Miami's McArthur Causeway
By: Kara Franker
Visit both Miami and Orlando in one trip.
Planning a Florida vacation and want to stay awhile? Many travelers, especially international visitors, plan on visiting both Miami and Orlando in one trip.
While Miami has the best beaches, the hottest nightlife and lots of fun things to do, Orlando is undeniably the theme park capital of the world.
Even though Miami and Orlando are both located in the state of Florida, the cities are situated about 250 miles (or 400 kilometers) from each other. So you have several options of how to get between the two destinations: rental car, shuttle, bus, train or airplane.
Here’s a list of some of the ways to travel from one city to the next.
Rent a Car
When renting a car, you have several options:
1. Round-trip rental (start in one city, drive to the next and then finish up in your original destination).
2. One-way rental (pick up the car in one city and drop it off in the next; this is helpful if for example, you are flying into Miami for the first leg of your trip and then flying out of Orlando).
It’s a little more challenging if you are going to book a one-way car rental because not every company offers this type of service. Your best option is to rent a car at the Miami International Airport and then return it at the Orlando International Airport. The following rental car companies provide this option:
• Fox Rent a Car
As we mentioned, the distance is approximately 250 miles (or 400 kilometers) between the cities. On average, the trip takes anywhere from 3.5 to 4.5 hours, depending on traffic and how often you stop for gas and food. During highly traveled times of the year (like holidays or spring break), the trip could take a bit longer, so plan accordingly.
The quickest route includes taking the Florida Turnpike and there are tolls you must pay for on this road. On average it costs between $10 and $15, depending on your starting and ending points. The Florida Turnpike collects tolls electronically and it’s not possible to pay with cash. Make sure you inquire with your rental company and ask them about how they bill for those tolls. Many companies work directly with SunPass, Florida’s electronic prepaid tolls program and will bill you after your trip. Some companies will provide you with a portable SunPass transponder, while others already include them inside the vehicles. Additionally, along some portions of the route SunPass has the ability to track license plates and bill per vehicle.
Ride a Bus
Offering a more affordable option, especially for solo travelers or couples, bus companies also offer transportation between both cities. RedCoach USA offers both business class and first class bus service from the Miami International Airport to Orlando. The bus also makes several stops in between the two cities at various gas stations where food is available for purchase. There is a single restroom on board and most of the buses offer free Wi-Fi. Tickets start at around $30 a person and go up from there, depending on the time of year and whether you opt for business class or first class.
Ride a Train or Passenger Rail
Soon travelers will be able to ride a passenger rail between Miami and Orlando. Although it’s currently under construction, plans are underway for a train service called All Aboard Florida. The company, owned by Florida East Coast Industries, will provide transportation from Miami to Orlando with intermediate stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Service is scheduled to begin in 2016 and the route from South Florida to Orlando will take approximately three hours.
Amtrak offers rail service between Miami and Orlando. Ticket prices and duration vary depending on the style of train. For example coach seats start at around $45 per person and premium seats (including a bed to sleep on) start around $160 per person. The trip duration can take anywhere between five and eight hours, depending on the train.
Take a Taxi or Shuttle
It’s possible to take a taxi service between the cities of Orlando and Miami, but it probably is not your most economical choice. Use a website like TaxiFareFinder.com to research the cost of transportation to your destination. For example, it would likely cost more than $600 for a taxi to take you from the Orlando International Airport to the Miami International Airport. And that fare could rise depending on time and traffic.
There are also companies that offer shuttle service between the two cities. For example, Florida Shuttle Transportation offers both one-way and round-trip private shuttle service. For between one and five passengers the cost of a trip would start at around $445 and go up depending on the number of people and time of year.
Book a Flight
If you fly in an airplane between Orlando and Miami, it only takes about one hour while you’re up in the air and this is likely your quickest option. You’ll avoid traffic on the highways, although you’ll still need to prepare for enough time to get through airport security. As is the case anytime you choose to fly, the cost of flights can vary greatly depending on the time of year, as well as the brand of the carrier and how far in advance you book the trip.
We hope you enjoy the best of both cities. And to help figure out where to stay, dine and play in Orlando, check out VisitOrlando.com.
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