sonoma Worth Visiting? and Is Durango Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Durango or Sonoma?

How long in Sonoma or Durango?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Sonoma and Durango. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Sonoma than in Durango. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Sonoma, and 2-3 days is enough time in Durango.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Durango than Sonoma 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 Durango.


  • How many days in Sonoma or Durango? Ideal Length of Stay
    Sonoma 2-4 
    Durango 2-3

One day in Sonoma or Durango?

In Sonoma, you'll find shopping and nightlife. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. One reason most visitors come is for the food. This county offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Durango might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Sonoma or Durango?

In Sonoma, you'll find nightlife and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the food. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Sonoma has to offer.

Durango is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Sonoma or Durango?

Sonoma is a great place to explore. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Durango. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Sonoma or Durango?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Sonoma. Many people enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting Sonoma. One reason most visitors come is for the food. It's also a relaxing resort destination. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Durango is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. This small town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America, and The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Durango or Sonoma?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sonoma is $219, while the average daily cost in Durango is $153. 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 Sonoma and Durango in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sonoma $93
    Durango $79
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sonoma $186
    Durango $158
Compare Hotels in Sonoma and Durango

Looking for a hotel in Sonoma or Durango? 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 Sonoma


Hotels in Durango


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: Sonoma Hotel Prices and Durango Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sonoma $134
    Durango $27

Is it cheaper to fly into Sonoma or Durango?

Prices for flights to both Durango and Sonoma 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
    Sonoma $56
    Durango $50

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sonoma $16
    Durango $46

Tours and Activities in Sonoma

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

  • Create your own wine blend experience: $140
  • From Napa Valley Classic Sidecar Tour to 3 Wineries: $300
  • Sonoma Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour & Game: $49
  • Sonoma Valley: Guided Winery Tour with Picnic Lunch: $126
  • Sonoma Valley: Wine Trolley Tasting Tour with Lunch: $125

Typical Entertainment Prices in Durango

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Durango's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Hot Springs (for 2)
    $50
  • Tubing (for 2)
    $40

Tours and Activities in Durango

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

  • Scenic Waterfall's & Ghost Town Jeep Tour La Plata's~ 2.5 hours: $84
  • 12-Zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $173
  • 12-zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $173
  • 4 Hours Durango Colorado - Jeep Tour : $102
  • 6-Zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $140
  • 6-zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $140
  • 700 Year Tour - Half Day Mesa Verde Cultural Tour: $108
  • Colorado: Million Dollar Highway Self-Driving Audio Tour: $14
  • Durango Jeep Tour — La Plata Canyon: $130
  • Durango Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Durango Rafting - Animas River Adventure Day: $185
  • La Plata Canyon Exclusive Access Jeep Tour: $99

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sonoma $41
    Durango $30

Sample the Local Flavors in Sonoma

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Sonoma:

  • San Francisco: Half-Day Wine Tour with 2 Tastings Included: $189
  • Sonoma Food & Wine Tour: $235


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Sonoma and Durango, we can see that Sonoma is more expensive. And not only is Durango much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Durango would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Durango 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 Sonoma would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Sonoma than you might in Durango.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Sonoma Expensive? and Is Durango Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Sonoma or Durango?

Durango has a larger population, and is about 54% larger than the population of Sonoma. When comparing the sizes of Sonoma and Durango, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.