Miami International Airport (MIA) anchors Miami Transportation with outstanding air connections to North American, Caribbean, South American and European destinations. The 7-concourse, 3-level MIA includes a wide range of restaurants, lounges, gift shops, WiFi, business services and passenger amenities, but is confusing to navigate. Most large airports are only 2 levels — departures, check-in and ticketing on Level 2 plus arrivals and baggage claim on Level 1. Building temperatures vary. At times, different airport concourses may feel cool. We suggest you bring a jacket or sweater when flying here. To prevent frustration moving between concourses, check out MIA AIRPORT TERMINAL MAP before your next visit to or through Miami.
MIA Mover automated people mover transports passengers and luggage from the 3rd level Central Terminal of MIA Airport to Miami Airport Station, which interconnects Rental Car Center (RCC), Metrorail, Amtrak, Tri-Rail commuter trains and Greyhound. Do not confuse MIA Mover with Skytrain, the latter automated people mover transports passengers over the lengthy D Terminal.
Car Rentals include Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National or Value from the well stocked 6500-vehicle RCC. Roadway & signage enhancements make it easy to reach freeways from the RCC. If headed to downtown Miami, follow signs to the Dolphin Expressway (Tollway) for the 7-mile trip. From downtown Miami, proceed across MacArthur Causeway to South Beach or exit onto I-95 Freeway to points north and south.
A taxi and shuttle dispatcher is always on duty. A ride to downtown Miami costs $20, while South Beach costs about $30 via Yellow Cab/Checker (954-565-5400). Shared-ride costs are available on the Tri-County Airport Express, so ask the taxi dispatcher for more info. Super Shuttle within Dade and Broward Counties range from $10 to $100, though it costs around $25 from MIA Airport to downtown Miami. Uber & Lyft service the airport too.
Amtrak utilizes Miami Airport Station featuring connections with RCC, MIA Airport People Mover, Metrorail, Tri-Rail, Amtrak, Greyhound and hotel shuttles. Miami Airport Station is located at Northwest 21st Street at West 37th Avenue. It serves a 2-times daily, the Amtrak Silver Meteor route: DC-Richmond-Raleigh-Jacksonville-Orlando-Fort Lauderdale-Miami
Brightline is a new privately operated Intercity Passenger Rail line between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Architecturally attractive MiamiCentral Station located downtown, features retail & dining options as part of a larger real estate development. Most downtown attractions are within a 4 block walk or short Uber/Lyft ride from MiamiCentral Station, including American Airlines Arena for Miami Heat games. Brightline trains run hourly and feature comfortable seating, large windows, overhead storage, WiFi, USB outlets, large tray tables, bike racks, ADA accessibility and clean restrooms. The only downside is Brightline trains are limited to 80 mph between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach due to so many roadway crossings. Fortunately, Brightline is being expanded with fewer roadway crossings from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport as 110-125 mph route to open by late 2022. That will enable a Fort Lauderdale-Orlando trip in a shorter travel time than both flying and driving. Brightline stations at Aventura, Boca Raton and PortMiami will open in 2021-22 as well.
Though Brightline’s route is considered a federally-designated U.S. High Speed Rail Corridor, there is no indication Brightline plans to allow Amtrak trains into MiamiCentral Station. For context about High Speed Rail development in Florida and beyond, see this article about Interstate High Speed Rail.
Metrorail is a 24-mile, 23-station elevated heavy rail system with a Metro Government Station serving as the hub of downtown Miami, only 1 block south of MiamiCentral Station. The system extends west to MIA Airport, northwest to Hialeah, and south to Kendall. Numerous attractions are within walking distance of several stations. Weekday service is 5am-12:40am with 5 minute frequency during commute hours, expanding to 15 minute frequency other hours. Weekend service offers 10-30 minute frequency. Fare costs $2 One-way or $5 Day Pass. See METRORAIL SYSTEM MAP
Orange Line: MIA Airport Station-Downtown-Dadeland South
Green Line: Palmetto-Downtown-Dadeland South
For Miami Heat basketball games, transfer at Metro Government Station to the free Metromover, then exit at Bayfront Park Station. For Miami Marlins baseball games, transfer at Culmer Station to the Express Shuttle for a 10-minute journey to the ballpark 90 minutes before and after games.
Metromover, a Free automated people mover, augments the Metrorail system with 20 stations and 4.4-miles of elevated track concentrated near attractions in Government Center, Brickell Avenue, Omni Business District, and Museum Park. Use Metromover to connect to Metrorail at Government Center Station or Brickell Station.
Tri-Rail, a 67-mile, 15-station commuter rail line through Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Tri-Rail features WiFi, double-decker cars and stops at Miami Central Station (MIA Airport), Miami Station (downtown), FLL airport and Palm Beach airport. Tri-Rail’s FLL Airport Station is shared with Amtrak, rapid buses, shuttles and taxis.
PortMiami on Dodge island, is the gateway for more than 3 million cruise passengers a year, earning Miami the nickname, “Cruise Capital of the World.” See extravagant, multi-deck cruise ships boarding passengers here. For greatest spectacle check out Friday and Sunday night, when most ships leave for 3-day cruises to the Caribbean. There are also plenty of small day cruises. Fares to the Bahamas can be surprisingly low, since the islands are only 60 to 90 miles away.
PortMiami is reachable from downtown via Biscayne Blvd to Port Blvd, crossing a short causeway to the island and soon by Brightline trains. The port’s specialty is 3- to 7-night cruises of Western Caribbean and Eastern Caribbean. A handful of the 11-night cruises sail to the Southern Caribbean and Panama Canal. These major cruise lines serve the port:
Royal Caribbean Celebrity International
Take popular cruises to the Bahamas and the Western Caribbean. Enjoy 3, 4, 7, 10 and 11-night routes on a variety grand ships. Celebrity Cruises, a division of Royal Caribbean, is tailored to longer distance upscale cruises. Royal Caribbean headquarters are on Dodge Island, the same as large cruise ships.
ADDRESS: 1050 Caribbean Way
Carnival Cruise Lines
One of the world’s most popular cruise lines with its family of “Fun Ships” operating voyages from 3, 4, 7, 10, 11 and 14 days to the Bahamas, Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean and Panama Canal.
ADDRESS: 3655 NW 87th Avenue
Norwegian Cruise Line
Features 7 to 10-day cruises throughout the Western, Eastern and Southern Caribbean. Ships include Leeward, Norway Majesty, Norwegian Wind. Regional headquarters near MIA Airport.
ADDRESS: 7665 Corporate Center Drive
Bayside, a waterfront mall beside downtown Miami, features day cruises to the Bahamas. Some go just far enough outside U.S. waters to let you legally gamble on shipboard casinos. Such cruises are inexpensive to board and very popular on weekends.
Coopertown Airboat Rides
Exciting airboat rides and alligator exhibitions into the Everglades. Professional guides lead tours through Hardwood Hammock to see national wildlife in its native Everglades environment. Located 11 miles west of Florida’s Turnpike, it includes a gift shop and restaurant — particularly welcome on hot days.
DAYS & HOURS: daily 8a-7p
ADDRESS: 22700 SW 8th Street
Miccosukee Indian Village & Airboat Tours
Authentic Indian village by a culture that has survived for hundreds of years in the Everglades; guided tours give you a comprehensive summary of their past, present and future. See craft demonstrations, a museum, alligator wrestling and enjoy airboat rides. The gift shop and restaurant are interesting.
DAYS & HOURS: shows daily 9a-5p
PRICES: see website for prices
ADDRESS: Tamiami Station near the Everglades
Miami Freeways & Tollways are notoriously congested during commute hours, so many time-sensitive travelers choose adjoining tollways. If plan to rent a car, keep eight dollar bills handy for tolls before leaving the airport. Also note, several Free causeways over Biscayne Bay have iconic islands that you can stop at to view beautiful mansions, as well as the Miami skyline and Miami Beach skyline.