Wondering what states are the tri states?
The term “tri states” is most commonly used to refer to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The term “tri states” has multiple usages, though, and can be used to refer to any number of three state pairings around the United States.
In this article, we’ll cover not just the most common trio of states called “tri states,” but also other uses of the term “tri states” you may not know about. As a fellow lover of American geography, I found some really interesting and unique facts you’ll be interested to learn.
What Are the Tri States?
New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are the three states most commonly referred to by the term “tri states.” These three states are populous, located close together, and share territory that overlaps with the New York City metropolitan area. For this reason, the term “Tri State Area” is most frequently used to refer to the New York Tri State Area.
Remember, though, there are a few other contenders for the title of tri state area. For now, let’s take a deeper dive into the history of the term tri state.
History of the Term “Tri States”
The term tri state was first used in the early 1900s, according to Merriam Webster. In the subsequent century, “tri states” has been used informally to refer to any place where three states share borders or overlapping communities.
For example, the residents of the New York tri state area may consider the three states as one geographic unit in many ways. Many residents of these three states live in one state, work in another, and visit yet another to unwind.
Climate and natural features don’t drastically change across state borders in this area either, adding to the sense of geographic cohesiveness even across state lines. To an outsider, several cities in New Jersey and Connecticut seem more like neighborhoods of New York City (although the locals of NYC may say that’s pushing it!).
So we’ve established that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut may be the most famous of all tri state areas.
There’s no copyright on the term tri state, though.
People elsewhere in the country freely adopted it for their own tricorner regions. Maybe some of them even felt a sort of rivalry with the big, bad northeastern tri state trio?
Let’s talk about those “other” tri state regions next:
Other Uses of the Term “Tri States”
Altogether, there are 62 different tri state regions of the United States America. Some people have even made it a point (no pun intended!) to visit every tri state in America.
The term tri state applies to any place where three states meet. There are many other contenders for the title of tri state besides New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut:
- Chicago tri state area – The Chicago tri state area consists of The Windy City and its outlying neighborhoods in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
- Yellowstone National Park tri state area – Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming also form a tri state area near the home of Yellowstone National Park.
- Pacific Northwest tri state area – Another western tri state region can be found in the tri corners of California, Nevada, and Oregon.
- West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio -These Midwest states also share a state boundary tripoint. The term also applies in reference to water as well as land. An example of this comes from a debate of river-basin water usage between the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
Of course, none is as famous as the “New York / New Jersey / Connecticut” tri state area, so let’s do a deep dive of that popular region next:
About the Three Tri States
New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut share more than borders. Each state has a fascinating history and wealth of amazing attractions. All three states were part of the thirteen original states and are thus home to many historical sites and monuments.
❓ Trivia Time: What state has the most caves? (you’ll be surprised!)
One also finds many of our nation’s top tier schools and universities in the tri states. New York University and Columbia University stand out as New York City’s best places of higher education. New Jersey boasts Princeton University. Connecticut is home of the prestigious Yale University.
New York City alone could have books written about it. Not only is it America’s most populous city, but probably its most iconic also. Tourism, international trade, major-league sports, and much more all thrive in New York. The Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Madison Square Garden, and many other sites adorn the city, drawing all manner of people to them.
The rest of New York state, commonly referred to as Upstate New York is no less worthy of attention. Classic American farmlands adorn the rolling hills in the countryside. Let’s not forget Niagara Falls either, even if it is on the opposite side of the state from New York City.
New Jersey itself has plenty to explore. Beaches, waterfront piers, museums, and more await the traveler to the Garden State.
Some people may wonder why New Jersey bears the title of Garden State. Most of its residents live in urban areas, and those places are the most famous, right? In addition to its cities, New Jersey boasts several pristine state and national parks.
As for history, New Jersey is home to Ellis Island. Many Americans trace their ancestry to people who immigrated here, seeking a better life. If you look for other tri state areas in New Jersey, you will also find one it shares with New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. To the south, the Philadelphia metropolitan area joins New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Connecticut, though the smallest of the three states, is by no means the least. Upon entering Connecticut, one discovers a more distinctive New England heritage. The famous Mystic Seaport Museum houses a treasure trove of information on early American maritime history. Connecticut also preserves America’s literary heritage in the Mark Twain House and Museum.
Like its fellow tri state neighbors, Connecticut boasts many scenic seaside retreats. These beaches and boardwalks aren’t as famous as their New York and New Jersey counterparts. However, this may be better for those looking for a quieter getaway.
Also like New Jersey, Connecticut lends itself to another tri state area. Connecticut joins Massachusetts and Rhode Island to form a New England tri state region composed of East Coast states.
FAQ About the Tri States
What Does Tri State Stand For?
Tri State stands for any place where three states meet, although the term is most commonly used to refer to the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area overlapping with the New York City metropolitan area.
What Is An Example Of A Tri State Area?
The area around New York City, where New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut converge is the most common example of a tri state area. In total there are over 60 tri state areas throughout the United States.
❓ Trivia Time: What states make up the Bible Belt region? (we bet you can’t name them all!)
That’s it for this guide to the tri states. I hope I’ve answered the question “what are the tri states?” for you!