Florida is a popular vacation destination, especially to escape the cold weather in Boston. Amtrak is a travel option if you don’t want to drive or fly. Here’s what you need to know if you’re ready to start planning a train trip to the Sunshine State.
A train transfer is required
Amtrak doesn’t have a route that travels directly between Boston and Florida. For most trips, you’ll have the option to connect with a Florida-bound train in New York City or Washington D.C. When viewing your travel options on Amtrak.com via the find train feature on the homepage, be sure to pay attention to the layover time. From Boston, you’ll first board an Acela or Northeast Regional train, and although these trains are typically on schedule, you may want to choose a layover that is at least an hour.
There are two Boston departure stations
To start your trip, you can depart from South Station or the Back Bay Station. Red line subway trains stop at the South Station and orange line trains at Back Bay if you want to use transit to reach Amtrak. Otherwise, plan to get dropped off at one of these stations in order to start your trip. Arrive at least 30 minutes early and allow more time if you need extra assistance.
There are two Florida routes to choose from
If you are departing Boston via train, you’ll have the option to transfer to a Silver Meteor or Silver Star train. Both of these trains travel to cities including Jacksonville, Winter Park, Orlando, Kissimmee, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Additionally, the Silver Star stops in Tampa and Lakeland. If both routes travel to your final destination, the Silver Meteor is the faster option.
Note that almost all the Amtrak stations in Florida are in Central Florida or on the East Coast. View the list of Amtrak stations in Florida to learn more.
It’s an early start (or two nights of travel)
In order to connect with trains that travel to Florida, you’ll need to leave Boston in the morning. Once on the Silver Meteor or Silver Star, you’ll spend one night on the train and arrive in Florida the next day.
If a morning departure doesn’t work with your schedule, you can depart Boston later in the day, but you’ll need to stay overnight in a city on the Silver Meteor and Silver Star routes or book tickets on the overnight Northeast Regional train.
If you want to stay overnight in a city vs on the train, travel by train, plane or bus to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. or a station in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland or Virginia. One recommendation is Alexandria, VA — the station is in walking distance of multiple hotels, historic Old Town and metro trains that travel into D.C. It’s also near Reagan National Airport. Amtrak travel time from Boston is about nine hours.
Or book tickets on the overnight Northeast Regional train and travel to Washington D.C. or Alexandria. You’ll arrive early in the morning and have a few hours to sightsee. Baggage storage is available at the DC Union Station and at the Alexandria Station.
It’s a long trip
Travel time from Boston to Jacksonville, Florida is 24 to 25 hours on Amtrak. Miami is the last stop, with a travel time of 33 to 36 hours. When booking tickets, you’ll have the option to select a roomette or bedroom on the Florida trains, which are sleeping accommodations that include free non-alcoholic drinks and meals. The privacy and a bed in the evening can make this long trip more comfortable.
WiFi and cellular service are also available on both the Silver Meteor and Silver Star routes, so you can work on the train if needed, which is a great way to pass the time.
- Florida Amtrak Stations
- Best Amtrak trips from Boston
- 7 essential things to pack for an Amtrak trip
- 10 best Amtrak winter beach vacations
Top photo: Hollywood Beach, Florida, which has a nearby Amtrak station. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.