It wasn’t so long ago that everyone got pretty much the same license plate. If you had a truck, maybe you got a simpler design, or a different numbering format. But there was no way to tell the driver in front of you was, say, a friend of the wild turkey, unless he had a bumper sticker. Or a wild turkey riding shotgun.

Things have changed. Now, you don’t need to spend time with a wild turkey for everyone to know you’re friends. Instead, you can show your support with a license plate. In fact, you can now get a license plate for virtually any cause, from the wild turkey to “Friends of Tibet.” Yes, Virginia: I’m looking at you.

I’ve outlined some of the more ridiculous ones below. Surely, I’ve missed a few.

Alabama: First to the Moon


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Alabama contains the Marshall Space Flight Center, which is a huge NASA research facility. Presumably, this license plate is intended to bring awareness to it. Instead, it says “First to the Moon … and Beyond,” which seems inspired by Buzz Lightyear. It also implies the entire state of Alabama was the first to visit the moon. Speaking for the rest of the country, we wish they hadn’t left.

Florida: Imagine



Florida residents openly admit their state has a lot of ridiculous license plates. For example, a pro-fishing design with the subtle, bondage-themed legend “Catch Me, Release Me.” Or - I swear this is real - a “Trees Are Cool” plate that shows the driver’s support for trees, and, apparently, shade. With all the choices, you’d think it would be hard to pick the most ridiculous, but it’s actually quite easy: behold, the Florida “Imagine” license plate. Yes, it pays homage to John Lennon. Does it support gun control? Music education? No: the money goes to Florida food banks.

Idaho: Stop for School Buses


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I think we can all agree that when a school bus displays its stop sign, the best thing to do is stop. But how many of us feel passionate enough about school bus stop signs to spend $60 for a special license plate honoring them? Imagine if all traffic laws had a special license plate. “Georgia: Promoting Awareness of Right Turn on Red.”

Maryland: Literally Everything There Is


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In Maryland, a non-profit group can get a special license plate as long as 25 different people sign up. Although I’m sure hate groups are banned, it appears there are no other actual rules. Which is why there are license plates for things like the Sons of Norway, or the Annapolis Woodworkers, or the Poe’s Crows Club, or my favorite, shown above: the Dental Hygenists’ Association. That is one happy tooth.

Montana: Teepee Capital of the World


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Apparently, Montana is the teepee capital of the world. Before you call this one out for racism, it’s actually issued by an Indian tribe, apparently proud of their teepee-erecting skills. Other bad Montana issues include “Call Before You Dig” with a chipmunk holding a shovel and “Montana’s Treasures,” which refers to old people and includes an image of one sitting in a rocking chair. Heartwarming, really.

Nevada: Supporting Healthcare


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I don’t intend to get political. But I do intend to get upset if political license plates start becoming a trend. Aren’t bumper stickers enough? Nevada claims this plate is intended to show a driver’s support for healthcare professionals, meaning it’s not political - just poorly worded. This wouldn’t be their first license plate with strange verbiage. The agriculture plate, for example, uses the slogan - I swear this is true - “People Grow Things Here.” Presumably, this includes marijuana.

North Carolina: Watermelon


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Somehow, this exists. Beyond the racial undertones, I have to ask why North Carolina feels it necessary to memorialize a fruit on a license plate. And it’s a rather boring design, considering that it’s just North Carolina’s regular license plate but with a large watermelon on the left side. Then again, this is a state that has a license plate for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, perhaps forgetting exactly where the Rocky Mountains are located.

Pennsylvania: Save Wild Animals


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I’ve always loved this plate, which is designed to support the Pennsylvania zoos. But rather than say something like “Support Pennsylvania Zoos,” it says “Save Wild Animals.” This in itself wouldn’t be so bad, except it features a photograph of a Bengal Tiger. When was the last time you saw a wild Bengal Tiger in Pennsylvania?

South Carolina & Virginia: Jimmy Buffett Fan


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Both South Carolina and Virginia offer full-color “Parrothead” license plates indicating the owner is a fan of singer Jimmy Buffett. This is completely real. You can walk into a South Carolina or Virginia DMV today, sit down at the window and say: “I love Jimmy Buffett. How can I express myself?” It’s only a matter of time before there’s a Belieber license plate.

Texas: Advertising



Texas is trying to make some big money from their plates. So, to spur people to pay extra for colorful optional plates, they changed the normal design to simple black and white. Then they began allowing private companies to get their own plates. Like Ford, as you see above. Others include Dr. Pepper and Carl’s, Jr., whose Texas plate has a photo of a very appetizing double cheeseburger. Truly.

Virginia: Robert E. Lee


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Ah, Virginia. Initially, we only think about the DC suburbs and your beautiful Atlantic beaches. Then, you remind us there’s still a whole other state out there, and it’s full of good ol’ boys just trying to live in Robert E. Lee’s footsteps. Here’s one way to do it: with a license plate that actually proclaims the confederate general as “The Virginia Gentleman.”

So: what have I missed?

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