From sea to shining sea, America is covered in road signs. Touring the country by road, you’ll see that a sign that welcomes the visitor marks each state-line. Today we’re looking at ten of the most artistically appealing US state welcome signs. No standard informational white text on a bland blue or green background here, these signs are carefully designed to portray the state’s unique geography, history, or culture in a fun or evocative way.
This sign breaks from traditional geometric shapes to reflect the actual boundaries of the state. We think this is perfect for the big sky country state; the last outpost of the Wild West, and definitely a place for those who don’t fit into the box.
Sure it’s blue and white… but the design is anything but boring. Linking Kentucky’s long history of horse-racing (Kentucky Derby, people!) and the state motto “Unbridled Spirit” the only thing this sign is missing is a bottle of bourbon.
This cheerful sign welcomes you to “the Sunflower State” with a reminder that every fall the Kansas prairie fills with wild sunflowers that smile out at travelers, filling the countryside with a golden glow. We love that the petals look like the rays of the sun, and the happy yellow K that looks like it’s ready to kick up its heels and dance!
Alaska isn’t going to do things the same as they do in those pansy states down south. No steel and paint for the “last frontier” state that shares more in common with Siberia than the Mid-West. Alaska’s all-natural wooden welcome sign is just as natural, rugged, and beautiful as the state itself. The use of wood supports the state’s logging industry, and the carved map includes free-roaming Alaskan moose – the state animal. The only thing missing is a waving Sasquatch… and maybe Sarah Palin waiting on the side of the road to personally greet each and every traveler?
6. South Dakota
What is the most famous attraction in South Dakota? An attraction so important it gives the state its nickname? Mount Rushmore, of course, that American-sized tribute to four Presidents who shaped the nation: Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson, and Lincoln. On this sign, the Presidents solemnly welcome you, while the tag “Great Faces, Great Places” is a cute pun on the carved attraction and the traditional Mid-Western friendliness of the state’s inhabitants.
Colorado literally translates from Spanish as “red,” and this appropriate welcome sign shows snow-capped, ruddy mountains against the brilliant red sky of a Colorado sunset. Add the yellow text, and this sign is bright enough to warm the heart of even the most reluctant visitor. We don’t think the caption “Mountains and Much More!” really adds anything, though. Much more what…? These days “Mountains and Legal Cannabis!” would probably be more descriptive, and maybe a bright green 7-pointed leaf to add contrast?
As simple, bright, and pretty as the land that welcomed the first settlers to the New World, this sign shows the state bird –the Cardinal – perched on the state flower – the Dogwood. Primary colors – blue, green, red, yellow and white – and a classic, elegant design catch the eye and make this one of our very favorite welcome signs.
Landmark volcanic outcropping Devil’s Tower and a bucking bronco in silhouette symbolize Wyoming’s unique landscape and cowboy culture. Absolutely the most artistically detailed of the signs in this list, the photo-realistic background of a blue sky with wispy clouds is layered with cartoon-like elements in a totally non-realistic scale – just look how big that horse and rider are over those teeny tiny trees! However, just like with the state itself, the extremes meld to create a beautiful whole.
At first glance the mountains and sunset sky of this sign reminded us a little of Colorado, but the seated miner, stoically gazing out over black mountains, is a clear nod to Nevada’s long-links with silver mining. The dark color scheme of this sign may not be as welcoming and friendly as other state’s signs, but they definitely reflect Nevada’s arid geography. A sign that brings a sense of vague uneasiness and a reminder that in Nevada, you might oughta watch your back when you’re gamblin’ in the saloon.
Our number one sign has a dinosaur hooking its tail through the blocky U of Utah, a wacky welcome that grabs your attention with a nod to Utah’s dinosaur residents, whose bones are visible at the Dinosaur National Monument Park. The slogan invites you to “Life Elevated,” a vague hint at the high standard of living enjoyed by Utah residents, the high altitude of the state’s famous snow covered slopes, and maybe even the high calling of the state’s Mormon Elders. Shame Utah nabbed this slogan before Colorado thought of it… in that state living life elevated could mean something else altogether!