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.
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.
Nope. Just nope.
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.
You took an already busy Union Jack flag and added a bunch of stripes? Hawaii, you are a gorgeous state with a horrendous flag.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Virginia may be for lovers, but their flag is for violent toga parties.
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.
United we stand. Divided we fall. In bro hugs we trust.
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.”
36. New York
Don’t let the Marvel superhero ladies distract you from the fact that THE SUN HAS A FACE!
If Paint-By-Numbers made a flag … Montana.
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.
Props for the Inception “seal within a seal” thing going on, but there is a lot going on here, including a mining Boy Scout.
32. West Virginia
Is the Christmas garland to cheer up the miners?
Maine’s all like, “We’re casual, bro. Check out how far down our shirts are unbuttoned.”
30. North Dakota
That’s a lot of poorly executed flag cliches, North Dakota.
I’ll give this flag one thing—it has to be the most Vermont thing ever.
1. Why is sovereignty upside down? 2. It looks like an army of jellyfish are about to invade.
27. Rhode Island
Wait, you do know you aren’t an actually island, right Rhode Island? This seems a little overly nautical.
I feel like someone accidentally had it on “left justified” when they meant to be on “centered.”
Halfway through and this is actually not a bad flag, except for the murderous severed arm hanging out at the top.
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.
I like the moose and deer, but I’m not quite sure why Michigan included a welcoming Bigfoot on their flag.
I feel like this would work much better of an English pub than the state of Pennsylvania.
I appreciate the gulf coast feel with the pelican, but the blood drops around the mouths of the baby birds are disturbing.
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.
Somebody found the gold sticker sheet and went a little overboard.
Just in case you ever forget you were in Arkansas, the flag serves as a neon sign to remind you with flashing stars.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The border gives it a unique look and they even used the state seal as a bullseye for shooting the buffalo.
Beside’s looking like an off-brand Chicago Cubs logo or an embarrassed Pac-man, the Colorado flag has an iconic, original look.
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.
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.
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.
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.
3. New Mexico
It’s a perfect flag for New Mexico. It just brings to mind the sun-soaked state and its cultural history.
This might be the most iconic state flag of all. It’s a simple design that has a bold and brash feel—totally Texas.
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.
What do you think? Was your state robbed? Which state flag is the best? Let me know.