Miami International Airport, historically known as Wilcox Field, is located in Miami-Dade County in Florida 8 miles from downtown Miami and 13 miles from Miami Beach. It's the primary airport in the Miami metropolitan area and the busiest airport in the state.
Miami International Airport has three terminals, all with three levels. Baggage claim is on Level 1, and departure and check-ins are on Level 2. On Level 3 is the Mover station, an automated people-mover train system. There is also a hotel inside the airport, located on the departures level, which can be a blessing for exhausted travelers who have long layovers to endure.
There are several tourist information counters at the airport, and they're open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Other amenities include ATMs, currency exchange centers, self-service luggage carts, smoking areas, nursing suites, restaurants, and animal relief areas.
Renting a Car at Miami International Airport
The Rental Car Center is just 1 mile from the airport. Visitors needing to rent a car can use the Mover on Level 3 to reach the Rental Car Center.
A number of premium car rental companies have their offices at the Rental Car Center. Some of the prominent names are Alamo, Hertz, Avis, National, Thrifty, Payless, Royal, Budget, Enterprise, Dollar, Sixt, Advantage, E-Z Rent a Car, and P&P Family Auto Rental.
Most rental cars in the U.S. have automatic transmissions. Visitors who want a manual transmission vehicle need to request one.
Driving Around the Airport
The access road outside the Rental Car Center connects with the Airport Expressway. Both Miami Beach and downtown Miami are within easy access of Miami International Airport.
Miami roads can sometimes be jammed with traffic, especially during peak hours. Visitors should consider avoiding busy routes like Biscayne Boulevard and Collins Avenue during rush hours and allow extra time to reach their destination.
Car rental agreements often require that customers return their cars with a full tank of gas. Drivers can fill up at one of the many gas stations conveniently located near the airport, including Chevron, Shell, Sunoco, and Gas Xpress.
Attractions Near Miami International Airport
Flying into Miami Airport brings a number of tourist attractions within one's reach. The nearest, of course, is the city center of Miami, 15 minutes' drive from the airport. Downtown Miami is packed with shops, bars, restaurants, parks, theaters, and museums. Some of the notable museums here include the Frost Art Museum, Miami Science Museum, and Miami-Dade Cultural Center. Those interested in performing arts may want to visit Ziff Ballet Opera House, Bayfront Park Amphitheater, and Coconut Grove Playhouse.
Miami Beach, with its breathtakingly beautiful coastline, offers everything a beach-lover could ask for. It takes about 20 minutes to drive from the airport to Miami Beach via FL-112E and I-195E. South Beach is another popular beach that visitors should not miss. It's located south of Miami Beach and takes five minutes by car.
Other interesting spots to visit, if time permits, are Haulover Park, Bayside Marketplace, Delray Beach, and Key Largo.
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