Top 5 Trolley Rides in South Florida

Take your kids for a trolley ride!

You see them while driving about town and the kids holler "LOOK!  A TROLLEY!".  You smile and say "I see it".  They may even beg to ride one.  Why not indulge them in a local adventure?  Several cities are providing trolley service in order to reduce traffic by enabling people to access their jobs, homes, shops and public facilities without driving and parking. They are either free or very affordable.

We have selected the best of the available trolley rides offered by local cities in South Florida.  We chose the ones with the most scenic routes and routes with the most fun for families.

These street-wheeled, air-conditioned trolleys provide a distinct experience, with slatted wooden seats and big windows. All are smoke- and food-free, wheelchair-accessible and well-maintained. 

Trolley Interior

What can you do?

  • Carry a picnic lunch and eat in a park with a playground
  • Stop at a wide variety of shops and restaurants
  • Go to a beach or splash pad (bring your swim gear!)
  • Visit a museum
  • Watch trains
  • Watch boats
  • Paddle a canoe
  • Take a walk along the shore or on a nature trail
  • Ride in an elevated train
  • Just have a relaxing time and enjoy the scenery

We compiled a list of South Florida's  5 best trolley rides including some of the highlighted stops on the route. Climb aboard any of these fun trolleys and make some new discoveries together! 

#5 The West Palm Beach Trolley

West Palm Beach Waterfront
Downtown West Palm Beach offers three trolley routes with new vehicles, some of which have open sides to admit the fresh air and street sounds. If you are traveling by Tri-Rail, from the West Palm Beach station the Green Line takes you into the heart of the Clematis Street shopping and entertainment district and on to the neighborhood of Palm Beach Atlantic University and the Norton Museum of Art. On Clematis Street, a transfer to the Yellow Line will take you to the Kravis Center, City Place, the Johnson Museum of county history, and waterfront attractions including the fountain, Meyer Amphitheater and the marina.  The more extensive but only hourly Arts and Entertainment District Orange Line trolley covers much of the same area but also serves several hotels, the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens and crosses the water to the Flagler Museum on Palm Beach Island.  Route stops are well-marked by clear and colorful signs which help orient you to the area.

For further information: www.downtownwpb.com/parking/transportation/
 

#4 The Delray Beach Trolley

The Delray Beach trolley service has one route, connecting the Tri-Rail Delray Beach station with the beach via Congress (Fl 807) and Atlantic Avenues, a distance of 4.1 miles. It operates daily 8:00 to 6:00. There are fixed stops, but wave service is available when traffic permits.  Visit www.mydelraybeach.com for more information.

Delray Beach Trolley
Delray Beach Attractions Along the Route:

  • The Delray Beach City Library, with a children’s section on the first floor
  • Old School Square, a grassy area with playground which is often the site of festivals, concerts and exhibits
  • Cornell Museum, in the old school building
  • An eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and art galleries along the sidewalks.
  • Veterans Park, along the Intracoastal Waterway, with a walkway along the shore and under the drawbridge, picnic tables, and two wooden fenced playgrounds
  • Seagate Hotel lobby with large coral reef aquariums, as well as a snack bar with ice cream.
  • Florida A1A at the beach, with broad sidewalks and a pavilion
  • The beach
  • Sandoway House Nature Center, 2 blocks south of the trolley route (www.sandowayhouse.org)
  • Anchor Park, about 3 blocks south of the trolley route, with a playground and picnic tables, just across A1A from the beach

#3 The  Hollywood Trolley

There are 3 lines in the city, charging $1 per person per ride, kids under 6 free. The trolleys operate daily except Monday, 10:00 to 10:00, with fixed stops. Visit www.visithollywoodfl.org/trolley for more information.

Hollywood Beach

Our pick is the Beach Line, which runs north and south along the Intracoastal Waterway on Florida A1A. Two blocks to the east of the route is Hollywood’s unique Broadwalk, a paved path for walking, bicycling and skating along the beach. It runs 2.5 miles from Jefferson Street at Harry Berry Park to North Beach Park. North Beach Park has a fun observation tower to climb!  Along the way are shops, hotels, restaurants, beach facilities, picnic areas and several playgrounds, including a climbing wall and a play-in fountain (Charnow Park). A band shell offers occasional performances. This beach is especially attractive for families as the sand area is very broad, the water is shallow far out and it is much quieter than many neighboring beaches. The trolley permits visitors to park once and walk as far as comfortable without worrying about how to return to the car. 

This route does not connect with any rail line, but there are parking lots and garages. These can be crowded at busy times. They charge $1.50 per hour on week days and $2.00 on weekends. A cheaper option would be to park in the free lot at 2014 Hollywood Blvd (3 hour limit) and take the trolley there to A1A. There is an exit to Hollywood Blvd on I-95.

#2 The Fort Lauderdale Trolley

The city of Fort Lauderdale has 5 trolley routes, all stopping by wave rather than fixed stops. Visit www.suntrolley.com for more detailed information about all of the lines.

Our picks are the Las Olas and Beach routes, which operate Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 9:30-6:30 every 30 minutes. There is a charge of .50 per person per ride or $2.00 for a day pass, which we recommend, as you will want to get off and on to experience the many interesting attractions. These routes do not connect with rail, but there are parking lots and garages along the way. Access from I-95 is easiest via Broward Blvd

Fort Lauderdale Beach

Las Olas Route attractions:

  • Broward Center for the Performing Arts (www.browardcenter.org)
  • Museum of Discovery and Science
  • Riverfront Walk and entertainment center along the New River
  • The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. Check the website for details on current exhibits (www.moafl.org)
  • Pedestrian-friendly blocks of shops and restaurants
  • Water taxi
  • Bridges over canals with views of beautiful homes and yachts
  • Beach access and transfer to:  the Beach Route (see below!)

Beach Route attractions, south to north on Florida A1A:

  • Views of Port Everglades, with cruise and cargo ships
  • Views of the beach with palm trees and beach-goers
  • Shops, restaurants, hotels
  • Ft Lauderdale Beach Park, with picnic tables, outdoor showers, 
  • playground, basketball and volleyball courts, and, of course, the 
  • International Swimming Hall of Fame (www.ishof.org)
  • More shops, restaurants, hotels
  • Hugh Taylor Birch State Park which offers nature trails, canoe and kayak rentals, fishing, picnic areas, as well as more beachfront.
  • Galleria Mall, an indoor upscale facility 

#1 The Miami Trolley

The trolleys in Miami operate in a congested urban area with little and expensive parking, but these trolleys make moving about a pleasure! Traffic is always heavy, so caution is in order with any children who may tire of being in slow-moving traffic. Bring along a few toys or things to occupy the kids just in case.  The system consists of 7 FREE routes, running every day at 15 minute intervals, 8:00-8:00, www.cityofmiami.gov/trolley. There are links to Metrorail and to Metromover which has FREE elevated cars circling the downtown area. 

Miami Trolley
Biscayne Route
is the most interesting. It connects with Metrorail at the Brickell station (parking $4.50 a day) and travels chiefly along Brickell Ave. and Biscayne Blvd. Starting at the station and heading north, attractions are:

  • Southside Park, with playground and picnic tables
  • High-rise office and residential buildings
  • Mary Brickell Village shops and restaurants
  • Miami Circle, a free 2-acre archeological site and museum of early American Indian and pioneer life www.historymiami.org; 
  • Bayfront Park, stretching 5 blocks along Biscayne Bay, with many play structures, fountain, amphitheater, seaside walk, gardens, benches, & monuments 
  • Metromover Bayfront station, where you can transfer for a ride in an elevated car for FREE (kids LOVE LOVE LOVE this)
  • Bayside Marketplace, an outdoor waterfront shopping and dining area 
  • American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat and a performance venue www.aaarena.com, 
  • Freedom Tower, a Spanish-style structure with varied history www.mdcmoad.org 
  • Perez Art Museum, a new building with a contemporary collection, www.pamm.org, (10-6 except Monday, $12 adults, $8 ages 7-18)
  • Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with ballet/opera and concert halls on opposite sides of the boulevard. Guided tours are offered on Monday and Saturday at noon. 
  • Midtown Miami shops and residences
  • Design District galleries and showrooms – not usually open to the public

At the Brickell Metrorail station, it is possible to transfer to Brickell Route, continuing south to:

  • Wainwright park, with playground, picnic tables and a basketball court
  • Vizcaya, an Italian Renaissance mansion and gardens on the bay 

At the American Airlines Arena or Freedom Tower, it is possible to transfer to the new Coral Way Route: accessing, from east to west:

  • Port Miami
  • Flagler Street, the heart of downtown Miami
  • Government Center Metrorail station
  • Miracle Mile shopping and dining district in Coral Gables

Transfer to Coral Gables city trolley, which connects US 1 and SW 8 St/US 41 along Ponce de Leon Blvd. Take in picturesque Coral Gables and hop off to enjoy museums, cinemas, restaurants and more!

The Miami system of trolleys, Metrorail and Metromover give you and your family more than a day full of different places to see and explore!  We chose it as our top choice because you can make several day trips out to the different areas all for FREE and never tire of the scenary.

Enjoy your explorations!

Connecting with Local Trains

Make your experience even more fun by accessing some of these trolley routes via other forms of transportation that will surely thrill your kids as well.  The Southeast Florida commuter rail line, Tri-Rail (www.tri-rail.com)  travels between West Palm Beach and Miami with fares varying by distance and time of day. All of the stations provide parking for free.  In Miami-Dade County, the elevated Metrorail line connects with Tri-Rail and some trolley routes (www.miamidade.gov/transit/metrorail). There is a flat fare of $2.50 on the trains and varying parking fees at stations.

 

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