The 18 Ugliest States In America

By Krystal Brown

While beauty can be found everywhere, some states are undeniably more attractive than others. We take a look at 18 of the ugliest states in the U.S based on dedicated green spaces, the number of landfills, and per capita trash production:

Rhode Island

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In a recent survey, Rhode Island was voted the ugliest State due to its lack of green space. Providence, the State’s capital, has experienced significant urban sprawl, which can eat into green spaces and detract from the State’s natural beauty. 


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Delaware has a flat landscape, lacking mountains or dramatic natural features that make some states more visually appealing. While many green spaces and parks exist, the State has a significant industrial presence, with factories, refineries, and power plants that some can see as eyesores.


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Certain regions of Maryland, particularly around Baltimore, have a significant industrial presence. This can lead to associations with pollution, congestion, and a lack of natural beauty. Maryland is lacking compared to other states with recognizable landmarks like mountains, national parks, or iconic coastlines. 


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Indiana is predominantly an agricultural state, with vast expanses of farmland. There is little diversity here, particularly in the sprawling cities of Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. While the State does have scenic areas, including state parks with forests, lakes, and rivers, residents are envious of neighboring states with more iconic landmarks. 


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Pennsylvania has a long industry history, and some areas, particularly Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, still bear the marks of this industrial past. While Pennsylvania has various terrains, only 1.02% of the land is dedicated to parks, so nature is not a big focus.


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Much of Louisiana’s infrastructure, particularly in urban areas, is outdated and needs repair. Just 0.10% of the entire land area is parkland, mainly due to the urban sprawl in cities like New Orleans and Baton Rouge. These factors mean Louisiana is continually rated as one of the ugliest states. 


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Georgia boasts beautiful mountain ranges in the north, rolling hills in the Piedmont, and a coastline with barrier islands. However, these features might not be as dramatic as the mountains of the Rockies and other famous mountains. Additionally, parts of Georgia, especially around Atlanta, have undergone significant development, leading to urban sprawl and potentially detracting from some natural beauty.


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Compared to other states, it doesn’t have recognizable landmarks like mountains, national parks, or iconic coastlines to improve. Cleveland, Youngstown, and Toledo are all heavily built-up areas with little green spaces. Instead, like many places in the U.S., Ohio has areas with suburban sprawl featuring strip malls and generic housing developments.


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While some areas of Illinois boast stunning natural landscapes, such as Starved Rock State Park and the Shawnee National Forest, other parts of the State are characterized by industrial landscapes, urban sprawl, and environmental issues.


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Compared to states with mountains or vast deserts, Alabama’s landscape might be seen as flat and monotonous, lacking dramatic features. It is argued that Alabama’s beauty lies in its more subtle landscapes, like rolling plains, long coastlines, and hidden natural wonders. However, it is still rated as one of the least appealing states to live in from a beauty perspective. 


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Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the United States, which can contribute to negative perceptions of its overall appearance. Poverty can manifest in neglected infrastructure, rundown buildings, and limited resource access. One studylooked into the impact of the lack of green spaces on poverty, with negative consequences for states like Mississippi. 


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Due to its urban sprawl and industrial landscape, many people need help finding Texas aesthetically appealing. Compared to other states with recognizable landmarks like towering mountains, expansive national parks, or iconic coastlines, Texas may need to be more visually striking at first glance.


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Kentucky’s major cities, such as Louisville and Lexington, have experienced significant urban sprawl. This can create a lack of diversity and detract from the State’s natural beauty, especially for those who prefer more rural or pristine environments.

South Carolina

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South Carolina is lacking compared to other states with recognizable landmarks like towering mountains and expansive national parks. South Carolina’s coast, a major draw for tourism, has undergone significant development in some areas, leading to high-rise buildings and potential loss of natural character for some.


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Like many states, parts of Virginia have undergone significant development, especially around major cities like Virginia Beach and Richmond. This has led to a reduction in the percentage of green spaces, which people value for their beauty.


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Nebraska is predominantly an agricultural state with vast expanses of flat farmland and no change in scenery for miles. The vast fields dedicated can appear repetitive to some, especially compared to areas with more diverse landscapes. Nebraska might not be the most conventionally picturesque State, but residents enjoy its understated beauty. 


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In a survey by Business Insider, Kansas was rated as having the worst scenery. Compared to some states, Kansas has fewer forested areas, which some might find less visually interesting, although there are still some good spots for walking and hiking. 


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While lacking mountains, Iowa does have rolling hills and scenic river valleys, particularly in the eastern and western parts of the State. However, people still believe the State to be ugly as it has vast farmland that residents and tourists find unappealing. 

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