A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Tampa vs. West Palm Beach for Beaches, Nightlife, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, and Families

Should you visit Tampa or West Palm Beach?

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

Should I visit Tampa or West Palm Beach? 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 low-key, laid-back, and easy-going city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include food and beaches.

West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is a vibrant, fun-filled, and diverse beach area. It's also popular because of the beaches, nightlife, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Tampa and West Palm Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Less popular with couples
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good public transit


Is there more to do in Tampa or West Palm Beach?

You'll generally find more things to do in Tampa than West Palm Beach. Tampa is bigger than West Palm Beach, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Tampa is better known for its food and big city activities, while West Palm Beach is more popular for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, and beaches. West Palm Beach is more touristy than Tampa and is known for its nice resorts, a lively boardwalk, great seafood, and fun watersports. Tampa is well known for its amusement parks, wildlife parks, and popularity as a cruise ship port. Also, Tampa is famous for Busch Gardens.

How is Tampa different from West Palm Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is the Food Better in Tampa or West Palm Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Tampa
West Palm Beach

Tampa is a popular place for its local flavors and cuisine. However, West Palm Beach is not known for its local cuisine and restaurants.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Tampa. 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.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in West Palm Beach. Oceanfront restaurants usually have a great view and offer local and fresh seafood. There are also many local restaurants concentrated around Clematis Street and CityPlace districts.


Is Tampa or West Palm Beach Better for Nightlife?

Tampa
West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is an excellent place to visit for its evening party scene. However, Tampa is lacking in options for nightlife.

West Palm Beach has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. With rooftop bars and clubs, oceanfront venues, and plenty of nightlife options downtown, this city rivals most places when it comes to nightlife. The nightlife scene is particularly active during spring break, when university students head to town.

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 West Palm Beach Better for Resorts?

Tampa
West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is an amazing beach area to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Tampa is not a resort destination.

For the ultimate resort vacation, West Palm Beach is a great choice. All of the major names are present including the Hilton, Marriott, and Four Seasons.

Tampa is not a resort destination.

Is Tampa or West Palm Beach Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Tampa
West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is an excellent place to visit for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Tampa is lacking in options for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling.

Many visitors partake in scuba diving or snorkeing while visiting West Palm Beach. Check out Phil Foster Park in Rivera Beach. It's a man-made reef that is surprisingly clear.

Tampa has a few snorkeling spots. 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.


Is Tampa or West Palm Beach Better for Beaches?

Tampa
West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is an amazing beach area to visit for the beach. Also, Tampa is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its beaches.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in West Palm Beach. From bustling beaches with a boardwalk to quieter, more relaxing beaches surrounded by parkland, there are are number of options in the area.

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.

Is Tampa or West Palm Beach Better for Families?

Tampa
West Palm Beach

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Tampa or West Palm Beach.

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.

West Palm Beach is a very family-friendly place to visit. Animal lovers will appreciate the zoos and aquariums in the area. Check out McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary, Manatee Lagoon, the Palm Beach Zoo, and the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium.

Is Tampa or West Palm Beach Better for Couples?

Tampa
West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is an excellent place to visit for couples. However, Tampa is lacking in options for romance.

West Palm Beach makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples will enjoy kayaking, dining out, or simply relaxing on the beach. It's fun to spend a day exploring the botanical gardens and an evening wandering around Clematis Street.

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 West Palm Beach Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Tampa
West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is a popular place for times when you don't have a car. However, Tampa is lacking in options for its public transit.

West Palm Beach has some public transit options. There's a downtown trolley, a commuter trail line (connecting West Palm Beach, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale), and a bus system with about 30 lines.

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 West Palm Beach a more walkable city?

Tampa
West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is a popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Tampa is lacking in options for its walkability.

West Palm Beach is a somewhat walkable beach area. West Palm Beach has a surprisingly walkable area and it's possible to explore the downtown area on foot.

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

For even more information, also check out Is Tampa Worth Visiting? and Is West Palm Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in West Palm Beach or Tampa?

How long in Tampa or West Palm Beach?

Both Tampa and West Palm Beach have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in West Palm Beach than in Tampa. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Tampa, and 3-7 days is enough time in West Palm Beach.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in West Palm Beach 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 West Palm Beach.


  • How many days in Tampa or West Palm Beach? Ideal Length of Stay
    Tampa 2-3 
    West Palm Beach 3-7

One day in Tampa or West Palm Beach?

The low-key destination of Tampa offers food. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

In West Palm Beach, many people enjoy the nightlife and scuba diving and snorkeling that this fun-filled destination offers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Lots of people come for the beaches. This beach area 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 West Palm Beach?

The city of Tampa offers food. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. A weekend here is typical. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in West Palm Beach. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. 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 West Palm Beach?

Tampa is a great place to explore. It's also a great beach destination, too. This city offers something for everyone. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

West Palm Beach is a fun place to experience. In West Palm Beach, many people enjoy the nightlife and scuba diving and snorkeling that this destination offers. Lots of people come for the beaches. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A week in Tampa or West Palm Beach?

Many people enjoy the food when visiting Tampa. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

In West Palm Beach, many people enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and nightlife that this fun-filled destination offers. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the beaches. One week is often enough time to do most activities.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, and The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City.


Which place is cheaper, West Palm Beach 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 West Palm Beach is $330. 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 West Palm Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tampa $85
    West Palm Beach $234
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tampa $170
    West Palm Beach $468
Compare Hotels in Tampa and West Palm Beach

Looking for a hotel in Tampa or West Palm 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 Tampa


Hotels in West Palm 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: Tampa Hotel Prices and West Palm Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tampa $69
    West Palm Beach $49

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port: Private Transfer to Tampa hotels: $300
  • Tampa Airport (TPA): Transfer tо Tampa Bay Cruise Port: $300
  • Tampa Airport (TPA): Private Transfer to Tampa hotel/address: $202
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport (TPA) to Clearwater Beach: $187
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport TPA to Lakeland/Winter Haven: $187
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport (TPA) to St Petersburg Accommodation: $187
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to St Petersburg - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $174
  • Private transfer from Tampa airport To Zephyrhills, FL: $155
  • Private Transfer from TPA to Tampa / St Petersburg / Clearwater Beach : $120
  • Private Transfer from Tampa Airport to Clearwater: $120
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Lakeland / Winter Haven - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $107
  • Tampa Airport (TPA) to Tampa Bay Cruise Port - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $100

Hired Cars and Shuttles in West Palm Beach

Also for West Palm Beach, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Palm Beach hotels to Cruise Port of Palm Beach - Departure Private Transfer : $41
  • Fort Lauderdale Ports transfer from West Palm Beach: $267
  • Departure Private Transfer: Palm Beach to Palm Beach Airport PBI in Luxury SUV: $108
  • Departure Private Transfer: Palm Beach to Palm Beach Airport PBI in Business Car: $93
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Palm Beach Airport PBI to Palm Beach in Luxury SUV: $108
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Palm Beach Airport PBI to Palm Beach in Business Car: $93

Is it cheaper to fly into Tampa or West Palm Beach?

Prices for flights to both West Palm Beach 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
    West Palm Beach $66

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tampa

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

  • Ybor City Food Tour On Sundays: $89

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in West Palm Beach

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

  • Mornings in the Market Food Tour: $75
  • Mornings in the Market Food Tour: $75
  • Downtown West Palm Beach Food Tour: $85
  • Downtown Food Tour: $85
  • Prohibition Dinner & Drinks Tour: $101
  • Food Tour of Historic West Palm Beach Neighborhoods: $101
  • Prohibition Dinner & Drinks Tour: $101
  • Historic Neighborhood Food Tour: $101

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tampa $20
    West Palm Beach $19

Tours and Activities in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • 1.5-hour Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise from Tampa: $31
  • 2 Hour Guided Segway Tour: $69
  • 2 Hour Private Floating Tiki Boat Tour in Tampa: $59
  • Adventure Island Water Park Ticket: $50
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Admission Ticket: $108
  • Discover Tampa with Local Stories from a Virtual Tour: $30
  • Downtown Tampa Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • Escape to Paradise: Private Island Boat Adventure in Tampa: $630
  • Ghost Hunters Paranormal Ghost Tour: $39
  • Ghost Investigation Tour Interactive Paranormal Experience 18Plus: $35
  • Ghost Investigation Tours with Interactive Paranormal Experience: $35

Tours and Activities in West Palm Beach

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

  • 2-Hour Guided Snorkel Tour of Phil Foster Park, Blue Heron Bridge: $60
  • 3 Hour Cruise & Swimming Excursion off Peanut Island Park: $77
  • Beginner Scuba Diving Tour With Videos in West Palm Beach: $99
  • Beginner Snorkel Tour With Videos in West Palm Beach: $49
  • Blue Heron Bridge Guided Snorkel Tour : $90
  • Bulk Candy Store Tour: $13
  • Christmas Light Cruise from Jupiter: $75
  • Clear Kayak Eco Tour in Jupiter, Florida: $75
  • Clear Kayak Tour in Jupiter: $79
  • Experience Peanut Island Adventures: $50
  • Flamingle Happy Hour Cruise: $40
  • Historical Sightseeing Catamaran Cruise in Palm Beach: $51

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tampa $26
    West Palm Beach $39

Sample the Local Flavors in Tampa

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

  • Tampa Bar Crawl on a 2023 Street Legal Golf Cart: $40
  • Haunted Pub Crawl: $40
  • Ybor City Private Brewery Tour by Custom Golf Cart: $200


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Tampa and West Palm Beach, we can see that West Palm Beach 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 West Palm Beach would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in West Palm Beach than you might in Tampa.

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


Which is Bigger, Tampa or West Palm Beach?

Tampa has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of West Palm Beach. When comparing the sizes of Tampa and West Palm Beach, 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 West Palm 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 Tampa or West Palm Beach in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Tampa and West Palm Beach. The summer months attract visitors to Tampa because of the beaches, snorkeling, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to West Palm Beach this time of year.

In the summer, Tampa is around the same temperature as West Palm Beach. Typically, the summer temperatures in Tampa in July average around 82°F (28°C), and West Palm Beach averages at about 82°F (28°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in West Palm Beach this time of the year. In Tampa, it's very sunny this time of the year. Tampa usually receives less sunshine than West Palm Beach during summer. Tampa gets 265 hours of sunny skies, while West Palm Beach receives 316 hours of full sun in the summer.

West Palm Beach receives a lot of rain in the summer. Tampa gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Tampa usually receives more rain than West Palm Beach. Tampa gets 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain, while West Palm Beach receives 6.5 inches (166 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Tampa 82°F (28°C) 
    West Palm Beach 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Tampa or West Palm Beach in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Tampa as well as West Palm Beach. The city's sights and attractions are the main draw to Tampa this time of year.

In October, Tampa is generally around the same temperature as West Palm Beach. Daily temperatures in Tampa average around 75°F (24°C), and West Palm Beach fluctuates around 78°F (25°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in West Palm Beach. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Tampa this time of the year. In the autumn, Tampa often gets less sunshine than West Palm Beach. Tampa gets 234 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while West Palm Beach receives 275 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in West Palm Beach. Tampa usually gets less rain in October than West Palm Beach. Tampa gets 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain, while West Palm Beach receives 8.7 inches (222 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, June to November in West Palm Beach is the hurricane season.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Tampa 75°F (24°C) 
    West Palm Beach 78°F (25°C)

Should I visit Tampa or West Palm Beach in the Winter?

Both West Palm Beach and Tampa are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Tampa for the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to West Palm Beach in the winter for the cuisine.

Tampa is cooler than West Palm Beach in the winter. The daily temperature in Tampa averages around 60°F (15°C) in January, and West Palm Beach fluctuates around 65°F (19°C).

It's quite sunny in West Palm Beach. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Tampa. Tampa usually receives less sunshine than West Palm Beach during winter. Tampa gets 200 hours of sunny skies, while West Palm Beach receives 243 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Tampa usually receives less rain than West Palm Beach. Tampa gets 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain, while West Palm Beach receives 2.6 inches (66 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Tampa 60°F (15°C) 
    West Palm Beach 65°F (19°C)

Should I visit Tampa or West Palm Beach in the Spring?

Both West Palm Beach and Tampa during the spring are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Tampa in the spring for the beaches and the activities around the city. Furthermore, most visitors come to West Palm Beach for the beaches during these months.

In the spring, Tampa is around the same temperature as West Palm Beach. Typically, the spring temperatures in Tampa in April average around 71°F (22°C), and West Palm Beach averages at about 74°F (23°C).

In West Palm Beach, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Tampa. In the spring, Tampa often gets around the same amount of sunshine as West Palm Beach. Tampa gets 299 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while West Palm Beach receives 300 hours of full sun.

Tampa usually gets less rain in April than West Palm Beach. Tampa gets 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain, while West Palm Beach receives 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, the hurricane season in West Palm Beach is June to November.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Tampa 71°F (22°C) 
    West Palm Beach 74°F (23°C)

Typical Weather for West Palm Beach and Tampa

Tampa West Palm Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm) 65°F (19°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm)
Feb 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 66°F (19°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm)
Mar 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 70°F (21°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Apr 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 74°F (23°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.2 inches (131 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm) 81°F (27°C) 8.1 inches (207 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm) 82°F (28°C) 6.5 inches (166 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm) 83°F (28°C) 6.9 inches (176 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm) 81°F (27°C) 9.8 inches (250 mm)
Oct 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm) 78°F (25°C) 8.7 inches (222 mm)
Nov 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 72°F (22°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 67°F (20°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)