The distance between Orlando and Miami is about 235 miles, and the fastest route takes you along Florida’s famous Sunshine coast. For most people, the best way to get there is to drive, but there are other ways of traveling between the two cities.
In this post, I’ll give you a comprehensive guide to traveling between Orlando and Miami.
- Overview of the Sunshine Coast
- Driving from Orlando to Miami
- Other ways to get there
- What's the cheapest way to get there?
- What's the fastest way to get there?
- What's the safest way to get there?
- What's the most environmentally friendly way to get there?
- Where to stay in Orlando
- Where to stay in Miami
- Things to do in Miami
- The Bottom Line
Overview of the Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast is a 200-mile stretch of Southern Florida, running from Orlando to Miami. The region is famous for its warm climate, turquoise waters, and Spanish-influenced culture. Visitors experience everything from tropical wetlands to stunning beaches, and from historical cities to unique fishing towns.
There are lots of outdoor activities along the coast from fishing to kayaking to sailing. The coastal region is famed for its warm climate, crystal-clear waters, and Spanish-influenced culture. You can experience everything from tropical wetlands to stunning beaches, and from historical cities to unique fishing towns. Miami also has some great parks for nature lovers.
Driving from Orlando to Miami
There are a couple of different ways you can drive from Orlando to Miami.
Route 1: I-95
The drive is pretty straightforward: take the Florida Turnpike until it meets I-95. Then get on I-95 South and drive until you hit Miami. This route is the shortest distance and covers about 235 miles. It is also the fastest route.
A slower, but more scenic route, is to take the Florida Turnpike until it meets 441. Then get on 441 and take it until you run into Okeechobee/Whispering Pines. You can then take 98 around Lake Okeechobee, get on 27, and you’ll end up right in Miami.
This route covers a similar distance, but it takes longer because of a lower average speed. This is the route where you’ll pass through the Everglades and several small towns, like Pahokee and Belle Glade.
Other ways to get there
In addition to driving, there are a few other ways to get between Orlando and Miami. You can fly, take a Greyhound bus, or take an Amtrak train.
You can also fly between Orlando and Miami. Both Delta Airlines and American Airlines offer direct flights between Orlando International Airport and Miami International Airport.
The earliest flight with Delta leaves at 6:40AM, while the last flight with Delta leaves at 5:46PM. The earliest flight with American leaves at 6:20AM, while the last flight leaves at 8:27PM.
The total flight time is around 1 hour and 22 minutes. But you’ll also want to add in the time to get to the airport, park, go through security, and get out of the airport when you arrive at your destination.
Keep in mind, too, that both Orlando and Miami are big cities, and if you fly you’ll need a rental car to get around.
You can also get there by taking a Greyhound bus. The travel time varies, but the fastest time is a little under 4 hours – just a bit shorter than it takes to drive in your personal car. They also offer other routes and times that may take longer, so check the details before booking.
With a bus trip, you can sit back and relax, without worrying about driving. Greyhound is also the most affordable option.
Another key point is to choose your Greyhound Station carefully. Both Orlando and Miami have a number of Greyhound bus stations. Here is a list of locations in both cities:
Orlando (The Florida Mall)
8001 S Orange Blossom Trl
Orlando, FL 32809
Orlando (Sand Lake Road)
8060 S Orange Ave,
Orlando, FL 32809
Orlando MCO Airport
1 Jeff Fuqua Blvd
Orlando, FL 32827
Orlando Bus Station
555 N John Young Pkwy
Orlando, FL 32805
Miami Golden Glades
15890 NW 7th Ave
Miami, FL 33162
Miami Intermodal Center
3801 N W 21St Street #171
Miami, FL 33142
401 Biscayne Blvd,
Miami, FL 33132
4101 Collins Ave
Miami, FL 33140
9400 Harding Ave
Miami, FL 33154
Amtrak offers service between Orlando and Miami via their Silver Service/Palmetto Line. They offer first class private rooms, business class options, and dining on the train.
Amtrak offers a checked bag service, wifi onboard, and the option of taking a small dog or cat with you.
What’s the cheapest way to get there?
Whether flying or driving are cheaper depends on the current price of gas, the fuel efficiency of your car, the cost of flights at the time of your trip, and a number of other things.
The overall cost of your trip is going to be lowest if you use Greyhound or Amtrak. But they are also less convenient options.
Costs of driving
Based on the driving distance, you can probably get between the two cities on a tank or less of gas. So that may make it a cheap option compared to other ways of getting there.
But owning a car isn’t only about the fuel costs. It’s also about the cost of ownership, including purchase, registration, and repairs. According to the American Automobile Association’s 2022 report on driving costs, the average cost to own and operate a new car in 2022 was over $10,000. The cheapest car to own was a small sedan, coming in at around 54 cents per mile.
Orlando to Miami is 235 miles one way, or 470 miles round trip. That means a round-trip drive between the two destinations would cost at least $253.
Costs of flying
On the other hand, flight tickets are priced per person. So, while a single plane ticket might be cheaper than the total cost of gas, it becomes more expensive as you add more passengers.
Additionally, when you factor in the cost of getting to and from airports, parking fees, and car rentals or taxis at your destination, flying can add up.
Costs of taking a bus
Greyhound may be the cheapest option for traveling between the two cities. But you’ll likely need a rental car once you get to your destination, which can add to the costs of either one. You may also need to pay for parking at the station during your trip, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Currently, you can get bus tickets between Orlando and Miami for as low as $39.99. That’s also the price for the shortest trip, which lasts 3 hours and 50 minutes. Of course, ticket prices vary depending on when you are leaving, but overall Greyhound is definitely cheaper than flying and may be cheaper than driving, depending on your travel plans.
Costs of taking a train
The best ticket price for Amtrak between Orlando and Miami is about $39. And you can get your own private room for around $220. That’s overall a great price for what you’re getting, especially since your own room is going to be far more comfortable than flying or driving.
So what’s the cheapest?
If you’re traveling alone, you may find that flying is about the same price as driving, even when you factor in the additional costs of flying. If you’re traveling with a group, then driving may be a better idea.
Greyhound and Amtrak can be cheaper, but if you are traveling in a large group you still will likely win out by driving.
What’s the fastest way to get there?
Between driving and flying from Orlando to Miami, there are a few things to think about.
If you consider only the actual flight time, flying wins out. However, when you add in check-in times, security checks, waiting for baggage, and travel to and from the airport, the total travel time by air may actually be a little slower.
On the other hand, driving the fastest route along I-95 takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes. But this is only nonstop drive time, and doesn’t take into account any stops you make along the way for food, fuel, or simply to enjoy one of the many attractions on the route. If you add in even 1-2 stops for rest breaks, you could add an hour or more to your estimated travel time.
So, if speed is your primary concern and you don’t mind the costs, then flying could be your best option in terms of speed. Still, driving gives you more freedom and flexibility to stop along the way. If you drive, you also don’t have to worry about getting a rental car.
What’s the safest way to get there?
According to the National Safety Council, your chances of being involved in an accident are significantly higher when driving compared to flying. The tightly regulated aviation industry and the rigorous training pilots undergo make flying one of the safest modes of transportation.
Driving, statistically, is also more dangerous than bus or train too. According to those same statistics, which tracked data over a 10-year period, the passenger death rate per 100,000 miles for driving was more than 20 times higher than buses, 17 times higher than passenger trains, and 595 times higher than flying.
So, by far, flying is your safest option. Also, Orlando and Miami have some pretty bad traffic – and bad drivers. According to US News and World Report, Miami is the 18th worst city in America for traffic accidents.
What’s the most environmentally friendly way to get there?
While cost is a significant factor in deciding between flying and driving, it’s also worth considering the environmental impact of your choice.
When it comes to your carbon footprint, driving usually beats out flying, especially if you’ve got several people in the car. Planes also emit carbon dioxide directly into the upper atmosphere, where it’s more harmful.
But this can become more difficult to determine if you are traveling alone. That’s because planes gain some efficiency when they are able to fill up the plane.
This obviously depends greatly on the type of vehicle you own. Fuel-efficient and electric cars are obviously much better for the environment than gas-guzzlers. But even if you have an average car that isn’t the most eco-friendly, driving can still be the greener option if you’re traveling with a group.
Overall, Greyhound and Amtrak are likely going to both be your most environmentally friendly options.
Where to stay in Orlando
If you’re traveling the other direction, and going from Miami to Orlando, you’ll need a place to stay when you get there. Orlando offers a ton of different accommodations, so do your research before you book.
Below is a list to get you started.
Luxury option: Hyatt House across from Universal Orlando Resort
The Hyatt House is a luxury hotel located just a 5 minute walk from Universal Orlando Resort and just a 20 minute walk from Universal Studios Florida. It is a highly-rated accommodation in a great location that is great way to splurge on a vacation.
Amenities include free breakfast, free wi-fi, and a poolside bar. They also have a range of standard amenities, and most visitors feel like the beds are comfortable and the hotel is a good experience.
Pets are not allowed at this hotel.
Budget option: Quality Inn & Suites Orlando Airport
Quality Inn is a budget friendly option that still puts you right in the center of the Orlando action. It is only an 8 minute drive from the airport and right near the Florida Mall and the Crayola experience.
This is a very basic hotel, but there is a pool, and free wifi and breakfast is included with your stay. The price is hard beat, averaging around $100, depending on the time of year. There are mixed ratings for this hotel, as you would expect for any accommodation at this price point. But overall the combination of price, location, and mostly good to very good reviews makes it a decent choice if you’re looking for a budget hotel.
Pets are not allowed, although service animals are exempt from this rule.
Great Camp Spot: The Florida Springs
If you haven’t been to a Florida Spring yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. These are crystal clear, cool pools of pure joy filtered by hundreds of miles of natural Florida limestone.
Many are state parks and allow camping, and there are plenty of springs that allow RVs too. This article has good information on springs in the Orlando area.
Where to stay in Miami
Miami also has far more accommodations than any list could provide. So this list is to just get you started. Check what are you’re going to be first, then you can research your various options to find a hotel that fits your needs.
Luxury option: Esmé Miami Beach
Esmé Miami Beach is known as more of a chic hotel than a luxury hotel, but it is beautiful, charming place to stay that is ultra stylish, highly rated, and very comfortable. It also puts you right in the heart of Miami Beach, just a short walk from the beach.
It comes with standard amenities, including free wifi and a pool. Breakfast is available onsite. This hotel is pet friendly, but with a pretty hefty pet fee of $250 per stay. Dogs up to 55 pounds are welcome, and service animals are exempt from fees.
Budget option: Regency Miami Airport by Sonesta
Regency Miami isn’t the most rock-bottom hotel in Miami, but it’s a good combination of affordability and quality. After all, in a city like Miami you could find yourself in a pretty bad situation with accommodations if you weren’t careful. Overall, it has very good reviews for the price point, coming in at 8.4/10 on Expedia.
Amenities include a free shuttle to and from the airport, a pool, a gym, and an onsite restaurant and bar. Unfortunately, they charge for Wifi and also charge $23 per night for parking – but in central Miami, that’s likely to be expected. But you’ll want to look at your total costs, including these add-ons, before booking.
Regency is pet friendly and welcomes up to 2 dogs for $75 per stay, per pet. Food and water bowls are available, and service animals are exempt from the additional charge.
Things to do in Miami
The city of Miami has tons of things to do. It’s known for its food, its party scene, and its strong cultural roots in Latin America and the Caribbean. You may want to check out the Visit Miami website to find what you’re looking for. Be sure also to check out the sandy beaches in the Miami area and Biscayne Bay.
Miami is also close to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, both of which have even more great things to do. The Blue Heron Bridge is a famous snorkeling and dive spot that many divers think is one of the best shore dives in the world!
If you are looking for a great park in the area, be sure to check out my post on the Best Parks in Miami.
Little Havana is Miami’s Cuban neighborhood, and it’s filled with great restaurants and things to do. It almost transports you to Cuba, with street signs even written in Spanish.
Check out the famous Versailles, widely regarded as the best Cuban restaurant in the city. Just practice your Spanish before going – you may find that there are sections where not much English is spoken!
The Everglades National Park
The Everglades are one of the most iconic natural landscapes in America. The wetlands are home to alligators, birds, and other animals, and the region is popular with recreational users.
You can explore the wetlands by boat, or by exploring the region along the Florida Trail.
The Florida Keys
By the time you get to Miami, you’ll only be a couple hours from Key Largo, the first key in the Florida Keys. The Keys are known for their beautiful, turquoise water with excellent opportunities for water sports like snorkeling, paddle boarding, and fishing. There are also some amazing beaches there, like at Bahia Honda State Park.
By the time you’ve gotten to Miami, you’re also just a short boat or plane ride away from Bimini. If you’re wanting to visit this tropical paradise, be sure to check out our post on the Most Epic Guide to Florida to Bimini Trips.
The Bottom Line
In most cases, driving from Orlando to Miami will be the most convenient and the cheapest. But if you’re traveling solo, You may save money with Greyhound or Amtrak. There are lots of things to do along the way, and Miami is a great place for a vacation.
It’s also possible to fly between the two cities, and that may save you some time, although it will likely be more expensive.
But a road trip is the perfect way to explore the unique culture, scenery, and activities of America’s Sunshine Coast.