Things To Do May 10, 2024

By land and by sea: the best way to road trip to Miami for a cruise vacation.

There’s no better way to get excited for your cruise vacation than by taking an epic road trip to the port.

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The best part about cruising is that the vacation doesn’t start or end on the ship. Sure, you’ve got enough onboard luxury amenities to keep you entertained for months, and the ship brings you to some of the most beautiful destinations around the world, but what about having a memorable experience before you even board? While most people might fly to their cruise port and immediately board the ship, why not extend the vacation and take a little road trip? Whether you have a fear of flying (aviophobia), want a unique and creative couples getaway, or you’re just in the mood for a road trip, driving to the Miami cruise port and spending some time exploring Miami is the perfect way to start your epic vacation. These are some of our top road trip tips for your next cruise from Miami. 

Taking a road trip to Miami

You’re probably looking forward to all the tropical ports you’ll be visiting on your cruise, but add one more destination to that list of places to get excited about: Miami. That’s right. Miami is so much more than just a port of departure. It’s one of the top destinations to visit in the US, with Miami Beach alone attracting over 10 million people each year. The city is known for its year-round warm weather, reputation for diversity and inclusion (its LGBTQ scene is famous), colorful art district, and of course, its legendary beaches. 

Miami is also the cruise capital of the US, with Miami Cruise Port serving as the embarkation point for dozens of cruises each day. There’s a reason people travel from all over the country – often bypassing cruise ports closer to home – to sail from Miami. It’s perfectly located for sailing on a host of Caribbean voyages, and even for crossing the Atlantic on a transcontinental itinerary, if you’re up for the adventure. But while many do fly, consider a road trip there before your next cruise from Miami, to really take advantage of all the surrounding region has to offer.  

Top 5 places people drive from to cruise from Miami

Driving to Miami isn’t just a commute – it’s a perfect way to see some of the most beautiful regions of the country, all en route to an epic cruise experience. If you’re excited about the prospect of a cruise, chances are you’d enjoy the freedom and adventure of a road trip, too. You’ll give yourself the opportunity to meet new people, create memories, and see some pretty cool scenery along the way.

But where do you start? Well, that’s the beauty of it. You can really start from anywhere. Luckily, there are plenty of cities within easy driving distance of Miami, with routes filled with fun attractions and scenic views. You can take a fairly local road trip from Orlando, or a truly epic adventure all the way from New York. These are the top cities to embark on your Miami road trip.

1. Orlando, Florida to Miami, Florida

Orlando, the home of Disney World and Universal Studios, is the ideal place to start a Miami road trip if you’re not in the mood for a super long drive. It’s just a four-hour drive, and approximately 50 million people make the trip from Orlando to Miami every year. You can turn that four-hour drive into a multi-day trip, though, if you really want to, between stops in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, the Everglades, and a detour to see the stunning lighthouses along the coast.

Things to Know on a road trip from Orlando

  • Distance from Orlando, Florida to Miami: 235 Miles
  • Road Trip Driving Time: approximately 4 hours
  • Directions from Orlando to Miami: Florida Turnpike (Tolls)

2. Atlanta, Georgia to Miami, Florida

For a slightly longer, multi-state road trip, start in Atlanta. You might be wondering why a road trip to Miami from Atlanta makes sense, since cruise ports like Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral are much closer. Well, those ports don’t have any adult only cruises right now, and getting to Miami isn’t that much further. On this 10-12 hour journey, you can stop in the historic city of Savannah, as well as Jacksonville, and St. Augustine. You could even take a more circuitous route and make a stop in Charleston, which would be well worth the detour.

Things to Know on a road trip from Atlanta

3. Dallas, Texas to Miami, Florida

Dallas to Miami might be the perfect all-American road trip, cutting right through the South on this 20+ hour adventure. Traveling along the scenic Gulf of Mexico route, you’ll skirt the coast and have the opportunity to stop at beautiful coastal destinations like Pensacola, Mobile, Tampa, and Fort Myers. You can even take a detour in New Orleans. The Atlanta route is an alternate path to Miami, and like it sounds, it brings you through the vibrant cities of Atlanta and Birmingham. Enjoy their historic landmarks, nightlife, and diverse cuisine before making your way down to Miami.

Things to Know on a road trip from Dallas

  • Distance from Dallas, Texas to Miami: 1,309 Miles
  • Road Trip Driving Time: approximately 20 hours
  • Directions from Dallas to Miami: I-20 East, I-10 East (Tolls)

4. New York City, New York to Miami, Florida

Another coastal road trip to Miami, this one extends down the eastern seaboard, bringing you through some of the country’s most important historic sites as well as scenic stops. From New York City, head south to Washington DC, where you can take advantage of all the free museums and really immerse yourself in US history. For real history buffs, make sure to stop at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, a colonial reenactment village where you’ll truly feel like you’ve stepped back in time (you can even churn some butter). Continuing down the coast, spend some time in Savannah, or take a detour to Georgia’s relaxing Jekyll Island, before finishing your journey in Miami. 

Things to Know on a road trip from New York City

  • Distance from New York, to Miami: 1,287 Miles
  • Road Trip Driving Time: approximately 20 hours
  • Directions from New York City to Miami: I-95 South (Tolls)

5. Virginia Beach, Virginia to Miami, Florida

The 15-hour trip from Virginia Beach to Miami also brings you along the eastern seaboard, and really spotlights some of the east coast’s best beach destinations. Without needing to take any inconvenient detours, you can visit Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Savannah, Daytona Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, all en route to starting your epic cruise vacation. 

Things to Know on a road trip from Virginia Beach

Driving directions  to Miami cruise port & parking

When navigating to PortMiami, enter the address into your GPS (1015 North America Way, Miami, FL, 33132), and follow the directions. Once you arrive, park closest to Terminal V. If you’re taking an Uber, taxi, shuttle, or other form of transportation from your hotel, you can get dropped off directly in front of Terminal V, at 718 N Cruise Blvd, Miami, FL 33132. 

Wherever you started your journey, once you’ve made it to Florida, getting to the Miami cruise port is easy. PortMiami has special parking for each Cruise Terminal, with designated disabled spaces in every garage and spots for oversized vehicles in Surface Lot E. On cruise departure days, a shuttle service is even available to get you from the parking lot to your cruise. It’s recommended to arrive at PortMiami at least two hours in advance of your embarkation time, to account for any delays caused by traffic. Download the Virgin Voyages cruise app to find your embarkation day and time.

Parking Rates

If you do choose to park in one of the garages, overnight parking is $22 per day. Note that debit cards are not accepted, but you’re free to use cash, credit cards, and even traveler’s checks. Check the PortMiami website for more details, and the most up-to-date parking rates.

Top Deck of Cruise Ship

Embark on a memorable cruise trip filled with relaxation & adventure

No matter where you’re traveling from, the great thing about road trips is that you can take them from anywhere – whether it’s Orlando, New York, Dallas, or even Seattle. It’s the best way to double up on your vacation, and gift yourself an extra travel experience, especially if your goal is reaching Miami for a one-of-a-kind adult-only cruise. Even if you do choose to fly, we’ve got your covered. Our Sailor Services team is here to assist with booking flights and hotels for your cruise, ensuring your journey to PortMiami is smooth no matter where you’re coming from, or how you’re getting there.

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