Things to know for your drive to Miami

One of the country’s most idyllic road trip experiences is the beautiful drive to Miami. There are so many things you can do en route to the Sunshine State that are even more fun when traveling with people you love. Roll through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, stop for seafood in charming Charleston, take a beach break at Tybee Island, and stop for a photo with Mickey Mouse in Orlando. 

All you need is a good playlist and a spacious rental van from Greenvans to get your trip started right. Driving from Massachusetts or NYC to Miami? Secure one of our Boston or Philadelphia van rentals, pack your bags, and make your way along the East Coast to the magical, glitzy city of Miami!


Road-tripping along the East Coast bombards you with historical attractions, vibrant cities, cultural activities, and natural beauty. It’s the only stretch in the U.S. where you can see wild horses one day, the largest Gilded Age mansion the next, and follow that up with lunch. From spectacular ecosystems like the Everglades to colorful architecture in South Beach’s Art Deco district, the drive to Miami, Florida, is truly unforgettable. 

Scenic routes

A Route 1 cross-country road trip is undoubtedly one of the best journeys. Driving to Miami from Portland, Maine, on US-1 takes you through colonial cities and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s easy to detour from there to seaside towns like Savannah and Charleston. Once you hit Amelia Island in Northeast Florida, US-1 will become A1A, running along Florida’s east coast all the way south. 

Source: Photo by Connor McSheffrey on Unsplash

Renting a 15-passenger van from Greenvans guarantees the best views. Our modern vans are equipped with huge windows and elevated seating so that every passenger can have a direct look at the spectacular landscapes. 

Must-visit spots on the way

The difference between a long, boring drive to Miami and a fun, fabulous road trip to Miami depends on your stops! If you’re renting a van in New York or Boston, plug the following places into the GPS:

Photo by Dan Mall on Unsplash
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: See the Liberty Bell, take the kids to the Franklin Institute, and have lunch at the bustling Reading Terminal.
  • Washington, D.C.: Visit the Smithsonian Museums, take a tour of the White House, and chow down on some international cuisine at a food truck.
  • Savannah, Georgia: Walk through green parks and gardens, enjoy a Southern feast, and stroll along the waterfront.
  • Charleston, South Carolina: Relax in the sun at Riley Waterfront Park, see the colorful houses on Rainbow Row, and indulge in a bowl of locally loved She Crab soup.
  • Jacksonville, Florida: Kids will love to stop at the zoo, and adults will enjoy theaters, galleries, and shopping in the lively downtown district.
  • St. Augustine, Florida: Check out the gorgeous architecture at Flagler College’s campus, wander quaint St. George Street, and climb the stairs of its famous lighthouse. 
  • Orlando, Florida: Florida’s fourth biggest city is known for its family-friendly activities, outdoor adventures, and its crown jewel, Disney World, making it an excellent stop for kids and kids-at-heart!
  • Everglades National Park, Florida: Bike through Shark Valley, go on a thrilling airboat ride, and eat the local delicacy, gator tail. 
Photo by Denys Kostyuchenko on Unsplash

Beaches and coastal attractions

Miami is primarily known for its gorgeous Caribbean-style beaches. It’s worthwhile to remember, though, that there are lots of coastal attractions besides South Beach. 

A drive to Miami allows you to incorporate more oceanside highlights into your trip. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the following waterlogged sights:

Photo by Raymond Kotewicz on Unsplash
  • Outer Banks, North Carolina: A bit of a detour but well worth your time, the Outer Banks islands are bursting with nature, beaches, and delicious seafood.
  • Tybee Island, Georgia: Here, you can climb Georgia’s oldest lighthouse, tour a Civil War fort, and kayak in a wild nature reserve. 
  • Amelia Island, Florida: Spend a day lounging in the sun and exploring the charming downtown in Fernandina Beach.
  • Daytona Beach, Florida: An excellent place for the family to hit the waterpark, stroll the boardwalk, and visit the iconic Daytona International Speedway.
  • Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida: This highly recommended attraction is one hour west of Orlando. Here, you can meet a real astronaut and see rockets up close.
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Take a boat tour along 300 miles of inland canals in this beach town just 45 minutes north of Miami. Shop and dine on the eclectic strip known as Las Olas downtown.
Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

Driving and traffic regulations 

Driving to new places can be stressful. You might ask yourself questions like, Is driving in Miami easy? How much does it cost to drive from New York to Miami? A drive to Miami can be smooth and cost-effective if you’re prepared. 

Before you go, read this handy list of important facts about driving and traffic regulations in Florida. Hit the road with peace of mind, knowing you’re ready for anything!

Miami’s main highways

There are a handful of highways that lead to Miami. Choose the appropriate road according to your starting point, how scenic you’d like the drive to be, and whether time is essential. 

Additionally, if you plan to extend your road trip beyond Miami and make your way to Key West, understanding the main drags and relevant driving information is paramount to a successful vacation.

I-95: Interstate 95 runs north-south along the East Coast from Maine to Miami for 1,920 miles. It’s a vital route in Florida, connecting Atlantic Coast cities such as Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and Miami. It runs through Miami and terminates in the city itself.

The far left lanes of I-95 are express lanes. Tolls must be paid, and prices fluctuate according to traffic volume. To use the express lanes, you must have a SunPass transponder, which will be explained in the next section. These lanes offer a faster ride with fewer exits. Be mindful of where to exit the highway and ensure it’s accessible from the express lane.

US-1: US Route 1 is a scenic road that starts in Maine on the Canadian border. It runs parallel to I-95 and rolls along Florida’s Atlantic Coast through Miami until its termination in Key West. It’s 2,730 miles long, making it the longest north-south road in the country.

A1A: State Road A1A provides yet more coastal views in Florida. 600 miles of them! A1A can be picked up in Amelia Island and taken south to Miami Beach, where you can continue your drive through Miami-Dade’s many beach towns until you hit the Broward County line. 

I-75: Another major north-south interstate highway, I-75, starts at the Canadian border in Michigan and ends at the southern tip of Florida, traveling through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. Florida’s major cities, like Tampa, Orlando, and Miami, are connected by I-75, making it a critical artery for interstate transportation.

US-27: Ride through rustic and natural landscapes from Indiana to Tallahassee and south through the middle of Florida to Miami, passing through or near six state parks. Enter the Miami metropolitan area from the northeast on a four- to six-lane divided highway, a more visually stimulating alternative to I-75.

Florida Turnpike: The Florida Turnpike is a toll road in Florida and links Miami to cities like Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando, and Port Saint Lucie. It connects to I-95 in Miami Gardens, I-75 in Wildwood, and US-1 in Florida City. 

The SunPass Toll System

Florida has the most miles of toll roads in the country. Be ready for all of them with SunPass, an electronic tolling system that can be used on all toll roads, managed lanes, and most bridges in Florida, as well as the following states:

  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • parts of Texas

There are two purchase options: the SunPass Mini and the SunPass PRO. The SunPass PRO can be used in the states mentioned above, as well as anywhere that EZ Pass is accepted, including:

  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

If you’re planning a road trip to Miami in one of our Greenvans van rentals, we offer a Pay-By-Plate option through Global Toll Services. This system tracks tolls associated with our rentals, automatically charged to the card on file. Each day the van goes through a toll, you will be charged just $4.95 regardless of how many tolls you pass through that day. It remains valid for up to 10 days. 

Alternatively, you can order a SunPass transponder on the company’s website. It will be mailed to your home within 4 to 5 business days. You will be asked to load a balance to your account, from which tolls will be deducted. SunPass customers pay the lowest toll amount and save an average of 25%. You can use this in the van just like a personal vehicle.

Florida 511

Utilize the free Florida 511 system for real-time updates on driving conditions throughout Florida. Traffic can sometimes be tricky to navigate in the Sunshine State, and direct access to highway updates is a big help. 

There are four ways to use Florida 511, all free of charge:

  1. Call 511 
  2. Register with 511 to receive text alerts
  3. Download the Florida 511 app
  4. Follow @FL511_Southeast on X

General rules for the road

We know you know how to drive. Still, different states have unique rules and regulations, and it’s crucial to know what they are ahead of time. And because Florida is “a little bit different” than the rest of the country, do your due diligence by reading through the following tips to make your drive to Miami as easy as Key Lime Pie.

Safety tips

Here are the rules of the road as they pertain to Florida. 

  • Be very aware of your surroundings, which will indicate the speed limit. Areas considered “residential” might not immediately appear to be so. When in doubt, slow down until you see a speed limit sign.
  • Generally, you can expect 15 mph in school zones, 30 mph in business or residential areas, and 55 mph on expressways. 
  • After a complete stop, turning right on a red light is legal unless otherwise indicated.
  • Always have your headlights on, even during the day.
  • Always drive on the right and pass on the left.
  • Seatbelts must be worn, even in a passenger van.
  • Children under four must use government-approved car safety seats.
  • When approaching a roundabout, yield to oncoming traffic and keep moving. 
  • You must always have your documents, including your driver’s license, proof of insurance, registration, and van rental paperwork.

Miami parking 

One important note to remember while on your road trip to Miami—Miami and Miami Beach are two different cities. This means that two different entities control parking. The Miami Parking Authority operates most neighborhoods in the City of Miami, as well as Surfside and Bal Harbour, while the City of Miami Beach has authority over South Beach and North Beach. The city of Coral Gables also has its own entity. 

The good news is you can pay in any of these neighborhoods with one of two apps:

  1. PaybyPhone is used by the Miami Parking Authority and the City of Coral Gables.
  2. ParkMobile is used in the City of Miami Beach.

Remember not to park in residential areas during restricted times, lest your rental van be towed! Consider downloading the ParkMe app to see where spots are available and avoid confusion with the less-than-lenient parking agency.

Packing tips

Packing for your drive to Miami might feel stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Give yourself plenty of time to prepare by making a list, checking it twice, and starting to pack at least two weeks out. 

The days you spend in Miami will likely be hot unless you travel in the cooler months of January and February. Don’t forget the following items for your warm-weather vacation:

  • Breathable, light clothing such as t-shirts, shorts, and sundresses
  • Swimwear and beach cover-ups 
  • Comfortable walking shoes or sandals
  • Hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Light sweaters for heavily air-conditioned establishments
  • A towel, beach chairs, and an umbrella (unless you plan to rent them or they are included with your stay)
  • Fancy evening wear if you’re planning a night out
  • Purses, beach bags, or backpacks
  • Portable fans or spray bottles
  • Refillable water bottles
  • Electronics, chargers, and portable chargers
  • Loungewear for a day at the spa

For the road, check out our post on 30 road trip essentials to add to your packing list! In the meantime, here are a few highlights that are especially appropriate for driving to Miami.

  • A SunPass transponder
  • Miami-related audiobooks like “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston or “Miami” by Joan Didion
  • Blankets, pillows, and neck pillows
  • Portable board games
  • First-aid kit
  • Trash bags
  • A cooler for snacks and beverages
  • Beach blanket
  • Picnic essentials

Finally, bring along an itinerary that excites you! Take advantage of scenic routes like US-1 and A1A to see as much East Coast as possible on your way to the Magic City. 

Drive to Miami in a Greenvans rental

There’s no way around it—a drive to Miami is long. Whether you drive straight through to your destination or plan memorable stops along the way, the key ingredient to a successful road trip is comfort.

Renting a Greenvans rental van guarantees that your ride will be more than just a comfortable one. You’ll be cruising in style and grace with elevated seating, plenty of cargo room, modern technology, and 24/7 roadside assistance. You’ll also have the peace of mind of knowing that the team at Greenvans is ready to assist you in any way we can! From van rentals all over the East Coast to home-delivery options all over the country, you can rely on us for your fabulous, unforgettable road trip to Miami!

Make your drive to Miami as magic as the city itself!


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