Florida is the 22nd largest US state, covering an area of 65,757.70 square miles. The major cities in Florida are scattered across the Sunshine State. Hence, planning how to get around Florida can get overwhelming. If you are visiting the state for the first time or have little to no information about transportation in Florida, let us help!
How to Get to Florida
The best and the shortest way to get into Florida is via air. You can take a flight from anywhere in the US or even outside the country. Florida’s major airports include:
- Miami International Airport
- Orlando International Airport
- Southwest Florida International Airport
- Palm Beach International Airport
- Tampa International Airport
- Daytona Beach International Airport
- Sarasota Bradenton International Airport
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
- Jacksonville International Airport
Major US carriers such as Delta Airlines and United Airlines fly to and from Florida. European carriers such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways also serve the area.
Driving to Florida is pretty easy for those within the US because of the state’s extensive road network. Three interstate highways lead into the Sunshine State: the I-10 from the west and the I-75 and I-95 from the north. There are several resting places and motels along the highways, so you can always take a break if you get tired while driving.
Amtrak is a rail service provider for international visitors. It serves Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami. It offers multi-day rail passes for travel throughout the US. The prices are as follows:
- Youth (ages 13-15) and Adult (ages 16+):
- $459 for a 15-day pass
- $689 for a 30-day pass
- $899 for a 45-day pass
- Child (ages 2-12): Eligible for discount
Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa, Jacksonville, Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, and Fort Lauderdale are Florida’s major ports. Cruise ships sail to and from these ports and are perfect for getting into Florida. These ships offer weekend getaways and extended luxury stays.
How to Move Around Florida
Interstate highways in Florida connect the state with other neighboring states. They are owned and maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation. There are four interstate highways and eight auxiliary highways in the state totaling 1,497.58 miles. The I-75 is the longest interstate highway that extends 470.678 miles, whereas the I-395 is the shortest and extends only 1.292 miles.
There are currently 25 toll roads in Florida. The longest of these is Florida’s Turnpike that runs for 313 miles. Most toll roads in the state have state road designations with a special toll shield, including the Homestead Extension. Toll roads are better maintained and safer than non-toll roads. You pay to travel on these roads because they are safe and reliable. Many toll roads in Florida have convenience plazas that offer food, fuel, and a place to rest.
The State Highway System of the US state of Florida comprises state roads (also called state highways) maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation or toll authorities. The state roads, abbreviated as SR, link important towns, cities, and district headquarters within the state. They connect them with national highways or state highways of neighboring states.
As discussed earlier, you can opt for Amtrak to travel to, from, and around Florida. However, for intercity or intra-city travel, you can opt for Brightline or Metromover transit systems:
Brightline is a private intercity rail route that runs between Miami and West Palm Beach. It first began operating on its current route in January 2018. The company is presently developing an extension to the Orlando International Airport, set to start operating in 2023.
Miami Metro Mover, also known as just Metromover, is a free automated train system that originally began service in 1986. It is operated by Miami-Dade Transit. It serves Downtown Miami, Park West, Brickell, and Arts and Entertainment District neighborhoods. It also has dedicated bus loops at Government Center and Adrienne Arsht Center station.
Bus services in Florida could be your best bet to get around major cities in the state. Popular bus companies like Megabus and Greyhound provide daily trips on famous routes around Florida, including Orlando, Miami, and West Palm Beach. The state also has an extensive network of shared and private buses that you can book to travel around Florida. Companies like Florida Shuttle Transportation provide such services.
It’s no surprise that many visitors choose to rent cars when they visit Florida. The state has a vast network of sprawling interstates and turnpikes that makes it easy to travel between cities and conveniently see all the major attractions. There are several reliable car rental companies in Florida and agencies that offer competitive prices and packages.
Florida is a large state, and getting around major cities can be overwhelming. We hope this guide on transportation in Florida helped you plan routes for your next trip to the state. For more information about where to stay and what to do in Florida, visit Florida Beaches!