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Miami is a resort city on the tip of Florida's southeastern coast, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Known for its world-class tourist attractions, vibrant nightlife and multicultural atmosphere, Miami has much to offer visitors of all ages. It’s also a great location for visiting nearby destinations by hire car, such as Hollywood,Pinewood,Westchester and Orlando.
If you’re arriving via Miami International Airport then it’s an eight-mile drive by rental car to Miami. En route you could stop off at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, a historic early 19th century mansion that’s now a museum with beautiful grounds, sculptures and grottos.
Finding a hire car in Miami is easy. You can rent a car from a range of providers at both Miami International Airport and in Miami city centre itself. There are a number of parking facilities in the city such as Park N’ Fly, Courthouse Garage and Hickman Garage. Also, as Miami is a major holiday destination, it has a huge variety of hotels to suit a range of budgets, including the Provident Doral at the Blue Miami, the Holiday Inn Port of Miami and Hyatt Regency Miami. Many hotels offer free parking so do check before booking.
There are various hire car providers to suit your budget and preferences, including Dollar, Thrifty and Sixt. Many offer extras like free cancellation, unlimited mileage and a shuttle service to your rental car.
There’s much to see and do by hire car in Miami. This is a city known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, world-class hotels, art deco architecture and the amazing food scene you would expect from a melting pot of cultural influences. Miami mixes jetsetter glamour with a family-friendly feel, meaning that there’s something to appeal to everyone. Highlights include Miami Beach (encompassing South Beach), the Miami Seaquarium with its many marine creatures, Zoo Miami, which is the only tropical zoo in the US and has over 900 animals, Jungle Island on Watson Island, the Miami Children’s Museum and the Perez Art Museum. Other places to visit by rental car in Miami include the Miami Beach Architectural District, famed for its incredible art deco architecture, and Little Havana, a fascinating Cuban neighbourhood with great eating places. And, of course, you shouldn’t miss watching the famous Miami sunset on the beach, ideally while relaxing in a seafront cafe or bar.
Orlando, in Orange County, Florida, is an 84-mile drive from Miami by rental car. It’s deservedly nicknamed ‘The City Beautiful’ and boasts a stunning lake in its downtown area. The city and its surroundings are theme park heaven, and highlights include the Walt Disney World Resort (encompassing Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom), SeaWorld Orlando, Kennedy Space Center, Universal's Islands of Adventure, Discovery Cove, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Other attractions include the Orlando Science Center, the Harry P. Leu Gardens and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
Situated on Florida’s west coast, Tampa is a 280-mile drive from Miami by hire car. The white beaches of Tampa Bay are sunny 361 days of the year and the natural harbour is a striking sight when lit up at night. Tampa is a city buzzing with restaurants, entertainment and nightlife, with many tourist attractions to enjoy. Busch Gardens is a popular amusement park filled with thrill rides, African wildlife and entertainment. The Florida Aquarium features many ocean species including sharks, dolphins and penguins. The Museum of Science & Industry is great for the whole family and includes a butterfly garden and IMAX theatre.
Traffic can be hectic in Miami so do plan your journey in advance and avoid peak times where possible. The US is right-hand drive and remember to keep an eye on your mirror, as drivers don’t always indicate a direction change. Every state has different driving laws, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the Florida ones before your visit.
Feeling inspired to explore Miami and the rest of Florida? Check out this City Guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire, flight and hotel deals and to research the best attractions and activities.
For most travellers, the most convenient way to reach Miami is to fly into Miami International Airport, 10 miles northwest of the centre. Several car rental agencies - including Avis, National, Budget and Thrifty - operate out of the airport, offering competitive daily and weekly rates on a wide range of vehicles. Once you have picked up your car, you can be in the centre of Miami in just 15 minutes.
If it’s not convenient for you to pick up your rental vehicle at Miami International, hire a car once you arrive in the city. Travel from the airport to central Miami is fast and straightforward by train from Miami Airport Station.
Rental agencies in Miami are mostly concentrated in two areas: Downtown Miami and Miami Beach, which connects to the mainland by bridges and is accessible by public bus. In both these areas, you will find branches of Budget, Enterprise and Sixt, among others. To learn more about what’s on offer, browse your car hire options using the Expedia search tool.
Driving in Miami is very simple and straightforward as the roads are arranged in a grid system, with all avenues running north to south and all streets running east to west. Four primary expressways run out of the city: the I-95, Florida’s Turnpike, the 836 and the 826. Three of these converge at a junction called the Golden Glades, and driving in this area can be challenging for first-timers – hiring a vehicle with satellite navigation can be helpful in this respect.
Paid parking is available around the city. If you are looking to save money, try to book accommodation that supplies a free parking space and take advantage of the public transport.
Having a car in Miami means you can get from A to B quickly and cheaply – all while enjoying the benefits of air conditioning! You’ll be able to get back and forth from Miami Beach on the I-195 or the MacArthur Causeway, making lazy beach days easy. Other attractions easily accessed from the city centre include Zoo Miami (just 30 minutes by car), the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (20 minutes), and the iconic Venetian Pool (15 minutes).
Of course, a trip to Florida wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the Everglades National Park. This wildlife-filled area of tropical wetland is just one hour away by car and is the perfect place for a day trip.