Great news, West Palm Beachers. There’s a sparkling new addition to the West Palm Beach landscape: the Brightline train.
Train Travel in South Florida
I keep it (mostly) under wraps, but I’m kind of obsessed with train travel. My first trip to Europe planted in me a love for the ease and convenience of trains, and every train trip I’ve taken since has further nurtured that adoration. From Amtrak’s Coast Starlight (we navigated up the West Coast by train and it was an absolute dream) to the good old South Florida TriRail, I can’t get enough of riding trains.
Traveling by train is more productive than driving, more comfortable than flying, and provides an entire country’s worth of scenery right outside your window. You just walk right on with your luggage and walk right off when you reach your station. Plus, you can make reservations in the dining car and even book a full cabin to sleep in if you have an overnight trip. What more do you want out of a transportation method?!
All of that to say: I’ve been giddily excited for the newfangled Brightline to begin service in South Florida. West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale in 35 minutes? Miami in just a few minutes more? Orlando (eventually) in 2 hours, with none of the traffic or monotony of driving?! Count me in.
Plus, Brightline trains offer super smart and modern amenities like WiFi, touch-free bathrooms, power outlets at every seat, snacks and drinks on board, and sleek stations with well equipped waiting areas. Smart service is the less expensive option, while Select is ideal for business travelers. It comes with extra-wide seats, complimentary refreshments, and exclusive access to a premium lounge.
Last weekend, I got a chance to ride the inaugural #Brightline train on its very first day of service! 🎉 I think Henry Flagler would be proud…this brand-new high-speed train is a game changer. #WPB to Fort Lauderdale in 35 minutes? No sitting in I-95 traffic?! Yes please 🙌🏼 — I’m so thrilled about this addition to West Palm Beach and can’t wait to watch the tourism landscape of the entire state shift as the line extends to Miami and eventually Orlando. Check my Facebook page (search Skye Sherman Travel Writer) for a live video of my experience, where I give you a tour of the Select coach and discuss the train’s many modern amenities. ✨ The train cars are just as sleek as the station, pictured here. — Welcome to #WestPalmBeach, @gobrightline! 💛
Brightline: The Inaugural Ride
This morning, I got a chance to participate in history in the making by riding the inaugural train on Brightline’s first official day of service. We arrived for the 8am departure and the West Palm Beach station greeted us with balloons, photo booths, and custom cookies bearing Brightline’s logo. I had the chance to try out Select coach and Smart coach; both were roomy, clean, and comfortable. Smiling train attendants served us complimentary refreshments including Starbucks iced coffee, juices, sodas, and water. (In case you missed it, check out my Facebook Live coverage of the trip.)
We made it from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale in just 35 minutes. The two stations are very similarly designed, and both are strategically located in central downtown hubs. There are plenty of places to walk (under 1 mile) from both stops. At this time, there’s no shuttle between either station and its nearest airport, which is kind of a bummer. I heard there’s supposed to be a Metro connection to the Miami airport when the Miami Brightline station opens, which should be sometime this year. That’s going to make for super easy access to this international flight hub, and I can’t wait.
Update (May 2018): The Miami station is now open! I rode the train from West Palm Beach to Miami and was shocked both by how huge the Miami station is and how little time it took to get there.
Brightline Coupon Codes
P.S. Want a Brightline discount? Here are a few ways to save…
- From October 31 to November 4, enjoy 25% off your ride with promo code FTLBOAT plus $3 off the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.
- Code ESPN gets you 25% off Brightline tickets.
- Save time and effort getting to Art Basel: Soak in the sights at Palm Beach Prelude and then ride the rail from West Palm Beach to Miami. Save up to 25% when you use promo code PRELUDE1 to book your ticket.
- Enjoy 25% off SMART and SmartPLUS fares with promo code GOSMART. Plus, kids under 13 ride free in Smart!
- Use promo code BLFAMILY and gather up to 4 friends and family on board for free–the bigger your crew, the bigger the savings (buy 2, get up to 2 free; buy 3, get up to 3 free; buy 4, get up to 4 free).
(All current offers are usually available here.)
Or, as always, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “BRIGHTLINE DISCOUNT” and I’ll send you a referral code for $5 off.
Book a $10 flat rate Lyft airport transfer between Brightline stations and airports. To claim, enter the promo code that applies to your destination in the Lyft app:
- MiamiCentral Station to/from the Miami International Airport: BLMIA
- Fort Lauderdale Station to/from the Fort Lauderdale International Airport: BLFTL
In addition, check out the amazing discounts you can get at CityPlace in West Palm Beach if you ride the Brightline!