Google Maps State Welcome Icons

As a kid, I remember how exciting it was to drive across a state line and see the "Welcome to _____" sign right at the border. We made frequent drives from our home near San Francisco to the Seattle area, where my parents grew up and all of our relatives lived. The "Welcome to Oregon" sign was exciting, as it meant we were almost halfway there. The "Welcome to Washington" sign was so much better, mostly because it meant we had less than three hours to get to my grandparents' house, but also because the state line is in the middle of the bridge over the Columbia River and I thought it was neat that the border was in the river.

As an adult, I still love driving across a state line and seeing the welcome sign at the border. For the past few years, I've stopped staring out the window as we approach a new state and instead stare at my phone (obviously, as a passenger, not a driver). Why stare at my phone? Because of the Google Maps State Welcome Icons. If you are using Google Maps when you cross a state (or country) border, a welcome banner appears across the bottom of the screen. Each features an occupation, character, or famous person from the state. We LOVE trying to guess what the character. None of us predicted New Jersey's would be a waitress.

Or that Kentucky's would feature a Kentucky Derby hat wearer, rather than a jockey. 

It didn't occur to me until recently that I should do a screen capture when they pop up. Fortunately, others have thought of it and you can find images travelers have shared from their trips to various states. I haven't done much searching, because I don't want spoil the surprise on states I haven't seen yet.

All this leads me to wonder if there's an icon for Hawaii. It is impossible to drive into Hawaii from another state or country, so it stands to reason there wouldn't be an icon, but would Google really leave one state out? I doubt it.


  1. Wow - I didn't know that! I wonder if that happens in Australia?

    1. Give it a try and let me know! I've driven into and out of Canada and gotten the 'Welcome to Canada' and 'Welcome to the United States' messages, but I've never driven between Canadian provinces, so I don't know if that works. I hope so!

  2. I didn't know about this either!!! The waitress doesn't surprise me for NJ ... they love their diners! LOL!!


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