Ranking The Best & Worst State Tourism Slogans

WHERE DOES YOUR STATE RANK?

With hundreds of millions of dollars up for grabs each season, you better believe that each state in the United States is doing everything possible to attract as many visitors as possible. That means producing big-budget TV commercials, developing state-of-the-art websites and more. But before all that takes place, usually job one is crafting a state tourism slogan. There was a time when states offered little more than “Visit Beautiful State Goes Here.” Oh, how times have changed.  Nearly every state now puts incalculable effort and considerable funds into conceiving, testing and implementing a state tourism.  It’s not uncommon for a state tourism slogan to cost $100,000 - $250,000 to develop. They invest the money because they know just a few words can change everything.

We asked the opinion of over 1000 marketing writers. (These are professional and amateur writers registered with SloganSlingers.com.) It turns out that many states earned high marks. But in an extremely competitive category, even highly regarded slogans couldn’t crack the top 20.  There were a few complete duds as well. So here’s how it shook out from best to worst. (With a little added commentary from our staff.) See what state your state’s tourism slogan is in.

 

1. Virginia – Virginia is for lovers.

This slogan has been around forever for a reason.  Along with “I Love New York” it really created the category.  Virginia proves that just a few short words can absolutely grab people’s attention and sell them on your brand. Instead of using a slogan that makes a generic statement about nature or fun, they went after a specific angle and it works...year after year. International marketing writers are clearly lovers of Virginia’s famous phrase.

 

2. New York – I (Heart) NY.

This is a line that transcends the slogan category. Heck, it transcends marketing.  Ironically, the phrase itself is very ordinary.  And if it were any other state, it would never work.  But it’s not just any state, it’s New York.  There’s something about the simplicity and the cut-to-the-chase of it that is perfectly suited for the Empire State. Add the catchy heart visual and you have magic.

 

3. Texas – It’s Like A Whole Other Country

If you’ve never seen the Lyle Lovett commercial for Texas, check it out on YouTube.  This is another classic, decades-old slogan that just seems to be the perfect match of state and slogan. It’s got a kick a Texas bravado and it’s charming in its southern-speak delivery, all while emphasizing Texas’ size and its uniqueness.

 

4. Nevada – A world within. A state apart.

Let’s face it. Nevada knows tourism. Las Vegas’ slogan is maybe the most famous tourism slogan ever penned.  This slogan for the state earned high marks from marketing writers for making the state seem incredibly special in just six words.  Most people go on vacation looking to escape or see something new, exciting or different than they can at home.  That’s what Nevada promises and fortunately for them, they can deliver.

 

5. Wyoming – Forever West.

The Old West is gone.  Or is it? Wyoming’s slogan promises that you can always find that spirit in their state.  It’s short. It’s sweet. It just works.

 

6. Connecticut – Still Revolutionary.

This demonstrates the power of what great slogans can do. In just two words, Connecticut reminds you of its storied history and lets you know there are plenty of new and exciting things to see.  It’s memorable and it persuades.

 

7. Missouri – Enjoy the show.

Missouri does a nice job of emphasizing one of its strengths, the thriving scene in Branson, and spreading that equity around. After all, seeing an incredible sunset on a hike in the wilderness is enjoying the show too.  It was a surprise to see this rank so highly but writers enjoyed the showing of creativity from Missouri.

 

8. Georgia – Georgia on my mind.

It helps when you can have Ray Charles as your slogan writer! This timeless song is a no brainer to use.

 

9. Illinois – Mile after magnificent mile.

Much like Missouri, Illinois took the equity of something popular within the state and made it work on a larger scale.  Very well done.

 

10. Florida – Must be the sunshine.

Florida is another state where tourism plays a huge part in the economy so picking the right slogan really is critical. This is a new slogan from the Sunshine State and it looks like it’s a hit. With promises that Florida’s special sunshine will work its magic on those who visit, time will tell if this resonates with tourists as well as it did with marketing writers.

 

11. Utah – Life Elevated.

More like slogan elevated.  A previous Utah slogan, “What people are talking about,” was considered one of the worst in the nation for being so generic. Now Utah shines with a slogan that’s inspiring, memorable and emphasizes its unique geographic attributes.  Kudos to Utah for an unofficial most improved award!

 

12. New Hampshire – Live Free & _________.

It took a genius mind to say, “I bet we could spin ‘Live Free or Die’ into our state tourism slogan.” But the smart thinking didn’t stop there.  Instead of having a static slogan, New Hampshire’s comes to life by switching out the last word depending on context.  So you could see Live Free & Fish in one ad then see Live Free & Savor in a video promoting the state’s culinary offering.  It’s creative, memorable and consistently fresh.

 

13. Indiana – Honest To Goodness Indiana.

We weren’t sure if this slogan was going to be treasured or trashed.  Turns out writers had an honest to goodness appreciation for it.  Indiana made a smart move with this fairly new slogan.  They are not going to compete with South Beach or Vegas.  (They probably don’t want to anyway.) Instead, Indiana is honest even in their slogan and promise an experience that’s void of superficiality and heavy on Midwest charm.

 

14. Alabama – Sweet Home Alabama

Like Georgia, Alabama uses a famous song for their tourism slogan. This works well for them.  Maybe it doesn’t work as well as Georgia On My Mind which seems more appropriate for tourism but it still catches your attention and makes you want to rock out in Bama.

 

15. North Dakota – Legendary

Not everyone can pull off a one word slogan.  You have to be confident in who you are and what you offer.  Good thing North Dakota has the destination to make the slogan work.  Some of the best slogans make a direct appeal to your emotional brain. That’s what North Dakota attempted and they continue to connect.

 

16. North Carolina – Beauty Amplified.

The slogan itself is dazzling.  It’s simple, memorable and enticing.  Obviously, it earned accolades from the writers surveyed.  The only downside is that there are several states that could probably use this slogan interchangeably.  Perhaps that’s why it didn’t rate as high as something like “Mile after magnificent mile” from Illinois that only that particular state could use.  Still “Beauty Amplified” is a pretty killer slogan and it fared much better than the slogan of its neighbor South Carolina.

 

17. Oregon – Oregon. We Love Dreamers.

Does Oregon love dreamers more than any other state on the West Coast, who can ever say? Regardless, it’s a cool line from a hip state and deemed good enough to be in the top half of an incredibly competitive field with a lot of fantastic slogans. Oregon is also promoting its “7 Wonders” in conjunction with its slogan for a great 1-2 punch.  Put that together with probably the best tourism website of all 50 states and Oregon proves they know what they’re doing with their tourism marketing.

 

18. West Virginia – Wild & Wonderful.

Nice use of alliteration kept West Virginia among the top half of the nation.  This does seem to capture the spirit of West Virginia in a quick yet compelling way.

 

19. Wisconsin (Several Taglines)

This is a write in vote from the Slogan Slingers staff and wasn’t actually part of our survey. Wisconsin doesn’t even have an official slogan at the moment but we are including them on this list because the taglines they use on the web and in other advertising are just so darn creative.  For example:

Camp Wisconsin – It covers the whole state.  They put the effort into having creative lines that people will remember so we are rewarding them for that.

 

20. Pennsylvania – State of Independence.

This slogan promises the freedom many seek on their vacation while also playing up the state’s role in the Revolutionary War.  Not a bad effort but New Hampshire and Connecticut did a much better job with the same premise.

 

21. Ohio – Too much fun for just one day.

We give Ohio major props for this slogan.  Sure it isn’t at the tip top of the list but this slogan, like Utah’s should be commended for major improvement.  Ohio at one time used “So Much To Discover” which is about as bland and cliché as a tourism slogan can get.  This time they went the tactical route trying to persuade day trip visitors into longer stays.  Very smart thinking.  This new slogan might not be the flashiest but it just might be the most effective in generating revenue as any slogan on our list.

 

22. Maine – The Maine Thing

On its own, this slogan might not seem like more than a pretty obvious pun.  But Maine uses this in a greater context.  The marketing writers who participated in our survey weren’t restricted from checking out each state’s tourism website or watching YouTube to see how slogans were used.  It looks like Maine’s approach impressed several writers.  If you get a moment you might want to check it out as well.  Along with Oregon, this might be the coolest state tourism website in the United States.

 

23. Louisiana – Pick Your Passion

There’s no question the people of Louisiana are a passionate sort. They are passionate about music, food and partying, just to name a few things.  It seemed like the execution didn’t impress quite as well as the thought behind it.  Still a sold slogan.

 

24. Kentucky – Unbridled Spirit

There’s no question states like Kentucky have a tougher job attracting tourist than states like Florida or California. Kentucky took the obvious route and played off their most famous asset, racehorses.  Unfortunately the slogan might say more about Kentucky than a reason to visit Kentucky.  It’s a cool slogan, the question is how well is it working on an external audience?

 

25. Maryland – Maryland of ___________

New Hampshire wants you to fill in a blank and so does Maryland.  Their slogan changes depending on context.  Iterations include Maryland of Exploration, Delight and Culture. The problem is that New Hampshire’s base pulled from their famous history. Maryland’s is basically just their name and a blank.  For that reason, we believe it scored lower.

 

26. New Mexico – New Mexico True.

This is a slogan where you’re probably not sure what it means but you can articulate how it makes you feel.  As the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico already has a brilliant state motto.  The slogan builds on that promising an authentic experience when visiting the state.

 

27. Michigan – Pure Michigan

Did Michigan pull a New Mexico or did Mexico pull a Michigan.  Either way, the emphasis here is on a pure, authentic experience.  The problem for Michigan is so many states have really stepped up their game.  That leaves Michigan somewhat buried in the middle of the pack.

 

28. California – Dream Big

The good news is California just has to not have an earthquake and visitors will flock to the state.  The California brand is the envy of many around the world.  So a mediocre slogan like “Dream Big” isn’t the end of the world but maybe it opens the door up for state’s like Utah who take the same idea but execute it far more elegantly. It just seems like Dream Big is a slogan you’d see on a poster in a 3rd grade class or on a motivational sign hanging over cubicles as a halfhearted attempt to inspire.  California can do better. Hopefully they will with their next slogan.

 

29. Nebraska – Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice.

Nebraska is another state hampered by not having a lot of inherent mojo. (Yes, you just read the phrase “inherent mojo.”) So Nebraska probably get penalized for not having as much to work with as some other states. Even still, the current slogan doesn’t seem to stand out or sell very well.  Nice try but it doesn’t rate highly.

 

30. South Dakota – Great Faces. Great Places.

This was our most polarizing slogan. People either loved it or hated it. This writer actually liked it but a lot more people didn’t share my view so it’s rated in the bottom half. Given that Mt. Rushmore is the only thing that the average tourist will associate with the state (other than frigid temperatures) the slogan makes sense from a strategic point of view but many thought it was too cheesy.

 

31. Idaho – Adventures In Living

Idaho shows some improvement for its current slogan.  Of course, there was nowhere to go but up when a slogan from your past includes, “Potatoes. Tasty Destinations.” This slogan is a world above that debacle but it still seems more focused on an internal audience than an external one. 

 

32. Colorado – Come to Life.

Sure. Sure. We know you’re trying to think up some hilarious pot related slogans right now. Admittedly, Colorado’s legalization of Marijuana is impacting tourism far more than their slogan.  But taking all that out of the equation, Colorado’s slogan just doesn’t seem to match the majestic natural beauty and other wonderful attractions offered there.  Maybe the committee that approved this slogan could have used a little home grown inspiration.

 

33. South Carolina – Just Right.

Writers commented to us that they did like this slogan. It somehow seems “just right” for South Carolina. The problem is that writers also felt that it seems just right for lots of other areas and for that matter, lots of other goods and services in multiple industries.  Toyota – Just Right, Hanes – Just Right, Dr. Pepper – Just Right.  None of those seem that outlandish that they couldn’t work. It’s just right but it’s just generic and that’s why it didn’t rate higher.

 

34. Delaware – Endless Discoveries.

Delaware might think about as highly of its own slogans as marketing writers do since it fails to appear in any form on the state tourism website.  This slogan is just way too expected. Like a million retailers who use “Great Selection at Low Prices” this slogan just gets lost in the clutter.  It’s not a bad message.  It’s just way overused and forgettable.

 

35.  Tennessee - Made in Tennessee.

As the hook at the end of a larger campaign this might work well.  However as a standalone line, “Made In Tennessee” doesn’t really convey a lot. Maybe it’s a vague reference to music?  Tennessee has so much to offer from the beauty of the Smoky Mountains to the charm of Pigeon Forge and the amazing scenes in Nashville and Memphis.  It’s a classic example if a great state let down by a mediocre slogan.

 

36. Kansas – There is no place like Kansas.

Apparently, marketing writers felt there was no place for Kansas in the upper echelon of slogans. The line tries to leverage the equity from one of the world’s most beloved movie.  But a surprising number of writers didn’t make the association when “home” was replaced with “Kansas.”  Those that did connect the dots, were actually less impressed since “There’s no place like home” is maybe the most famous line ever written about the benefits of not traveling.  Lastly, the line just didn’t seem credible or enticing.  Maybe taking a specific angle would help. Ironically, the line seemed to be lacking in courage, brains and heart.

 

37. Arizona – The Grand Canyon State.

This slogan received low marks quite possibly because it’s a missed opportunity.  Everyone knows about the Grand Canyon.  It’s breathtaking and amazing.  Now what else is there? For a state that has so much for tourists, this slogan’s one dimensional quality kept it in the lower ranks.

 

38. Arkansas – The Natural State.

This state tourism slogan also seems to be plagued by being way to generic and “natural” tends to be thoroughly overused in the industry but cities, resorts, attractions and anything else trying to play off of nature. With so many excellent slogans in use, Arkansas gets relegated to the lower ranks.

 

39. Massachusetts – It’s all here.

To coin another famous slogan, “Where’s the beef?” This slogan doesn’t do a good job of making a factual or emotional appeal. There’s no question Massachusetts has a lot to offer but this slogan just seems overly confident and way to broad and generic. It certainly has that feeling that this was the only slogan milquetoast enough to get through various approval committees.  The slogan lacks personality, charm or charisma. For a state that has those attributes, a poor slogan becomes all the more glaring.

 

40. Iowa – Fields of Opportunities.

It pains us to see Iowa this low.  When we talked to the people there to get confirmation of their slogan, they couldn’t have been friendlier.  Writers just felt this slogan seemed much more suited for attracting the agriculture business and not tourists.  In a state that obviously has a tougher challenge attracting visitors, an off the mark slogan makes the challenge all the more daunting.  But if Indiana can make strides maybe Iowa can too with their next slogan.

 

41. Montana – Get Lost.

We get the double meaning. You’ll lose yourself in a natural wonderland.  However, the obvious meaning turned off a lot of writers. Being that “Get Lost” is also a way of telling someone you want them gone. Immediately.  It sounds downright unfriendly. The literal meaning of “Get Lost” also might not be ideal for attracting visitors.  Either way, this slogan performed surprisingly poorly. 

 

42. Minnesota – Explore Minnesota

This slogan seems like it was generated by a computer and then approved by a committee…of computers. Obvious. Bland.  Forgettable.

 

43. Washington – The State

Letting everyone know you’re not Washington D.C.? Check. Accomplishing anything else? Not really.  Sadly, Washington’s state tourism slogan was the lowest rated on our list.  There’s just not a lot to work with here.  Maybe when they heard they needed a state tourism slogan they took it literally.  One of Washington’s previous slogans, “Say WA” was recalled by several writers as being perhaps the worst tourism slogan of all time so at least “The State” is not that.

 

HONORABLE MENTION:

MISSISSIPPI – Find Your True South.

Mississippi was one of less than a handful of states that did not reply to our request to provide their current slogan.  However, the last one we found on record was pretty darn strong.  We threw “Find Your True South” into the voting as an unofficial entry and it scored enough points that it would have made our top 10.  But alas, we can’t say that it’s currently being used. It’s not featured on Mississippi’s website either. We’re giving it an honorable mention and here’s hoping they give this line the attention it deserves.

 

The following states are choosing not to use a tourism slogan or didn’t respond to our requests:

Hawaii

New Jersey

Oklahoma

Vermont

Rhode Island

Alaska