Can You Pass This Sudden Death U.S. State Quiz?


By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: Tomasz Szulczewski / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

You already know that 50 states comprise the United States of America, but do you remember your middle school facts about them? These rapid-fire, sudden death questions will put your memory to the test! We won't ask you to name all the state capitals, but we will see how well you know your state stuff. 

Do you know where you can find Mount Rushmore? How about the world's largest man-made arch? Before you give us your answer, take a moment to think about the question you've been asked. At first, they might look a little tough, but we've tried to stick to those that are common knowledge. Full of state facts, we think your geographical memory will be jarred enough to dig up the correct response. 

You're not going to be on a timer, and we've given you a hint, but you'll still need to be careful! Sudden death quizzes are serious business, and you won't want to get any of them wrong. Think back to the U.S. history exams of your youth, and dig up the state facts you already know. Will you survive all 35 questions, or will you need to go back to school? Put on your state's favorite thinking cap, and get started! 

Dorothy once told Toto that she didn't think they were in which state anymore?

Immediately after being transported to Oz, Dorothy was already missing Kansas. A state since 1861, The Sunflower State is home to nearly 3 million people who love calling the region known as "the breadbasket" home.


Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green are cities in which Bluegrass State?

Kentucky doesn't get its nickname from a style of old-timey music. The Bluegrass State name comes from a variety of grass that grows outside the northern part of the state. It's not blue, but its pods sometimes add a blue hue from a distance.


Which Midwestern U.S. state is the birthplace of eight former presidents and three cities that begin with the letter "C"?

Founded in 1803, Ohio has produced more U.S. presidents than any other state! Former Presidents Madison, Harrison, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, McKinley, Taft and Harding were all born near the towns of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.


Louisiana hosts Mardi Gras every year, but which nearby U.S. state held the first celebration?

Long before Alabama became a state, Mardi Gras was first celebrated by French settlers near Mobile. The festival went dormant for a number of years, but a man named Joe Cain brought it back after the Civil War.


In this state, you can be fined for whispering into a moose hunter's ear. Can you figure out which state it is?

Although not part of the continental United States, Alaska has a lot to offer. Oil and natural gas are the state's biggest export, but Alaska is desperate for dentists and physicians.


Most of Yellowstone National Park is located in which one of these states?

There's a reason they call Wyoming "The Equality State." Long before Congress passed the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, Wyoming had already allowed it. Wyoming is also home to the first female governor to serve one of the states.


What state was part of Virginia until it seceded during the Civil War era?

West Virginia had been trying to separate itself from the eastern part of Virginia since 1769. It wasn't until political disagreements over the Civil War led the state to secede in 1863.


Do you know which Southwestern state is home to the American City of Lights and nicknamed The Sagebrush State?

When you think of Nevada, you might think of the twinkling lights of Las Vegas or the capital city of Reno. There's something else that sparkles in Nevada, though. Nevada is one of the world's biggest exporters of gold.


If you were trying to find the Cornhuskers' football stadium, which state would you need to locate on a map?

"Oh yeah!" After you finish watching a game at the NebraskaCornhuskers' Memorial Stadium, point your car toward the Kool-Aid Museum in Hastings. In 1927, Edwin Perkins invented a concentrated drink called Fruit Smack. Once it was reduced to powder, Kool-Aid was born!


Can you figure out which one of these states was NOT part of the original 13 colonies?

Louisiana's history is quite different from the original 13 colonies. Louisiana became a state in 1812 after being purchased by the United States in 1803's aptly named Louisiana Purchase.


Where would you have to travel to see the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall?

If you wanted to see the Liberty Bell or have one of the country's best cheesesteaks, you would head to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The state is also home to Forbes Field, the first baseball field in the United States. It was built in Pittsburgh in 1909.


Out of these New England states, which one has the motto that goes, "Live free or die"?

They've lived by their state motto for a long time in New Hampshire! Six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed, New Hampshire independently declared freedom from England.


Which state is home to both the Alamo and the Live Music Capital of the World?

You can find The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, and the Live Music Capital of the World in Austin. And you can travel fast between the two cities. The speed limit on the highway running between them is 85 miles per hour!


This state's name is sometimes used to fill the space while counting seconds. What is it?

You can thank Mississippi for the invention of the phrase "teddy bear." President Theodore Roosevelt once refused to kill a bear there, and a political cartoon led to the name. You can also use the state's name to count time by saying, "One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi ..."


The largest diamonds found in North America were found in which state with the nickname of The Natural State?

In 1924, a man who was diamond mining near Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas stumbled across a 40.23-carat diamond worth $880,000 in today's money. You can head to the park and see it for yourself! It's called Uncle Sam, and it's still on display there.


What's the name of the state that's home to the largest shopping mall in the U.S. — the Mall of America?

Minnesota calls itself the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," but there are closer to 15,000 throughout the state. It's also home to the most Fortune 500 companies. Companies like Target, Best Buy and General Mills call the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul home.


Which Northern state is home to Ben & Jerry's, maple syrup and cuddly teddy bears?

For such a small state, Vermont has a huge appeal. The capital city of Montpelier has fewer than 9,000 people, and you won't find a McDonald's there. It's perfect for those who want to get away and enjoy life's finer things.


You can thank one of this state's towns for Fig Newtons! What state are we talking about?

Taking a trip to Massachusetts is visiting a gateway to America's past. Boston — the largest city in New England — is the birthplace of the American Revolution. You can travel a trail through the city that marks Paul Revere's midnight ride.


If you were visiting the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, which state would you be in?

Maryland is famous for its fresh blue crabs, but the state's nickname best reflects it. Called "Little America," Maryland is home to nearly all types of terrains found in the United States.


Including Mauna Loa and Kilauea, what U.S. state has the most active volcanoes of them all?

In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state. From jungles to volcanoes, there's plenty to love about it. If you want to live there, you'll have to learn to love SPAM. Every year, over 7 million cans of it are eaten in Hawaii. That's nearly six cans for each of its residents!


Which of these U.S. states is famous for its world-class lobster?

There are two things that visitors love about Maine — the lobster and the moose hunting. Every year, the Pine Tree State exports over 1 million lobsters, and it is home to more than 70,000 moose.


Kansas City is the largest city in what U.S. state where you can find the Gateway Arch?

Although Missouri was part of 1803's Louisiana Purchase, it didn't become a state until 1821. Known as the Show Me State, Missouri is home to the country's only restaurant in a cave and the tallest man-made arch in the world — the Gateway Arch.


Can you correctly identify the Hawkeye State that's 92% farmland?

Iowa might be one of the biggest crop producers in the United States, and that might conjure up images of endless fields. However, Iowa is the only state in the U.S. to be surrounded by rivers on both its eastern and western borders.


At only 1,212 square miles, it's the smallest U.S. state. What's it called?

The American Revolution might have started in Massachusetts, but Rhode Island was the first one to strike. They sunk one of England's ships off the coast of Narragansett Bay before the "shot heard round the world" was ever fired.


What U.S. state is famous for its potatoes?

It's true! There are a lot of potatoes in Idaho. The state exports more spuds than any other, but there's also a lot of gemstones there. You can mine 70 different varieties within the state's borders.


Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in the United States, is located in which of these states?

Oregon has beautiful cities, like Portland, but you can also find nearly any sort of outdoor adventure in the state. True thrill-seekers love scaling Hells Canyon. At 7,993 feet down, it's America's deepest river gorge.


Where would you be if you were trying to see the Roswell aliens?

You probably won't see any aliens in New Mexico, but you can see the oldest capital city in the United States. Santa Fe was founded in 1610 by European settlers staking their claim.


Just outside of Ann Arbor, you can see mastodon tracks in this state. What state is it?

If you were trying to find Michigan on a map, you would look for the state that's shaped like a mitten.


Where would you need to go to see Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial?

South Dakota is a beautiful state, and you can visit these famous monuments in the Black Hills region. Make sure to check the weather before you go, though. At 38 inches of snowfall every year, the state gets 10 more inches per year than the national average.


Do you know which state is home to the music giants of Nashville and Memphis?

It's hard to pass through the Volunteer State without driving on Music Highway. In 1997, the Tennessee legislature voted to give the name to the section of Interstate 40 that runs between these two towns.


You can swim or gamble in this state's Atlantic City. Which state do we mean?

When you need a break from Atlantic City's casinos and swimming in the ocean, you can replenish yourself in one of the state's 525 diners. New Jersey is known as the "Diner Capital of the World."


Which of these Pacific states has the country's largest population?

Approximately one in eight Americans are from the great state of California. They will have a thing or two to tell you about the 500,000 recordable instances of seismic activity that occur in the Grizzly Bear State every year!


What U.S. state is home to the cities of Raleigh, Charlotte and Durham?

North Carolina has a long history related to aviation. On the Outer Banks, you'll find a town named Kill Devil Hills. It's where Orrville and Wilbur Wright became the first men to take flight.


Disney World is a popular attraction in the peninsula state named what?

You can spend time on any of Florida's sprawling beaches, or you can find the fountain of youth. No, really! Nestled within the city of St. Augustine, you can visit Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. It's a nod to the explorer who discovered Florida while looking for eternal life.


What's the name of the state that wasn't originally called The Palmetto State?

Until the 1930s, South Carolina was called the Iodine State. Although the palmetto tree was added to the state flag in 1861, the current nickname wasn't adopted until much later.


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