All 50 State Flags Ranked

US state flags

While the American flag might be iconic and memorable, most of the states that make up the U.S.A. are forgettable, at best.

There have been attempts to redesign them to feel more cohesive and to be more aesthetically pleasing. But they are the symbols of each state (even though many have no idea what their state flag looks like) and we might as well treat them like we do everything else in America—rank them.

Starting with the worst and moving up, here are all 50 state flags ranked.

50. Maryland

You can’t look at it for long without it physically hurting your eyes. There is nothing redeemable or appealing about this flag.

Not to mention the fact that it leads us to the worst possible football uniforms for the University of Maryland.

Maryland flag

49. Mississippi

Nope. Just nope.

Flag_of_Mississippi

48. South Dakota

Besides the odd colors and complete lack of effort with just adding the state name and most famous landmark, it just looks like the flag of your local Rotary Club, not an entire state.

Plus it seems kind of odd to point out that you are the home to Mount Rushmore and then not giant smoke stacks on your flag instead of the monument.

South Dakota flag

47. Hawaii

You took an already busy Union Jack flag and added a bunch of stripes? Hawaii, you are a gorgeous state with a horrendous flag.

Hawaii flag

46. Washington

Apparently the flag designer and state seal designer stayed out too late together the night before their designs were due and decided just to add George Washington’s face and state the obvious.

Washington Flag

45. Wisconsin

Having their name all gigantic at the top of the flag, Wisconsin seems way too excited about their flag design.

Maybe they wanted to lay claim to the two guys standing on both sides of a weird seal design that, unfortunately, we will see a lot on this list.

Wisconsin flag

44. Minnesota

When you were little and you liked to color, did you ever have anyone take all the good crayons and leave you with the odd pastel colors that made everything you colored look odd and not quite right? That’s Minnesota flags.

Minnesota flag

43. Nebraska

If Minnesota had the weird colors, Nebraska got stuck with the two broken crayons at the bottom of the box—chartreuse and maize. The coolest thing about the flag is the metal working hipster at the bottom.

Nebraska flag

42. New Hampshire

If you want to put a boat on your flag, that’s fine. But I feel like you need to at least have some basic knowledge about them—like the fact that they travel best, not on land, but in water. I don’t think the oars are going to help that.

New Hampshire flag

41. Kansas

Not only do you have your giant name. Not only do you have a huge sunflower that makes your flag look like Blossom hat. You lie in your flag.

There is no part of Kansas that looks like that with majestic mountains in the background. I guess miles and miles of flatland would not look as appealing.

Kansas flag

40. Virginia

Virginia may be for lovers, but their flag is for violent toga parties.

Virginia flag

39. New Jersey

Points for originality … I guess. But I don’t think any other state was going with a flesh toned background with a severed horse head.

New Jersey flag

38. Kentucky

United we stand. Divided we fall. In bro hugs we trust.

Kentucky flag

37. Delaware

There is a whole lot going on here, but I think we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that judging by the poses of the two guys, they must be telling each other to “work it.”

Delaware flag

36. New York

Don’t let the Marvel superhero ladies distract you from the fact that THE SUN HAS A FACE!

New York flag

35. Montana

If Paint-By-Numbers made a flag … Montana.

Montana flag

34. Connecticut

Pretentiousness, thy name is the state flag of Connecticut. I feel like it’s looking down its nose at me for not having any expensive French wine.

Connecticut flag

33. Idaho

Props for the Inception “seal within a seal” thing going on, but there is a lot going on here, including a mining Boy Scout.

Idaho flag

32. West Virginia

Is the Christmas garland to cheer up the miners?

West Virginia flag

31. Maine

Maine’s all like, “We’re casual, bro. Check out how far down our shirts are unbuttoned.”

Maine flag

30. North Dakota

That’s a lot of poorly executed flag cliches, North Dakota.

North Dakota flag

29. Vermont

I’ll give this flag one thing—it has to be the most Vermont thing ever.

Vermont flag

28. Illinois

1. Why is sovereignty upside down? 2. It looks like an army of jellyfish are about to invade.

 

Illinois flag

27. Rhode Island

Wait, you do know you aren’t an actually island, right Rhode Island? This seems a little overly nautical.

Rhode Island flag

26. Nevada

I feel like someone accidentally had it on “left justified” when they meant to be on “centered.”

Nevada flag

25. Massachusetts

Halfway through and this is actually not a bad flag, except for the murderous severed arm hanging out at the top.

Massachusetts flag

24. Iowa

I’m sorry Iowa. You can’t take the French flag, slap your name and an eagle on it and turn that in as your homework.

Iowa flag

23. Michigan

I like the moose and deer, but I’m not quite sure why Michigan included a welcoming Bigfoot on their flag.

Michigan flag

22. Pennsylvania

I feel like this would work much better of an English pub than the state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania flag

21. Louisiana

I appreciate the gulf coast feel with the pelican, but the blood drops around the mouths of the baby birds are disturbing.

Louisiana flag

20. Florida

You took another state’s flag (which is higher on the list) and added your Hawaii-esqe state seal to it. I feel like creativity is lacking in Florida.

Florida flag

19. Oregon

I appreciate the shout out to the Oregon Trail, but I feel like I need to watch out for dysentery when I’m around this flag. Having a two-sided flag with a beaver on the back helps though.

Oregon flag

18. Indiana

Somebody found the gold sticker sheet and went a little overboard.

Indiana flag

17. Arkansas

Just in case you ever forget you were in Arkansas, the flag serves as a neon sign to remind you with flashing stars.

Arkansas flag

16. Missouri

The cuddly bears are a bonus, along with adding the US seal and what looks like an allusion to the top ranked flag on the list.

Missouri flag

15. Georgia

They keep trying. Georgia has had several state flags and this one may be the best of all their previous tries, but I feel like it’s pretty much a slight variation of several better flags.

At least they copied better ones and not all random seal flags ranked worse.

Georgia flag

14. Oklahoma

Still not a fan of the seemingly self-evident printing of the state name on the flag, but I like the Native American design and echoes of the state’s founding.

Oklahoma flag

13. Alabama

It’s simple and that’s enough to push it near the top 10, but it looks too much like an image wouldn’t load on the internet.

Alabama flag

12. Utah

Points for the fiercest looking eagle of any state flag and for teaching me something about the state. I had no idea Utah was known for bees … the more you know.

Utah flag

11. Ohio

Having an interesting, non-rectangular design is good, but looking too much like a ripoff of Puerto Rico keeps Ohio out of the top 10.

Ohio flag

10. North Carolina

There are parts of this flag I don’t like, but all in all it is a simple, decent flag. And that’s enough to make the top 10 of state flags.

North Carolina flag

9. Wyoming

The border gives it a unique look and they even used the state seal as a bullseye for shooting the buffalo.

Wyoming flag

8. Colorado

Beside’s looking like an off-brand Chicago Cubs logo or an embarrassed Pac-man, the Colorado flag has an iconic, original look.

Colorado flag

7. Arizona

While it may be an homage to a superhero and has some “interesting” color combinations, Arizona’s flag, much like Colorado’s, has a look that reflects the state in a unique way.

Arizona flag

6. Tennessee

I think my new home state’s flag does a lot right. It has simplicity with symbolism (the three stars representing the three regions of the state).

But the bar on the end, which was added purely for “design,” needs to be removed if it wants to climb into the top five.

Tennessee flag

5. California

This has to be one of the most recognizable state flags and for good reason. This is the best use of adding the name to a flag, though I could do without the “republic” on the end.

California flag

4. Alaska

The large north star symbolizing the state’s location and the Big Dipper constellation’s allusion to the bear make the simple looking, but complex meaning of the Alaska flag a great design.

Alaska flag

3. New Mexico

It’s a perfect flag for New Mexico. It just brings to mind the sun-soaked state and its cultural history.

New Mexico flag

2. Texas

This might be the most iconic state flag of all. It’s a simple design that has a bold and brash feel—totally Texas.

Texas flag

1. South Carolina

Yes, this is my home state. Yes, I’m biased. But you see more cars with this logo on it than any other state symbol because of its truly iconic nature.

It just works with a clean, simple design that still has depth. It brings to mind cool Carolina evenings with the moon out and the breeze blowing.

Without a doubt, it is the best state flag.

South Carolina flag


What do you think? Was your state robbed? Which state flag is the best? Let me know.

7 Comments

  1. Sorry, but I think the Texas flag is no.1….. in my bold and brash opinion! 😉
    (you might have been a little too hard on some….i kind of liked Rhode Islands and they are on the coast)

    • I probably was too hard on most of them. None of them (except maybe Mississippi and Maryland) are horrible. I was just having fun with them and the odd little quarks most contain.

  2. Marty

    Hilarious flag comments. Would knowing the 19 gold star ‘stickers’ on the Indiana flag represent its place as the 19th state admitted to the Union improve its ranking at all? At least ahead of Wyoming!

    Btw, that ‘tree’ on the SC flag looks like a shrub on state license plates. If you werent biased, wouldnt you really put SC flag about 9-10th – behind new placemt of Ind flag? 🙂

    • I actually knew the reason for the number of stars and I appreciate that (but the gold sticker comment is funnier). 😉 And comparing the Palmetto tree to a shrub is better than most who saw the crescent moon is an Islamic symbol. But I still say SC has the best flag.

  3. Alex

    Georgia didn’t rip off any current flags, they took the confederate flag (the actual flag, not the battle flag) and stuck their logo on it. It is essentially use the confederate flag.

  4. I do think you rather underrate violent toga parties. They’re the best. Really. We Virginians have them all the time.

    Otherwise: there are really some shockingly bad flags out there. They should be banned just for the sake of good taste.

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Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.