Can You Name the State From a Well-Known Fact?


By: Maria Trimarchi

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

How well do you know your US states? Did you ace high school geography? Take this quiz to find out if you can identify each state from a well-known fact.

US states are known for the multitude of facts and figures that identify them. Each state has an official flower, bird, motto, and more. There are currently 50 US states, each independent, but joined. Many of them have different laws, customs, and political identities, but they are each a critical part of the Union.

Did you know that California has the largest population in the US and that Wyoming has the smallest population (there's a whole lot of empty space in Wyoming)? Did you know that Alaska and Hawaii, the two newest states, were both admitted to the Union in 1959 (that wasn't so very long ago)? 

And did you know that Alaska is the largest state regarding the area and Rhode Island is the smallest state in terms of area? If you know all of this, and more, you might be prepared to take this quiz. If you didn't already know these simple facts, you might want to brush up on your US state history and geography before you dig in.

Ready to get started?

Which state is known as the Grand Canyon state?

The Grand Canyon touches Nevada and Utah, but the majority of this steep-sided canyon sits in the northwest corner of Arizona. The size and depth of the canyon have exposed nearly two billion years of geological history in layers of rock.


Which state is known for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the Indy 500, and the world's largest spectator sporting facility that hosts the race?

With more than 250,000 seats, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the world's largest spectator sporting facility and home to the Indianapolis 500 -- also called the Indy 500. Since the tradition began in 1911, 33 starters compete to complete 200 laps, which is 500 miles, around a 2.5-mile circuit track, every Memorial Day weekend.


Which state is home to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, where space shuttles are launched?

NASA's launch complex is just about an hour's drive from Orlando, where you'll find dozens of amusement parks -- including Walt Disney World. Launches for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs have all been from KSC, which has been launching spaceflights since 1968.


Which state is famous for its Rocky Mountains?

The Rocky Mountains are a chain of mountains that stretch roughly 3,000 miles, all the way from British Columbia and Alberta in Canada, into the U.S. through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. More than 3 million people visit Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park each year, home of the tallest mountain in the state -- Mount Elbert, at 14,433 feet high.


Geographically speaking, which is the smallest of the 50 states?

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, its official name, is only 7 miles wide and 48 miles long -- with about 400 miles of coastline. "Little Rhody," as it's nicknamed, is shy of 1,500 square miles, total area.


Which state is the most northern state, and the most western state and the most eastern state?

The state of Alaska is all three. It's the most northern state, and because the 1,200 miles of Aleutian Islands which stretch over the 180° meridian of longitude, it's also the most western state and the most eastern state.


In which state is Area 51, famous for UFO cover-ups and conspiracy theories, located?

There's a lot of "high-altitude weather research" going on in the Nevada desert. Area 51 is a United States Air Force facility that doesn't exist -- or at least, the government would prefer it if you believed that. The highly classified remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base, located within the Nevada Test and Training Range, is about 100 miles from Las Vegas, and has been fodder for all sorts of theories since 1955. The truth is out there.


Which is the only state in the U.S. to grow coffee beans?

If you're a coffee lover, you can thank Hawaii for the 3 million pounds of beans it produces each year. It's the only one of our 50 states that grows coffee, with about 700 coffee farms just in the Kona region, on the Big Island.


In which state was the world's first nuclear device successfully detonated at the Jornada Del Muerto Desert test site?

Ushering in the Atomic Age and marking the closure of the Manhattan Project, in 1945 the world's first nuclear device was successfully detonated at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range, 230 miles south of Los Alamos, New Mexico. Nicknamed "Gadget," the plutonium implosion device tested was the same type used in the nuclear attack on Japan.


Which state is nicknamed the Land of 10,000 Lakes?

Although its official motto is "L'Étoile du Nord" (which means Star of the North), Minnesota's also been given the nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes," because, you guessed it -- it has a lot of lakes. In fact, it has closer to 12,000 than 10,000, and you were to count all basins, even dry lake beds, the number would jump to 21,871 lakes in the state.


Starbucks was founded in which Pacific Northwest state?

The Pike Place Starbucks at 1st & Pike in Seattle, Washington, is the original Starbucks store. It opened its doors in 1971, but it wasn't until 1984 that the first Starbucks Caffe Latte was served, in downtown Seattle.


In what state did the Continental Congress adopt the Declaration of Independence?

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress announced the colonies were independent sovereign states -- no longer a part of British Empire. This, the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Where did the first shots of the Civil War take place?

On December 20, 1860, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States of America -- and by February, the new Confederate States of America were a total of seven states. By April, tensions were running high, and on April 12, the Confederate States Army opened fire on Fort Sumter, from the harbor.


Which state has 60-foot-tall sculptures of four famous presidents carved into Mount Rushmore?

Between October 1927 and October 1941, sculptor Gutzon Borglum, with the help of 400 workers, carved the 60-foot-tall sculptures of the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Set the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is at an elevation of 5,725 feet, but since the heads were completed, you can no longer legally climb to the summit.


In which U.S. state was the first pizzeria opened?

Lombardi's started as a grocery store at 53 1/2 Spring Street in Manhattan, in New York City, just before the turn of the 20th century. When Genaro Lombardi, the founder and owner, noticed his tomato pies were popular, he opened up a pizza shop, in 1905. Since, the Pizza Hall of Fame has recognized Lombardi's as the first pizzeria in New York and in the United States.


Which state is best-known for its potatoes?

It's called the "Gem State," but Idaho is probably best-known for its potatoes -- it produces about one-third of the spuds in the country. And you can learn the history of the potato in Idaho in Blackfoot, home of the Idaho Potato Museum.


What state is home to Elvis Presley's estate, Graceland?

When he was 22 years old, Elvis Presley bought his Memphis property on March 19, 1957 for the amount of $102,500 (close to $850,000 today). Now listed as a National Historic Landmark, the estate is the second-most visited home in the U.S. -- just behind the White House.


Which states produces, on average, 1.2 million gallons of real maple syrup each year?

Vermont produces 1.2 million gallons of maple syrup every year. Maple syrup comes from maple trees, usually the sugar maple or the black maple, that are at least 40 years old. It takes the sap of four trees -- about 40 gallons of sap -- to produce a single gallon of maple syrup.


In which state will you find the geographical center of the United States?

The geographic center of the United States is at LAT. 39°50' LONG. -98°35' -- and that's about 12 miles south of the Kansas-Nebraska border, in Lebanon, Kansas.


Which state has the most ghost towns?

With more than 80 listed on the national register, Oregon holds the record for most ghost towns in a single state. Many are abandoned logging sites, like Shevlin, or deserted mining towns, like Sumpter.


Where in the U.S. is the Gateway Arch monument?

You'll find the Gateway Arch, also known as the Gateway to the West, in the state of Missouri. At 630 feet tall, the arch is the tallest monument in the U.S., but to get to the top you don't need to take the stairs -- there's an elevator that goes straight to the top.


Which state is home to Yellowstone National Park, the very first U.S. national park?

Wyoming is home to the first National Park -- Yellowstone National Park, in the U.S. It's also where the first National Forest -- Shoshone National Forest, and the first National Monument -- Devil's Tower, can be found.


Which state is nicknamed the Heart of Dixie?

It's also known as the Cotton State and the Yellowhammer State, but Alabama may be better known for its "Heart of Dixie" nickname. Where'd it come from? "Dixie" is nickname for the American South, and Alabama is in the geographical middle of it.


The motto of which state, one of the original 13 colonies, is, "Live Free or Die"?

"Live Free or Die" has been the motto of the state of New Hampshire since 1945. But it dates back to 1809 when General John Stark, the "Hero of Bennington" during the American Revolution, said in a toast, "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils."


Before it became known as Maine, Maine as we know it today was part of which other state?

From the 1650s until 1820 when it became its own state, Maine was part of the state of Massachusetts (and before the American Revolution, part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony of England).


In which state is the capital of the United States?

Washington, D.C., actually isn't a state. It's both the city of Washington, which is the U.S. capital city, and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Constitution grants Congress what it names as "exclusive jurisdiction" over the city -- in fact, although the District has no voting representation in the House or Senate, its residents are subject to federal taxes.


Which state is home to both the lowest point and the highest point in the Lower 48?

The state with the lowest point in the continental U.S. is also the state with the highest point. California is home to Death Valley, where the lowest point, Badwater Basin, is 279 feet below sea level. And it's also home to Mount Whitney, which stands 14,494 feet tall.


Unofficially nicknamed "America's Dairyland," which state produces 25 percent of cheese in the U.S.?

Wisconsin has more than 10,000 licensed dairy farms and more than 1 million dairy cows. In total those farms produce 2.5 billion pounds of cheese each year (which is 25 percent of the cheese produced in the U.S.), as well as more than 25 billion gallons of milk (which is 13 percent of U.S.-produced milk).


In which state does the population of chickens outnumber the population of people?

Delaware may be a small state, but it has plenty of room for chickens. In fact, chickens outnumber the state's human residents by a ratio of 200 to 1. There's even a breed named for the state (it originated there), known as the Delaware chicken.


Which state should be thanked for the culinary contribution of the very first hamburger?

The Hamburger Hall of Fame may be in Seymour, Wisconsin, but that's not where the first burger (as we know it) was made. For that, you can thank Louis Lassen, of Louis' Lunch Sandwich Shop, who served the first in 1895. Today, Americans eat about 50 billion burgers every year (which is about three burgers a week for every person in the country).


In which state was the first baseball World Series held, in 1903?

In 1903, the Boston Americans (now the Boston Red Sox) of the American League went up against the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League in the first modern World Series. It took place in Boston, Massachusetts, on the baseball grounds of Huntington Avenue, with the Americans winning five games to three.


Which state was founded as a refuge for released debtors and those who were poor?

Back in 1733 a politician named James Oglethorpe envisioned a refuge for people who were poor, and those released from debtors' prison. With permission from King George II -- remember, this is before the American Revolution, the colony was chartered.


Which is the only state to produce diamonds?

Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, is the only public diamond mine in the world. The diamond search area is a 37.5-acre plowed field -- that's really a diamond-bearing volcanic crater. Gems including amethyst, garnet, opal and smoky quartz -- among others -- are also found in the park, and around the state.


Two states until recently didn't allow drivers to self-serve gasoline. Oregon is one, and which is the other?

You won't find any self-service gasoline stations in the state of New Jersey. It and Oregon have both banned it, although Oregon recently modified its law, and would be happy to help with your fill-ups. The law, enacted in 1949, was intended to keep residents and passers-through safe from the fire hazards associated with gas pumping.


The city of Battle Creek, known as the "Cereal Bowl of America," is located in what state?

Battle Creek, Michigan, produces the most cereal in the United States. Nicknamed the "Cereal Bowl of America," the city -- "Cereal City" -- was where W.K. Kellogg and his brother, J.H. Kellogg, accidentally invented the stuff.


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