There’s a store in Alabama that sells unclaimed luggage
If you’ve ever misplaced your suitcase in Alabama, it likely ended up here. Being the only store in the nation to provide such a service, Unclaimed Baggage offers shoppers a treasure trove of lost, unloved, or discarded items, selling everything from children’s toys to Louis Vuitton handbags.
Honking your car horn is illegal in New York City
If you’ve got road rage, maybe give New York City a miss. Despite the constant beeps, horns, and expletives you may hear in Times Square, horn honking is actually illegal – only to be used when signaling severe danger, not urging fellow drivers to get a move on.
The only known case of someone being hit by space junk was in Oklahoma
Tulsa resident Lottie Williams has the unfortunate claim to fame of being the only person in the world to be hit by a piece of space junk. Fortunately, the debris lost all speed upon re-entry, so Williams walked away unscathed. The junk was thought to be from a nearby rocket, though NASA neither confirmed nor denied the claim.
Oregon is home to the world’s largest organism
Deep in Oregon’s mountains lies a hidden monster – a fungi that’s the biggest organism in the entire world. The gigantic mushroom is thought to be around 2,400 years old and sprawls a whopping 2,384 acres. To put that into perspective, the humongous fungus would occupy 1,665 football fields.
A potato was once named as Rhode Island’s travel ambassador
If you’ve ever driven through Rhode Island, there’s a high chance you’ve stumbled upon a potato-shaped statue. After all, standing at six feet tall, they’re quite hard to miss. The reasoning behind the excessive influx of Potato Heads? In 2000, the state decided they needed a mascot to up tourism levels, choosing the Hasbro toy as their official ambassador.
It’s illegal to tickle women in Virginia
Keep your hands to yourself – unless you want to deal with the long arm of the law. Tickling a female in this state is illegal as it’s considered an act of assault, according to the Virginia Code 18.2-57. While the law may sound absurd, it shows that Virginia values female body autonomy.
Mississippi is subject to a lot of tornadoes
The windy state frequently has to contend with the ever-changing whims of Mother Nature, sheltering from its frequent bouts of tornadoes. In fact, Mississippi experiences around 43 tornadoes each year, working out as 3.5 tornadoes every single month, though the majority occur in spring and fall.
There are more hogs in Iowa than people
If you’ve ever noticed that there are a lot of hogs in Iowa, you wouldn’t be mistaken. In fact, there are so many hogs in the state that they outnumber people by over 7:1. More specifically, there are a whopping 23.6 million of the swines roaming Iowa’s countryside, compared to the relatively small 3.2 million residents.
New Mexico was used as an atomic bomb test site
The world’s first nuclear explosion took place on the barren plains of the Alamogordo Bombing Range, New Mexico. It’s thought that almost half a million people were subject to the nuclear fallout, with radioactive waste poisoning the nearby forests and rivers. The US government denied any responsibility in regard to the subsequent increase in deaths.
Uncle Sam was based off a real man who lived in New Hampshire
The infamous image of Uncle Sam was based on a real man named Samuel Wilson. When Wilson was inspecting meat packages delivered to US troops in the War of 1812, he stamped the deliveries with the initials “US”. Soldiers jokingly connected the letters and Wilson, referring to him as “Uncle Sam”. Eventually, word caught on and Samuel Wilson became the US’s most iconic figurehead.
It’s illegal to milk someone else’s cow in Texas
Step away from the udders – unless you want to spend the night in the slammer. Milking somebody else’s cow is viewed as a theft of personal property, according to the Texas Penal Code. While it may sound ludicrous at first, the law does make sense, with farmers working hard to sustain their herds’ ability to produce milk.
Tennessee has an official state rap song
Although it’s the self-proclaimed birthplace of country music, Tennessee is the only state in America to have an official state rap song. Put in place in 1996, the tune was chosen to encourage young people to learn about the state’s greatest feats. Almost three decades later, however, the rap has been reduced to an awkward cringe-fest.
Alaska has more missing people than any other state
If you’re planning a trip to Alaska, ensure you keep your wits about you. The state has the unfortunate claim of having almost double the national average of missing persons, alongside the highest percentage of people who are never found. Due to its hazardous conditions, it’s always advised to explore Alaska with caution.
Gatorade was made in Florida to improve NFL players’ performance
The thirst-quenching, energy-boosting drunk Gatorade was made at the request of the Florida Gators head coach Ray Graves, designed by scientists at the University of Florida College of Medicine. Graves wanted an edge on his opponents, seeking a way to boost electrolyte levels – thus creating Gatorade. It just goes to show that you should never underestimate the power of football.
A sculpture has been in the works in South Dakota for over 70 years
The famous Crazy Horse Memorial has been in the works for over seven decades, with work still continuing to this very day. When – or if, depending on who you ask – the monument is eventually complete, it’ll take the proud title of being the biggest sculpture in the entire world.
South Carolina has a monkey colony
On the coast of South Carolina lies Morgan Island, uninhabited by mankind. Due to an outbreak of monkeys from a research center in Puerto Rico, the island became overrun by the animals. To this day, it’s thought that there are approximately 3,500 free-ranging, Indian-origin rhesus monkeys that call the island home.
Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time
Arizona chose to be the US’s most awkward sibling, choosing to ignore Daylight Saving Time altogether. The exclusion is due to the state’s extreme climate, with officials choosing not to subject Arizonians to another hour of blistering heat. The change was implemented in 1968 and remains in place to this day.
California is named after a novel
The state of California gets its namesake from a fictional warrior queen named Calafa, coming from a 16th-century Spanish novel. Published in Seville in 1510, the book describes California as a fantastical place, filled with bloodthirsty beasts and fearsome women. Nowadays, it’s most notable for the Golden Gate Bridge and winding roads.
The largest snowflake ever recorded was in Montana
The state of Montana is known for its harsh winters and hefty snowfall. It may come as no surprise, then, that the biggest snowflake in the world fluttered down to Earth in the state over 100 years ago, measuring a colossal 15 inches wide and eight inches thick.
Louisiana is the frog capital of the world
More specifically, Rayne is heralded as the froggiest place on the planet. Back in 1941, the city was the world’s largest supplier of edible frogs. When demand dwindled, however, residents threw a frog festival to boost trade. The now annual affair still runs to this day, including a parade, costumes, and ample slimy critters to kiss.
Illinois has the world’s only backwards flowing river
The Chicago River was purposely reversed by man in the 1800s, sending their sewage and contaminated water upstream. The city utilized various dams and canals to meticulously change the flow of the river, taking eight years to accomplish the impressive feat. Chicago residents still benefit from the purer water to this day.
The state of Pennsylvania loves its potato chips
Pennsylvania residents truly love chips, with the state even being nicknamed The Potato Chip Capital of the World. In fact, there are more potato chips produced in the state than anywhere else on the entire planet, with an array of independent manufacturers claiming they offer the tastiest snacks on the market.
The world’s first successful plane flight was in North Carolina
Perhaps North Carolina’s biggest claim to fame is the Wright Brothers, the pioneers who developed the first flying craft. After countless failures in Ohio, the inventors moved to the state of North Carolina to test their latest model. The flight worked, lasting 12 seconds – changing the course of aviation forever.
North Dakota holds the Guinness World Record for the most snow angels made simultaneously in one place
On February 17, 2007, just under 9,000 people frolicked in the snow, gathering together to make snow angels at exactly the same time. The effort earned the state a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, beating the still-impressive previous record of 3,784.
Arkansas has America’s only active diamond mine
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Or, at least they are in Arkansas. For just a few dollars, tourists are able to explore the mine at their leisure, taking home any glittering gems that they stumble upon. It’s estimated that around 35,000 diamonds have been found by park visitors.
The world’s largest hot springs swimming pool is in Colorado
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, head to Colorado. The state boasts the largest hot springs swimming pool in the entire world, with tourists and locals alike dipping into the warm waters throughout the year, soothing their aching muscles and easing their troubled minds.
The very first dictionary was published in Connecticut
It was in the volatile plains of Connecticut that the dictionary was first penned, with Noah Webster publishing the comprehensive tome of words and their meanings in 1828. Webster was influential in popularizing certain US spellings and copyright law, alongside being a pioneer for abolishing slavery.
Delaware was the first state
Delaware has the nickname of “The First State”, being an integral part of US history. Back in 1787, Delaware was the first of the 13 original states to ratify the US Constitution, changing the face of America forever. December 7th is known as Delaware Day, celebrating the historic milestone.
Hawaii is home to the world’s most active volcano
Watch your step when traversing across Hawaii – the state is home to an active volcano that still rages to this day. The Mauna Loa often gushes heaps of ash and gas across the land, sending plumes of boiling lava downstream. Situated on Big Island, its 200,000 residents are kept on high alert for evacuation in case the volcano fully erupts.
In Kentucky, there are twice as many whiskey barrels as there are people
People in Kentucky love their bourbon. In fact, they love the alcoholic beverage so much that there’s a whopping 7.4 million barrels of the stuff, compared to the state’s population of 4.5 million people. The huge helpings of booze are thought to bring around $8.5 billion to Kentucky’s economy.
Maine has over 32,000 miles of rivers and streams
If you visit Maine, prepare to get wet. The state is home to thousands of rivers, creeks, and streams, making it one of the most water-dense states in America. With the state’s hefty rainfall, the rivers have no fear of running dry, providing a constant source of clean water to both locals and wildlife.
Michigan is home to the world’s only floating post office
If, for some strange reason, you wish to post your next letter on a boat, head to Michigan. The state is home to the world’s only floating post office, delivering mail and packages to fellow water-based ships. The boat even has its own zip code, making it a truly unique staple of Michigan.
Basketball was invented in Massachusetts
The popular game of basketball was invented by a gym teacher, looking for an indoor activity for his students to engage in during rainy weather. The game was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, who placed peach baskets 10 feet above the ground – the exact height the hoops remain at now.
You can visit the house from the Wizard of Oz in Kansas
We’re back in Kansas, Toto! If you’re a super fan of The Wizard of Oz, hit up the state of Kansas, where you’ll be able to explore Dorothy’s iconic home. The location features a museum that journeys you down the yellow brick road, giving you an insight into how the classic movie was made. Just ensure you keep an eye out for any wicked witches…
The source of the Mississippi River is actually in Minnesota
This rather unremarkable sight is actually the start of something magnificent – the Mississippi River. Although its namesake belongs to another state, the source of the river actually begins in Minnesota, with its humble origins eventually turning into a 3,766 km gushing stream of water.
Nevada is the hottest place on Earth
If you can’t handle the heat, stay away from Nevada. Death Valley is the hottest place on the entire planet, reaching incredible, record-breaking temperatures of 134 degrees, making it one of the most extreme places in the world. With global temperatures rising, these temperatures are only set to get hotter and hotter.
The oldest lighthouse in the US is still in operation in New Jersey
The Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in the US that’s still functioning to this day. The iconic building has stood the test of time, guiding American citizens since the era of exploration and colonization. Who knows how many more years the lighthouse will stand?
Utah has the highest number of plastic surgeons per capita in the US
When you think of plastic surgery, your mind likely immediately thinks of LA, with perfectly sculpted bodies strutting down the Hollywood Boulevard. Shockingly, Utah actually has the most plastic surgeons, with Salt Lake City having around 24 plastic surgeons per 100,000 people. If you’re looking for a quick procedure, Utah is the place to go.
Vermont was the first state to allow same-sex civil unions
The state of Vermont was the first state in America to pave the way for its lesbian, bi, and gay brothers and sisters, legalizing same-sex unions in the year 2000. The state was a trailblazer in providing rights that encompassed the same legal responsibilities as marriage, being a key part of the LGBTQ+ movement.
Washington grows more apples than any other state
Forget the Big Apple namesake of New York City – Washington is the state that produces the most of the fruit. In fact, Washington is responsible for more than 60% of the country’s entire apple crop, mainly due to the state’s advanced growing techniques, nutrient-rich soil, and arid climate.