Getting from New York to Miami (or the other way around)

by Roger on August 26, 2009

by Roger | August 26th, 2009  

jfkamericanNew York City and Miami are a long way apart, but in many ways they are close cousins, so the trip between the two is one of the most popular in the world. You’ve got all the usual options, and you’ll see that some are much better than others, depending on your situation.

New York City to Miami

Distance apart: 1090 miles / 1754 km
Driving distance: 1,277 miles / 2055 km

Quick summary

Unless you are afraid to fly or you really want to see this scenery slowly unfold before you, flying is the best option. Flights are cheap and non-stops are very easy to find. The train ride is nice if you have the time and the money, which is also true of driving yourself. The bus might be the worst option, but somehow these buses seem to fill up anyway, so someone likes them. It’s quite a nice drive and it couldn’t be easier, so if you are looking for a fun road trip you may have just found one.

Flying between New York City and Miami

This is one of the best routes in the country for quick and cheap flights, especially considering the distance. All the major domestic airlines, plus a few discount airlines, fly this route multiple times each day, all year round. Sale prices are usually easy to find, starting around $100 each way, but sometimes as low as $80 each way.

This route also has so much traffic from people who live in both places (so they don’t return right away) that most airlines are also competitive with one-way tickets. If you are traveling around the US, this comes in really handy. When you are booking your flight pay close attention to whether it’s nonstop or not. You’ll save at least 2 hours and a lot of hassle if you find a nonstop, and often the prices are as cheap or even cheaper anyway.

Flight time: 3 hours nonstop, 5+ hours with a stopover (Atlanta is fastest)

Airports to consider

New York City has 3 airports of its own, and Fort Lauderdale Airport is only about 30 miles from Miami International, so you’ve got a lot of options and each will be quite similar on the ground side of the trip. Actually, JFK is the cheapest and fastest to reach airport from Manhattan, so you might be interested in getting from JFK to Manhattan on the AirTrain.

New York: John F. Kennedy International (JFK), LaGuardia International (LGA), Newark International (EWR)

Miami: Miami International (MIA), Ft Lauderdale International (FLL)

Discount airlines to consider

  • AirTran flies between LaGuardia and both Miami-area airports
  • JetBlue flies between LaGuardia and Ft Lauderdale
  • Spirit Airlines flies between LaGuardia and Ft Lauderdale

Trains between New York City and Miami

Amtrak has a busy line between these two cities, but it’s not fast or cheap. Depending on the timing, you might have to change trains in Washington DC, which is 3.5 hours from New York and 27 hours from Miami. There are also direct trains between the cities that take between 28 and 31 hours, leaving in the late morning or mid afternoon.

Normal one-way coach fare: $120 each way, but occasionally there are promotional fares

>>Amtrak between New York and Miami

Buses between New York and Miami

You can ride the infamous Greyhound bus between the two cities, though most Americans familiar with the national company would recommend against it. Try it yourself and you’ll probably find out why. Long story short, the buses aren’t all that comfortable for these long journeys, and the people who tend to ride them tend to be people living on the fringes of society.

The trip takes 32 hours if you take the direct bus, and a bit longer if you take one that transfers in either Richmond, Virginia or Orlando, Florida, or both.

21-day advance one-way fare: $93
Normal web one-way fare: $129

>>Greyhound website

Driving between New York City and Miami

If you want to drive this one yourself, you’ll literally be taking the I-95 the entire way. The distance is 1,277 miles, so if you are planning on renting a car, it’s also important to take the fuel costs into account. It can be cheap for groups of 3 or 4, but probably not a good option for only one or two people. But of course you get to see all the weird roadside attractions along the way, so at least it’s entertaining.

Folks at the Auto Club estimate this drive takes 20 hours, but they don’t drive as fast as you and I do, so it can be done in as few as 18 hours if you don’t hit much traffic.

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