The 10 Most Unpopular American States

Land of the free. Home of the brave. America has attracted travel pioneers from all over the world for centuries and has grown into the great big melting pot of culture and commerce that we know it to be today. Unfortunately, there are always those who get a little bit more attention than others, so prepare your heartstrings to be tugged as we count down the sorry states who get a whole lot less loving than their showy (we’re sure) neighbours.

Go ahead and give them some props. Lord knows they need them.

North Dakota

Nicknames: Peace Garden State, Roughrider State, Flickertail State

Motto:  Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable

What to love: Seeing bison, elk, deer and prairie dogs roaming the wilds of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

What you might want to avoid: Blizzards and lots of them in winter and an average of just over 20 tornadoes per year.

South Dakota

Nicknames: The Mount Rushmore State 

Motto: Under God the people rule

What to love: Mount Rushmore, the awe-inspiring tribute to America’s past presidents, and the nearby impressively determined tribute to legendary Native American leader, Crazy Horse.

What you might want to avoid: Weather tends towards the severe in this state. Hot, arid summers with temperatures reaching above 38 °C contrasted by icy winters with averages of −12 °C.


Nickname: The Natural State

Motto: The People Rule

What to love: Southern hospitality, the 1.2 million acre Ozark National Forest and learning how to say ‘Arkansas’ correctly.

What you might want to avoid: The New Madrid Seismic Zone – an area of major seismic activity which cuts across the northern tip of the state – causing frequent tremors. Saying ‘Arkansas’ incorrectly.


Nickname: The Sunflower State

Motto: Ad astra per aspera (Through hardships to the stars)

What to love: Dorothy couldn’t wait to get back here from Oz, so Kansas must have something going for it. That something is a Big Well. Sure it might be a ginormous hand-dug hole in the ground, but its the best one you’ll ever see.

What you might want to avoid: A number of its amusement parks are now abandoned (and pretty creepy) and tornadoes regularly tear across the flat landscape. Seriously, did you learn nothing from the movie?


Nickname: The First State, The Small Wonder, Blue Hen State, The Diamond State

Motto: Liberty and Independence

What to love: Shopping! Generous tax laws in the state mean there are bargains to be had at the numerous outlet malls.

What you might want to avoid: Pollution has rendered several of the state’s rivers and streams unswimmable and fish populations are struggling in many of the waterways. Just drink in the scenery instead.


Nickname: Cornhusker State

Motto: Equality before the law

What to love: Omaha has an eclectic music scene and the superbly hip Slowdown is considered one of the best live indie music venues in the US. So there.

What you might want to avoid: Not being fully prepared. Drastically changing weather all year round can change from hot and sunny to snowy and wintery in the space of a week.

West Virginia

Nickname: Mountain State

Motto: Montani semper liberi (Mountaineers Are Always Free)

What to love: The Appalachian Mountains and their associated adventure trail pass through the most breathtaking bits of West Virginia. Explore and spot wildlife such as flying squirrels, black bears, coyotes, skunks and bobcats along the way.

What you might want to avoid: Coal mining has blighted a fair bit of what was once a stunning landscape – both visually and ecologically – but if you’re into history or photography, this can still prove a fertile ground.


Nickname: The Magnolia State, The Hospitality State

Motto: Virtute et Armis (Valor and arms)

What to love: Mississippi is home to over sixty miles of soft, white sandy coastline known as the Gulf Coast. Eco kayak tours through the bayou waterways and fishing expeditions make this a nature lovers nirvana.

What you might want to avoid: You may find southern hospitality a little strained in certain parts, as Mississippi is said to be one of the least open-minded states when it comes to modern attitudes. Just do a little homework before visiting.


Nickname: Gem State

Motto: Esto perpetua (Let it be eternal)

What to love: Beautiful, rugged scenery that’s perfect for the plentiful outdoor activity options such as skiing and hiking.

What you might want to avoid: There are no major roads in Idaho that run North to South, so travelling in the state can take a while. Know where you’re getting your supplies, stock up and make sure you’ve got a sturdy car.


Nickname: Big Sky Country, The Treasure State

Motto: Oro y Plata (Gold and Silver)

What to love: The Glacier National Park and its ‘Going to the Sun’ road – a 52 mile long byway which crosses the Continental Divide and provides spectacular views of the gargantuan glacial territories and all its wild inhabitants.

What you might want to avoid: Running on empty. Limited shopping options mean that some of the bigger malls can be up to a 3 hour drive away.