A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Tampa vs. Durham for Families, Food, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit Tampa or Durham?

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

Should I visit Tampa or Durham? 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.

Tampa

Tampa is a easy-going, low-key, and laid-back city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. Other popular activities here include food and beaches.

Durham

Durham is a diverse, student-filled, and sports oriented city. It's also popular because of the food, shopping, and museums.

Tampa and Durham: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students


Is there more to do in Tampa or Durham?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Tampa than Durham. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Tampa is very popular for its scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and big city activities, while Durham attracts visitors for its museums, nightlife, and shopping. Tampa is famous for its amusement parks, wildlife parks, and popularity as a cruise ship port. It is also well known for Busch Gardens. Durham is famous for its college town vibe as well as being the home of the famous Blue Devil basketball team.

How is Tampa different from Durham?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Tampa or Durham?

Tampa
Durham

Durham is an excellent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Tampa does not have museums and landmarks.

Durham offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Duke University is one of the most popular destinations in town. There are several museums on campus as well as the famous Duke Chapel. Elsewhere in Durham there's the Durham Museum of Life and Science.

Tampa does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Tampa or Durham? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Tampa
Durham

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Tampa and Durham can be difficult as they are each nice in their own way.

Tampa is becoming an appealing option for foodies. There are a surprising number of great local restaurants around town as well as a good food truck scene. Some favorite dishes include fresh caught seafood, Grouper sandwiches, and Cuban sandwiches.

Durham offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. Barbecue is a favorite around town. You'll also find plenty of restaurants that cater to the student population, particularly along Nineth Street near Duke's campus.

Is Tampa or Durham Better for Nightlife?

Tampa
Durham

Durham is a popular place for its evening party scene. However, Tampa is lacking in options for nightlife.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Durham. The younger population tends to hang out near campus and along Nineth Street. If you're looking for something less student oriented, head to downtown Durham.

Tampa is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. The city has some good nightclubs, sports bars, and other spots where locals enjoy spending the evening.

Is Tampa or Durham Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Tampa
Durham

Tampa is a moderate city for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Durham is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Snorkeling is an option in Tampa. While the water isn't always the clearest, there are some nice snorkeling and diving spots in the area. Options include Shell Key and Egmont Key, Crystal River, and Fort De Soto.

Durham is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.


Is Tampa or Durham Better for Beaches?

Tampa
Durham

Tampa is a well-known place for the beach. However, Durham is not a beach destination.

Tampa is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. Popular beaches near Tampa include Ben T. Davis Beach, Fred Howard Park, and Indian Rocks Beach.

Durham is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Tampa or Durham?

Tampa
Durham

Durham is a popular place for its shopping areas. However, Tampa is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Durham has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The Streets of Southpoint is the best mall in the area. Other shopping areas include Brightleaf Square and Nineth Street.

Tampa is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Tampa or Durham Better for Families?

Tampa
Durham

Tampa is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Tampa is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. The city has a number of kid-oriented attractions including Busch Gardens Amusement Park, several kid-friendly museums, and a number of animal centers, aquariums, and wildlife rescue facilities.

Durham is a family-friendly city. A highlight for kids is a visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science. It has both an indoor and an outdoor section and brings science to life for families. There's also an impressive playground and climbing area. Other activities in town include the Notasium and Eno River State Park. If you plan ahead you could also organize a trip to the Duke Lemur Center.


Is Tampa or Durham Better for Couples?

Tampa
Durham

Durham is a popular place for couples. However, Tampa is lacking in options for romance.

Durham is a good city for couples to visit. Have a picnic at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens or spend the day hiking at Eno River State Park. In the evening there's a wonderful selection of restaurants around town. Then you can check out a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or see a Durham Bulls game.

Tampa is not the best destination for a couple to visit. The area does have great restaurants and some fun places to explore, but the downtown area has room for improvement and much of the city is suburban.

Is Tampa or Durham Better for Students?

Tampa
Durham

Durham is an excellent place to visit for its student-friendly activities. However, Tampa is not popular with students.

Durham is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. Duke University has a stunning campus with a world class garden. There's also nearby Nineth Street, which has shops, restaurants, and bars that are geared toward the student population.

Tampa is not popular with students.

Is Tampa or Durham Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Tampa
Durham

Durham is a decent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Tampa is lacking in options for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Durham. There are buses around town, but you really need a car to explore the area.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Tampa. There is the street car that runs from downtown Tampa to Ybor City and stops at 11 stations.


Is Tampa or Durham a more walkable city?

Tampa
Durham

Tampa and Durham are reasonable when it comes to walkability.

Tampa is generally not a very walkable city. While there are some neighborhoods that are considered walkable, you really need a car if you hope to explore Tampa in depth.

Durham is generally not very walkable. Downtown Durham and a few areas near Duke University are the most walkable areas.

For even more information, also check out Is Tampa Worth Visiting? and Is Durham Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Durham or Tampa?

How long in Tampa or Durham?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Tampa and Durham. In our opinion, Durham has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Durham than Tampa. In general, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Tampa, and 1-3 days is enough time in Durham.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Durham than Tampa 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 Durham.


  • How many days in Tampa or Durham? Ideal Length of Stay
    Tampa 2-3 
    Durham 1-3

One day in Tampa or Durham?

Many travelers enjoy the food when visiting the destination of Tampa. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Durham, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this sports oriented destination offers. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

A weekend in Tampa or Durham?

Tampa 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Durham. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


Five days in Tampa or Durham?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Tampa. Most people come for the beaches. 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.

Durham is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Durham. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Tampa or Durham?

Travelers enjoy the food when visiting the low-key destination of Tampa. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

You'll find food and shopping around the sports oriented destination of Durham. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


Which place is cheaper, Durham or Tampa?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tampa is $179, while the average daily cost in Durham is $162. 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 Tampa and Durham in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tampa $85
    Durham $92
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tampa $170
    Durham $184
Compare Hotels in Tampa and Durham

Looking for a hotel in Tampa or Durham? 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 Tampa


Hotels in Durham


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: Tampa Hotel Prices and Durham Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tampa $69
    Durham $33

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

Also for Tampa, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private transfer: From Tampa to airport and vice versa : $18
  • Private Arrival Transfer In Tampa International Airport (TPA) : $35
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Tampa Airport (TPA): $36
  • Private One-way Tampa Airport Transfer To/From Tampa: $46
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa hotels - Arrival Private Transfer : $51
  • Tampa hotels to Tampa Bay Cruise Port - Departure Private Transfer : $51
  • Tampa hotels to Tampa Bay Cruise Port-Departure Private Transfer : $51
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Transfer: $51
  • Tampa Airport to Tampa Bay Cruise Port Private Arrival Transfer: $51
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $51
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Private Transfer: $51
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Tampa Bay Cruise Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $51

Is it cheaper to fly into Tampa or Durham?

Prices for flights to both Durham and Tampa 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
    Tampa $53
    Durham $44

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tampa

For Tampa, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking Class near Disney in Tampa Florida: $88
  • Ybor City Food Tour On Sundays: $89

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tampa $20
    Durham $26

Tours and Activities in Tampa

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

  • Ybor City Immigrant influence Smart Phone guided App (GPS) walking tour: $6.50
  • Tampa Riverwalk: A Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $7.41
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Tampa by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Tampa with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour: $26
  • Discover Tampa with Local Stories from a Virtual Tour: $30
  • Sunset and Night Cruises Tour: $30
  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • Shared Ybor City Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • The Official Downtown Tampa Ghost Tour: $30
  • Downtown Tampa Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • Tampa Celebrity Homes Boat Tour: $31

Tours and Activities in Durham

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

  • Downtown Durham Historic Walking Tour: $16
  • Durham African American History Tour: $16
  • Durham NC: Art Walking Tour: $20
  • True Crime Tour: $13

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tampa $26
    Durham $34

Sample the Local Flavors in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Bar Hunt: Tampa Takeover Bar Crawl: $12
  • Tampa Bar Crawl on a 2023 Street Legal Golf Cart: $40
  • Ybor City Private Brewery Tour by Custom Golf Cart: $170
  • Tampa Heights Private Brewery Tour by Custom Golf Cart: $191


When comparing the travel costs between Tampa and Durham, we can see that Tampa 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 Tampa Expensive? and Is Durham Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Tampa or Durham?

Tampa has a larger population, and is about 58% larger than the population of Durham. When comparing the sizes of Tampa and Durham, 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.


When is the best time to visit Tampa or Durham?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Tampa or Durham in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Tampa as well as Durham. The beaches, snorkeling, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Tampa this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Durham for the family-friendly experiences.

Tampa is around the same temperature as Durham in the summer. The daily temperature in Tampa averages around 82°F (28°C) in July, and Durham fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Durham. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Tampa this time of the year. In the summer, Tampa often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Durham. Tampa gets 265 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Durham receives 259 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Durham. Tampa receives a lot of rain in the summer. Tampa usually gets more rain in July than Durham. Tampa gets 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Tampa 82°F (28°C) 
    Durham 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Tampa or Durham in the Autumn?

Both Durham and Tampa are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Tampa for the city's sights and attractions. Also, many visitors come to Durham in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Tampa is a little warmer than Durham. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Tampa in October average around 75°F (24°C), and Durham averages at about 61°F (16°C).

It's quite sunny in Durham. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Tampa. Tampa usually receives more sunshine than Durham during autumn. Tampa gets 234 hours of sunny skies, while Durham receives 211 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Tampa usually receives less rain than Durham. Tampa gets 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Tampa 75°F (24°C) 
    Durham 61°F (16°C)

Should I visit Tampa or Durham in the Winter?

Both Durham and Tampa during the winter are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Tampa in the winter for the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Durham for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Durham can be very cold during winter. In January, Tampa is generally much warmer than Durham. Daily temperatures in Tampa average around 60°F (15°C), and Durham fluctuates around 40°F (5°C).

It's quite sunny in Tampa. In the winter, Tampa often gets more sunshine than Durham. Tampa gets 200 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Durham receives 162 hours of full sun.

Tampa usually gets less rain in January than Durham. Tampa gets 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Tampa 60°F (15°C) 
    Durham 40°F (5°C)

Should I visit Tampa or Durham in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Tampa and Durham. Most visitors come to Tampa for the beaches and the activities around the city during these months.

Tampa is a little warmer than Durham in the spring. The daily temperature in Tampa averages around 71°F (22°C) in April, and Durham fluctuates around 60°F (16°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Durham this time of the year. In Tampa, it's very sunny this time of the year. Tampa usually receives more sunshine than Durham during spring. Tampa gets 299 hours of sunny skies, while Durham receives 251 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Tampa usually receives less rain than Durham. Tampa gets 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain, while Durham receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Tampa 71°F (22°C) 
    Durham 60°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Durham and Tampa

Tampa Durham
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm) 40°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Feb 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 60°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm) 76°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm) 78°F (26°C) 4.9 inches (125 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Oct 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm) 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Nov 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 53°F (11°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)