Ah, U.S. borders. This is a category in which my trivia team is famously weak. I am going to go through every U.S. state – alphabetically – and include a list of each and every state that they border! And provide photos! Without further ado, let’s start!
Alabama – Borders 4 states – Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida
Civil rights battlefield, Helen Keller birthplace, Lynyrd Skynyrd sang about this state
Alabama borders Mississippi to the west, Florida to the southeast, Tennessee to the north, and Georgia to the east. Alabama is mentioned prominently is some Lynyrd Skynyrd song whose name I cannot immediately recall…specifically cities including Mussels Shoal, Montgomery… now what is that song again? Sweet Home something or other….damn I hate brain farts! 🙂 Alabama was a hotbed for civil rights in 1955, with Rosa Parks refusing to give up her bus seat, and helping launch the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott. Alabama was also the site of the 16th Street church bombing in 1963 that killed four little girls. Both of these incidents are well worth studying a bit more, but I need to keep these synopses short! This state joined the union Dec. 14, 1819 and was the 22nd state to join the union. Famous blind, deaf and mute bad-ass and feminist icon Helen Keller was born in Tescumbia, Alabama, where her birthday on June 27 is celebrated as the aptly named “Helen Keller Day.” Whenever you’re feeling unmotivated or thinking you can’t do anything, just think of Helen Keller. That should give you a little kick in the pants!
Alaska – borders Canada, Russia
“Seward’s Folly,” Christopher McCandless’ death site, Exxon Valdez disaster
Alaska does not border any U.S. states. However, Alaska borders the Yukon Territory (whose capital is Whitehorse) and British Columbia, whose capital is Victoria. William H. Seward, former U.S. Secretary of State, negotiated the purchase of Alaska with the Russians in 1867 for $7.2 million, which earned Alaska the nickname “Seward’s Folly.” Former vice presidential candidate and Alaskan governor Sarah Palin claimed she could see Russia from her house. Notable events include the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in 1989, and the 1890s gold rushes in Alaska and neighboring Yukon Territory. Notable college dropout and hitchhiker Christopher McCandless, who inspired the Jon Krakauer novel “Into the Wild,” died in a bus in Denali National Park in 1992. Alaska joined the union Jan. 3, 1959 and is the 49th U.S. state.
Arizona – Borders 5 states – California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico
Grand Canyon, Barry Goldwater and lots, and lots of Indian reservations…
Arizona borders California to the west, Nevada to the northwest, Utah to the north, Colorado to the northeast and New Mexico to the east. Arizona also borders Mexico to the south. Arizona is home to Grand Canyon National Park, and the sports teams the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns. Roughly 25 percent of Arizona land belongs to Indian reservations that serve as the home of 27 federally recognized Native American tribes including the Navajo Nation, the largest in the state and the United States, with more than 300,000 citizens. Arizona’s capital and largest city is Phoenix, and Glendale, Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale and Tucson, rank among other largest cities, though not necessarily in that order. Former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was a native of Arizona, and U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) ran for president in 2008. According to the Steve Martin novelty hit song “King Tut,” King Tut was born in Arizona and moved to Babylonia, but I would really, really double check that fact if I were you! Arizona officially became a state on Feb. 14, 1912 and is the 48th state.
Arkansas – Borders 6 states – Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana
Bill Clinton birthplace, Ozarks, Buffalo National River
Arkansas borders Texas to the southwest, Oklahoma to the west, Missouri to the north, Tennessee to the northeast, Mississippi to the east and Louisiana to the south. Arkansas, specifically the town of Hope, is the birthplace of former president Bill Clinton. Arkansas’ capital is Little Rock, and Arkansas is also home to the Buffalo National River, which is supposedly a very scenic river. The Ozark mountains are partially located here, along with Missouri. Arkansas is probably the most mispronounced of the U.S. states. Poor, poor Arkansas…This state joined the union June 15, 1836 and is the 25th state.
California – Borders 3 states – Oregon, Nevada and Arizona
Richard Nixon, Hollywood, Yosemite, Alcatraz
California borders Oregon to the north, Nevada to the west, and Arizona to the southwest. California also borders Mexico to the south. Yorba Linda, California is the birthplace of former President Richard Nixon, 37th president of the United States. Notable national parks include Sequoia, which has really, really huge trees; and Yosemite, which was made famous via photographs by Ansel Adams. California is also home to Hollywood, San Diego Padres, Chargers (unsure if they are LA now), Oakland Athletics (they have an elephant in their logo), Los Angeles Dodgers, LA Lakers, Los Angeles Rams, Oakland Raiders, San Jose Sharks, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Anaheim Ducks, LA Kings (I know I am probably missing a sports team here) and was the site of gold prospecting in the 1840s. A massive earthquake in San Francisco in 1906 nearly destroyed the city, which would later become home to the Golden Gate Bridge and a springboard to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. There is way too much about this “Golden State” to summarize here! Oh yeah, Golden State Warriors basketball team. California became a state Sept. 9, 1850 and is the 31st state.
Colorado – Borders 7 states – New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma
Big rectangle, Rocky Mountains, Mork and Mindy setting
Colorado borders New Mexico to the south, Arizona to the southwest, Utah to the west, Wyoming to the north (Colorado and Wyoming are virtual “twins” in that they are both boring, boring rectangles), Kansas to the east and Oklahoma to the southeast. Denver is Colorado’s capital and Rocky Mountain National Park is located here. And apparently a lot of people really, really love their marijuana here, which would give “Rocky Mountain High” a whole new meaning. Some major cities include Colorado Springs, Boulder (setting of the 70s TV series “Mork and Mindy”) and Leadville. The sports teams include the Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche and Broncos. Colorado became a state Aug. 1, 1876 and is the 38th state.
Connecticut – Borders 3 states – New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Bush alma mater, Bush birthplace, Yale University
Connecticut borders New York to the west, Massachusetts to the north, and Rhode Island to the east. Connecticut’s capital city is Hartford, and Grand Haven Connecticut is home to Yale University, which was attended by former presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush. The latter was born in this state, presumably while Daddy was in college. Some people who work in New York City actually live in Connecticut, particularly the upscale community of Greenwich Village. Which would mean Connecticut occasionally serves as overflow parking for New York City, if you will. Connecticut became a state Jan. 9, 1788 and is the fifth state.
Delaware – Borders 3 states – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland
First state, Joe Biden, Wilmington
Delaware borders Pennsylvania to the north, New Jersey to the east, and Maryland to the south. Delaware’s capital is Dover, though Wilmington is its most populous city. Delaware’s main bragging point is that was the first U.S. state, joining the union Dec. 7, 1787. First state, bitches! Don’t need to ask us to ratify that Constitution twice! Former vice president Joe Biden represented this state in the U.S. Senate from 1973 until becoming vice president in 2009.
Florida – borders 2 states – Alabama, Georgia
Theme parks, sinkholes, alligators, Ponce de Leon
Florida borders Alabama and Georgia. That’s it….Interesting fact about Florida is that dead people don’t tend to get buried in Florida – and most homes don’t have basements. I had a couple of cousins from Florida come to visit, and the first room they wanted to see in the house was the basement! Florida is home to dozens and dozens of amusement parks and water parks, even more sinkholes, retirement communities and alligators. Florida’s capital is Tallahassee, and some of the sports teams include the Miami Marlins, Miami Heat, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlando Magic, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins…did I miss any? Florida, which is home to the oldest permanent settlement in the United States, St. Augustine, became an official U.S. state March 3, 1845 and is the 27th state. Explorer Ponce de Leon is credited for “discovering” Florida, while he was looking for a fountain of youth. Little did he know it would become a playground for senior citizens centuries later.
Georgia – Borders 5 states – Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina
Juliette Gordon Low, REM, General Sherman
Georgia borders Florida to the south, Alabama to the west, Tennessee to the northwest, North Carolina to the northeast and South Carolina to the east. Georgia’s capital is Atlanta, which is home to the sports teams the Falcons, Hawks and the Braves. Georgia’s Springer Mountain is the southernmost point of the 2,200 mile long Appalachian Trail. Savannah is a very nice city to visit, and is home to the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace. She founded the Girl Scouts, so it is a must-visit for anyone who has a daughter in the 5 to 8 year old age range! Savannah was the setting for many of the scenes in the 1994 film “Forrest Gump” as well. And Savannah was ravaged in General William Tecumseh Sherman’s “march to the sea” during the Civil War. History, history, history! And don’t forget to visit the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace’s gift shop! Rock band REM hails from Georgia, as well as the B-52s. Georgia became a state Jan. 2, 1788 and is the fourth state.
Purchased in the gift shop at the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace
Hawaii – Duh, islands…
Pineapples, kona coffee, and Barack Obama
Hawaii does not border any other U.S. states since it consists of islands, some of them with active volcanoes, lepers (though I am not really sure Molokai is still called “Leper Island) and lots, and lots of tourists. Hawaii is the 50th and most recently added U.S. state and joined the party Aug. 21, 1959. Its capital is Honolulu, and its main exports include coffee, pineapple, and Don Ho. Former U.S. President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.
Idaho – borders 6 states – Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming and Utah
Potatoes, Ted Bundy and my buddy Brad (though for the record they did not know each other)
Idaho, which looks like a cartographic mistake, borders six states – Nevada to the southwest, Oregon to the west, Washington to the northwest, Montana to the northeast, Wyoming to the southeast and Utah to the south. It also borders British Columbia to the north. Serial killer Ted Bundy committed some of his earlier murders in Idaho, notably in the city of Pocatello. My friend Brad did his graduate studies at the University of Idaho, so when questions involving Idaho come up on trivia nights, we lean on him as being a default expert of this state. Please note that Brad never knew this Bundy guy! He would have nothing to do with this guy. Idaho’s capital is Boise, and, uh, potatoes are commonly associated with this state. I watched a “How the states got their borders” show a while back, and I guess Idaho was supposed to have been part of Montana originally, which would explain its weird, weird shape. Idaho became a U.S. state on July 3, 1890, and it is the 43rd state.
Illinois – borders 6 states – Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin
Land of Lincoln, Chicago, and Ronald Reagan born here
Illinois borders Missouri to the southwest, Iowa to the west, Wisconsin to the north, Indiana to the east, and Kentucky to the southeast. It shares a water border with Michigan, but not a land border. Illinois’ capital is Springfield and Illinois is the birthplace of Ronald Reagan, though many people think he was born in California. Illinois was also the stomping grounds of Abraham Lincoln in his pre-presidential days. And Chicago is in Illinois, which has lots of cool museums. And a home that Al Capone used to live in. It was recently listed for sale. No. Joke…who wants to rent a backhoe to see if anything is buried on the grounds? Show of hands? 🙂 Sports teams include the Blackhawks, Cubs, Bears, White Sox, and the Bulls. Illinois became a state December 3, 1818 and Illinois is the 23rd state.
Indiana – Borders 4 states – Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio
Hoosiers, GENCON, and Shipshewana
Indiana borders Kentucky to the south, Illinois to the west, Michigan to the north, and Ohio to the east. Indiana’s nickname is the “Hoosier State” which some think originated from some hick trying to say “who’s there?” when someone came to their door or something. Indiana’s largest city and capital is Indianapolis, which has been home to several GENCON events. It’s a giant nerd-fest, and a big meet-up for board gamers and garden variety nerds from across the world. South Bend is home to Notre Dame, which has a YUGE Jesus mural, which I have seen. Cautionary tale for hung-over students? Who knows! Purdue University is in West Lafayette, where my brother attended math camp in junior high. I am not joking…my brother went to MATH CAMP. It was not really a camp, he actually slept in dorm rooms or something. A notable place in Indiana is the Amish community of Shipshewana, which is a big tourist destination for those who like gawking at the Amish, fans of Amish furniture, and fans of Amish baked goods. I think there might be a big flea market here too, or something? I honestly don’t know, but some of my co-workers have been here a lot, and seem to like it. I went here when I was a kid with my mom and Grandma, before it became a big “thing.” My most notable memory is of my brother complaining about a Band-aid on his leg, Grandma’s response was to rip it off quickly. The poor dear winced quite a bit… Sports teams include the Pacers and the Colts, the latter of which play in Lucas Oil Stadium. Indiana became a U.S. state Dec. 11, 1816, and it is the 19th state.
Iowa – Borders 6 states – Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois
Herbert Hoover, Laura Ingalls groped, Go Hawkeyes
Iowa borders Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the southwest, South Dakota to the northwest, Wisconsin to the north and Illinois to the east. Iowa’s capital city is Des Moines, and the main sporting thing is the Hawkeyes, who play football or something. The town of Burr Oak was one of the towns in which author Laura Ingalls Wilder briefly resided. I recently read her annotated biography, and a dunken guy tried having his way with her while she was working in a hotel there! Needless to say, when “Ma” found out about this, Laura had to get a different after-school job! This incident is particularly shocking because she was like 13 or something! This was probably one in a series of events in her life that undoubtedly helped build character, among other things…as if her sister going blind wasn’t enough of an experience to help her build character! As for U.S. Presidents, former president Herbert Hoover was born here. Iowa became a U.S. state December 28, 1846 and it is the 29th state.
Kansas – Borders 4 states – Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska and Missouri
Pizza Hut, Dust in the Wind, “Big Red One”
Kansas borders Oklahoma to the south, Colorado to the west, Nebraska to the north and Missouri to the east. Kansas’ capital city is Wichita. I am not even getting into the whole sports teams thing because I don’t know if the teams actually play their games in Kansas City, MO or Kansas City, KS. So how about I just leave sports out of this? My husband Mike used to live in Kansas (specifically Fort Riley, home of the “Big Red One,”) and sometimes he will not shut up about how utterly dull and boring it was. Except for the Norway rat who briefly lived with him and his family while they lived in temporary military housing. Apparently this thing was a big as a cat, and they actually attempted to kill it by burning down the mobile home in which it taken up residence. And that didn’t work, as rumors go. Another notable event was when his dad had to euthanize a buffalo. Seriously, ask him about this next time you see him, he loves talking about this! Kansas is also yet another state in which Laura Ingalls Wilder lived, in this case she lived near Independence, where she caught malaria, and her family was eventually evicted because the Indians were there first. Moving on…let’s see, what else about Kansas? I am kind of digging here… Pizza Hut founded here in Wichita in 1958. Kansas became a U.S. state January 29, 1861 and is the 34th state. The rock band Kansas was founded in the 1970s and are best known for their ballad “Dust in the Wind.”
Kentucky – Borders 7 states – Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia
Daniel Boone, wet/dry counties, Mammoth Cave
Kentucky borders Tennessee to the south, Missouri to the southwest, Illinois to the west, Indiana to the north, Ohio to the northeast, West Virginia to the east and Virginia to the northeast. Kentucky’s capital is Frankfort, but is not its largest city, which is Louisville, home to Churchill Downs and the Mint Julep capital of the world. Lots of things in Kentucky are named for frontiersman Daniel Boone, who apparently frolicked around Kentucky quite a bit, hence the fact that so many things are named for him. The wiki article says he died of indigestion. DIED OF INDIGESTION! Nope, no Tums back in those days! I’ve visited Kentucky quite a few times, and in my experiences, the weather will always try to kill you. Or at least really, really annoy you. And keep in mind the “wet” and “dry” counties before you visit, if you are someone who partakes of alcohol. And be super careful if you drink Everclear, treat the stuff with respect! It is like “super vodka,” mix it accordingly! Half shots! The night before Kentucky weather tried killing us at Mammoth Cave National Park, I got so wasted on this stuff that my husband had to literally walk me – marionette style – into the women’s bathroom to make me barf. Wise man, we were probably a half hour away at the very least from the nearest hospital. Nearly getting flooded out of our campsite at 6:30 a.m. the following morning was a fine how-do-you-do! If you don’t want to bother figuring out which counties will sell you hooch, just bring your own booze from home! Or see if some kindly Kentuckian might spot you some corn or turnip squeezins’ from their own stills. Former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln was born here, although Illinois has already laid claim to him via the “Land of Lincoln” state nickname, license plate adornment, etc. Yes, he was born in Kentucky, and it’s quite notable that he didn’t stay here. Jussayn…His birthplace near Hodgenville is really kind of cool, if you go there on a hot day, be sure to look for the Artesian spring on the grounds, it’s a great place to cool off a bit! Another very scenic place to check out besides Mammoth Cave is the Red River Gorge geological area. Kentucky became a state June 1, 1792, and it is the 15th state. The Neil Diamond song “Kentucky Woman” was recorded in 1967. Remember that for trivia night! You’re welcome!
Louisiana – Borders 3 states – Texas, Missouri and Mississippi
Shaky levees, Mardi Gras, The Big Easy
Louisiana borders Texas to the west, Missouri to the north and Mississippi to the east. It also borders the Gulf of Mexico and is home to the Mississippi River delta. Louisiana’s capital city is Baton Rouge, though its best known and largest city is New Orleans, aka “The Big Easy,” or “N’Awlins,” as some pronounce it. New Orleans is a city with a rich, rich history and is a popular spot during Mardi Gras, which would make New Orleans the “flash your tits” capital of the world during this time. Do you need another reason to visit this lively town? Hurricane Katrina flooded about 80 percent of New Orleans in 2005, with a majority of deaths caused by levee and floodwall failure. As Led Zeppelin warned us, “If it keeps on rainin’….the levee’s gonna break.” The only good thing to come out of Hurricane Katrina was that it distracted the news media from the Natalee Holloway disappearance, please do not get me started on “missing white woman syndrome.” Louisiana became a U.S. state April 30,1818 and is is the 18th state.
Maine – Borders 1 U.S. state – New Hampshire – plus Canada
Stephen King, Mt. Kathadin, borders Nova Scotia
Maine borders new Hampshire to the west and also borders Quebec to the northwest, and New Brunswick to the northeast. I once knew a woman from Nova Scotia named Jenn, and she had the most ADORABLE accent. I literally LIVED to hear her say the word “about.” And she had gorgeous jet-black hair and blue eyes. Kind of made me question my sexuality when I hung out with her. Ahem…anyway, Maine’s capital is Augusta, and Maine is home to the northernmost point on the Appalachian Trail at Mt. Katahdin. Maine is also the setting of multiple Stephen King novels, and also the name of a really bad-ass character in the web series “Red vs. Blue.” Again, if I haven’t mentioned this already, it’s the longest running web series of all time. It is so good! Seasons 6-10 are the absolute best, if you are going to binge watch, watch those seasons! Maine became a U.S. state March 15, 1820, and it is the 23rd state.
Agent Maine, “Red vs. Blue”
Maryland – Borders 4 states – Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware
Baltimore, Edgar Allen Poe, Fort McHenry
Maryland borders Virginia to the southwest, West Virginia to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the north and Delaware to the east. Maryland, like Idaho, appears to be a cartographic mistake, and was always really, really difficult to draw back in elementary school when we had to do state reports. Maryland’s capital is Annapolis, and the city of Baltimore is home to the sports teams the Orioles and the Ravens. Notable medical school Johns Hopkins is located in Maryland. Horror writer Edgar Allen Poe was a resident, and one of his book subjects eventually became a sports mascot for the Baltimore Ravens, whose avian mascot is called “Poe.” Baltimore is also the location of historic Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key penned “The Star Spangled Banner.” I had to memorize this for a U.S. history class in high school, this was for a test grade. This teacher did not even require that we “sing” this, only show that we knew the lyrics. She could not have made it any more easy! Still, there was a guy who “opted out” of the assignment and would not recite the lyrics. Yeah, whatevs, it was an easy “A” if you did it! Baltimore is also the setting for many John Waters films, including “Serial Mom,” which is one of my absolute favorites. The mom in the movie actually kind of reminds me of an extreme version of my mom. Maryland became a U.S. state April 28, 1788 and it is the 7th state.
Massachusetts – Borders 5 states – New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut
Kennedy compound, cow paths, Kennedy family
Massachusetts borders New York to the west, Vermont to the northwest, New Hampshire to the northeast, Rhode Island to the southeast and Connecticut to the south. Massachusetts’ capital and largest city is Boston, which can be a navigational nightmare if you are not local. It is OK if you’re not a local, because the locals tend to be very friendly to out-of-towners and will most likely offer directions if you’re lost! At least they did when we visited there in 1993. I read somewhere that Boston roads are based on old cow paths, which would explain why they make no sense whatsoever… U.S. Presidents born in Massachusetts include John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy and George H.W. Bush. The “Kennedy Compound” is located on Cape Cod. Sports teams include the Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and the Red Sox. Massachusetts became a state Feb. 6, 1788 and it is the sixth state.
Michigan – Borders 5 states – Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana – and Minnesota/Illinois (water borders)
cars, trolls, 4 great lakes
Michigan borders Wisconsin to the northwest, Ohio to the southeast and Indiana to the southwest. Michigan shares water borders with Illinois and Minnesota. Michigan also borders the Canadian province Ontario via a water border in Detroit and Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Michigan’s capital is Lansing, though its largest city is Detroit. Michigan borders four of the Great Lakes – Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior. Sports teams include the Pistons, Lions, Tigers and the Red Wings. Though Michigan does not claim to be the birthplace of any U.S. presidents, former U.S. President Gerald Ford attended the University of Michigan and has a library named for him in Ann Arbor. Michigan is the only U.S. state with two distinct peninsulas, divided by the Mackinac Bridge, which was built in 1957. Upper Peninsula residents are commonly referred to as ‘Yoopers,” and the lower peninsula residents “trolls.” This state is well known for being the birthplace of several American automotive companies. Michigan is the 26th state and joined the union Jan. 26, 1837.
Minnesota – Borders 5 states – Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin plus Michigan (water border)
Walter Mondale, Jesse Ventura, Prince
Minnesota borders Iowa to the south, South Dakota to the southwest, North Dakota to the northwest, and Wisconsin to the east. Minnesota also shares a water border with Michigan and a provincial border with both Ontario and Alberta. Minnesota’s capital city is St. Paul, and its sports team include the Vikings, Twins, Wild, and the Timberwolves. Late ’80s pop star Prince ranks as one of Minnesota’s most famous native sons, and his Paisley Park recording studio is a big tourist attraction near Minneapolis. Another notable Minnesotan is former governor and professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who played “Captain Freedom” in the 1987 film “The Running Man. ” Author Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in the town of Walnut Grove, MN when she was young, which is the town used as the basis for the TV series “Little House on the Prairie.” And former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale is from Minnesota, which is one of only six states former President Jimmy Carter carried in the 1980 election. Minnesota became a U.S. state May 11, 1858, and it is the 32nd state.
Mississippi – Borders 4 states- Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama
Do I have to list three notable things about Mississippi? Awww..do I hafta? 🙂
Mississippi borders Louisiana to the southwest, Arkansas to the northwest, Tennessee to the north and Alabama to the east. Mississippi’s capital is Jackson, which is one of several U.S. capitals name for U.S. presidents. The city of Vicksburg was the site of a U.S. Civil War siege led by General Ulysses Grant, which was a turning point of the war. The city of Vicksburg, after its surrender in 1863, would not celebrate the Fourth of July for the next 81 years. Now that’s a grudge, people! Mississippi became a U.S. state Dec. 10, 1817, and it is the 20th state. The rock band Mountain released their hit song “Mississippi Queen” in 1970.
Missouri – Borders 8 states – Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky, “Show me something good about this state”
Mark Twain, Harry Truman, Rocky Ridge Farm
Missouri borders EIGHT states. I am not even going to describe how they all border each other. My fingers are tired. But it is seven states. And I have visited just two of the states that touch this state. Missouri and Tennessee both win. They have touched more states than any other U.S. state. Missouri’s capital is Jefferson City (named for President Thomas Jefferson). Missouri is best known for being the birthplace of author and noted misanthrope Mark Twain. Rocky Ridge Farm is located in Mansfield, which is the “final” home in which Laura Ingalls Wilder lived. Seriously, if you guys haven’t started planning a “Laura Ingalls Tour of the U.S.” yet, what’s stopping you? And I will not even touch the sports teams thing because I don’t know if they play in Kansas or Missouri. Ozark Mountains located in Missouri, which are commonly associated with pipe-smoking woman, hillbillies, and heated family rivalries. And possums. My husband Mike had a snarky classmate whom, when quizzed about why Missouri was called the “Show Me” state, he quipped, “Show me something good about this state.” Clever boy… Former U.S. President Harry Truman was born in Missouri. The state of Missouri joined the union Aug. 10, 1821 and it is the 24th state.
Montana – borders 4 states – Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota
Borders 3 provinces, David Lynch, shares weird border with Idaho
Montana borders Wyoming to the south, Idaho to the west, North Dakota to the northeast and South Dakota to the southeast. Montana also shares a provincial border with British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Montana’s capital is Helena, which is NOT named for 90s model Helena Christensen! Filmmaker and “Twin Peaks” creator David Lynch hails from the Montana town of Missoula. Montana became a U.S. state November 8, 1889 and it is the 41st state.
Nebraska – borders 6 states – Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota and Wyoming
Gerald Ford, Bruce Springsteen album, Omaha
Nebraska borders Colorado to the southwest, Wyoming to the west, South Dakota to the north, Iowa to the east, Missouri to the southeast and Kansas to the south. Nebraska’s capital city is the very presidential Lincoln, though Omaha is its most populous city. Nebraska is the birthplace of former U.S. President Gerald Ford (that president you thought was from Michigan). It is also the name of a 1982 album by Bruce Springsteen, which was lauded by critics. Nebraska became a U.S. state March 1, 1867 and it is the 37th state.
Nevada – borders 5 states – Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon and Utah
Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, My Friend Michelle
Nevada borders Arizona to the southeast, California to the west, Idaho to the northeast, Oregon to the northwest, and Utah to the east. Nevada’s capital is Carson City, though its most famous city is Las Vegas, where my friend Michelle resides. And she totally belongs in sin city, imho… Hoover Dam (named for former U.S. President Herbert Hoover) is a big tourist attraction for those who are not into gambling, or those who want to see if it really does house Megatron. Nevada became a U.S. state Oct. 31, 1864 and it is the 36th state.
New Hampshire – borders three states – Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont
Franklin Pierce, Jodie Foster film, Dartmouth
New Hampshire, which Jodie Foster says has a hotel named for it, borders Maine to the east, Massachusetts to the south and Vermont to the west. New Hampshire’s capital is Concord, and New Hampshire is the birthplace of former U.S. President Franklin Pierce. And you know I am really reaching for facts about a state when I talk about the colleges…Hanover, NH is home to Dartmouth College, which is an “ivy league” school. Oh yes, more about Franklin Pierce, I have read that he was a fantastic drunk. Hell, I like him already! New Hampshire became a U.S. state June 21, 1788 and it is the 9th state.
New Jersey – borders 3 states – New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware
Grover Cleveland, Springsteen, Jersey Devils
New Jersey borders New York to the west, Delaware to the southeast and Pennsylvania to the southwest. New Jersey, aka the “Garden State,” is the setting to the HBO series “The Sopranos,” is the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen, and also the birthplace of former U.S. President Grover Cleveland, who was born on two non-consecutive dates. JK, of course, but his “main” claim to fame is that he is the only president to have served two non-consecutive terms. However, something a bit more interesting than that is that he may have knocked up a woman and ordered her to be institutionalized after doing so. But Mr. Cleveland is not exactly able to defend himself from these allegations, is he? Yeah, he probably did it…sounds like he was kind of a jerk. New Jersey is also “supposedly” home to the mythological beast the Jersey Devil, which was featured on an episode of “The X-Files.” God, I miss that show…the Jersey Devil is, of course, named for the NHL team the Jersey Devils. Or is it the other way around? New Jersey became a U.S. state Dec. 18, 1787 and it is the third state.
New Mexico – borders 5 states – Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah
Roswell, Nuclear Testing, Bugs Bunny
New Mexico borders Arizona to the west, Colorado to the north, Texas to the east, and Utah to the northwest. New Mexico also borders Mexico to the south. Its capital city is Santa Fe, though Albuquerque is a much bigger city, in which Bugs Bunny frequently made right turns instead of left ones. Roswell, NM is the site of an “incident” in which a UFO supposedly landed on earth. Los Alamos, NM is considered the birthplace of the nuclear bomb. New Mexico became a state January 6, 1912, and it is the 47th state.
New York – Borders 6 states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island (water border) and Vermont
The state, not the city, birthplace of 5 presidents
New York borders Connecticut and Massachusetts to the southeast, Vermont to the east, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and shares a water border with Rhode Island. Which is not technically an island. New York also borders Canada, specifically the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Presidents born in New York include Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt. And also Donald Trump, who was not on the list I just looked at (must not be up to date). Come on, we have enough presidents from New York! When will Michigan, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Arizona get some love in this regard? New York became a state July 26 1788 and it is the 11th state.
North Carolina – borders 4 states – Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia
Polk/Johnson born here, Hanging Rock, Duke University
North Carolina borders Georgia to the southwest, South Carolina to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina’s capital city is Raleigh. Presidents born in North Carolina include James Knox Polk and Andrew Johnson. The Blue Ridge Mountains’ southern range runs through North Carolina, and Hanging Rock State Park is a nice place to test your hiking skills at Moore’s Knob. North Carolina is home to Duke University, which, at one time, had a parapsychology program of study. Awesome…North Carolina became a state November 21, 1789 and it is the 12th state.
North Dakota – borders 3 states – Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota
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North Dakota borders Minnesota to the east, Montana to the west, and South Dakota to the south. North Dakota also borders the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south. What to say about North Dakota? Well, major cities include Bismarck, Fargo… Isn’t this where Mount Rushmore is? No, that’s South Dakota? Well, if you’re bored, maybe you will see some action along its Canadian border. I really have no idea what else to say about North Dakota. “Fargo” isn’t even one of my favorite movies! North Dakota became a state November 2, 1889 and it is the 39th state. As part of a “buy one, get one” deal, South Dakota also became a state on this date, and it is the 40th state.
Ohio – borders 5 states – Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
Aviation, presidents, theme parks
Ohio borders Indiana to the west, Kentucky to the southeast, Michigan to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the east, and West Virginia to the northeast. Ohio also shares a water border with Ontario. If you like theme parks, be sure to visit Ohio! There’s Cedar Point and King’s Island, and probably others, too. Though Geauga Lake is closed, which may have been a Six Flags. Cleveland is home to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, which is very, very cool. I got to see Freddie Mercury’s leather pants. This is something I will never, ever un-see. Oh yeah, there is also a huge “Butter Jesus” emerging from a pond in front of a church, located distractingly right along I-75. Hocking Hills State Park is actually quite a gem, though its cramped campground leaves something to be desired… Ohio license plates sport the phrase ‘Birthplace of Aviation,” thanks to the Wright Brothers, who worked on their flying contraptions in this state, though actually managed to get them off the ground in North Carolina. Presidents born in Ohio include James Garfield, William McKinley, Benjamin Harrison, William Taft, Ulysses Grant, Warren Harding and Rutherford B. Hayes. Ohio became a state March 1, 1803 and it is the 17th state.
Butter Jesus, aka Touchdown Jesus, aka Car Crash Jesus, located between Dayton and Cincinnati along I-75
Oklahoma – borders 6 states – Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas
“Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma borders Arkansas to the southeast, Colorado to the northwest, Kansas to the north, Missouri to the northeast, New Mexico to the northwest and Texas to the west. Oklahoma’s capital is Oklahoma City, which was the site of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. There is a somewhat fascinating story about why Oklahoma is called the “Sooner State,” and it had to do with people rushing in there to stake claims. Seriously, look that up if you want to know more! I saw something about that on a TV show. And that’s all I have to say about that. OK, OK, Will Rogers Airport. Named for a guy who died in plane crash. Sheesh…I don’t wanna talk about Oklahoma anymore! Oh, all right…there is a funny scene involving Oklahoma in the 1988 film “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” And Hugh Jackman was in a version of “Oklahoma,” which has a very slutty girl in it named “Ado Annie.” And this exhausts my knowledge of Oklahoma… Oklahoma became a state November 16, 1907 and it is the 46th state.
Hugh Jackman as Curley in “Oklahoma.” But you knew he was a bit too smiley to be Wolverine, right?
Oregon – borders 4 states – California, Idaho, Nevada and Washington
Goonies house, Portland, hipsters
Oregon borders California to the south, Idaho to the east, Nevada to the southeast, and Washington to the north. Oregon’s capital is Salem, though the city in which the “Goonies” house is located is in Astoria. Major city is Portland, which is probably chock-full of hipsters. Oregon became a state Feb. 14, 1859 and it is the 33rd state.
Pennsylvania – borders 6 states – Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and West Virginia
Gettysburg, rude traffic signs, drive-through state
Pennsylvania borders Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, New Jersey to the east, New York to the north, Ohio to the west and West Virginia to the southwest. Pennsylvania also shares a water border with Canadian province Ontario. The last time I drove through Pennsylvania, they had some very, very rude traffic signs, including some that stated, “You slow down!” They also had signs stating that speeds were enforced by aircraft. So bossy, Pennsylvania! Sorry you are little more than a “drive through” state! Except Gettysburg, that is a pretty cool place to visit. Except do not do it on a 90-plus degree day in July… Former U.S. President James Buchanan was born in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania became a state Dec. 12, 1787 and it is the second state.
Rhode Island – borders 3 states – Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York (water border)
Family Guy, It’s not an island, Farrelly Brothers films
Rhode Island borders Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and shares a water border with New York. Which I guess means you can swim from New York to Rhode Island. Which, I repeat, is NOT an island! Watch “Family Guy,” it will teach you everything you need to know about Rhode Island! Either that, or watch a Farrelly Brothers film! “Me, Myself and Irene” is my favorite…jesus that one is funny! Rhode Island became a state May 29, 1790 and it is the 13th state.
South Carolina – borders 2 states – Georgia and North Carolina
Strom Thurmond, Red vs. Blue character, Andrew Jackson born here
Yup, South Carolina only borders two states, which means it is not nearly as whorish of a state as those huge sluts Tennessee and Missouri. But it is also the home state of Strom Thurmond, who used to hold a record for longest filibuster ever, when he read from a phone book to hold the floor during debates on civil rights. Unsure if this record has been beaten since then or not. But it’s something I always think of when I think of South Carolina. Sure, I COULD also think of my friend Michelle, who lived in SC for a few years, but she was in a very unhappy marriage then, so I think she would probably prefer I think of her when I think of Nevada, not South Carolina. Former U.S. President Andrew Jackson, who killed a guy in a duel, was born here. Yet another “Red vs. Blue” character is named for this state (or perhaps North Carolina, I do not think they specified which one). South Carolina became a state May 23, 1788 and it is the eighth state.
Agent Carolina, “Red vs. Blue”
South Dakota – borders six states – Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming
Mount Rushmore, DeSmet, Black Hills
South Dakota borders Iowa to the southeast, Minnesota to the east, north Dakota north (duh), Montana to the northwest, and Wyoming to the southwest. South Dakota is also where author Laura Ingalls Wilder met her husband Almonzo Wilder near the town of De Smet, which translates into English as “The Smet.” But you all knew that, right? Visit De Smet to take a tour of her childhood home and don’t forget to visit the gift shop! South Dakota is home to Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills, which are sacred to Native American tribes. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s younger sister Carrie, who was a bad-ass in her own right, lived in the Black Hills area, and worked in and managed several newspaper offices in the late 1800s. She even lived by herself in a claim shanty for a spell (not an easy existence, especially by her bad self). Bucket list, find out more about Carrie, she deserves her own book! South Dakota became a state Nov. 2, 1889 and it is the 40th state.
Tennessee – borders 8 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia
Dollywood, Smokies, Gatlinburg (avoid Gatlinburg at all costs)
Like with Missouri, I am not even going to explain how all of these states touch Tennessee, that filthy whore state! My favorite thing about Tennessee is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the most-visited national park in the United States), they do have pretty nice hiking trails and campgrounds. And the park actually fines people for leaving food lying around, not because they’re super neat freaks, but because of the risk of black bears coming into your campsite and helping themselves to your canned tuna. Or whatever the hell else you bring to eat, ANYTHING with a scent will attract bears – toothpaste, gum, your sweaty body after you gained 2,000 feet elevation climbing the Ramsay Cascades trail, and that scented candle you picked up at Dollywood. Pro tip, unless you dig super touristy stuff, avoid Gatlinburg. Get a good map to circumnavigate it if at all possible. Tennessee became a state June 1, 1796 and it is the 16th state.
Texas – borders 4 states – Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma
The Alamo, Everything’s Bigger Here, Lyndon Johnson, Ike Eisenhower
Texas borders Arkansas to the northeast, Louisiana to the east, New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north. Texas also borders Mexico, and if President Trump has his way, will sport a wall along the border to keep Mexicans out. Or will it be to keep Texans in? I haven’t figured that one out yet. But it’s likely to be a right-of-way nightmare, nonetheless. Texas always reminds me of “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.” There is a hilarious scene in San Antonio, where Pee Wee visits the Alamo and learns there is no basement there. I’m not going to explain the whole plot line involving the basement (read the wiki article if you don’t want to take the time seeing the movie), but trust me, it is funny! Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson are former U.S. presidents who were born here. Texas became a state Dec. 29, 1845 and it is the 28th state.
Tour guide at the Alamo in “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure,” about to explain the thousands, and thousands of uses for corn
Utah – borders 6 states – Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming
Porn is huge here, Mormons, Great Salt Lake (but that’s not important right now)
I’ve gotten to the letter “U” and am pretty weary of explaining how all of these states touch each other. Instead I will let y’all refer to the map below, and ponder this thought…Utah has a YUGE porn problem. People in Utah absolutely love looking at naked people doing all manner of things involving donkeys, Jell-O, other humans (the more, the better), dachshunds, shilleleghs, nine irons and “magic” underwear. This list is by no means all-inclusive. Oh yeah, they also have a big salt lake or something, but that is by no means the most memorable thing about Utah! 🙂 Utah joined the union January 4, 1896 and it is the 45th state.
Vermont – borders 3 states – Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York
Coolidge/Arthur, Newhart, Green Mountains
Vermont borders New Hampshire to the east, Massachusetts to the south and New York to the west. The Green Mountains are a topographical feature for which Vermont is relatively well-known. Ethan Allen? Green Mountain Boys? I’m humming a few bars here, people, can you at least fake it? Ahem…Vermont is also “supposedly” the birthplace of former U.S. president Chester A. Arthur, though there were some “birthers” at the time who thought he may have actually been born in Canada. He was one of a few presidents nicknamed “His Accidency” because of taking over after the previous president leaving office on the account of death. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th U.S. president, was also born here. The most interesting presidential death, imho, is that of Zachary Taylor, which remains mysterious to this day. They actually exhumed his body to try to determine if he was poisoned (apparently Mr, “Old Rough and Ready” was not very well liked). The autopsy did not reveal anything, and the prevailing theory is that he got some kind of shit disease, which was a common thing back in the day when people shat in and drank from the same water sources daily. Incidentally, Vermont borders the Canadian province Quebec to the north. And Taylor was not from Vermont, he was born in Virginia, like several other U.S. presidents! Oh yeah, one more thing about Vermont, the ’80s sitcom “Newhart” was set there. Vermont became a state March 4, 1791 and it is the 14th state.
Virginia – borders 5 states – Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia
Oh Shenandoah, Lots of presidents born here, and history, history, history
Virginia is somewhat whorish in that it touches five states. But not nearly as whorish as Tennessee and Missouri. It is one of my favorite states to visit, the Blue Ridge mountains there are quite lovely, and if you love history? Fuhgeddaboudit… Anywhere you step in Virginia you are probably just steps away from a battlefield site. I visited Bull Run in 1997 near twilight and there was just something…haunting about it. And I am not one of those people who has ever, ever seen a ghost (though I really, really want to). Driving through the mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway and/or Skyline Drive is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Shenandoah National Park. There, I said it. Visit it! Don’t expect to be able to drive too fast through these lovely mountains – and make sure your car is in top shape and can handle the workout it will get going up and down the hills! Presidents born in Virginia – Zachary Taylor, Woodrow Wilson, William H. Harrison, George Washington, James Monroe, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and John Tyler. Virginia became a state June 25, 1788 and it is the 10th state.
Washington – borders 2 states – Oregon and Idaho
Seattle, Grunge Music, Mariners/Seahawks
Washington borders Oregon to the north and Idaho to the east. Washington also shares a border with Canadian province British Columbia to the north. Sports teams include the Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Seahawks, and the MLS team the Seattle Sounders. Washington is also where Seattle is located, which is considered to be the birthplace of “grunge” music. I will never completely believe that Kurt Cobain killed himself, I contend he was far too high to have had the wherewithal to accomplish such a task. However, he was married to Courtney Love at the time, so there is that. Tough call. Washington became a state November 11, 1889 and it is the 42nd state.
West Virginia – borders 5 states – Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia
We don’t need no stinkin’ zoning laws, land mines, it’s “kinda” pretty…
West Virginia is one of those “drive through” states, chances are you’ve driven through it while heading to much, much better states. Sorry, Marian, I know WV is your home and I do not mean to badmouth your state! But you almost can’t help but be taken a bit aback while driving through some of West Virginia’s cities, some of which seem to have NO zoning laws. You could see a mobile home sitting right next to a 5-bedroom, two-story home! Because of West Virginia’s “alpine” terrain, it was used as a training ground for troops during World War 2 because of its resemblance to the Alps. And to this day, there are some sections that still have unexploded land mines. I read that in a park brochure when I was looking into places in WV to camp/hike. Needless to say, I decided not to camp in this particular park! West Virginia is not without its beauty, but imho, Virginia is better. West Virginia became a state June 20, 1863 and it is the 30th state.
Wisconsin – borders 4 states – Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota
Fish fry rejects, Cheeseheads, borders 2 Great Lakes
Wisconsin borders Michigan (specifically its Upper Peninsula) to the northeast, Illinois to the southeast, Iowa to the southwest, and Minnesota to the west. Wisconsin also borders two of the Great Lakes, including Michigan, and Superior. Writer Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Pepin, which is near Lake Pepin. Yes, it was a log cabin…the housing stock choices were a bit limited in 1867! Wisconsin also has a reputation for having quirky residents, and not just the people who wear the cheese hats! Oh yeah, Green Bay Packers fans. You guys are so quirky! Another quirky fellow was the guy who was famously cut off from a Friday fish fry. And he protested the f— out of that to any news outlet who would listen to him. You might have an eating problem if you are the guy pictured below. Wisconsin became a state May 29, 1848 and it is the 40th state.
Wisconsinite Bill Wisth, who protested being cut off at a fish fry in May, 2012
Wyoming – borders 6 states – Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Utah
It’s rectangular, Yellowstone is here, Red vs. Blue character
Wyoming is one two “rectangle” states and touches six other states. Seriously, look at the map if you really want to know how all of these states touch Wyoming. What to say about Wyoming…the last state alphabetically, its capital is Cheyenne, and there are portions of Yellowstone National Park here, which is one of the first national parks in the United States. Wyoming is also the name of one of the characters in the long-running web series “Red vs. Blue.” His character has a mustache and a weird accent. Wyoming became a state July 10, 1890 and it is the 44th state.
Agent Wyoming on “Red vs. Blue”
Hey, I said a COUPLE of things about Wyoming, didn’t I? Yeah, yeah, go to Yellowstone and don’t forget to visit the gift shop! Get me one of those huge novelty pencils, will ya? 🙂
Just when you thought this blog was done…here’s a rundown of the U.S. states that border Canadian provinces:
States that border Canada
There are 13 states that border Canada, including Alaska, Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Washington, North Dakota, Ohio, Vermont, New Hampshire, Idaho and Pennsylvania. Look at the handy map below to see more, though it is tiny…do your best!