Alabama can be characterized as having 4 regions:
Alabama, and the South in general has a reputation for "southern hospitality". The people of this state are generally genial and helpful, and often go out of their way to help a stranger. While racial divisions still exist in the state, they are much more muted than is generally believed. The attitudes and problems of the old south are mostly held today only by the old and the uneducated.
Known primarily for it's unusual status as the original capitol of the Confederacy and the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's, Alabama can be a study in contrasts.
The sport of football is taken seriously in Alabama. In addition to significant regional devotion to high-school football teams, the entire state is divided in a way over Alabama versus Auburn University football rivalry. This can also be a point of concern for tourists, the rivalry is so serious that if you do not know about it, it is better to not say anything. Many marriages and friendships fall apart due to this rivalry.
Many (though certainly not all) Alabamians speak with thick local accents, so non-native English speakers may have difficulty understanding them.
Alabama is accessible by five interstate highways: I-10 crosses the state from east to west near Mobile in the south; I-20 enters Alabama from the east, traverses Birmingham, and joins I-59 as it traverses Tuscaloosa and exits the state in a southwesterly direction; I-59 enters northeastern Alabama, continues southwest through Birmingham, and exits the state toward the southwest; I-22 enters Alabama from the northwest and ends in Birmingham; I-65 enters Alabama from the north, traverses Birmingham, and ends in Mobile; I-85 enters the state in the east and ends in Montgomery.
There is one daily Amtrak service through the state: trains 19 (southbound) and 20 (northbound) run from New Orleans to Washington DC and New York City. The trains stop in Alabama at Anniston, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. Coach and sleeper service is available, with checked baggage, a restaurant car, a café and a lounge. See Amtrak for more information.
The biggest airport is in Birminghham, and from there or large airports in neighboring states you can get flights to Mobile and Montgomery
Car is no doubt the best method, and the most scenic. Interstates converge on Montgomery, Birmingham, and Mobile, and make quick transportation between those cities and ones in other states. They also connect to Anniston, Tuscaloosa, & Huntsville. Elsewhere though, travel can be slower in more rural areas
Home to what is considered one of the top rivalries in sports, the state of Alabama revolves around college football. Each weekend of the fall, hundreds of thousands of fans around the state pack stadiums to cheer for their respective teams.
In Birmingham, try Nikki's West for a good meat and three. Also, check out Full Moon barbeque in downtown Birmingham. Bottega and Highland's are delicious but expensive. In Tuscaloosa, try City Cafe, Dreamland barbeque, Wing's and Cafe Venice. In Jasper, Mr. Subs has the best sandwiches in town.
Alabama is sandwiched by two other Deep South states: Mississippi & Georgia, both with similar culture. Mississippi has civil war battlefields, scenic parkways, and more antebellum charm. Georgia has the major metropolis of Atlanta, with many attractions, and the charming cities of Macon & Savannah. To the north is Tennessee, with the cities of Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, & Chattanooga, plus the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains.
Bordering the southern part of the state is Florida, with a lot more gulf coast than Alabama, including fabulous beaches, the big tourist area of Orlando, and the cities of Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami