States draw tourism and exhibit state pride by placing slogans on their license plates. Here’s a look at some from every state:
Alabama has slated “Heart of Dixie” on its plates for years, though it’s not always so prominent as the one on the left; sometimes it’s inside the small heart, as on the right.
“The Great Land” only appeared on the 1968 base, while “The Last Frontier” (the official state nickname) has graced many more.
“Land of Opportunity” used to be the official nickname of Arkansas; now it’s “The Natural State”.
California used its nickname, “The Golden State”, on only one issue, the 1982 sun optional; the most recent base has the DMV’s web address printed on the bottom.
The last time Colorado used a slogan on its general base plate was in 1974.
The 1961 Florida base plate has “Sunshine State” up top; but in the case of the 2004 base, some have the slogan and some the county name instead of the slogan.
From 1976 to present, Indiana has not repeated a slogan – an unusual practice – of the 8 plates during that stretch to have one.
Occasionally, a state incorporates the slogan into the state name, as the Kentucky plate on the left illustrates. All current Kentucky plates contain the tourism slogan “Unbridled Spirit” while the official state slogan, “The Bluegrass State” is in this case barely visible.
Louisiana’s nickname is “Sportsman’s Paradise”, but from the late-50’s to the early-60’s, the slogan was plural.
Maine has had its “Vacationland” slogan on every base plate since 1936.
Before “Great Lake State” or “Great Lakes” had a run on Michigan plates from 1968 through 2007, the 50’s and 60’s saw the slogans “Water Wonderland” and “Winter-Water Wonderland”.
Minnesota and Missouri employ traditional usage of slogans – printed across the bottom – but Mississippi hides it in the center graphic so that the county name (Simpson in this case) is clearly identifiable on the plate.
Montana’s slogan, “Big Sky Country”, is seen on most bases, but in 2010 the state brought back a slogan from the 50’s and 60’s, “Treasure State”.
Nebraska hasn’t used a lot of slogans on its plates; however, the examples below show a change in history. The 2011 base has the state’s web address instead of a traditional slogan.
Nevada had only used “The Silver State” until recently, when it unveiled “Home Means Nevada.” New Hampshire has had “Live Free or Die” for many years. The slogan (also the state’s official motto) came from a toast written by American Revolutionary War soldier John Stark. New Mexico is the “Land of Enchantment” but also wants to be known as the “Chile Capital of the World,” though Colorado has contested the notion by putting out it’s own chile-celebratory plate. North Carolina was the site of the Wright brothers’ first successful flight.
North Dakota has long had “Peace Garden State” on its plates. In 1993, it retained its past while experimenting with secondary slogans to specifically encourage tourism.
Simply adding “is OK!” gives Oklahoma a unique slogan (left), while this later base effectively combines a graphic and a slogan.
Oregon has only had one base with a slogan, the 1959 base which was used through 1963 (the example above is a trailer plate). Pennsylvania’s creative 1986 base featured the one-time slogan “You’ve Got a Friend in”.
Utah is “The Beehive State” but you won’t see that on its license plates. Recently the state implemented “Life Elevated” as a tourism campaign and put it on its plate, though drivers currently can choose between the plate on the right and one featuring a skier and the “Greatest Snow On Earth” slogan from the classic 1986 base, left.
West Virginia used to have “Mountain State” (the official nickname) on its plates; since 1976 it’s opted for “Wild, Wonderful”.
Wyoming inserted a slogan for its 1975 base but otherwise has refrained from using one.