Most major domestic airlines fly to and from many Florida cities. Choose from American, Continental, Delta, United, and US Airways. Of these, Delta and US Airways have the most extensive network of commuter connections within Florida.
Several so-called no-frills airlines -- with low fares but few, if any, amenities -- also fly to Florida. The biggest and best is Southwest Airlines, which has flights from many U.S. cities to Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Panama City.
Others flying to Florida include AirTran; JetBlue; Virgin America; Frontier Airlines; and Spirit.
The major airports in South Florida are Miami International Airport (MIA), Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL), and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI).
Tip: When booking airfare to Miami, consider flying into the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport for considerably cheaper fares. The airport is only a half-hour from downtown Miami.
Internet resources such as Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) and Expedia (www.expedia.com) make it easy to compare prices and purchase tickets.
Although four major roads run to and through Miami -- I-95, S.R. 826, S.R. 836, and U.S. 1 -- chances are you'll reach Miami and the rest of South Florida by way of I-95. This north-south interstate is South Florida's lifeline and an integral part of the region. The highway connects all of Miami's different neighborhoods, the airport, the beaches, and all of South Florida to the rest of the country. Miami's road signs are notoriously confusing and notably absent when you most need them. Think twice before you exit from the highway if you aren't sure where you're going: Some exits lead to unsavory neighborhoods.
Other highways that will get you to Florida include I-10, which originates in Los Angeles and terminates at the tip of Florida in Jacksonville, and I-75, which begins in North Michigan and runs through the center of the state to Florida's west coast.
Florida law allows drivers to make a right turn on a red light after a complete stop, unless otherwise indicated. In addition, all passengers are required to wear seat belts, and children 3 and under must be securely fastened in government-approved car seats.
International visitors should note that insurance and taxes are almost never included in quoted rental car rates in the U.S. Be sure to ask your rental agency about additional fees for these. They can add a significant cost to your car rental.
Most car rental companies in Florida require that you be 25, but if not, there's a hefty surcharge applied to renters 21 to 24 years old.
Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]; www.amtrak.com) offers train service to Florida from both the East and West coasts. It takes some 26 hours from New York to Miami, and 68 hours from Los Angeles to Miami. Amtrak's fares aren't much less -- if not more -- than many of the airlines' lowest fares.
Amtrak's Silver Meteor and Silver Star both run twice daily between New York and either Miami or Tampa, with intermediate stops along the East Coast and in Florida. Amtrak's Thruway Bus Connections are available from the Fort Lauderdale Amtrak station and Miami International Airport to Key West; from Tampa to St. Petersburg, Treasure Island, Clearwater, Sarasota, Bradenton, and Fort Myers; and from Deland to Daytona Beach. From the West Coast, the Sunset Limited runs three times weekly between Los Angeles and Orlando. It stops in Pensacola, Crestview (north of Fort Walton Beach and Destin), Chipley (north of Panama City Beach), and Tallahassee. Sleeping accommodations are available for an extra charge.
If you intend to stop along the way, you can save money with Amtrak's Explore America (or All Aboard America) fares, which are based on three regions of the country.
Amtrak's Auto Train runs daily from Lorton, Virginia (12 miles south of Washington, D.C.), to Sanford, Florida (just northeast of Orlando). You ride in a coach while your car is secured in an enclosed vehicle carrier. Make your train reservations as far in advance as possible.
Greyhound (tel. 800/231-2222; www.greyhound.com) has over 50 stops within the state of Florida and over 2,400 service locations in North America. While buses aren't the fastest way to get to Florida, it can be the most economical.
While you can't hop on a cruise ship to Florida, you can from Florida with major cruise ports located in Miami, Port Everglades, Cape Canaveral, and Tampa.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.