A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America South Lake Tahoe vs. Columbia River Gorge for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit South Lake Tahoe or Columbia River Gorge?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between South Lake Tahoe or Columbia River Gorge, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe is the largest town on the famous Lake Tahoe that straddles the California-Nevada border in the Sierra Mountain Range. Located just south of Reno, Nevada and about 2 hours east of Sacramento, the Lake Tahoe area is easily accessible to many visitors.

Lake Tahoe is known for skiing and other winter sports, as well as plenty of warm weather activities such as hiking, swimming, boating, mountain biking, and more.

South Lake Tahoe has plenty of accommodations, restaurants, bars, and shopping. This is a good town to base yourself if you're looking to explore the area, as it has a large number of amenities.

Located on the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe is the town of Stateline. Here you can find some casinos, as gambling is legal in Nevada.

If you're looking to go skiing or snowboarding, the Heavenly Ski Resort can be found on the southern edge of the town of South Lake Tahoe. Naturally, more ski resorts are located around the lake as well.

As swimming is also popular, several beach areas are on the southern section of the lake including the Regan Memorial City Beach, Lakeside Beach, Pope Beach, Emerald Bay State Park, and the Edgewood Resort area (on the Nevada side).

Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge is a popular destination in the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest. The region's close proximity to Portland, which is just 30 minutes away, makes it a popular weekend destination.

The gorge is formed by the Columbia River, with an 80 mile stretch designated as a National Scenic Area. The area has many beautiful cliffs with a number of tall waterfalls and its protected status means that most new development must occur within one of the already established towns.

Which city is cheaper, Columbia River Gorge or South Lake Tahoe?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in South Lake Tahoe is $94, while the average daily cost in Columbia River Gorge is $143. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for South Lake Tahoe and Columbia River Gorge in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    South Lake Tahoe $43
    Columbia River Gorge $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    South Lake Tahoe $86
    Columbia River Gorge $142

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    South Lake Tahoe $20
    Columbia River Gorge $62

Is it cheaper to fly into South Lake Tahoe or Columbia River Gorge?

Prices for flights to both Columbia River Gorge and South Lake Tahoe 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
    South Lake Tahoe $30
    Columbia River Gorge $37

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    South Lake Tahoe $45
    Columbia River Gorge $16

Tours and Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for South Lake Tahoe are as follows:

  • Full-Day Lake Tahoe Circle Tour including Squaw Valley: $62
  • Emerald Bay Helicopter Tour of Lake Tahoe: $94
  • 2 Hour Small Group Sailing Cruise Lake Tahoe: $99
  • Lake Tahoe Ultimate Photography Scenic Half-Day Tour in Small-Group: $179
  • Zephyr Cove Helicopter Tour: $180
  • Tahoe's Sand Harbor Helicopter Tour: $265
  • Tahoe Helicopter Tour: Lakes and Waterfalls: $265
  • Lake Tahoe Helicopter Tour: Circle the Lake: $392

Tours and Activities in Columbia River Gorge

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Columbia River Gorge are as follows:

  • Cascade Locks: 1-Hour Columbia River Sightseeing Cruise: $50
  • Cascade Locks: Columbia Gorge Sunday Brunch Cruise: $94
  • Portland: Columbia Gorge Flight Tour: $99
  • Portland: Multnomah Falls Scenic Air Tour: $199

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    South Lake Tahoe $28
    Columbia River Gorge $9.49


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

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South Lake Tahoe vs. Columbia River Gorge Travel Comparison

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