My daughter and I had an enjoyable overnight layover at the tail end of a South American adventure in Miami Beach. It was my first time to southern Florida, and we were not disappointed in our choice of resort (SEE: Review: The Confidante Miami Beach). Our overall experience and relaxing time at the beach was great.

The transit was a bit interesting, though. I chose to fly us into Miami on American Airlines and then out of Fort Lauderdale Hollywood (FLL) Airport. While Miami International is convenient to the beaches and easily accessible by a single bus line (SEE: Cheapest and Best Way From MIA Airport to Miami Beach), getting to FLL is a bit more of a trek. Fortunately, with some planning, it’s not that hard to do.

People definitely have different preferences for ground transit, so I am going to present all the options, ending with the cheapest and best way from Miami Beach to FLL airport.

Taxi from Miami Beach to FLL

If you’re looking for convenience from the beaches, hailing a cab is the most straightforward way to go. Just don’t expect it to be a cheap ride all the way to Fort Lauderdale Airport. I didn’t ask what the fare would be at the front desk of our hotel, but using a couple different taxi fare finders, I would expect to pay $80-90 for the trip, including tipping your cabbie.

This might not be a bad option if you’re a group of 3 or 4 and can split the ride. But it certainly isn’t a cheap alternative. It is among the fastest options, however, as you’re heading directly to the airport from your hotel.

Best Way from Miami Beach to FLL Airport

Uber or Lyft the 30 miles

If you’re looking for direct transit more cheaply, consider using a rideshare app. Depending on the traffic and time, you’ll probably be out $35-$45, including a tip for your driver. Uber prices can fluctuate significantly depending on demand, so I would not be surprised if it was a bit more at times. Still, it’s not bad for a 26-mile ride.

The great part is that Uber is substantially cheaper than a taxi, and just as direct, unless you go the Uber pool option to save a few dollars. Given the distance, I would probably opt for a standard UberX service.

Shuttle Van to FLL Airport from Miami Beach

Due to the distance, even a shuttle van won’t be all that cheap. You can catch to Go Airport Shuttle for ~$25, which isn’t a bad deal if traveling solo. Just expect that you’ll have to stop for a number of other passengers, as this is a shared service. It could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to get to the airport from your hotel, depending on how many others there are and how far down the beach you are staying.

Booking online is the best way to go from Miami Beach to FLL airport. If you need to do the reverse, you should be able to simply find the Go Airport shuttle outside the terminal. There are other shuttle services as well, including private cars that cost as much as a taxi.

Bus and Train

My initial plan that I thought was the cheapest and best way from Miami Beach to FLL airport was to head back on the express bus to MIA International, catch the Tri Rail north to the FLL Airport stop, and then take the connection service to the airport itself. The bus to MIA from the beaches is fast and consistent, which is a plus.

The big hiccup is the Tri Rail train schedule. They are actually more regular than I thought they would be, but you could still be in a bind if you are on a tight timeline. If we missed the ideal connection, we would be hard pressed to make our flight in time. And I didn’t want to leave too early and sacrifice time enjoying the beach.

This is a much cheaper alternative than either Uber or a Taxi, though, which makes it a more attractive option. The bus fare from Miami Beach to the bus terminal at MIA is a mere $2.25 per person. You’ll have to transfer by foot to the rail station, but it isn’t too bad unless you have a ton of luggage. The rail fare from MIA to the FLL stop is $3.75 per person. I keep writing “FLL stop” since the train doesn’t quite get you to FLL airport. Once you disembark, you’ll have to catch a final bus to FLL.

In short, it is a trip with two connections: bus-train-bus. The shortest I would expect this trip to take is 2 hours.

Bus: Cheapest and Best Way from Miami Beach to FLL Airport

After considering the bus and train option, thinking it was probably the cheapest way from Miami Beach to FLL airport, I plugged the trip into Rome2Rio, just to see what it spit out. I’ve had mixed success with the app, although it generally is able to point me at some good transit options and I can refine things from there.

The first option that jumped out at me was an all-bus itinerary that took us up through the beaches before heading over to Highway 1 and finishing the drive to FLL airport. Two bus lines run regularly north-south along Collins Avenue through Miami Beach and can get you to a transfer point (Aventura Mall bus depot) to catch a bus to FLL airport: Line 119/S and Line 120. To get to FLL airport from there, you transfer to Broward County Line 1.

For our trip, we caught the Line 119/S bus at 38th & Collins in mid-Miami Beach, as it was the closest stop to our hotel. There are plenty of stops, and the closest is easy to find using Google Maps. Buses run approximately every 15 minutes. I found that Google’s times were never right, and the buses were either arriving a few minutes early, or consistently late.

Our transfer was well-timed at Aventura Mall, but maybe that was just luck. Our Line 1 bus was waiting at its stall, and took off a minute after we boarded. This bus runs north from Aventura Mall to FLL airport along Highway 1 (thus the numbering, I’d guess).

My understanding was that this trip should have cost $4.50 (2x $2.25 bus fares) per person, but it turned out to be less. I spoke to the bus driver about a transfer ticket, and these are provided for free, even though Line 119/S and Line 120 are Miami-Dade Transit and Line 1 is Broward County Transit. Normally, transfer between systems is at a minimal cost (less than $1), but the connection point allows for free transfer in this case. You must request a free transit when you board. In total we paid just $2.25 per person for the entire ride. It is the definitely the cheapest way to get from Miami Beach to FLL airport.

The drawback of this option is the time requirement. Without traffic, you can get from Miami Beach to FLL airport in a breezy 35 minutes. The bus-bus option option takes upwards of two hours. But it is more consistent than the train.

Conclusion

While not convenient to Miami Beach, For Lauderdale airport isn’t completely off the table if you’re considering a visit. There are regular options to get you to and from the airport, and while it may not be the best option for some due to the time requirement, taking a bus is definitely the cheapest way from Miami Beach to FLL airport. Just plan the trip in reverse if you need to get from the airport. It’s just as easy.

Once we got to Fort Lauderdale airport, my daughter and I enjoyed dinner at Kafe Kalik, a Priority Pass restaurant. If only our JetBlue experience flying home had been better.