Everyone loves a good riddle! And it’s fun to learn more about where we live when we can share a laugh at the same time. The American Riddles Collection is a series of 50 booklets, one for every state, each featuring over 4 dozen riddles guaranteed to tickle your funnybone.

These riddles were selected, adapted, and written just for each state and reflect its history, geography, people and animals. Every one of these riddles has a local connection. And if that connection is not too obvious, also included are lots of facts and fun bits about the state for good measure.

The books are great for teachers, entertainers, travelers, families and more!

You’ll find some riddles you remember, but with a twist, along with some new ones I hope you’ve never heard before!

If you would like to order any of the books in the series, please send a check, cash, PayPal, or a money order for $7 for each book (U.S. postage included) to the below address. PDF copies of the book are also available for $5 per book.

© 2008 Jeff Brown

214 Dixon Street

Juneau, Alaska 99801

jbrown @ alaska.net


To get you laughing, here’s a sampling of the riddles:


When is an Alabama product like a good deal?

When it’s steel.

(Birmingham was one of the largest steel producers in the late 1800’s.)


How do they clean the Trans-Alaska Pipeline?

With pipeline cleaners.

(The Trans-Alaska Pipeline is 800 miles long and 4 feet wide.)


When is an Arizona sheep like a trombone?

When it’s a bighorn.

(Desert bighorn sheep can weigh from 125 to 200 pounds.)


What kind of Arkansas table can you use for dinner and then eat?

A vege-table.

[The South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato is both the state vegetable and the state fruit.]


Why were the swallows on the roof of the church in San Juan Capistrano?

They were on a mission.

(Every year during March, thousands of people gather to watch the swallows return to this mission.)


What’s the bravest city in Colorado?



Why did the giant bring a giant loaf of bread to Groton?

He wanted to make a submarine sandwich.

(Groton is the “Submarine Capital of the World.”)


Why did Delaware win a prize?

Because it was the First State.

(Delaware was the first state to ratify the new constitution for the United States in 1787.)



When is a Florida fruit like your belly button?

When it’s a naval orange.

(The orange blossom is the state flower of Florida.)


What is “moss moss”?

Re-peat moss.

(The islands of the Okefenokee Swamp are composed of peat moss.)


What did one volcano say to the other?

I lava you.


What happens after Idaho trips?

Idaho falls.

(Idaho Falls is on the Snake River.)


Did you hear about the broom race in Arcola?

It was a clean sweep.

(At one time, Arcola was the “Corn Broom Capital of the World.”)


When is an Indiana resident like a hot dog?

When they’re a Frankforter.

(There’s a Hot Dog Festival every July in Frankfort.)


What did the plow say to the tractor?

“Pull me a little closer, John Deere.”

[John Deere is a leading manufacturer of farming equipment.]


What city in Kansas has the most enthusiasm for Halloween?


(Wichita is the largest city in Kansas.)


In what kind of hat do they hold horse races?

A Kentucky derby.

(The first Kentucky Derby was held in 1875.)


What’s a Louisiana kid’s favorite candy?

Chewing gumbo.


What happens when Maine lobsters get mad?

They get steamed.

(There are races to find the world’s fastest lobster boat every July in Jonesport.)


Did you hear about the cat that swallowed a ball of wool?

She had mittens.

(On October 1, 2001 the Calico cat was chosen as Maryland's State Cat because of the colors. They are the colors of Maryland's flag and founding families--red, black and white.)


Why did the Massachusetts college students get wild on the subway?

They wanted to have a Boston T-Party.

(In 1897, the first subway in the United States began operation in Boston.)


Where do people in Michigan get their money?

They have their own mint.

[Michigan is famous for it’s high quality mint, which grows in over 4,000 acres of farmland.)


What happened when the yeast was added to the dough?

There was an uprising in the kitchen.

(The first commercial flour mill in Minnesota opened in the Falls of St. Anthony in 1854.)


What’s the most musical garnish in Mississippi?

Elvis Parsley.

(Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo in 1935.)


What sport can you play with a fish?


(The paddlefish is the Missouri’s official aquatic animal.)


Why were Montana homesteaders in a hurry?

They were in the Land Rush.

[The Homestead Act, which brought thousands of people westward, was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.]


What do you feed a television?

TV dinners.

(The C. A. Swanson and Sons Company developed the first TV dinners in Nebraska in 1953.)


What do Nevada artists paint with?

Sage brushes.

(Sagebrush is the most common plant in Nevada. It’s also the official state flower.)

New Hampshire

Why did the rabbit visit New Hampshire?

It heard it might be nor’Easter time.

(A nor’easter, or a northeaster, is a large storm where winds come from the northeast.)

New Jersey

Why aren’t some New Jersey fishermen generous?

Their business makes them sell fish.

(The largest seaport in the world is at Elizabeth.)

New Mexico

Why can’t you take pictures of the rain at night?

It might cause a flash flood.

(Flash floods happen when the ground cannot absorb an intense amount of sudden rainfall.)

New York

What New York lakes really grab you?

The Finger Lakes.

[There are a total of 11 finger lakes.]

North Carolina

Why did the insect actor go to Wilmington?

He heard they were casting flies.

North Dakota

Where do sturgeon keep their money?

In Missouri River banks.

(The pallid sturgeon used to live throughout North Dakota, but now is only found in the Missouri River.)


What is that which is put on a table and cut, but never eaten?

A deck of cards.

(Cincinnati is the home of The American Playing Card Company.)


What Oklahoma birds make good baseball players?


[The scissor-tailed flycatcher is the state bird of Oklahoma.]


Why is a repair on an old wooden barrel like an Oregon mountain range?

Because they’re both cask-aids.

(The Cascade Mountain Range runs from British Columbia, through Washington and Oregon, and all the way to California.)


What’s the scariest lake around Pennsylvania?

Lake Eerie.

(Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, the Great Lakes form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth.)

Rhode Island

When is a Rhode Island chicken like a good book?

When it’s read.

(The Rhode Island Red hen is the state bird of Rhode Island.)

South Carolina

Why did the barber bring her clippers to the South Carolina forest?

She heard the bearded oak trees needed a trim.

(The “beard’ is actually Spanish moss, a light airy plant.)

South Dakota

What’s a South Dakota snake’s favorite subject?


(There are 8 kinds of snakes in South Dakota.)


Did you hear about the train that ran on gum?

Yeah, it was the Chattanooga Chew-Chew.

[The real Chattanooga Choo-Choo ran from Cincinnati to Chattanooga beginning in 1909.]


What’s hot and cold at the same time?

Leftover Texas chili.

(Chili is the state dish of Texas.)


Why did the baby visit Utah?

It wanted to be the Mormon Tabernacle crier.

(The Mormon Tabernacle oval dome is in Temple Square in Salt Lake City.)


Where do Vermont horses live?

In neigh-borhoods.

(The Morgan horse came to Vermont in 1791, and developed from there into a championship horse.)


Why are Virginia shorebirds bad at sports?

Because water fowls are common.

(The Delmarva Peninsula is the wintering grounds for one of the largest, most diverse populations of waterfowl found anywhere, including the largest concentration of greater snow geese in the country.)


Why did the onion go to the doctor?

It wasn’t peeling very well.

(In 2007, the Walla Walla sweet onion was designated as the official vegetable of the state of Washington.)

West Virginia

Why did the cook come to West Virginia?

She was looking for her panhandle.

(West Virginia is known as “The Panhandle State.”)


Did you hear about the fire in the bratwurst factory?

Yeah, you never sausage a mess.


Did you hear about the backwards Wyoming cowboy?

Yeah, he kept trying to steer a rope.

[Wyoming is known as “The Cowboy State.”]