Why Rank License Plates?
At Aceable, we help people every day get their driver licenses, so indirectly we help them get their license plates, too. Look at it this way: You can’t legally cruise down the coast reppin’ that Sunshine State plate without a valid driver license. Basically, Aceable is here to make your dreams of having a vanity plate with the phrase “2HOT4U” come true. Okay, please don’t get that.
Jokes aside, license plates are a source of pride for many drivers. Some people choose to get plates that represent their alma mater, while others opt for ones that support a cause. Most people, however, stick to the standard license plate of their home state, which vary as widely in design as the states themselves. We decided to rank all 50 license plates from worst to best because what’s more fun than being able to say your state is better than another at something?
Where does your home state rank on our list? Find out below.
P.S. Major props to Mike from PlateShack for letting us use these images!
Louisiana used to have a cool pelican on its license plate and then this boring-ness happened. The plate is supposed to commemorate the Battle of New Orleans, and the question is why? You could have given us Mardi Gras beads or crawfish or a creepy voo-doo doll, but no. Disappointment all around.
Okay, if you’re gonna call yourselves ‘The Spirit of America,” then you need to go all out. I’m talking stars. I’m talking stripes. I’m talking George Washington riding a giant bald eagle while eating a McDouble. Step it up, Mass.
I think that’s a lake at the bottom. Weak sauce.
What’s that thing in the middle? A jar? A puzzle piece? No, wait — it’s definitely the end of an iPhone charger. That’s gotta be it.
46. West Virginia
How you gonna say that you’re wild, West Virginia, and then hit us with the least wild design ever?
When you’re celebrating your 200th birthday, you need to go bigger than this. Go hard or go home, Indiana.
Texas is apparently going with the minimalistic theme, which is very out of character. At least it has the lone star and state silhouette. I expect the redesign to be Pee-wee Herman’s face with the words “Home of the Breakfast Taco.”
Californians clearly DGAF about their license plate, and for a good reason. They’re too busy harvesting kale for their gluten-free smoothies, rollerblading down boardwalks and producing every show and movie you’ve ever loved. This font is very California, though.
42. New Jersey
Yellow is no one’s favorite color. At least you’re not last, Jersey. At least you’re not last.
I guess when your nickname is the Constitution State there’s not much material to work with.
Somehow the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers” makes this license plate so much better. Where would you rather live? The state for lovers or the Constitution State?
Delaware’s sole bragging right is that it was founded first. But first is the worst, second is the best, so sorry.
38. New York
Mediocre design, but cue “Empire State of Mind” getting stuck in your head. “New Yorkkkk, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do … Let’s hear it for New York , New York, New York.” You’re singing it now. I’m so sorry.
You host a famous horse race, we get it.
You can’t be the Show Me State and have a license plate this bland.
I’m imagining a vintage truck driving down a dusty Montana road with this on the back. Clearly I’ve never been to Montana.
I bet this looks so good on your eco-friendly smart car that runs on vegetable oil.
It’s artsy cause the seal is off-kilter.
Would be significantly improved were that wheel of cheese next to Wisconsin about three times bigger. Oh, that’s not a wheel of cheese? It’s a sailboat and sunset? Now I want cheese.
I saw this and was like, what? Minnesota has 10,000 lakes? And sure enough Minnesota has more like 12,000 lakes. Lakes are fun. Minnesota must be fun. I want to go to Minnesota.
Alaska is the only state that can pull off a bright yellow and purple license plate. Like, if Connecticut tried to do this? No way.
29. New Hampshire
The words, “Live Free or Die,” are really getting to me. I thought maybe it was a Jaden Smith tweet, but it’s actually from a toast by a Revolutionary War general. Similar but different.
This sort of looks like those shirts that Old Navy used to sell around the Fourth of July. You’re reading this and nodding, Yeah, I had one of those! You know you were a ’90s girl if you wore one of those babies paired with jellybean sandals and denim skort. So rad.
The Apache warrior on Oklahoma’s license plate is actually a depiction of a statue called “Sacred Rain Arrow,” which has been on display at museums like the Smithsonian. Way cultured, Oklahoma.
The ghost of Lincoln saw you get into the left lane without using your turn signal. Look at those eyes. Look at them. So honest.
Please zoom in and read all the random phrases on this plate. “Has it all” … “State of perfect” … “Beautiful” … basically the same things people say about me.
I was thinking the exact same style for my engagement ring.
It’s like Little House on the Prairie up in this license plate. Does this not make you want to churn butter and listen to Pa play the fiddle? Laura Ingalls Wilder enthusiast over here.
This looks like a painting you would find in your hotel room. Not a Monet, but still aesthetically appealing.
Essentially a great advertisement for orange juice because I want some right now.
Slightly disappointed that the Evergreen State has no evergreens on its license plate.
19. Rhode Island
18. North Carolina
Looking at that dune grass makes me desperately wish I was in the Outer Banks. Obviously the beach-themed license plates have won me over.
Guitars and rock n’ roll are all good, but you should have gone with a picture of Elvis, Mississippi. Long live the King.
16. South Dakota
An iconic landmark paired with a better than average play on words. Not bad, South Dakota.
This says, we have mountainous views, but also, hash browns.
This looks like a picture of the Serengeti, but sure, I guess it’s Alabama.
Looking at these pines suddenly makes me feel like I’m breathing the freshest air I’ve ever breathed.
So many states went with the mountain range theme. You had Las Vegas to work with, Nevada. Show me Blackjack, Caesars Palace or the cast from The Hangover. The DMV would totally approve it.
Take me to the land of purple mountains and purple cacti.
Beautiful setting, cowboy silhouette — this is basically the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s next film.
9. North Dakota
Look at that glorious sunset, regal bison and the words “Legendary North Dakota.” If we’ve learned anything from watching Aubrey Graham become Drake it’s that if you call yourself a legend, people will start caring about you. Here’s hoping, North Dakota.
The Georgia peach. So simple, yet so iconic.
The Colorado license plate is like your cool, outdoorsy friend who knows how to snowboard and owns a dog named Kodiak or Gunner.
The mountains on this license plate can best be described with this: “Wish that I was on ol’ Rocky Top, down in the Tennessee hills. Ain’t no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top, ain’t no telephone bills.” I swear that’s the opening verse to an actual song people chant at sporting events in Tennessee.
“Life Elevated.” Whoa, deep.
Hawaii’s all like, “I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles.” “
3. South Carolina
The palmetto and crescent moon symbol was designed by a war general in 1775 and now it’s used for the state flag, license plate and frat shirts everywhere.
Someone needs to turn this into a sundress print asap.
1. New Mexico
Was this designed by Giorgio Armani because I swear I’ve seen Cate Blanchett wear something similar on the red carpet. Land of Enchantment indeed.