A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Tampa vs. San Diego for Beaches, Families, Nightlife, and Food

Should you visit Tampa or San Diego?

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

Should I visit Tampa or San Diego? 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 laid-back, easy-going, and low-key city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the beaches.

San Diego

San Diego is a energetic, outdoorsy, and idyllic coastal city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Tampa and San Diego: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Good nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance


How is Tampa different from San Diego?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Tampa or San Diego better for Food?

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

Tampa may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Some favorite dishes include fresh caught seafood, Grouper sandwiches, and Cuban sandwiches.

San Diego offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The city has great seafood and a diversity of cuisines. Popular local dishes include fish tacos and California burritos.

Tampa
San Diego


Is Tampa or San Diego better for Nightlife?

Most visitors prefer the nightlife in San Diego.

San Diego has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The heart of the city's nightlife scene is in the Gaslamp District, which is filled with bars, clubs, and music venues.

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.

Tampa
San Diego

Is Tampa or San Diego better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

There's scuba diving or snorkeling available in both Tampa and San Diego.

It's possible to go snorkeling 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.

It's worth going snorkeling or scuba diving in San Diego. Popular snorkeling and diving spots include La Jolla Cove, Mission Bay, and Turtle Town.

Tampa
San Diego

Is Tampa or San Diego better for Beaches?

For a relaxing beach holiday, both Tampa and San Diego are good choices.

Tampa is considered a top beach destination. Popular beaches near Tampa include Ben T. Davis Beach, Fred Howard Park, and Indian Rocks Beach.

With world-famous beaches, San Diego is a very popular vacation destination. The city has great beaches with tidal pools and interesting sea life at low tide. Popular beaches include La Jolla Cove Beach, Coronado Beach, and Pacific Beach.

Tampa
San Diego

Is Tampa or San Diego better for Families?

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Tampa or San Diego.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Tampa. 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.

San Diego is one of the most popular family destinations. It has a number of kid-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy. There's the world class zoo, several amusement parks, the beaches, aquariums, and more.

Tampa
San Diego


Is Tampa or San Diego better for Couples?

With fun activities for couples, both Tampa and San Diego make for a good place to visit.

Tampa is not always the best place to visit for a couple. The area does have great restaurants and some fun places to explore.

San Diego is a nice destination for couples. For adventurous couples, there are many outdoor activities that you can enjoy together. There are also restaurants and a great nightlife in San Diego.

Tampa
San Diego

Is Tampa or San Diego better for Public Transit?

Visitors will find public transit in both Tampa and San Diego.

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

Public transit is generally limited in San Diego. The city has a trolley (light rail system) as well as a bus system. Most people depend on cars to get around.

Tampa
San Diego

Is Tampa or San Diego a more walkable city?

Tampa and San Diego are similar 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.

San Diego is somewhat walkable. The downtown area is walkable, but if you want to travel further, you'll need to find a different form of transportation.

Tampa
San Diego

Should I spend more time in San Diego or Tampa?

How long in Tampa or San Diego?

In either Tampa or San Diego, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in San Diego than Tampa because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Tampa is 2-3 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to San Diego is 3-5 days.


  • How many days in Tampa or San Diego? Ideal Length of Stay
    Tampa 2-3 
    San Diego 3-5

One day in Tampa or San Diego?

You'll find around the city of Tampa. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

In San Diego, many people enjoy the nightlife and live music that this outdoorsy destination offers. It's also a great beach destination, too. Lots of people come for the beaches. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.


A weekend in Tampa or San Diego?

You'll find around the low-key destination of Tampa. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in San Diego. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Tampa or San Diego?

Travelers enjoy the when visiting the laid-back city of Tampa. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. It's also a great beach destination, too. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

San Diego is a fun place to experience. Lots of people come for the beaches. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A week in Tampa or San Diego?

Tampa is a popular choice for travelers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

You'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping around the fun-filled destination of San Diego. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. Lots of people come for the beaches. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Which city is cheaper, San Diego or Tampa?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tampa is $119, while the average daily cost in San Diego is $161. 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 Tampa and San Diego in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tampa $60
    San Diego $91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tampa $120
    San Diego $182

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tampa $38
    San Diego $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

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

  • Private Transfer from Tampa to Port Canaveral: $526
  • Private Transfer from Tampa to Orlando-Sanford (SFB) Airport: $457
  • Private Transfer from Tampa to Orlando (MCO) Airport: $393
  • Private Tampa Area to Orlando Area Transfer up to 11 One Price Mercedes Sprinter: $300
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to St Petersburg - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $167
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Clearwater Beach - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $167
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Tampa hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $164
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Anna Maria Island: $120
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Sarasota: $120
  • Private Tampa Transfer: Hotel to Airport or Cruise Port: $113
  • Private Tampa Transfer: Cruise Port to Airport or Hotel: $113
  • Private Tampa Transfer: Airport to Hotel or Cruise Port: $113

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Diego

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

  • Transfer from San Diego International Airport to San Diego: $62
  • Tijuana Border Crossing Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $398
  • SAN Airport Private Transfer: $77
  • San Diego to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Departure Private Transfer: $357
  • San Diego to Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) - Departure Private Transfer: $342
  • San Diego hotel/address to San Diego Airport (SAN) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • San Diego Private Transfer To Palm Springs.: $398
  • San Diego Private Transfer To N. Hollywood/Burbank area.: $398
  • San Diego Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $389
  • San Diego Airport (SAN) to San Diego hotel/address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $119
  • San Diego Airport (SAN) to San Diego hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • Private transfer: San Diego to San Diego Airport (SAN): $622

Is it cheaper to fly into Tampa or San Diego?

Prices for flights to both San Diego 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 $35
    San Diego $36

Typical Food prices in San Diego

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to San Diego:


  • Mexican Lunch for Two
    $27
  • Breakfast at Starbucks
    $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Diego

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

  • San Diego North Park Food Tour: $49
  • Liberty Station Food Tour: $49
  • Market and Guacamole Cooking Class in Tijuana Mexico: $89
  • Private Cooking Demonstration of Indian Fusion Cuisine in San Diego: $96
  • Farmers Market Tour & Social Cooking With A Chef: $100
  • San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise: $111
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Diego: $129
  • Secret Food Tours San Diego w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tampa $15
    San Diego $38

Tours and Activities in Tampa

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

  • 1.5-hour Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise from Tampa: $31
  • 2-hour Tiki Boat BYOB Cruise in Tampa: $60
  • Adventure Island Water Park Ticket: $63
  • Bayshore Drive Motorbike Tour: $199
  • Bicycle Tour Orlando, Over Tampa Bay Ride: $150
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Admission Ticket: $110
  • Historic Ybor City Food and Drink Walking Tour: $59
  • Motorcycle Tour of Sunshine Skyway Bridge: $299
  • Nature Coast Private Day Tour From Tampa with Photographer , Max Group of 4: $250
  • Orlando: Aquatica Water Park Admission Ticket: $128
  • Skip the Line: The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay Ticket: $26
  • Skip the Line: ZooTampa at Lowry Park Admission Ticket: $45

Typical Entertainment prices in San Diego

For San Diego, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • San Diego Zoo
    $15
  • Sea World Parking
    $12

Tours and Activities in San Diego

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

  • 1-Hour Voodoo Escape Room Experience in San Diego: $35
  • 1Hr GPS Guided Scooter Tour: Harbor/Gaslamp Quarter: $63
  • 2 Hour Whale Watching Kayak Tour for Two: $77
  • 4 Hour Whale Watching/Eco Adventure: $163
  • Affordable, Luxury Sailing Tour of San Diego's Bay and Coastal Waterways: $112
  • All Day San Diego City and Shopping Tour: $95
  • All Inclusive Beer Tour-Party bus: $169
  • Behind-the-Scenes at Petco Park Tour: $23
  • Brothels, Bites and Booze: A Culinary Tour of San Diego's Questionable Past: $69
  • Catamaran Sailing Cruise on San Diego Bay for up to 12 Guests: $1,200
  • Catamaran Sailing Cruise on San Diego Bay for up to 6 Guests: $600
  • Coastal Beauty - Private Sunset & Night Photography Tour: $455

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tampa $20
    San Diego $17

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
  • Haunted Tampa Ghost and Pub Walking Tour - Ybor City: $26
  • Private Tampa Brewery Tour - Party Bus: $600

Sample the Local Flavors in San Diego

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

  • San Diego Bar Hunt: Slammin' San Diego Bar Crawl: $12
  • Wine Tasting Or Beer Tasting: $15
  • San Diego Brewery Tour: $85
  • San Diego Micro Brewery Tour: $91
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $95
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $101
  • Private San Diego Brewery Tour: $107
  • All inclusive brewery tour-Fire Truck: $189
  • Luxury Private Wine Tasting Tour to Guadalupe Valley from San Diego.: $249
  • Private Wine Tour of Temecula from San Diego: $475


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


When is the best time to visit Tampa or San Diego?

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 Tampa or San Diego in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Tampa and San Diego. Most visitors come to Tampa for the beaches, snorkeling, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to San Diego because of the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Tampa is generally a little warmer than San Diego. Temperatures in Tampa average around 82°F (28°C), and San Diego stays around 71°F (22°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in San Diego this time of the year. In Tampa, it's very sunny this time of the year. Tampa usually receives less sunshine than San Diego during summer. At this time of the year, Tampa gets 265 hours of sunny skies, while San Diego receives 306 hours of full sun.

Tampa gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Tampa usually receives more rain than San Diego. At this time of the year, Tampa gets 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain, while San Diego receives 0 inches (1 mm) of rain.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Tampa 82°F (28°C) 
    San Diego 71°F (22°C)

Should I visit Tampa or San Diego in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Tampa as well as San Diego. The autumn months attract visitors to Tampa because of the city's sights and attractions. Additionally, the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to San Diego this time of year.

Tampa is a little warmer than San Diego in the autumn. The temperature in Tampa is usually 75°F (24°C) in October, and San Diego stays around 68°F (20°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in San Diego. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Tampa this time of the year. In the autumn, Tampa often gets around the same amount of sunshine as San Diego. Tampa gets 234 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while San Diego receives 244 hours of full sun.

Tampa usually gets more rain in October than San Diego. Tampa gets 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain, while San Diego receives 0.4 inches (9 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Tampa 75°F (24°C) 
    San Diego 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Tampa or San Diego in the Winter?

Both San Diego and Tampa are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The cuisine are the main draw to Tampa this time of year. Also, many travelers come to San Diego for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Tampa is around the same temperature as San Diego. Typically, the winter temperatures in Tampa in January are around 60°F (15°C), and San Diego is about 57°F (14°C).

It's quite sunny in San Diego. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Tampa. Tampa usually receives less sunshine than San Diego during winter. At this time of the year, Tampa gets 200 hours of sunny skies, while San Diego receives 239 hours of full sun.

In January, Tampa usually receives more rain than San Diego. At this time of the year, Tampa gets 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain, while San Diego receives 1.8 inches (46 mm) of rain.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Tampa 60°F (15°C) 
    San Diego 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit Tampa or San Diego in the Spring?

Both San Diego and Tampa during the spring are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Tampa for the beaches and the activities around the city. Also, many visitors come to San Diego in the spring for the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty.

In April, Tampa is generally a little warmer than San Diego. Temperatures in Tampa average around 71°F (22°C), and San Diego stays around 62°F (17°C).

In San Diego, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Tampa. In the spring, Tampa often gets more sunshine than San Diego. Tampa gets 299 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while San Diego receives 277 hours of full sun.

Tampa usually gets more rain in April than San Diego. Tampa gets 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain, while San Diego receives 0.8 inches (20 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Tampa 71°F (22°C) 
    San Diego 62°F (17°C)

Typical Weather for San Diego and Tampa

Tampa San Diego
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm) 57°F (14°C) 1.8 inches (46 mm)
Feb 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 59°F (15°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm)
Mar 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 59°F (15°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Apr 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.8 inches (20 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm) 67°F (19°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm) 71°F (22°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm) 71°F (22°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm)
Oct 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm) 68°F (20°C) 0.4 inches (9 mm)
Nov 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 62°F (17°C) 1.5 inches (37 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 57°F (14°C) 1.6 inches (40 mm)


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Tampa vs. San Diego Travel Comparison

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