From Tampa to Miami: 5 Best Ways to Get There
While Tampa is one of the up-and-coming stars of Florida's Gulf Coast, it lacks the heady buzz and glam beaches found in luxe Miami. That's why so many people travel from Tampa to Miami — to round out their Florida vacation.
With a slew of simple and affordable travel options, getting from Tampa to Miami is a breeze. The easiest way to cross the state is by car. Miami lies 279 miles southeast of Tampa, which will take just over four hours to drive if you don't hit traffic.
If you don't fancy driving yourself, you can take things up a notch by renting a limo or hopping on a quick flight. Or, if your pocketbook is pinched, you can opt for a ride on a bus or train. These more economical modes of transportation offer visitors cheaper, virtually stress-free options for traveling from Tampa to Miami.
Not sure which way to choose? Our list of the best ways to get from Tampa to Miami can help you decide.
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1. From Tampa to Miami by Car
Driving is the easiest and second cheapest way to travel from Tampa to Miami. If the traffic gods are shining on you, the trip should take about four hours and 15 minutes. If you hit some congestion on the journey, you could be looking at close to five and a half hours on the road.
The fastest driving route from Tampa to Miami involves taking the I-75. Dubbed Alligator Alley by locals, you'll want to keep your eyes peeled (only if you're the passenger, of course) for gators in the waterways lining the highway. While sightings are rare, they're exciting when they happen.
The I-75 travels along the west coast to Naples before jutting east to Fort Lauderdale and then south to Miami. Unfortunately, the I-75 is a toll road, so be prepared to receive a bill in the mail once you're back home. It covers about 279 miles and takes roughly four hours and 10 minutes.
Another, only minimally slower option is to take Florida's Turnpike (another toll road). This route traverses the state along 269 miles, guiding visitors east towards Fort Pierce, through Port St. Lucie, and south to Miami. It will take about four hours and 20 minutes.
If you want to make a true road trip out of your travel from Tampa to Miami, factor in a few stops. Sarasota is a mere 60 miles southwest, most of which will be spent on the I-75. It boasts plenty of attractions, including a museum devoted to the Ringling Circus.
Hit the beach in Siesta Key, which is just 15 minutes (or six miles) southwest on a barrier island. Naples is another fun place to visit and lies just over halfway to Miami Beach.
Finally, you can try taking the I-75 south to US-27 S. This journey covers about 272 miles and takes about four and a half hours. It also has tolls.
Check with your rental car company before booking the car to see what their policy is on tolls. Many companies charge an additional fee for taking the car on a toll road, which can really add up if you're using them frequently. Depending how far you plan to travel and how many times you will use toll roads, it may be cheaper to get your own SunPass and register it to the vehicle you're driving.
2. From Tampa to Miami by Bus
The cheapest way to get from Tampa to Miami is by bus. This journey will take just a smidge longer than it would if you drove yourself, but there's a lot to be said about leaving the stress of navigating to someone else.
Red Coach buses leave Tampa once a day from downtown (3801 USF Holly Drive) and arrive at Miami Airport's Concourse H on the departure level just under five hours later. They usually make four quick stops en route in Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples, and Fort Lauderdale.
Economy is the cheapest way to ride, while business and first class offer more bang for your pricier ticket. Free Wi-Fi is available for all riders, as are charging ports. Business and first-class passengers enjoy a footrest and comfier, wider seats that recline to 140 degrees. Also, they are allotted two pieces of checked luggage and one carry-on, which are included in the price.
Depending which route you choose, hopping on a Greyhound bus can take you anywhere from six hours and 55 minutes to more than 10 hours to reach Miami.
Instead of heading straight south, many Greyhound buses take a more roundabout route, heading to Orlando first, followed by stops in Fort Pierce and Fort Lauderdale before finally arriving in Miami. The shorter trips involve stops in Lake Placid and Fort Lauderdale. If you're looking for a fast way to get from Tampa to Miami by bus, you may want to choose Red Coach instead.
3. From Tampa to Miami by Train
The most relaxing way to get from Tampa to Miami is by train. Amtrak trains run from Tampa Union Station, covering the almost 280-mile distance in five hours and 20 minutes, not much longer than it takes to drive. You'll find a café and free Wi-Fi onboard and have the choice to upgrade to a room, which includes beds, towels, a private restroom and shower, and free meals.
Food is available in the Café on the Silver Star train. Note, the Silver Star train travels from New York to Miami (in about 28 hours) so there could be delays. If you're stuck and looking for something to do, the Florida Aquarium and American Victory Ship and Museum are located close to the Amtrak Station.
Take a taxi or hotel shuttle (if your hotel offers one) to Tampa Union Station at 601 North Nebraska Avenue in the downtown core. Built in 1912, this pretty building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and services over 100,000 passengers every year.
You'll arrive just outside the city at the Miami Amtrack Station at 8303 NW 37th Avenue in Hialeah. From here, you'll have to hail a cab or walk to the nearby Tri-Rail and Metrorail Stations to board a local train to the city. Check with your hotel before you go, as some offer free shuttle rides to and from the train station.
4. From Tampa to Miami by Plane
Depending on the airline and route you choose, flying is the fastest way to get from Tampa to Miami. Taking a plane is also your most expensive option. American, Southwest, and Delta airlines fly to Miami International Airport. Once you land in Miami, you can hop on a bus into the city, board your hotel's free shuttle, rent a car, or use a taxi or limo service.
Tampa International Airport lies a 14-minute (over nine-mile) drive from downtown Tampa while Miami International Airport sits 22 minutes, or just over 12 miles, from Miami Beach.
While American Airlines makes the trip directly in just over one hour, Southwest and Delta take a lengthier approach that involves stopovers. Southwest's flights can take up to eight and a half hours as they include a stopover in Atlanta, Houston, or Baltimore/Washington. Delta's flights tend to stop in Atlanta, making the journey to Miami in anywhere between four hours and eight hours and 20 minutes.
Silver Airways and Spirit offer some of the cheapest fares, but they both fly into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which is just over 30 minutes and 30 miles north of Miami. The easiest way to get to Miami from Fort Lauderdale airport is by renting a car or taking a taxi.
5. From Tampa to Miami by Limo
Looking to stir things up a bit? Book a private limo to drive you all the way from Tampa to Miami. Florida Limousine Rental has a bevy of fun options to get you to Miami in style. Whether you're looking to lap up the luxury in a stretch limo, enjoy some fun with friends on a party bus, or relax in a comfy town car, this company caters to all your needs. Plus, they'll pick you up from your hotel or any other location you'd like. While pricey, taking a limousine is the swankiest way to get from Tampa to Miami.
See Also: Best Attractions in Tampa, FL