A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Washington vs. Charleston for Attractions, Food, Couples, and Nightlife

Should you visit Washington or Charleston?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Washington and Charleston can help you decide which place is right for you.

Washington

Washington is a international, diverse, and active city. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include food, shopping, and museums.

Charleston

Charleston is a historic, classic, and picturesque coastal town. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It also has that perfectly quaint feel that is like no other place. Other reasons to visit include beaches, shopping, and museums.

Washington and Charleston: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Cons
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less popular for students


How is Washington different from Charleston?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Washington or Charleston Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Washington
Charleston

People who enjoy wandering through museums and other attractions will appreciate a visit to Washington a bit more than Charleston.

Travelers visit Washington from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The city has world class museums that are often free. The Smithsonian Museums are arguably some of the most impressive museums in the United States. The city also has a large collection of monuments that are dedicated to past presidents or historical events.

Charleston offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. This city is famous for its many historic churches and plantations. You can also visit Fort Sumter National Monument by boat or take a tour of the USS Yorktown.


Is Washington or Charleston Better for Food?

Washington
Charleston

Foodies will find both Washington and Charleston both to be unique destinations.

Washington has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. You can find restaurants from almost any cuisine here, so it's worth exploring and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Charleston is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. Food lovers will enjoy the city's low country classics. Local favorites include she crab soup, shrimp and grits, cornbread, and fried green tomatoes.

Is Washington or Charleston Better for Nightlife?

Washington
Charleston

The vibe at night is comparable in Washington and Charleston.

Many people head to Washington for the nightlife scene. Head into Dupont Circle, U Street, and even Arlington to enjoy some of the area's best nightlife.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Charleston. As a college town, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs around town. There's also a lively music scene.

Is Washington or Charleston Better for Music?

Washington
Charleston

Washington and Charleston are both destinations where visitors can find live music.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in Washington. Notable live music venues include the 9:30 Club, the Anthem, and Union Stage.

The music scene helps keep Charleston active and fun. You can hear a number of local bands or enjoy a more widely known group at larger venues in the area.

Is Washington or Charleston Better for Shopping?

Washington
Charleston

If you're looking to go shopping, Washington and Charleston both offer plenty of spots.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Washington. Head to Georgetown and Dupont Circle for some of the city's best local shopping.

The abundance of shops in Charleston make it a world-class shopping destination. The city is famous for its historic market in the center of town. Local goods, foods, and crafts are sold daily here. There are also many clothing and local shops throughout town.


Is Washington or Charleston Better for Christmas?

Washington
Charleston

With various activities, both Washington and Charleston are good places to visit during Christmas.

With so many activities, Washington is a top place to visit during Christmas. With it's beautiful lights and holiday shows, Christmas is beautiful in the capital of the United States.

Charleston is an extremely popular place to visit during the Christmas season. During the Christmas season there are a number of festivals, light shows, and even a boat parade that everyone can enjoy.

Is Washington or Charleston Better for Families?

Washington
Charleston

You'll find kid-friendly activities in either Washington or Charleston.

Washington is a very family-friendly destination. It is a fun and educational destination where kids can explore world class museums and try unique foods from all around the world.

Charleston is a family-friendly place to visit. The area has a number of family friendly activities like carriage rides and boat rides. The nearby beaches also make it a wonderful place to visit with kids.

Is Washington or Charleston Better for Couples?

Washington
Charleston

Couples will find a longer list of romantic activities in Charleston than Washington.

For those traveling as a couple, Charleston has plenty to offer. This beautiful city is one of the most popular wedding destinations in America. It's a very romantic setting with beautiful hotels and bed and breakfasts that are perfect for couples on their honeymoon or looking for a romantic setting.

Washington makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city lights up at night, so couples will enjoy wandering by the monuments in the evening or taking in a dinner and show.

Is Washington or Charleston Better for Students?

Washington
Charleston

Students usually think of Washington as better than Charleston.

Students come from all over the world to visit Washington. International students come from around the world to study, learn, intern, and work in the capital of the United States.

Charleston is a good city to visit for students. The city is a college town with a young vibe that is perfect for students.


Is Washington or Charleston a more walkable city?

Washington
Charleston

Washington and Charleston are similar when it comes to walkability.

Washington is a very easy city to get around on foot. Many neighborhoods around the city are easy to explore on foot. Most tourists spend a lot of time in the Mall area, which is very pedestrian friendly.

Charleston is a very walkable city. The downtown area is very walkable, but once you leave the historic heart, it's best to have a car.

Should I spend more time in Charleston or Washington?

How long in Washington or Charleston?

Both Washington and Charleston have a number of activities to choose from. You can spend a similar amount of time exploring either.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Washington is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Charleston is 2-7 days.


  • How many days in Washington or Charleston? Ideal Length of Stay
    Washington 3-7 
    Charleston 2-7

One day in Washington or Charleston?

When visiting Washington, people usually allow for lots of time. Anyone can find something fun to do here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

With live music and food around the classic coastal town of Charleston, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Washington or Charleston?

When visiting Washington, people usually allow for lots of time. It offers something for everyone. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

With food and shopping around the destination of Charleston, there's plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this coastal town.

Five days in Washington or Charleston?

Washington, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Charleston, a popular coastal town, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Visiting the old town is also a must. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this coastal town. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


A week in Washington or Charleston?

Washington is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this city makes for a great vacation. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Charleston is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this coastal town makes for a great vacation. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal town has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Which city is cheaper, Charleston or Washington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Washington is $155, while the average daily cost in Charleston is $136. 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 Washington and Charleston in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Washington $91
    Charleston $72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Washington $182
    Charleston $144
Compare Hotels in Washington and Charleston

Looking for a hotel in Washington or Charleston? 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 Washington


Hotels in Charleston


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: Washington Hotel Prices and Charleston Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Washington $37
    Charleston $26
Typical Local Transportation prices in Washington

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Washington are as follows:


  • Metro Day Pass
    $9.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Washington

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

  • Washington Reagan Airport Transfer to Baltimore & D. C.: $15
  • Private Airport Transfer: Washington to Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA): $40
  • Washington to Washington R. Reagan Airport (DCA) - Departure Private Transfer: $61
  • Washington Airport Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Business Car: $72
  • Departure Private Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Business Car: $72
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Washington to Dulles International Airport (IAD): $77
  • Private Departure Transfer from Washington City to DCA Regan Washington Airport: $78
  • Departure Private Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Luxury SUV: $78
  • Washington Airport Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Luxury SUV: $82
  • Departure Private Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Luxury Van: $82
  • Washington Airport Transfers: Washington to National Airport DCA in Luxury Van: $82
  • Seattle: Private Transfer to/from Seattle Airport (SEA): $86

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

  • Private transfer: Charleston to Charleston Airport (CHS): $622
  • Charleston city to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer: $124
  • Private Departure Transfer to Charleston Airport (CHS): $52

Is it cheaper to fly into Washington or Charleston?

Prices for flights to both Charleston and Washington 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
    Washington $30
    Charleston $46
Typical Food prices in Washington

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


  • Water
    $2.00
  • Snacks on Monuments Tour
    $6.15

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Washington

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

  • Seattle: Pike Place Market Plant-Based Food Tour: $64
  • Washington D.C.: 3.5-Hour Georgetown Food Tour: $65
  • Washington DC: 3-Hour Italian Food Tour: $65
  • Washington DC Food Tour: Italian Cuisine in Dupont Circle: $65
  • Washington, DC: The Original Brew Tour with Tasting & Dinner: $70
  • Adams Morgan Food Tour: $76
  • Washington DC: Private Food Tour Experience: $79
  • Capitol Hill Walking Food Tour: $79
  • U Street Neighborhood Food Tour: $99
  • Washington DC Odyssey Dinner Cruise: $100
  • Private French Cooking Class with an Expert in the Heart of Washington DC: $108
  • Washington, DC 3-Hour Dinner Buffet Cruise: $122

Typical Food prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of dining costs in Charleston are as follows:


  • Lunch in downtown Charleston for two
    $21
  • Breakfast
    $26

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charleston

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Charleston.

  • Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour: $73
  • Savor the Flavors of Charleston Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston's Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston Chef's Kitchen Guided Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise: $77
  • Savor the Flavors Upper King Street Food Tour: $95
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Charleston: $129
  • Undiscovered 1/2 Day Food, Wine & History Tour with Cooking Class: $154
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour in Charleston w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Washington $19
    Charleston $17

Tours and Activities in Washington

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

  • Tidal Basin: Stroll around the cherry blossoms and monuments on an audio tour: $5.00
  • The National Mall: Discover the monuments and their memories on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Lincoln's Assassination: Explore Lincoln's final day on this audio walking tour: $5.55
  • The Kennedy Homes: Explore the colonial architecture on this audio walking tour: $5.55
  • Washington DC Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Washington DC Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Virtual Tour of Martin Luther King Memorial: $18
  • Virtual Tour African American Heritage in Washington DC: $19
  • Washington, DC: US Capitol Building Entry with 1-Hour Tour: $20
  • City Sightseeing Chester Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour: $21
  • DC Ghost Tour: $24
  • Advance Tickets to Washington, D.C.'s Newseum: $24

Typical Entertainment prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Charleston are as follows:


  • Patriots Point (for 2)
    $60

Tours and Activities in Charleston

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

  • 2-Hour Guided Kayaking Eco Tour in Charleston: $48
  • 2-Hour Paddle Board Eco Tour of Charleston Lowcountry: $48
  • 90-Minute Historic Walking Tour of Charleston: $25
  • Amazing Ladies of Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Best of Historic Charleston Walking Tour: $35
  • Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston: $61
  • Bruce Knows Insider Walking Tour of Downtown: $26
  • Car Service: Airport to / from Cruise Port: $130
  • Charleston Attraction & Tour Pass for 1, 2, or 3 Days: $73
  • Charleston Boo Hag & Brews Walking Ghost and Bar Tour: $29
  • Charleston Chicora Walking Tour: $26
  • Charleston City Bus Tour with Charleston Museum Admission: $32

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Washington $15
    Charleston $28

Sample the Local Flavors in Washington

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Washington:

  • Epic Washington DC Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam: $12
  • Haunted Washington D.C. Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $27
  • Washington DC: Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $34
  • DC: 'New York Times Journeys' Walking Tour with Beer, Cheese and Wine Tasting: $120
  • Seattle All-Inclusive: Hike Mt. Rainier and Wine Tasting: $278
  • NOVA Private Custom Wine Tours & Tasting from DMV: $645
  • 6 Hours Northern VA Wine Tour: $920

Sample the Local Flavors in Charleston

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

  • Charleston Bar Hunt: Charleston Chase Bar Crawl: $12
  • Ghost Walking Tour and Pub Crawl in Haunted Charleston: $27
  • Haunted Pub Crawl of the Market: $37


When comparing the travel costs between Washington and Charleston, we can see that Washington 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.


When is the best time to visit Washington or Charleston?

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 Washington or Charleston in the Summer?

Both Charleston and Washington during the summer are popular places to visit. The hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Washington this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Charleston for the beaches, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Washington is generally around the same temperature as Charleston. Temperatures in Washington average around 79°F (26°C), and Charleston stays around 82°F (28°C).

In Charleston, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Washington. In the summer, Washington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Charleston. Washington gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Charleston receives 293 hours of full sun.

Charleston gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Washington usually gets less rain in July than Charleston. Washington gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Charleston receives 6.9 inches (176 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Washington 79°F (26°C) 
    Charleston 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Washington or Charleston in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Washington and Charleston. Many travelers come to Washington for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Charleston in the autumn for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Washington is cooler than Charleston in the autumn. The temperature in Washington is usually 60°F (15°C) in October, and Charleston stays around 67°F (19°C).

Washington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Charleston during autumn. Washington gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Charleston receives 197 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Washington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Charleston. Washington gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Charleston receives 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Washington 60°F (15°C) 
    Charleston 67°F (19°C)

Should I visit Washington or Charleston in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Washington as well as Charleston. Many visitors come to Washington in the winter for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Charleston for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Washington can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Washington is much colder than Charleston. Typically, the winter temperatures in Washington in January are around 35°F (1°C), and Charleston is about 47°F (9°C).

In the winter, Washington often gets less sunshine than Charleston. Washington gets 139 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Charleston receives 188 hours of full sun.

Washington usually gets less rain in January than Charleston. Washington gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Charleston receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Washington 35°F (1°C) 
    Charleston 47°F (9°C)

Should I visit Washington or Charleston in the Spring?

Both Charleston and Washington are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Washington for the activities around the city and the natural beauty during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Charleston because of the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Washington is generally cooler than Charleston. Temperatures in Washington average around 56°F (14°C), and Charleston stays around 64°F (18°C).

It's quite sunny in Charleston. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Washington. Washington usually receives less sunshine than Charleston during spring. Washington gets 228 hours of sunny skies, while Charleston receives 275 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Washington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Charleston. Washington gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Charleston receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Washington 56°F (14°C) 
    Charleston 64°F (18°C)

Typical Weather for Charleston and Washington

Washington Charleston
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 47°F (9°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 58°F (14°C) 4.3 inches (110 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 64°F (18°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Jun 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 78°F (26°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 82°F (28°C) 6.9 inches (176 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 81°F (27°C) 7.1 inches (181 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 76°F (25°C) 4.8 inches (121 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 58°F (15°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 51°F (10°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)


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Washington vs. Charleston Travel Comparison

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