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Transportation PDF Print E-mail
Written by ARC   
Monday, 22 March 2010 22:42

Most travelers to Florida arrive by air and car, with the bus service running a distant third option and the train service an even more distant fourth. Major regional hubs in Florida include Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.

When arriving from outside North America, you must complete customs and immigration formalities at the airport at which you first land. Your luggage may be inspected at this point. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA; www.tsa.gov) keeps an ever-changing list of prohibited items that cannot be brought through security checkpoints.


Whether you're coming from within the US or from abroad, the entire state is well-served by air. Major airports:

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL; tel: 954-359-1200; www.broward.org/airport) Serves metro Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. It's about 30 miles north of Miami and is frequently a less expensive alternative to Miami.

Miami International Airport (MIA; tel: 305-876-7000; www.miami-airport.com) One of the state's two busiest international airports. It serves metro Miami, the Everglades and the Keys, and serves as a hub for American, Delta and US Airways.

Orlando International Airport (MCO; tel: 407-825-2001; www.orlandoairports.net) Handles more passengers than any other airport in Florida. Serves WDW, the Space Coast and the Orlando area.

Tampa International Airport (TPA; tel: 813-870-8700; www.tampaairport.com) Serves the Tampa Bay and St Petersburg metro area.

Other airports with increased international traffic include Daytona Beach (DAB) and Jacksonville (JAX). Most cities have airports and offer services to other US cities; these include Palm Beach (PBI; it's actually in West Palm Beach), Sarasota (SRQ), Tallahassee (TLH), Gainesville (GNV), Fort Myers (RSW), Pensacola (PNS) and Key West (EYW).


For bus trips, Greyhound (tel: 800-231-2222; www.greyhound.com) is the main long-distance operator in the US, and it can get you to Florida from most major cities. It also has the only scheduled statewide service.


If you're coming from the East Coast, Amtrak (tel: 800-872-7245; www.amtrak.com) makes a comfortable, affordable option for getting to Florida. Amtrak's Silver Service (which includes Silver Meteor and Silver Star trains) runs between New York and Miami, with services that include Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, plus smaller Florida towns in between. Unfortunately, there is no longer any direct service to Florida from Los Angeles or New Orleans; nor is there direct service from Chicago and the Midwest. From these destinations, you need to take a train that connects to the Silver Service and transfer; it's not hard, but it adds a day or so to your travel time.

Another option is Amtrak's Auto Train, which is designed to take you and your car from the Washington, DC area and drop you off in the Orlando area; this saves you gas, the drive, and having to pay for a rental while here – not bad! The Auto Train leaves from Lorton, Virginia and goes only to Sanford, Florida; it runs daily and takes 18 hours, leaving late in the afternoon and arriving the next morning. On the Auto Train, you pay for your passage, cabin and car separately.

Book tickets in advance. Children, seniors and military personnel receive discounts.


Florida is nearly completely surrounded by the ocean, and it's a major cruise-ship port. Fort Lauderdale is the largest transatlantic harbor in the US, and adventurous types might be tempted to sign up as crew members for a chance to travel the high seas.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 March 2010 22:53