Amtrak does not travel directly between Chicago and Florida. Because Florida trains only travel along the East Coast, you’ll need to transfer between two trains or combine a rail trip with a rental car or bus to complete the journey. Explore route options and tips below. To plan your trip, use the Amtrak ticket purchase option or Google Maps to find the best train connections and times.
Things to Know
- The Silver Star and Silver Meteor trains travel to and from Florida. Only the Silver Star stops in Tampa (the furthest west trains travel in Florida) and offers cheaper tickets because meals aren’t included.
- If you have a choice, use the Capitol Limited trains to travel between Chicago and Washington D.C. because the commute time is much shorter compared to other route options (about 17 hours without delays)
- Use the Lake Shore Limited route if you want to have a layover in New York City
- Use the Cardinal route if you want to transfer or stay overnight at or near the Alexandria Amtrak Station, which is next to several nice hotels and the walkable and historic Old Town. However, the commute time to or from Chicago is about 24 hours.
- Arrival and departure times in Washington D.C. are excellent and Washington D.C.’s Union Station has bag storage if you want to explore the city. You can walk to several attractions or take the subway at the Amtrak station to reach more tourist destinations. Consider staying overnight in D.C. if you want more time, just be sure to purchase one-way Amtrak tickets to D.C. then another one-way ticket to either Chicago or Florida based on your direction of travel in order to have an overnight layover.
- Going to the Florida panhandle from Chicago? Take the City of New Orleans route to New Orleans instead of going to the East Coast. You can rent a car and reach Pensacola in three hours. Greyhound buses in New Orleans also travel to Florida.