My daughter and I visited Miami in April on the tail end of our trip to South America. It was my first time to the area, and only my second in Florida. I figured two easygoing beach days would be nice after a lot of sightseeing. I’d booked The Confidante for our single night. This meant researching the best way to get from MIA airport to Miami Beach after our early morning arrival into MIA flying American Airlines 767 business class.

The primary options for getting to Miami Beach include tax, Uber, shttle van and public bus. There may be others, but these are what I identified. We spent a little more time that expected at the airport, but this ended up being a plus, as we were able to easily hop on what I consider the cheapest and best way from MIA airport to Miami Beach. But let’s run through the others first. Well, after my photo of a lovely Miami Beach sunrise, of course.

Taxi

Taxi is definitely an option for getting from MIA to Miami Beach. It’s also simple. You hail one at the airport, and they take you right to your hotel. Easy peasy.

The issue I always have with taxis (primarily in the U.S.) is the cost. Taxis charge a flat rate of $35 one-way from the airport to the Mid-Beach and South Beach (as of a couple years ago). This covers many of the popular beach hotels. I’m not keen on paying that much for two people, so I looked at other options.

Uber

Uber is generally cheaper than a taxi, which is why I opt for it. Hailing one from MIA airport is easy, and you’ll also be taken directly to your hotel (unless you choose Uber Pool, of course). UberX rates using the pricing calculator are currently ~$23 between MIA airport and the hotel at which we stayed in Miami Beach. Even factoring in a tip, this is better than a taxi. For many people, Uber will be the best way from MIA airport to Miami Beach, due to its convenience.

But you can do even better than Uber in terms of cost.

Shuttle Van

Shuttle van is another convenient option that takes the stress out of airport transfer. You can book a service such as Super Shuttle ahead of time and pay a flat rate for the transfer. In my opinion, they are one of the best ways between MIA airport and Miami Beach.

Shuttles are priced based on the number of passengers, with the first passenger costing more than additional passengers. You’ll also save money booking a shared ride van, meaning other passengers will be picked up and dropped off along the way. For my daughter and I, we would have paid $32 for a shared transfer with Super Shuttle. The current price is $22 for the first passenger and $10 for each additional.

Premium or nonstop van or car transfer services can cost a lot more. Depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll pay $50 to $92 with Super Shuttle.

Bus: Best Way from MIA Airport to Miami Beach

The hands-down cheapest way from MIA airport to Miami Beach is public bus. There are even a couple options, depending on where you want to go within Miami Beach. Service is regular, and there is even an express option. To catch a bus, you’ll need to get from MIA airport to the bus and train depot using the tram.

The best bus option from MIA airport to Miami Beach is the 150 Beach Express. It runs directly from the airport and doesn’t stop until you arrive in Miami Beach. There are only two stops along 41st street at Alton Road and Sheridan Ave, and then the bus makes a bunch of local stops running south to South Beach and then north again through Mid-Beach before returning to MIA. Here is the route map.

The 150 Miami Beach Express runs every 20 minutes, seven days a week. Service starts at 6:00 AM, and the last run departs MIA at 11:40 PM. To catch the 150 Miami Beach Express, use stand 10 at the Miami Airport bus terminal.

We had an interesting issue. Arriving so early into MIA meant that we made it to the bus station about 5:20 AM, even after spending time completing my daughter’s Global Entry interview. The 150 bus doesn’t pick up until 6:00. But there is another option: the J/110 local bus. It is a great option for getting to the Mid Beach hotels. You may be out of luck, though, in many cases, as it doesn’t run down into South Beach. Here is the route map.

To catch this second bus option, use stand 11 at the bus terminal. The J/110 starts as early as 4:25, but the spacing of the earliest buses is large (like 45 minutes between runs). We caught the 5:20 a.m. J/110 bus on a weekday.

cheapest and best way from MIA airport to Miami Beach

The downside of the local bus is that it makes a lot of stops along the way. But there wasn’t any traffic this early, and it is still pretty direct to Miami Beach. The 150 Miami Beach Express is still the best way from MIA airport to Miami Beach, but the J/110 is a great backup option.

Finally cost: either bus costs $2.25 per person one-way. You can technically get kids for only $1.10, but you need a discount card to do so. This wasn’t worth the hassle. You can buy bus tickets at the transit station at MIA airport before heading down to the bays to board.

Conclusion

It’s always a balance between finding the cheapest transit option versus fastest from a given airport. In many cases, the cheapest isn’t always the best. I’d have much rather paid for a direct transit from Ezeiza airport when we visited Buenos Aires, as the bus option took forever. But in this case, public bus is both the cheapest and best way from MIA airport to Miami Beach.