Two Amtrak train routes stop in Philadelphia and travel to Florida: the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star. It’s easy overnight trip with a departure from the 30th Street Station in downtown Philly. As a bonus, trains have WiFi and are almost always on time as they originate in New York City (just three stops away).
Which route should I ride?
The Silver Meteor and Silver Star trains are almost identical. There are coach cars, a café car and Viewliner sleeper cars that are one level tall. Plus, they stop at almost all of the same stations. The difference is that the Silver Star travels further away from the Atlantic coast in the Carolinas and is the only train that stops in Lakeland and Tampa.
Otherwise, the Silver Meteor stops at all other Florida Amtrak stations and reaches Florida faster.
If speed isn’t a consideration, you may want to consider the departure times from Philadelphia when deciding which route to ride. The Silver Star departs first (midday) while the Silver Meteor departs early evening.
How much is the ticket?
Coach seats are the cheapest ticket option. Prices range from just over $100 one way to $400. Distance traveled impacts the cost, so a ticket to Jacksonville will be cheaper than to Miami. You can also save money if you travel on a weekday and buy your ticket a few weeks (or more) in advance.
Roomettes and bedrooms are also available at an extra cost. These private accommodations include meals, coffee and other beverages. Roomette prices range from $500 to $900 one way and expect to pay $1,000-$1,500 for a bedroom.
Note that tickets are more expensive during spring break due to demand.
How long is the ride?
Jacksonville is the first Amtrak stop in Florida. Travel time from Philadelphia is 16.5 hours on the Silver Meteor and 18.5 hours on the Silver Star. In comparison, drive time without traffic is 12.5 hours. If Orlando is your destination, plan on 20 hours on the Silver Meteor and 22 on the Silver Star.
The difference in time between the two routes gets larger in South Florida as the Silver Star travels across the state to Tampa, adding an additional two hours of travel time. For example, the last stop is Miami — trip time is about 26 hours on the Silver Meteor and 30 on the Silver Star.
Use the Find Trains feature on the Amtrak.com homepage to enter your start and end cities to get custom trip options and travel times.
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Top photo credit: Matt Truch (30th Street Station)