Moving to Alabama

Known as the Heart of Dixie, Alabama is smack dab in the middle of arguably the fastest-growing region in America. Combined with its Southern culture, low cost of living, beautiful landscapes, world-famous music, finger-lickin’ food, and much more, and you have a mighty fine recipe for living in the South. 

Mulling over a move to Alabama? We’re here to lend a helping hand. Great Guys Long Distance Movers has created this informative AL moving guide, broken down into the following sections:

  1. Things to Consider Before Moving to AL
  2. Top Places to Live in the Southern State
  3. Helpful Interstate Moving Checklist
  4. Great Guys Cheap Moving Services

We strive to help you make the best moving decisions for you and yours. When you’re ready, we can provide you with free moving quotes from top AL moving companies in minutes. It’s that easy!

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Living in Alabama: What to Know Before Moving to Alabama

Relocating to The Cotton State? If you’re fixin’ to move here, check out these following facts on the 24th most populated state (4.87 million) and 30th largest state (52,419 square miles) in America. 

Pros and Cons of Living in Alabama

Pros: 

  • Low-cost living: Along with the second-lowest property tax in the US, Alabama offers a housing market in the Top 3 for affordability. Rent is even cheaper (see “Housing Market” section).
  • Stunning landscapes: The terrain is as varied as it is wonderful. From amazing shorelines and beaches to epic hills and forests, the state’s natural beauty will win your heart.
  • Musical heritage: When it comes to music, Alabama has deep roots. From blues and jazz to country, the state has influenced some of the greatest artists and recordings in the world.
  • Mouth-watering food: Where do we start? BBQ pulled pork, banana pudding, fried catfish, country fried steak, caramel cake, boiled peanuts, fried pill pickles, the list goes on.
  • Southern spirit: Along with its amazing food comes even better Southern spirit. Folks take things a bit slower here, savoring life and each other’s company (with a more religious inclination).
  • Sports: College football is a way of life here. In addition to the Bama vs. Auburn rivalry, there are teams like the Birmingham Barons (minor league baseball) and the Huntsville Havocs (hockey).
  • Fast growth: Despite its dark past, Alabama has moved forward with a spirit of modernism. This new mood, coupled with a strong sense of heritage, means the state is pointing itself in an exciting direction.

Cons:

  • Bugs: Pests are bad here. Real bad. From mosquitoes and gnats to ticks and chiggers, there’s a long list of pesky insects. Bug spray doesn’t seem to help much, so get used to it.
  • Summer weather: Though the weather can be gorgeous, summers in Alabama are intensely hot and humid, with temperatures sometimes hovering in the 100s for weeks at a time. 
  • Natural disasters: The state gets some serious storms, including hurricanes and tornadoes. Also, a state of emergency has been declared 13 times since the 1960s due to ice storms.
  • Poverty: At about 17%, the poverty rate is one of the highest in the United States. Though the unemployment rate is currently low, typical wages can be below the national standard.
  • Drug use: With the high level of poverty, homelessness, and abandoned properties, there comes a high rate of drug use. Meth labs, in particular, have become a huge issue in rural areas.
  • Healthcare: Ranked close to the bottom overall in healthcare, the state receives some of the lowest scores in the country when it comes to public health, infant mortality, and obesity. 
  • Weird laws: Every state has them, and Alabama is no exception. For example, placing salt on railroad tracks can warrant the death penalty. Also, you can’t play dominoes on Sunday.

Tax Rates

  • Property Tax: 0.42%. The effective real-estate tax rate is #2 lowest in the US.
  • Sales Tax: Alabama’s base sales tax rate: 4%. Coupled with local taxes, you can expect a sales tax rate between 4–11%.
  • Income Tax: 2–5%. The state has just three brackets (2%, 4%, and 5%).

Housing Market

Cheaper to Rent or Buy? According to Visualizing the Cost of Renting vs. Owning a Home in Each State by HowMuch, it is nearly 40% cheaper to rent a place rather than buy a home in Alabama. The state earns the #4 spot on the list of cheapest states to rent in America. 

Not to be outdone, the housing market in Alabama is the third cheapest in the nation. According to the Cheapest States to Buy a Home by SmartAsset, it has the #2 lowest effective property tax rate, #4 lowest median listing price (based on square footage), and the #3 lowest bottom-third median home value.

  • Median Home Value: $134,300
  • Median Rental Expense: $675 (1BR), $820 (2BR)

Cheapest Places to Live in Alabama:

  1. Roanoke
  2. Tuscumbia
  3. Attalla
  4. Hamilton
  5. Lincoln
  6. Russellville
  7. Hartselle
  8. Clay
  9. Gadsden
  10. Glencoe

Cost of Living

According to the Cost of Living in Alabama by BestPlaces, Alabama has a cost of living index of 88.6. This index is lower than the nationwide average of 100.

Using EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, we can compare the average monthly costs in three Alabama cities. We’ll use a family of four (2 adults + 2 children) for our examples.

Tuscaloosa:

  1. Housing = $805
  2. Food = $842
  3. Childcare = $1,089
  4. Transportation = $1,167
  5. Healthcare = $1,123
  6. Other necessities = $665
  7. Taxes = $905
  8. Grand total = $6,597 per month or $79,159 per year

Montgomery Metro Area:

  1. Housing = $829
  2. Food = $790
  3. Childcare = $1,159
  4. Transportation = $1,167
  5. Healthcare = $1,197
  6. Other necessities = $653
  7. Taxes = $935
  8. Grand total = $6,731 per month or $80,776 per year

Birmingham Metro Area:

  1. Housing = $882
  2. Food = $775
  3. Childcare = $1,175
  4. Transportation = $1,151
  5. Healthcare = $1,261
  6. Other necessities = $669
  7. Taxes = $967
  8. Grand total = $6,880 per month or $82,555 per year

Weather & Natural Disasters

The state of Alabama has a humid subtropical climate. This results in extremely hot summers and mild winters. There’s also a decent amount of precipitation that can occur during any month of the year.

With an annual average temperature of just under 65°F, temperatures are generally cooler in the northern portion of the state, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains region. On the other side of the coin, temperatures tend to be warmer in the southern part (which is near the Gulf of Mexico).

Alabama is one of the warmest states in the country, with summertime temperatures averaging in the low 90s. Fortunately, winds from the Gulf of Mexico (in the southern region) and relatively higher elevation (in the northern region) help mitigate the heat.

Climate Statistics:

  1. Average rainfall – 56 inches
  2. Average snowfall – 1 inch
  3. Sunshine – 213 sunny days
  4. Summer high – 91°F (July)
  5. Winter low – 33°F (January)

Alabama experiences several types of natural disasters, which can result in injury and property damage. Huntsville, for instance, is considered one of the Top 10 cities most at-risk for natural disasters. To be prepared, check out the Alabama Emergency Management Agency page.

Natural Disaster – Threats & Risks:

  1. Hurricanes
  2. Tornadoes
  3. Flooding
  4. Thunderstorms
  5. Windstorms
  6. Winter Weather
  7. Extreme Heat
  8. Drought
  9. Earthquakes

Economy & Job Market

According to Economy Rankings by US News & World Report, Alabama is currently ranked #45 in America. This score depends on three subcategories: the business environment (#43), employment (#45), and growth (#22). Its GDP is approximately $211.2 billion, and the median income is $26,498.

Top Industries:

  1. Aerospace & Aviation
  2. Agricultural Products & Food Production
  3. Automotive
  4. Construction
  5. Healthcare
  6. Maritime
  7. Bioscience
  8. Chemicals
  9. Forestry Products
  10. Metal & Advanced Materials

Top Employers:

  1. Encompass Health (Birmingham)
  2. Regions Bank (Birmingham)
  3. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham)
  4. Civil Air Patrol (Montgomery)
  5. BBVA Compass (Birmingham)
  6. Auburn University (Auburn)
  7. Vulcan Materials (Birmingham)
  8. BL Harbert International (Birmingham)
  9. Alabama Power (Birmingham)
  10. Drummond (Birmingham)
  11. Onin Staffing (Birmingham)
  12. Hibbett Sports (Birmingham)
  13. Sterne Agee (Birmingham)
  14. EBSCO Industries (Birmingham)
  15. CNHI (Montgomery)
  16. Papa John’s Pizza (Birmingham)
  17. NHS Management LLC (Tuscaloosa)
  18. Raycom Media (Montgomery)
  19. Motion Industries (Birmingham)
  20. Bell Media (Montgomery)

Looking for work in Alabama? Here are some handy resources:

  1. Alabama.gov page: Alabama JobLink
  2. Job search: Indeed, LinkedIn, CollegeRecruiter, CareerBuilder
  3. Resume help: Monster, TopResume, ResumeRobin

Traffic and Transportation

Alabama is right in the middle of one of the fastest-growing regions in America. Meeting the demand, the state offers great infrastructure (Top 20 in the country) to help folks get around with relative ease.

Major Forms of Transportation:

  1. Roads (including six interstate highways)
  2. Rail (3,700+ miles of railroad tracks)
  3. Air (including 92 public-use airports)
  4. Waterways (1,300 miles of Alabama water corridors)
  5. Port of Mobile (only deep-water port in AL)
  6. Taxi & Limo Services
  7. Bus systems (local transit, Greyhound, etc.)
  8. Ridesharing (Lyft, Uber, etc.)

Primary Interstate Highways:

  • Interstate 10: Running from the Mississippi state line (close to Grand Bay) to the Florida state line (at the Perdido River), I-10 is the primary west-east highway in the Gulf Coast area.
  • Interstate 20: The approximately 215-mile stretch of I-20 travels from the Mississippi border (close to Cuba, AL) to the Georgia state line (close to Lebanon) in a northeastward direction.
  • Interstate 22: Entering the state at the Mississippi state line (near Hamilton), I-22 approximates the path of the former route US 78. It reaches its terminus in the Birmingham metro area.
  • Interstate 59: The AL section of I-59 runs parallel with I-20 for about 40% of its journey, entering at the Mississippi state line (close to Cuba) and exiting at the Georgia state line in the northeast.
  • Interstate 65: As the primary north-south route in the state, I-65 travels for about 590 miles from I-10 (near Mobile) in the south to the Tennessee state line (close to the town of Ardmore).
  • Interstate 85: This shorter section of interstate highway runs from Montgomery and continues in an eastward direction toward Auburn and Tuskegee. I-85 exits at the Georgia state line.

According to Best and Worst States to Drive In by WalletHub, Alabama is ranked #14 in the country. This ranking is based on four subcategories: cost of ownership & maintenance (#3), traffic & infrastructure (#13), safety (#46), and access to vehicles & maintenance (#26).

Things to Do

Looking for fun stuff to do in Alabama? Whether you’re in search of must-see attractions, family-friendly activities, or something out of the ordinary, the Heart of Dixie certainly does not disappoint!

Tourist Destinations:

The Cotton State is home to important US history and famous tourist attractions.

  • US Space & Rocket Center: Home to one of the biggest collections of rockets and space memorabilia, this center covers history from the Space Race to the International Space Station.
  • GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico: This top attraction is full of interactive exhibits, theaters, and simulators dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Fort Morgan State Historic Site Museum: Once Alabama’s largest permanent military base, the historic site now stands as a testament to Fort Morgan’s legendary past.
  • Alabama Wildlife Center: As the state’s oldest and biggest wildlife rehabilitation center, it houses about 2,000 wild birds from 100+ various species.
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: This institute promotes the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the global struggle for human rights.

Food & Drink:

Alabama is a foodie’s heaven (especially down-home-cookin’)! Here are the top picks:

  • Top All-You-Can-Eat: Barnyard Buffet (Saraland)
  • Top Bar: Callaghan’s Irish Social Club (Mobile)
  • Top Beach Bar: Bill’s by the Beach (Gulf Shores)
  • Top Brunch: Big Bad Breakfast (Birmingham)
  • Top Burger: Hamburger Fonfon at Chez Fonfon (Birmingham)
  • Top Fried Chicken: Café Dupont (Birmingham)
  • Top Chocolate Shop: Chocolate Corner (Gulf Shores)
  • Top Coffee Shop: The Red Cat (Birmingham)
  • Top Donuts: The Heavenly Donut Co. (Birmingham)
  • Top Food Truck: The Tacos Dos Hermanos Truck (Birmingham)

State Parks:

Want to explore Alabama’s stunning outdoor beauty? Visit these popular state parks:

  • Gulf State Park: This Gulf Shores park is home to two miles of gorgeous sandy beaches, a renowned golf course, rental cottages, and 27 miles of manicured trails.
  • Monte Sano State Park: A Hunstville gem, it offers phenomenal hiking, rental cabins, tent and RV camping, mountain biking, and breathtaking views. 
  • Gulf State Park Fishing Pier: Love fishing? This Gulf Shores pier is a quarter of a mile long, complete with cleaning areas, and wheelchair accessibility. 
  • DeSoto State Park: This state park, located on Lookout Mountain in Fort Payne, is home to numerous rushing waterfalls and beautiful wildflowers. 
  • Chewacla State Park: Comprised of nearly 700 acres, this park in Auburn offers a lake, playground, mountain biking trails, and a short hike to a waterfall.

Museums:

There are many great museums to visit in Alabama. Here’s are the Top 5 picks:

  • Legacy Museum: Dedicated to the history of the domestic slave trade, racial terrorism, and more.
  • Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum: A hog enthusiast’s haven, this museum is home to 750+ vintage and modern motorcycles.
  • Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: Tour this iconic music recording studio where a bevy of famous artists, including Aretha Franklin and Willie Nelson, has recorded over the years.
  • Battleship USS Alabama: Explore the history and design of this famous battleship in Mobile.
  • US Veterans Memorial Museum: This Hunstville attraction is one of the top military museums in the entire world.

Cool & Unusual:

Looking for something off the beaten path in Alabama? Check out: 

  • Unclaimed Baggage Center: Ever wonder where all that unclaimed flight baggage goes? Over 7,000 items are added every day to the center’s collection of curious merchandise. 
  • Spectre Set Ruins: Built for the enchanting film Big Fish, the fictional town of Spectre sits on the banks of the Alabama River. It offers fans a glimpse into the magic of the movie.
  • Neversink Pit: This cross between a cave and a sinkhole drops some 16 stories down, attracting climbers and photographers alike with its waterfalls in spring and ice sheets in winter.
  • Alabama’s Natural Bridge: At nearly 150 feet in length, this amazing natural wonder (made of iron ore and sandstone) formed at least 200 million years ago. 
  • The Drive-Thru Museum: Ever been to a museum where you don’t need to get out of your car? This drive-thru is the place! It stands as the first drive-thru antiques and art gallery.

Schools and Universities

According to Education Rankings by US News, Alabama is currently ranked #50 in education. This score sinkhole on two categories: higher education (#47) and K–12 education (#49). Despite this, the state is home to several notable colleges, universities, and school districts schools. Here are the top picks:

Top AL Colleges:

  1. Auburn University (Auburn)
  2. Samford University (Birmingham)
  3. University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
  4. The University of Alabama – Birmingham (Birmingham) 
  5. Birmingham-Southern College (Birmingham)
  6. University of Alabama – Huntsville (Huntsville)
  7. University of Mobile (Mobile)
  8. Spring Hill College (Mobile)
  9. University of South Alabama (Mobile)
  10. University of North Alabama (Florence)

Top AL Public School Districts:

  1. Mountain Brook City Schools (Mountain Brook)
  2. Madison City Schools (Madison)
  3. Homewood City Schools (Homewood)
  4. Hoover City Schools (Hoover)
  5. Auburn City Schools (Auburn)
  6. Vestavia Hills City Schools (Birmingham)
  7. Trussville City Schools (Trussville)
  8. Muscle Shoals City Schools (Muscle Shoals)
  9. Hartselle City Schools (Hartselle)
  10. Cullman City Schools (Cullman)

How to Become an Alabama Resident

Establishing Alabama residency is crucial for tax purposes and in-state tuition eligibility at the University of Alabama and other institutes of higher learning. Check individual requirements, as they can differ.

In general, to become an official resident of Alabama, you must be domiciled in the state. Domicile means that you permanently live here (and have only one domicile). You may also qualify as a resident if you maintain a permanent home and spend over seven months of the calendar year in Alabama. 

Moving to Alabama DMV

Acquiring a new driver’s license:

After moving to the state, new residents have 30 days to get a driver’s license.

Steps to getting a new license:

  1. Establish Alabama residency
  2. Visit an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Driver License Division
  3. Present: out-of-state driver’s license, social security card, one form of primary ID (birth certificate, passport, etc.), proof of graduation or school enrollment (if under the age of 19)
  4. Pass vision screening
  5. If the license is expired, must pass required exams
  6. Have photo taken
  7. Pay applicable fees
  8. Receive a temporary license
  9. Wait for a permanent license to arrive by mail within 30 days
  10. Contact Driver License Division if you do not receive it in 30 days

Vehicle registration:

New AL residents must register out-of-state vehicles within 30 days. There are a few prerequisites for registering in Alabama. These include 1) A certificate of title / current registration, 2) Vehicle identification number (VIN) and vehicle inspection/ownership documentation inspection, 3) Liability insurance policy 4) If applicable, payment of Federal Heavy Vehicle Tax (FHVUT).

Once you meet these requirements, you must pay titling and registration fees, as well as applicable taxes. You will then be issued Alabama license plates. 

To qualify to vote, you must be:

  1. A United States citizen
  2. A legal Alabama state resident
  3. 18 years or older on election day
  4. Not barred due to a felony conviction
  5. Not be declared mentally competent by a court

Alabama offers online voter registration. You may also register by mail or in-person (at license branches, government offices, public libraries, military recruiting stations, and county boards of registrars). No-excuse absentee voting or early voting is not permitted. Voters must present valid photo ID at the polls.

Note: In Alabama, felons with certain convictions never regain their voting rights.

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Best Places to Live in Alabama

These are some of the top places to live in the Yellowhammer State, broken down by region:

North Alabama

Birmingham

Population: 211,000
Median Home Value: $87,000

We begin our tour of Alabama in the city of Birmingham. With a population of 210,000+, Birmingham is the largest city in the state. With its roots in the civil rights movement, the city provides a wide variety of multicultural experiences combined with a cost of living that is 20% lower than many other US cities.

Known as “Pittsburgh of the South” and “The Magic City,” Birmingham earned its nicknames due to its history of industrial economy and rapid growth. It has since become a highly diverse and metropolitan area. From education and growing job opportunities to sports and nightlife, Magic City has a little bit of everything. The city was also ranked #4 among the best cities for job seekers in 2019 by Indeed.

Top public schools are Oak Mt. High School, Oak Mt. Middle School, Inverness Elementary School, Oak Mt. Elementary School, and Oak Mt. Intermediate School. Birmingham is brimming with private schools, including The Altamont School, Cornerstone Schools of Alabama, Central Park Christian Schools, Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, and Spring Valley School. There are also several places to obtain a higher education degree, including Samford University, University of Alabama – Birmingham, Birmingham-Southern College, Lawson State Community College, and Herzing University – Birmingham.

Top neighborhoods are Glen Iris, Forest Park, Highland Park, Oxmoor, and Redmont Park.

Are you looking for a great blend of Southern culture and modern, big-city convenience? Birmingham offers just that, along with a small-town vibe, high diversity, and metropolitan flavor. 

Florence

Population: 40,000
Median Home Value: $126,600

Next on your trip through North Alabama, we stop in Florence. The city of 40,000 sits in the northwestern corner of the state in Lauderdale County. 54% of residents own their homes, and the public schools are ranked high.

Situated along the Tennessee River, Florence is a lovely city that attracts many visitors annually. It is the largest city in “the Shoals,” which also includes Tuscumbia, Sheffield, and Muscle Shoals. Along with great outdoor recreation, shopping, dining, and cultural opportunities, the city also offers extremely affordable cost of living – according to BestPlaces, Florence’s cost of living index is only 78.4.

The city’s top public schools are Florence High School, Forest Hills School, Florence Middle School, Kilby Laboratory School, and Weeden Elementary School. Top private schools include Shoals Christian School, Mars Hill Bible School, and St. Joseph Regional Catholic School. Top colleges in the area are the University of North Alabama and Heritage Christian University.

In the market for a beautiful, smaller city that offers endless activities, gorgeous waterfront living, thriving economy, rich history, and some of the friendliest folks in America? Florence is the top pick! 

Huntsville

Population: 199,000
Median Home Value: $152,200

Huntsville, the second-largest city in Alabama (just behind Birmingham), is found in the Appalachian portion of Alabama in Madison County. As a major US tech/space/defense industry hub, the city of almost 200,000 is a vibrant place that mixes Southern charm with tech-savvy.

Once a sleepy little town, Huntsville (also known as Rocket City) came to prominence in the 1960s due to the Space Race. With the presence of NASA and the US Army’s Redstone Arsenal, the city is home to many engineers. In 2019, it was ranked #1 among the 25 best affordable places to live in the US.

Top public schools: Heritage Elementary School, New Century Technology High School, Virgil Grissom High School, Huntsville High School, and Monrovia Middle School. Top private schools: Randolph School, St. John Paul II Catholic High School, Westminster Christian School, and Whitesburg Christian Academy. Top colleges: The University of Alabama in Huntsville, J.F. Drake State Technical College, Oakwood University, Alabama A&M University, and Huntsville Bible College.

Home to some of the smartest folks in the world, Huntsville is the go-to destination for anyone looking to live and work in one of the top cities for affordability, progress, and innovation.

Madison

Population: 48,000
Median Home Value: $220,900

Named the best place to live in Alabama in 2017, Madison is part of the Huntsville metropolitan area in Madison County. 70% of residents are homeowners, and the public schools are highly rated.

What makes Madison so great? For starters, it is considered a top “digital city” and was named a Google eCity in 2013. It also brilliantly mixes traditional (Alabama Constitution Village), modern (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center), and futuristic (Robot Zoo). Combine that with a reasonable cost of living, low crime, great schools, awesome job opportunities, and more, and you can quickly see why this is considered the top spot to live in Alabama. To boot, Madison is a short commute (15 minutes) southwest of Huntsville.

Top public schools in the area are Bob Jones High School, Madison Elementary School, Columbia Elementary School, Mill Creek Elementary School, and James Clemens High School. Top private schools include Madison Baptist Academy and St. John the Baptist Catholic School. 

Are you looking for a great place to raise a family or start your career? Madison offers a small-town feel and proximity to Huntsville, perfect for those working in tech, medical, or engineering.

Tuscaloosa

Population: 100,000
Median Home Value: $153,400

The final leg of our journey through the northern portion of the state takes us to Alabama’s 5th most populated city, Tuscaloosa. Located in Tuscaloosa County, along the Black Warrior River, the city of 100K is home to the University of Alabama (go Crimson Tide!), Tuscaloosa is a phenomenal city with a college-town atmosphere. It has a median age of just 28 years, which makes it a dynamic, thriving, and lively area in which to live. As for drawbacks, there is room for improvement when it comes to crime and housing.

Top public schools are Northridge High School, Tuscaloosa Magnet School – Middle School, Tuscaloosa Magnet School – Elementary School, and Rock Quarry Elementary School. Top private schools include Tuscaloosa Academy, Holy Spirit Catholic School, American Christian Academy, and North River Christian Academy. In addition to the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa also offers post-secondary education at Shelton State Community College.

Whether you’re a college student, retiree, or family person, Tuscaloosa offers a nice mix of low-cost living, warm weather, abundant activities, and so much more.

South Alabama

Auburn

Population: 63,000
Median Home Value: $259,300

As we head on down to South Alabama, we find ourselves in the city of Auburn. It is considered the #1 place to live in Lee County. 56% of residents rent their homes, and largely thanks to the influence of the University, the local public schools are highly rated.

Home to Auburn University (the main rival of the University of Alabama), Auburn is a friendly Southern city with a solid college-town vibe. As with Tuscaloosa, college football is a way of life here. Though it has the highest median home value on this list, Auburn nonetheless offers a reasonable cost of living, especially once you factor in its topnotch amenities (theaters, music, golf courses, shops, and so on).

Top public schools include Cary Woods Elementary School, Dean Road Elementary School, Richland Elementary School, Auburn High School, and Ogletree School. 

With a warm and relaxed vibe (as well as a close-knit community), Auburn is a beautiful, clean, and safe place to receive a stellar education or raise a family.

Mobile

Population: 192,000
Median Home Value: $121,100

As Alabama’s only saltwater port, situated at the head of Mobile Bay, the city of Mobile is the state’s third most populous city. It is one of the most historic and storied cities in America and continues its reputation of culture, fun, and sweet Southern living.

Filled with amazing seafood, fairs, community events, and gulf-front beaches, Mobile has a spirit of celebration. It’s also chock-full of historical sites like Battleship Memorial Park and antebellum mansion museums. On the downside, the city scores low in crime, housing, and public education.

(Cool fact: Mobile, not New Orleans, is the birthplace of Mardi Gras. The first celebration took place here in 1704. That’s 14 years before French Colonists founded New Orleans)

Top public schools in Mobile are Eichold-Mertz Magnet School of Math, Science & Technology; W.H. Council Traditional School; Clark-Shaw Magnet School; and Phillips Preparatory Middle School, while top private schools include UMS-Wright Preparatory School, St. Paul’s Episcopal School, McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, and St. Luke’s Episcopal School. There are several institutions of higher education, including Spring Hill College, University of Mobile, University of South Alabama, Remington College – Mobile, and Bishop State Community College.

In search of a fun + historically & culturally rich Southern city? Despite some shortcomings, Mobile checks all those boxes and then some.

Montgomery

Population: 197,000
Median Home Value: $85,300

Last but certainly not least, we end our list of best places to live in Alabama with Montgomery. As the capital of Alabama and the second-largest city in the state (just behind Birmingham), the city of Montgomery offers unbelievable affordability, rich Southern history, and a great sense of community.

From the Civil War to the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, Montgomery is steeped in history. In its present-day form, the city offers exciting nightlife and a revitalized downtown. Due to the influx of young professionals, Montgomery has seen a boost in business and events, including the state’s first taco festival, Taco Libre. As for drawbacks, it scores low in housing, crime, and education.

Top public schools include Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School, Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Brewbaker Tech Magnet High School, and Forest Avenue Elementary School. For those seeking private school education, you may want to explore The Montgomery Academy, Saint James School, Trinity Presbyterian School, and Alabama Christian Academy. Top colleges in town include Auburn University at Montgomery, Huntingdon College, Faulkner University, H. Councill Trenholm State Community College, and South University – Montgomery. 

Are you looking to live in the center of Alabama? Montgomery offers this both metaphorically and geographically as a thriving capital city back on the rise.

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How to Move to Alabama

As the popular saying goes, if you don’t get the right plan in place, that dog won’t hunt. We’ve included this handy interstate moving checklist, so you know what works for a smooth Alabama relocation.

2 to 3 Months Out

  • First, get going early on: Want a drama-free moving experience? If so, be sure to give yourself (and the folks helping you) at least two to three months. This forethought will allow you to plan and perform your Alabama move successfully. Even though it may be tempting, don’t procrastinate.
  • Book AL moving company: Compare a handful of prospective movers (at least three to five companies). Make sure all candidates are fully licensed, insured, and experienced. Great Guys makes the process of selecting and hiring AL interstate movers a breeze. Contact us today!
  • Notify landlord, real estate agent, etc.: Rent? It can cost you in more than one way if you don’t inform your landlord ASAP. Own? Give yourself the best chance of selling the house at a high price or securing the best tenants possible if you choose to rent your place.
  • Declutter: Also known as purging, this will help save you space and money. First, take inventory of your household items. Next, beginning with one room at a time, sort through belongings. Select which items you want to keep or discard. Place in piles, bags, or label accordingly.
  • Sell, donate, recycle: Once you’ve sorted through your household, it’s time to let go of disused items. Sell online, donate to charity, or recycle anything you no longer want or need.
  • Visit your new community: If doable, take a trip to your future town or city. Explore and see what it has to offer. If not possible, subscribe to a local newspaper to keep in the know.
  • Prepare children: Moving is stressful, but it can be particularly disruptive for kids. Take them aside and explain what’s happening. Be kind and patient. Also, try to maintain normal routines.

1 Month Left

  • Begin packing: Doing it yourself? Be prepared. Get your hands on plenty of quality moving boxes, tape, packing peanuts, and other packing supplies. Try to not mix items from different rooms. Tape and label every box. Need help? Our pro packers are at the ready. 
  • Change your address: To do so, visit a local USPS office or go online to the USPS site. While you’re at it, go ahead and update info for online services, box subscriptions, and so on.
  • Transfer important records and prescriptions: These can include medical records and school transcripts. Also, be sure to have enough medications on hand during the moving process.
  • Disconnect and activate services: This includes utilities like water, electric, trash, and so on. Have services turned off the day after the movers pack up and drive away. Be sure to schedule new utilities and services (internet, satellite, etc.) to be available by the time you move into your new home.

2 Weeks to Go

  • Service your vehicle: Driving to your new town or state? Don’t forget to have your car, truck, van, or SUV properly inspected and serviced, including oil, tires, and air conditioning.
  • Book cleaning services: Professional cleaners can bring new life to your old place, increasing sales or rental value. Schedule a crew to come in right after your moving crew has finished up.
  • Plan for pet transport: Have a furry friend or two that can’t make the trip with you directly? You can always schedule transport for your beloved pets, as well as your prized plants.
  • Throw a moving sale: Do you still need to make room in your new home or storage unit? Get rid of your old stuff with a sale. Plus, you can make a few bucks and catch up with your neighbors.
  • Inquire about insurance: Better safe than sorry. Contact your insurer and moving company to go over moving coverage. Check current policies and ask about additional options.
  • Make plans for kids and pets: Moving day is going to hectic. The day also tends to be all-consuming, so the best option is to book a babysitter or pet care to safeguard your little ones.
  • Say goodbye: During the hustle and bustle of your move, take the time to commemorate it with loved ones. You can do this in one day or over several weeks. Throw a big party, plan a group outing, or schedule individual hangouts. Whatever works best.

Moving Week Has Arrived

  • Finish packing: At this point, you should be close to done. Take this opportunity to create a first night box. Fill it with everything you’ll need for the first night or so at your new place: meds, snacks, toys, bedding, toiletries, hand tools, etc. Keep it somewhere that’s easily accessible.
  • Confirm with the moving company: Contact your movers to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Check arrival time, contact numbers, and other important details. 
  • Confirm travel arrangements: Flying? Double-check reservations, flight times, and luggage restrictions. Driving? Look over the vehicle, driving route, and any accommodations.
  • Rest up: If possible, stay in the night before moving day. Relax, eat well, hydrate, and catch up on some much needed sleep. You’ll need the energy for tomorrow’s activities.

Moving Day is Here

  • Be physically present when movers arrive: Being there in person to answer questions and provide clarification can significantly boost the likelihood of a smooth, confusion-free move.
  • Provide snacks: This is not an obligation, but it’s a nice gesture that can boost morale: offer bottled water and a healthy, light snack. The moving crew will be very appreciative.
  • Tour your old digs one last time: Movers gone? Great! Before you head out too, perform a walkthrough. Look out for any messes or items that the crew may have overlooked.
  • Enjoy yourself: Finally, don’t forget to savor things. The journey is just as important as the destination. Make an adventure out of your move and make some great memories!

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Quality Moving Services from Alabama Movers

Dependable movers at unbeatable rates? Great Guys Long Distance Movers has got you covered!

Long Distance Moves

Fixin’ to move to another state? Whether it’s Alabama or somewhere else, we’ve got the right fit. Enjoy a more enjoyable transition anywhere in the US with our reputable long-distance movers.

Intrastate & Local Moves

When relocating within the state of Alabama, you need movers that know it like the back of their hand. Our local moving partners offer that, plus the affordability and professionalism on which you can count.

International Moves

Have a military move or corporate relocation coming up? Either way, you’re about to face a sea of paperwork and complicated logistics. Our international relocation service is here to help!

Small Load Moves

Feel like it’s too expensive to hire movers? Not with Great Guys! From one-bedroom apartments to college dorms and studios, our small-load movers are highly affordable and super-efficient.

Furniture Shipments

Concerned about damage or injury? No problem. The furniture movers in our network come fully prepared with the right equipment, knowledge, and experience for a safe and secure shipment.

Piano Transport

When relocating to a new venue or home, your cherished instrument deserves expert care. Our piano moving specialists take every precaution to ensure the safe and sound transport of your piano or organ.

Art Shipping & Transport

Antiques, family heirlooms, and fine art require special handling. Don’t make the mistake of hiring standard movers. Our specialized art shippers excel at taking the utmost care of prized possessions.

Storage

Remodeling, moving, or traveling? It sounds like you need clean and secure storage. Fortunately, our moving partners also offer short-term and long-term storage services. Contact us today!

Last Minute & Short Notice Moves

We know how stressed you must be right now. Whether dealing with eviction, a new job, or simply putting it off, we make it easy and affordable to hire last-minute movers in your area ASAP.

Residential Moves

Moving a household is no small feat. With the right help, however, it doesn’t have to be so challenging. Our network of fully vetted and qualified residential movers makes relocating look easy.

Packing Services

Not looking forward to packing? You’re not alone. Maybe you don’t have the time, energy, or physical capability to cover everything. No problem. Our pro packers are ready to lend their helping hands.

Commercial and Office Moves

Expanding your business or moving an office? Congratulations! To enjoy a bump-free transition, with little to no downtime or delays, allow us to source you the best commercial movers in Alabama. 

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Need quality AL moving services at low prices? Request a free moving estimate today!

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Movers you can trust. Pricing you can afford.

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