Travel Guide to Alabama, USA including Arts & Culture to Sighseeing Tours & Attractions in Alabama.
Alabama is a southeastern U.S. state that’s home to significant landmarks from the American Civil Rights Movement. The city of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, now a museum, was a protest headquarters in the 1960s. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church and the Rosa Parks Museum, dedicated to the activist, can be found in the capital of Montgomery.
Many airports in the USA have implemented safety measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. You should check the website of the airport you are flying into or transiting to see how these could affect you.
A number of US states no longer mandate the use of masks and face coverings while in public. However, the guidance will vary from state to state and there can often be different rules within different localities in the same state. You should consult the website of the state or city to which you are travelling. Further details are found on the USA.GOV site. Penalties for breaches of regulations will vary between each state and may sometimes vary in different areas in the same state.
Some areas require proof of vaccination in order to access local amenities. In certain localities, children 5 to 17 years may not be exempt from this requirement. Some private venues, including restaurants and concert halls, have made proof of vaccination (or a recent negative COVID-19 test result) a requirement for entry. The precise requirements may vary from venue to venue so you should check on compliancy requirements in advance.
Major airports with sustained operations in Alabama include Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), Huntsville International Airport (HSV), Dothan Regional Airport (DHN), Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM), Northwest Alabama Regional Airport (MSL) and Northeast Alabama Regional Airport (GAD).
For rail transport, Amtrak schedules the Crescent, a daily passenger train, running from New York to New Orleans with station stops at Anniston, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa.
Alabama has six major interstate routes: Interstate 65 (I-65) travels north–south roughly through the middle of the state; I-20/I-59 travel from the central west Mississippi state line to Birmingham, where I-59 continues to the north-east corner of the state and I-20 continues east towards Atlanta; I-85 originates in Montgomery and travels east-northeast to the Georgia state line, providing a main thoroughfare to Atlanta; and I-10 traverses the southernmost portion of the state, traveling from west to east through Mobile. I-22 enters the state from Mississippi and connects Birmingham with Memphis, Tennessee.
In addition, there are currently five auxiliary interstate routes in the state: I-165 in Mobile, I-359 in Tuscaloosa, I-459 around Birmingham, I-565 in Decatur and Huntsville, and I-759 in Gadsden. A sixth route, I-685, will be formed when I-85 is rerouted along a new southern bypass of Montgomery. A proposed northern bypass of Birmingham will be designated as I-422. Since a direct connection from I-22 to I-422 will not be possible, I-222 has been proposed, as well.
There are four toll roads in the state: Montgomery Expressway in Montgomery; Northport/Tuscaloosa Western Bypass in Tuscaloosa and Northport; Emerald Mountain Expressway in Wetumpka; and Beach Express in Orange Beach.
The Port of Mobile, Alabama’s only saltwater port, is a large seaport on the Gulf of Mexico with inland waterway access to the Midwest by way of the Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway. The Port of Mobile was ranked 12th by tons of traffic in the United States during 2009. The newly expanded container terminal at the Port of Mobile was ranked as the 25th busiest for container traffic in the nation during 2011. The state’s other ports are on rivers with access to the Gulf of Mexico.
Alabama Key Facts
Capital: Montgomery Governor: Kay Ivey (Republican Party) Population: 4.893 million (2020) Abbreviation:AL Nickname: The Heart of Dixie State bird: yellowhammer Senators: Richard Shelby (Republican Party), Tommy Tuberville (Republican Party) Colleges and Universities: The University of Alabama, MORE Biggest City – Birmingham
Accommodation in Alabama
What are some popular places to stay in and around Alabama?
Popular places to stay in Alabama include hotels near Riverchase Galleria, The Gallery on Railroad and USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.
How much does it cost to stay in a hotel in Alabama?
On average, 3-star hotels in Alabama cost £24 per night, and 4-star hotels in Alabama are £66 per night. If you’re looking for something really special, a 5-star hotel in Alabama can on average be found for £21 per night.
Hotels in Alabama are spread around the State within the territory of 17.9 kilometers, while 66 hotels are located directly in the city center. We have 16 Guest Houses available to Book in Alabama and 66 Hotels listed available for Booking right now.
There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the USA. The US Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA. UK prescriptions are not valid in the USA. In order for a British National to obtain pharmacy drugs, you would need to have a prescription from a US provider. This can be done from attending an ‘Urgent Care’ facility, Emergency Room or a doctor’s surgery.
Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your property against petty crime. Don’t leave passports in rental cars, especially in the boot, as there have been a high number of thefts by gangs targeting the vehicles of those who appear to be tourists.
Violent crime, including gun crime, rarely involves tourists, but you should take care when travelling in unfamiliar areas. Avoid walking through less travelled areas alone, especially at night. You can find public advisories and information about recent incidents, such as the Sunset Park subway attack in Brooklyn, New York on 12th April 2022, on the websites of local law enforcement authorities.
Incidents of mass shooting can occur, but account for a very small percentage of homicide deaths. Read the US Department of Homeland Security website, which has published advice on what to do in such an incident.
Research your destination before travelling, be vigilant, and follow the advice of local authorities. Crime associated with the illegal drugs trade is a major issue in Mexican states bordering Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Some foreign nationals have been among the victims of crime in the border regions, but there is no evidence to suggest they have been targeted because of their nationality.
Safety rules at public venues, such as theme parks and other tourist attractions, may vary from state to state.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the USA. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners, crowded areas, and transportation networks. You should monitor media reports and be vigilant at all times.
The main threat comes from individuals who may have been inspired by terrorist ideology to carry out so-called ‘lone actor’ attacks targeting public events or places. Attacks could take place with little or no notice.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides public information about credible threats. Expect an increased presence of law enforcement and tight security at public places and events. This may include a heavy police presence, additional restrictions and searches on bags, and the use of screening technologies. For all current alerts within the USA and its territories, visit the DHS website.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Laws vary from state to state. When you are physically present in a state, even temporarily, you are subject to that state’s laws. You must carry a passport showing that you have leave to enter or remain with you at all times.
The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people differ hugely across the country. Read our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel. You can find more detail on LGBT issues in the USA on the Human Rights Campaign website.
Under US federal law, the legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 21 years. Some states have different laws. If you are under 21 years of age, check the relevant state laws before drinking or attempting to buy alcohol.
Possession or trafficking of a controlled substance in the USA can carry a severe prison sentence and/or fine. Check with each state you are intending to visit to make sure you comply with the personal possession and consumption laws of controlled substances within those states. A list of all types of controlled substances, as listed under the Controlled Substances Act, can be found on the US Department of Justice website.
The FCDO has published informationabout the assistance offered by the British Embassy and Consulates to British nationals if arrested or detained in the USA.
This page has information on travelling to the USA.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
You should be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen on or after 1 March 2011, you are normally not eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa.
You should also be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Cuba, you may not be eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and may need to apply for a US visa. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need.
The US Embassy advise that travellers who come under the following categories should not attempt to travel on an ESTA and should instead apply for a visa: those who have been arrested (even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction); those who have a criminal record; those who have been refused admission into, or have been deported from the USA; those who have previously overstayed under an ESTA. Further details are on the US Embassy Website.
If you’re not vaccinated
Most fully vaccinated foreign citizens can enter the USA. The US authorities will accept any COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These are the AstraZeneca, BIBP/Sinopharm, Covishield, Janssen, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines. In addition, those who have received the full series of an active (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials are considered vaccinated. More details are on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Embassy websites. British nationals planning to travel to the USA should familiarise themselves with the new requirements on the CDC website before booking any travel.
All current visa holders based in the USA who leave the country and then re-enter will need to follow the vaccine entry requirements unless they have an exception. This includes students on F-1 and M-1 visas and those previously issued with an existing National Interest Exception. Further information is on the US Embassy website.
All air passengers to the USA are also required to provide contact information to their airlines before boarding. You should check with your airline before you travel for more details. Effective from Sunday 12 June 2022 at 00:01 ET (5:01 am BST), the CDC no longer require pre-departure COVID-19 testing for USA-bound air travellers.
Upon arrival, fully vaccinated travellers:
do not have to quarantine
are recommended to take a viral test within 3 to 5 days of arrival in the US.
If you have recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the past 90 days (regardless of vaccination status):
you do not need to get a test 3 to 5 days after travel
If you are travelling domestically within the USA, individual states and territories may have their own quarantine requirements. A full list of local quarantine requirements is available on the CDC website. You should check the list frequently as it is likely to change, sometimes daily, as rates of COVID-19 transmission increase or decrease.
Proof of vaccination status
The USA will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies. Your final vaccine dose must have been administered at least 14 days prior to travel. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
The CDC website lists the forms of acceptable proof of COVID-19 status. This also includes the European Union Digital COVID Certificate. Other accepted methods of proof include a printout of a COVID-19 vaccination record or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued at national or subnational level or by an authorized vaccine provider. Alternatively, digital photos of a vaccination card or record, a downloaded vaccine record or a vaccination certificate from an official source (e.g. public health agency, government agency, or other authorised vaccine provider), or a mobile phone application without a QR code. All forms of COVID-19 status must have a personal identifier, at a minimum including full name and date of birth, that match the information on a passenger’s passport or other travel documents. It must also include the name of the official source issuing the record and the vaccine manufacturer and date(s) of vaccination.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
Only those with an exception or US Citizens, US Nationals, and US Lawful Permanent Residents will be able to enter the US unvaccinated. More details are on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Embassy websites, which includes a list of exceptions from the vaccination requirements for certain categories of non-citizens and non-immigrants.
Children 17 and under are exempt from the vaccination requirement.
For travel, the US definition of a fully vaccinated child is the same as the definition of a fully vaccinated adult. This is different to the UK. Further details are on the US Embassy website.
After arrival in the US, children 17 and under that are not fully vaccinated may be required to attest that they will take a test 3 to 5 days and will self-isolate should any symptoms develop or if they test positive. A parent or other authorized person should attest on behalf of a passenger 17 and under. More details are on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If a child (17 and under) is travelling with only one parent or someone who isn’t a parent or legal guardian, you may be asked to provide certain documents at the border. For further information, see the US Customs and Border Protection website.
From 6 October 2022, all US-bound passengers who have been in Uganda in the 21 days prior to their arrival in the US will be subject to enhanced screening for Ebola. This will take place at one of five designated US airports. Further information can be found here
US Visa appointments
Due to the continuing impact of COVID-19, visa appointments at the US Embassy in London remain limited. Therefore, in making an application, you are strongly advised to plan as far ahead as possible before your date of travel. If you have an urgent need to travel, you can request an expedited interview through the US Embassy’s appointment service provider.
Those transiting through the USA will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. You must still follow the COVID requirements detailed above. All passengers must follow state and local COVID safety requirements.
Only those with an exception or US Citizens, US Nationals, and US Lawful Permanent Residents will be able to transit the US unvaccinated. More details are on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Embassy websites, which includes a list of exceptions from the vaccination requirements for certain categories of non-citizens and non-immigrants.
Check your Passport and Travel Documents before you travel
If you are visiting the USA your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. You don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
The US Customs and Border Protection programme Global Entry gets pre-approved travellers through border control faster at some US airports. If you’re a British citizen you can register to get a UK background check on GOV.UK. If you pass the background checks, you’ll be invited to apply for Global Entry.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry into the USA or transit through the USA on an ESTA. If you’re planning to enter or transit through the USA using an ETD, you must apply for a visa from the nearest US embassy or consulate before you travel, which may take a number of days, or hold a valid lawful permanent resident card (often referred to as a ‘green card’), which you must have with you on arrival. UK ETDs issued in the USA are valid for exit from the USA.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Medical treatment is expensive and there are no special arrangements for British visitors. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Some hospitals may ask non-US residents to pay a deposit or ‘good faith’ payment on admittance. You should direct any requests for funds to your travel insurance provider in the first instance; only pay the hospital if you’re advised to do so by your travel insurance company. Your level of medical care won’t be affected while your claim is being processed.
Medical facilities in American Samoa are basic and medical evacuation by air ambulance to Hawaii, New Zealand or Australia may be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the US. The USA Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA.
Snow storms during winter can cause disruptions to critical infrastructure, such as power cuts, or delays and cancellations throughout the major transport hubs in the USA. Contact your travel company or airline before you travel. To monitor airport conditions in the USA, visit the Federal Aviation Administration website.
The Atlantic hurricane season normally runs from June to November. The Pacific hurricane season normally runs from May to November. They can affect US coastal regions, Hawaii and Guam. The South Pacific tropical cyclone season normally runs from November to May and can affect American Samoa.
You should monitor the progress of approaching storms on the US National Hurricane Center website and follow instructions issued by the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website contains information about how to prepare for extreme weather conditions and what to do if you are told to evacuate. It also provides a list of disaster supplies that will help if you live in an area affected by storms and hurricanes.
See our tropical cyclones page for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if you’re likely to be affected by a hurricane or tropical cyclone.
Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Washington state and the US Virgin Islands are prone to earthquakes. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit the Federal Emergency Management website.
Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year depending on weather conditions. To learn more about what you should do during, and after a tornado, visit the FEMA website
Forest and brush fires (wildfires) are a danger in many dry areas. High winds can cause fires to spread very rapidly. Areas of high risk are canyons, hills and forests. Monitor local media and weather reportsand follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. Exercise caution in areas which have been recently affected by wild fires as they are more susceptible to mudslides during heavy rainfall.
There is continuous volcanic activity on Hawaii’s Big Island. British nationals in the area should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. For further updates see the State of Hawaii’s website. To learn more about what to do before, during and after a volcano, visit the Federal Emergency Managementwebsite.
Large numbers of British nationals travel successfully and safely in and around the Arctic each year. The Arctic is, however, a vast region, comprising the northerly areas of Alaska (USA), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden. If you’re considering visiting the Arctic, read the specific travel advice for each of these countries and consider carefully the potential remoteness of certain destinations from search and rescue, evacuation and medical facilities. Independent travellers are particularly advised to develop contingency arrangements for emergency back-up.
The most popular way of visiting the Arctic is by ship. As some areas of the Arctic -specifically the more northerly and remote regions – can be uncharted and ice-covered, you should check the previous operational experience of cruise and other operators offering travel in the region. You should also consider the on-board medical facilities of cruise ships and talk to cruise operators as appropriate, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
The eight Arctic states take their international search and rescue obligations very seriously, and have recently signed a binding agreement on search and rescue co-operation in the Arctic. However, in the highest latitude regions of the Arctic, cruise ships may be operating in relative isolation from other vessels and/or inhabited areas. You should be aware that in these regions, search and rescue response will often need to be despatched from many hundreds of miles away, and assistance to stranded vessels may take several days to arrive, particularly in bad weather. Search and rescue assets are also likely to offer only basic transport and basic medical care, and are unlikely to be capable of advanced life-support. Responsible cruise operators should happily provide additional information relevant to the circumstances of the cruise they are offering, and address any concerns you may have.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
Below are some of the best food and drink tours in Alabama.
Downtown Mobile Food Tour
Bring an appetite to Mobile’s LoDa neighborhood for a gourmet tour that blends local history with treats from gumbo to crawfish and praline. It’s a delicious way to eat lunch without limiting yourself to one meal, and you’ll get a delicious look into the city’s cuisine while learning about three centuries of Mobile history.
Enjoy a taste of Birmingham on board the Bham Eat Drink Ride Food Tour party bus. This food tour takes you to 4 or 5 of the city’s best local restaurants—so come hungry. You’ll enjoy small bites at each restaurant, as well as 3 cocktails, and lots of fun. Read More
Birmingham Original Brew Tour
Beer-lovers will enjoy this tour of Birmingham’s craft breweries, which includes a huge variety of samples and a special behind-the-scenes look at the industry. Your guide will drive you to four different stops, offering lessons in the history and culture of brewing while you sample up to 16 different styles of beer. Read More
What are the best Food & Drink Tours in Alabama?
The best Food & Drink Tours in Alabama according to Viator travelers are:
The Birmingham Ghost Walk – Hotels Churches and Riots Tour
Discover the dark side of Birmingham’s history on a walking tour that focuses on the city’s allegedly haunted sites and the incidents that have taken place there. Whether you are a paranormal believer or just interested in learning about a different side of the city, this tour is for you. Plus, traveling with a guide enables you to visit sites most people wouldn’t feel comfortable visiting on their own. Read More
Birmingham Civil Rights Tour
Montgomery, Selma, & Tuskegee Ticket
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the best Arts & Design in Alabama?
The best Arts & Design in Alabama according to Viator travelers are: