Fort Lauderdale to Orlando
Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/Fotolia

A popular tourist destination, Fort Lauderdale, FL is a large metropolitan area, home to over 15 million people. Greater Fort Lauderdale encompasses over 31 cities and communities. Perched right on the Atlantic coast, Fort Lauderdale boasts of 23 miles of coast with over 6 beaches. Fort Lauderdale is directly east of the Everglades Wildlife Management Area. The city is loaded with history that dates back to the Tequesta people and then Spanish explorations. This multicultural city has much to offer in the way of attractions, cuisine, music, art and much more.

To the north about 215 miles is Orlando. It is inland and surrounded by the states most fantastic theme parks. Orlando is so much more than theme parks. Its history is deeply embedded in the Seminoles, Spanish & French exploration, early farmers and the Civil War. In the mid 60s Walt Disney appeared on the scene announcing a fantastic amusement park bigger than the world had ever seen. And the rush to theme parks began. Here are the best ways to get to Orlando from Fort Lauderdale.

»Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Plane

Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Plane

Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is served by 30 airlines and sees over 70 thousand passengers each day. There are four terminals which are home to all the typical amenities in most airports: restaurants, shops, newsstands, coffee shops, and lounges.

Spirit Airlines offers roundtrip fares starting at $80. Spirit Airlines is a no frills airline; what they don’t offer in amenities such as snacks and large carry-on bags, they do offer in value. The flight is non-stop and less than an hour. Other carriers such as United Airlines and Silver Airways also offer non-stop flights starting at $133 roundtrip.

The parking at FLL has gotten “smart” using technology to assist travelers. There is an app that shows available spaces, allows you to reserve a space and even to find your car on return. They also have green light assist – a flashing green light indicates an open spot. Finally they have curbside valet parking for $25/day. Economy parking is $7.50/day; hourly parking is $3/hour.

The Orlando International Airport (MCO) is served by 38 airlines from all over the world and sees over 111 thousand passengers each day. Orlando International Airport also has four terminals hosting a great selection of eating establishments, shops, newsstands, and lounges.

Ground transportation at MCO is readily available: taxis, rental cars, hotel shuttles, and limousine – all are available. Make sure to plan ahead so you have the transportation you need. Photo: rabbit75_fot /Fotolia

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»Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Train

Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Train

Amtrak offers two trains daily to Orlando; the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star. One-way fares for reserved coach seats start at $33/person. Both trains also offer Superliner Roomette and a Superliner Bedroom compartments. Each compartment accommodates 2 people. The reclining seats transform into a bed and there is a top bunk that pulls down. The Roomette has an in-room toilet. The Bedroom compartment offers an en suite bathroom with shower. The Silver Meteor has a dining car and meals are included with the Roomette and Bedroom fare which start at $187. The Silver Star does not have a dining car so meals are not included with the Roomette and Bedroom fares which start at $135.

The Silver Meteor departs at 8:50 a.m. and arrives in Orlando at 1:23 p.m. The Silver Star has a 12:30 p.m. departure and arrives at 7:16 p.m. in Orlando.

Amenities for both trains include a café car which serves light meals and snacks; air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, checked and carry-on luggage, and space to check your bicycle ($20). Photo: Thomas Barrat/Fotolia

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»Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Bus

Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Bus

The Florida Express Bus offers seven different routes between Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. The earliest leaves at 6:30 a.m. and the latest leaves at 9:00 p.m. Fares start at $25 and go up to $75. Door to door service is available for an additional fee, depending on location. You can bring one carry-on and one checked bag for free.

Greyhound also offers daily bus trips between our two cities. One-way fares begin at $19 depending on the day of travel. Walk up fares tend to be higher than tickets purchased in advance. The early bus leaves at 5:55 a.m. and arrives in Orlando at 10:40 a.m. The express bus trip is about 3½ hours. The last bus leaves Fort Lauderdale at 11:50 p.m. and arrives the next morning in Orlando at 4:00 a.m. There is a lot of flexibility to pick your fares and timing. Amenities on Greyhound include air conditioning; reclining seats with ample leg room; and bathroom on board. Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/Fotolia

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»Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Car

Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Car

The distance between Fort Lauderdale and Orlando is about 215 miles. The quickest route is to take I-95 to the Florida Turnpike. Near Orlando, the Turnpike will intersect with I-4. Take I-4 into Orland. Google Maps shows a couple other routes if you want to stay off the beaten path.

Before leaving Fort Lauderdale here are a few must see attractions.

Flamingo Gardens is both a tropical garden and a wildlife sanctuary all wrapped up in one. The 60 acre of land are divided into a variety of gardens: exotic trees; flowering plants that attract butterflies and humming birds; interactive children’s garden; crotons; wildflowers, ginger; and tropical forests. Live wildlife shows are also available. Tickets are $19.95/adult and $12.95/child.

Another garden to visit is the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. Built in 1920 this historic home was built by Frederic Clay Bartlett, a Chicago artist. His first wife died young of breast cancer. The house sat idle for a number of years until Bartlett remarried. His new wife fell in love with the estate and began to restore and beautify it. Eventually, Mrs. Bartlett donated the estate to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. The preserved estate is open to the public to enjoy the beautiful gardens, artwork, and other treasures. Admission is $20/adult and $16/children 6-12. Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Tuesday-Sunday)

The Jungle Queen offers several riverboat cruise daily. The morning cruise sails down “Millionaire’s Row” with spectacular views and a peek at stunning celebrity homes. This tour lasts 90 minutes. Fares start at $25/adult and $14/child. The afternoon cruise includes the same tour as the morning cruise but also adds on tropical isle complete with an alligator show and much more. This tour lasts 3 hours; fares are $30/adult and $15/child. The dinner cruise includes an all-you-can-eat barbecue meal and the sightseeing tour.

As you head out of town toward Orlando Butterfly World, near Pompano Beach, houses thousands of butterflies and actually has a working butterfly farm. Admission rates start at $26.95/adult and $21.95/child (ages 3-11).

Traveling further north you will come upon a new kind of adventure, Delray Escape. A fun game for family and friends, your group will be “locked” in a room and given 60 minutes to find your way out using the available clues in the room. It is not scary or any kind of spooky thriller; it is just a game of putting your heads together to solve a puzzle. Perfect for corporate team building as well, they have games designed for different types of groups. This is something out of the ordinary and sounds like a fun challenge. Located in Delray Beach, admission is $28/person.

Other attractions along the way include:

· Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society

· John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

· McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary

· Mounts Botanical Gardens

Continuing on toward Orlando, as you near Kissimmee, you will find several places to take airboat tours. One such place is Big Toho Airboat Rides, near the intersection of I-95 and Hwy. 192. Rates for a one hour ride are $76/adult and $65/child. You will see alligators in their natural habitat as well as other wild life and birds.

Orlando! You have arrived. So much to see and do; where do you begin? The obvious places are the big theme parks. Most of us are familiar with these. But in the event that you need more information, here are links to some of the biggest and best theme parks in the world.

· Disney World

· Epcot Center

· SeaWorld Orlando

· Aquatica by SeaWorld – a water park

· Universal Studios Orlando Photo: Larry Hardin/Fotolia

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»Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Bike

Fort Lauderdale to Orlando By Bike

Biking to Orlando can be a unique adventure. What better way than to ride with the wind right next to the waves. To do this, take Hwy. 1 and Hwy. A1A north following the Atlantic coastline. Cut across on Hwy. 192 at Melbourne.

Another great resource is the Adventure Cycling Association – Florida Connector. This website details various routes throughout Florida. Direct routes between Fort Lauderdale and Orlando are not discussed, but there are plenty of other routes for the bike enthusiast.

The trip from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando can be scenic and full of adventure if traveling by car or bicycle. It can also be traveled in expeditious ways such as plane, train and bus. No matter what mode of transportation you choose, you are sure to have the vacation of a lifetime.

Orlando has so much to offer beyond the theme parks.

For history enthusiast, a visit to the Titanic Artifact Exhibition may be in order; featuring actual artifacts from the sunken ship. For those looking for adventure there is Discovery Cove which offers swimming with dolphins and snorkeling. For the shoppers in one’s group there is the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets featuring over 160 chic outlet shops. For the outdoor lovers there is Wekiwa Springs State Park Nature Adventures where you can canoe and kayak in the Wekiva River and hike or bike the 13+ miles of trails.

Whatever you choose to do, memories will be made, fun will be experienced and dreams will come true.

There are a handful of bed and breakfast establishments in the greater Orlando area. Prices are very reasonable ranging from $89/ night to $210/night. Many of the theme parks and attractions have hotels and resorts within their campuses.

From lavish, full-service restaurants to sidewalk eateries to quaint cafés, Orlando has the culinary delights you long for. You can find delicious steaks, seafood, and top notch sandwiches like the famous Cuban. Photo: Laura Stone/Fotolia

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Fort Lauderdale to Orlando: Driving, By Plane, Train or Bus