A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Wilmington vs. Charleston for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Wilmington or Charleston?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Wilmington or Charleston, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Wilmington

Wilmington is a port city in southeastern North Carolina. It's a great city to visit for it's nearby beaches, large historic district, and quaint atmosphere. The city has a population of about 115,000 and it's the eighth largest city in the state.

Wilmington is also home to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as well as the EUE Screen Gems Studios. This is the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside of California. The studio, which opened in 1984, helped grow Wilmington into a major base for film and television production. The city has been the backdrop for many movies and tv shows including Iron Man 3, Sleepy Hollow, One Tree Hill, and Revolution.

Charleston

Charleston is a beautiful, southern city and seaport town in South Carolina. It has a wonderful, historic downtown area that the city government works hard to maintain. Located on a peninsula that is created by two rivers, the city is a stunning setting with much character. It is a popular place to visit for its culture, architecture and cuisine. In recent years Charleston has gained popularity and it continues to grow as both a regional and international travel destination. With its rising popularity comes increasing costs. Travel costs continue to go up as restaurants and hotels raise their prices, particularly during the peak travel season and holiday periods.

Which city is cheaper, Charleston or Wilmington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Wilmington is $163, 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Wilmington and Charleston in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Wilmington can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $96, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $192.

A hotel room in Charleston is about $144 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Wilmington $96
    Charleston $72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Wilmington $192
    Charleston $144

Food

Wilmington food costs typically run travelers around $45 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

On average, meal and food prices in Charleston cost around $46 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $18.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Wilmington $45
    Charleston $46

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.

  • Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise & Live Music: $66
  • 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
  • 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

Local Transportation

To get around in Wilmington, the average visitor spends $38 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $26 per day to get around in Charleston.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Wilmington $38
    Charleston $26

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 Wilmington or Charleston?

Prices for flights to both Charleston and Wilmington 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.





Entertainment

In Wilmington, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $14 per person, per day.

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $17 per person, per day in Charleston. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Wilmington $14
    Charleston $17

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

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Wilmington, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $31.

The average person spends about $28 on alcoholic beverages in Charleston per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Wilmington $31
    Charleston $28

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

Budget Your Trip

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Wilmington vs. Charleston Travel Comparison

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