License plates have long been a great platform for tourism and state pride, and one colorful way is featuring symbols, seals, and flags. For example:
Alaska has featured its state flag on several of its plates.
The cactus is emblematic of Arizona because it dots so much of the landscape, while the diamond has a history in Arkansas.
The Colorado state flag includes a red “C” with a yellow center, an element which is present on some optional plates. Georgia is famous for its peaches, which the state has often featured on its base plates.
Rainbows are so ever-present in Hawaii that the Aloha State planted one on its 1991 base plate, which is still the base plate today. Following the September 11th attacks, Hawaii issued a specialty tag which involved the placement of a flag-like decal to the left of the serial.
Indiana’s 1999 base included the torch and stars from its flag imposed upon a state map.
Kansas included a portion of its state seal on the 2007 base plate. The horse, and specifically the race horse, is a hallmark of Kentucky; the 1988 base incorporated the spires of Churchill Downs along with a double image of a thoroughbred.
Maryland inserted the state shield as a separator on its 350th Anniversary optional and carried it over to the base plate – a modification of the optional. In light of the anniversary of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, the base plate featured Fort McHenry with an American flag. The newest base, first issued in 2016, includes a cross-section of the state flag.
In 2007, Mississippi put the Biloxi Lighthouse on its plate in part to symbolize the state’s resiliency following Hurricane Katrina (the lighthouse survived the disaster). Five years later, a new base plate featured famous blues musician (and Mississippi native) B.B. King’s signature guitar.
New Jersey’s Liberty State Park features several waving American flags behind the Statue of Liberty, which served as an iconic centerpiece to New York’s 1986 base.
New Mexico includes the Zia, a sun symbol (from the Native American tribe of the same name) which also unfurls on the state flag. The Zia people, a branch of the Pueblo community, are indigenous to New Mexico.
Ohio’s most recent base plate contains a series of words associated with the state. This is referred to as the “Pride” base.
The Native American people are central to Oklahoma’s history and culture. The plate on the left hit the roads in 2009. In the lower right corner you can see the battle shield of the Osage Nation. The plate on the right is an optional plate available to all residents, though initially it was only so to members of the Cherokee Nation.
Pennsylvania has almost always had a keystone on its base plate. The keystone refers to the state nickname. On the right, the Liberty bell is a symbol of freedom for Americans, and it anchored the 1971 base.
South Carolina’s “In God We Trust” optional features an American and the state flags. The 1981 base included the state seal superimposed on the map.
Tennessee’s 1977 and 1989 bases sported a state seal and a logo from the state flag, respectively.
Texas is called the Lone Star State, so it’s no surprise a “lone star” has been depicted on several base plates. The state flag has made an appearance on a couple of bases (including when it was cleverly incorporated into the state map).
Though famous for its skiing and natural parks, both of which have been a mainstay on the state’s license plates, Utah is called “The Beehive State”; a beehive made an appearance on the 1974 base plate. Virginia issued this optional base plate, showing the state’s seal, in 1986.
Both Arkansas and South Carolina issued an “In God We Trust” plate that featured American and state flags. Indiana and West Virginia did so for veteran plates.