The Aloha State’s Strangest Statutes: 6 Weird Hawaii Laws You Won’t Believe

Hawaii, known for its breathtaking beaches, aloha spirit, and vibrant culture, also holds some of the most peculiar and weird Hawaii laws that might surprise you. These laws range from the quirky to the downright baffling. In this article, we’ll dive into six of these weird Hawaii laws, exploring their origins and impacts. Whether you’re a local, a tourist, or just curious, these weird Hawaii laws will definitely raise an eyebrow or two.

1. No Billboards Allowed

No Billboards Allowed signage

The ban on billboards in Hawaii has a rich historical context. It was first enacted in 1927 as a response to the burgeoning advertising industry’s impact on the state’s natural aesthetics. The Hawaiian government, recognizing the need to protect its unique and picturesque landscapes, implemented this pioneering legislation. The law was aimed at preserving the state’s natural beauty by preventing any distractions caused by billboard advertisements along its highways.

Key Reasons for the Ban

The ban on billboards in Hawaii serves several key purposes:

  • Preservation of Natural Beauty: The primary objective of the law is to protect and maintain the pristine natural beauty of Hawaii’s landscapes. Hawaii is renowned for its breathtaking vistas, and the absence of billboards helps ensure that these views remain unobstructed.
  • Promotion of Tourism: Hawaii heavily relies on tourism as a major industry. Tourists are drawn to the state’s unparalleled natural beauty, and the ban on billboards plays a crucial role in attracting visitors who seek unspoiled scenery.
  • Cultural and Environmental Preservation: Hawaii is home to unique flora and fauna, as well as culturally significant sites. The ban on billboards contributes to the preservation of the environment and cultural heritage, as it prevents potential visual pollution that could harm these aspects.

Impact on Hawaii’s Landscape

Hawaii’s ban on billboards has had a significant impact on the state’s landscape and its advertising industry. Below are some key effects:

  • Scenic Views: Hawaii’s highways offer breathtaking views of mountains, oceans, and forests. The absence of billboards allows travelers to fully appreciate these natural wonders without visual distractions.
  • Alternative Advertising Methods: Businesses and advertisers have had to adapt to the ban on billboards. This has led to the development of creative advertising strategies such as vehicle wraps, digital marketing, and sponsorship of local events.
  • Tourism Promotion: The ban on billboards indirectly promotes tourism, as it preserves the state’s natural beauty. Tourists are more likely to visit Hawaii when they know they won’t encounter the visual clutter of billboards.

2. It’s Illegal to Place Coins in One’s Ears

The prohibition on placing coins in one’s ears in Hawaii has an interesting historical background. This law was originally introduced to combat the defacement of currency. During the early 20th century, it was not uncommon for individuals to modify coins, often for artistic or novelty purposes, by embedding them in various objects, including their own bodies. To deter this practice, the law was enacted.

Rationale for the Law

While this law may seem strange, it serves several important purposes:

  • Currency Preservation: The primary intent of the law is to preserve the integrity of currency. Defacing or altering coins can devalue them, disrupt the monetary system, and even lead to counterfeiting.
  • Preventing Misuse: Placing coins in one’s ears might seem harmless, but the law is designed to discourage any form of tampering with currency, no matter how trivial it may appear.
  • Symbolic Importance: Beyond the practical reasons, this law symbolizes the state’s commitment to upholding the value and sanctity of its currency.

Reactions and Observations

The prohibition on placing coins in one’s ears often elicits a mix of amusement and bewilderment among both residents and visitors. Here are some common reactions and observations:

  • Amusement: Many people find this law amusing, considering it a quirky and lighthearted aspect of Hawaii’s legal code.
  • Unusual Stories: Over the years, there have been anecdotal stories of individuals inadvertently breaking this law, leading to humorous encounters with law enforcement.
  • Tourist Attraction: Some tourists are intrigued by the law and may even incorporate it into their visit as a fun anecdote to share with friends and family.

3. Nighttime Ban on Singing After Sunset

female with headset and index finger on mouth

The ban on loud singing after sunset in Hawaii has a historical backdrop. It is rooted in the Hawaiian culture, which traditionally values peaceful evenings and respects the tranquility of the night. This law emerged as a way to codify and preserve these cultural values in the face of modern developments.

Purpose of the Law

The law prohibiting loud singing after sunset serves several key purposes:

  • Preservation of Peace and Quiet: Hawaii’s residents and visitors often seek the serenity of the islands. This law is designed to protect the quietude of the evening hours, allowing everyone to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Respect for Neighbors: The law encourages people to be considerate of their neighbors, especially in residential areas. Loud singing can disrupt the sleep and relaxation of those living nearby.
  • Preservation of Cultural Values: Beyond its practical implications, this law underscores the importance of preserving Hawaiian cultural values, including the appreciation of quiet evenings.

Enforcement and Penalties

While the law is still on the books, it is rarely enforced. However, it’s essential to understand that violations can result in penalties if neighbors file complaints. The penalties typically involve fines or warnings, depending on the severity and frequency of the disturbance.

Reactions and Observations

The ban on loud singing after sunset often leads to interesting reactions and observations:

  • Community Harmony: Many residents appreciate this law as it contributes to a harmonious and peaceful community, enhancing their quality of life.
  • Tourist Awareness: Visitors may not be aware of this law, but once informed, they often appreciate the cultural sensitivity it represents.
  • Rare Enforcement: Due to its rarity of enforcement, this law is seen more as a cultural reminder than a strict rule.

4. No Getting Drunk in a Bar

Person gesturing 'no' to a drink.

The law prohibiting patrons from getting drunk in bars in Hawaii has historical roots in the state’s culture. The Hawaiian concept of “Aloha” emphasizes respect and responsibility, even in social settings. This law emerged as an embodiment of these cultural values and a desire to maintain order and safety in bars and nightlife venues.

Purpose of the Law

The law serves several key purposes:

  • Promoting Responsible Drinking: The primary aim is to encourage responsible alcohol consumption by patrons. It reminds individuals not to overindulge while in a bar setting.
  • Preventing Disorderly Conduct: By curbing excessive drinking, the law helps prevent unruly behavior and potential disturbances in bars and nightlife establishments.
  • Ensuring Public Safety: Limiting intoxication in bars contributes to the overall safety of patrons and the surrounding community, as it reduces the risk of accidents and altercations.

Enforcement and Penalties

Enforcement of the law against getting drunk in a bar can vary. Bar owners and staff may be held responsible for allowing visibly intoxicated patrons to remain on the premises. Penalties can include fines, suspension of liquor licenses, or even closure of the establishment in severe cases. Patrons themselves can also face penalties for causing disruptions while intoxicated.

Reactions and Observations

This law often leads to interesting reactions and observations:

  • Responsible Drinking Culture: Some residents and visitors appreciate the law as it contributes to a culture of responsible drinking in Hawaii.
  • Enforcement Discretion: Enforcement varies, and some bars may be more lenient, particularly in popular tourist areas.
  • Public Safety Priority: The law underscores Hawaii’s commitment to prioritizing public safety in its nightlife.

5. Restrictions on Twins Working in the Same Office

The law prohibiting twins from sharing the same office in Hawaii lacks a clear historical record of its origins. It is often considered a curious relic from the past. While the exact reasons for its introduction remain uncertain, it is believed to have been rooted in concerns related to workplace dynamics and potential confusion.

Possible Reasons for the Law

The prohibition on twins working together in the same office may have several underlying reasons:

  • Workplace Confusion: One possible rationale is to prevent confusion that might arise from having two identical individuals in the same workplace. This could include issues related to identity, task assignments, or even pranks.
  • Mischief and Pranks: The law may have been introduced to discourage or prevent twins from engaging in playful or mischievous behavior that could disrupt the workplace.
  • Maintaining Professionalism: By separating twins in the workplace, the law may aim to ensure a more professional and focused work environment.

Enforcement and Penalties

While this law is on the books, enforcement appears to be extremely rare, if not non-existent. It is considered an obscure and archaic regulation, and its application to modern workplaces is questionable. Penalties, if any, for violating this law are not well-documented.

Reactions and Observations

The ban on twins sharing an office often leads to curiosity and amusement:

  • Bewildered Reactions: Many people are baffled by the law and question its relevance in contemporary society.
  • Legal Ambiguity: The law’s vague origins and lack of enforcement contribute to its status as an oddity rather than a genuine workplace restriction.
  • Cultural Anecdote: Some may view the law as a cultural anecdote, adding a touch of eccentricity to Hawaii’s legal landscape.

6. Men Forbidden from Eating Second Helping of Shark Fin Soup

The law prohibiting men from consuming a second serving of shark fin soup in Hawaii has its roots in the state’s rich cultural history. Shark fin soup has long been considered a delicacy in many Asian cultures, including Hawaii’s. The law may have emerged as a way to regulate the consumption of this prized dish, reflecting cultural norms and traditions.

Reasons Behind the Law

Several reasons may explain the existence of this law:

  • Cultural Significance: Shark fin soup holds deep cultural significance, often served at special occasions and celebrations. Limiting men to a single serving may have been a way to ensure fairness in distributing this delicacy during important events.
  • Resource Conservation: Hawaii’s waters are home to a diverse range of shark species. Regulating the consumption of shark fin soup could have been an early conservation effort to protect these marine creatures.
  • Cultural Preservation: The law may have aimed to preserve traditional customs and practices associated with shark fin soup, ensuring they were passed down through generations.

Enforcement and Penalties

As this law is no longer in effect, there are no documented enforcement or penalties associated with it. It is considered an obsolete regulation that has been superseded by more modern laws and cultural shifts.

Reactions and Observations

The prohibition on second helpings of shark fin soup for men has sparked various reactions and observations:

  • Cultural Significance: Many residents and visitors appreciate the law’s reflection of Hawaii’s multicultural heritage and its efforts to honor cultural practices.
  • Outdated Nature: While the law has historical value, it is seen as outdated and no longer relevant to contemporary society.
  • Evolution of Cuisine: Hawaii’s cuisine has evolved over the years, and shark fin soup is less commonly consumed today, in part due to concerns about shark conservation.

7. Obligation to Own a Boat

The law compelling every citizen to own a boat in Hawaii has its origins in the state’s history and culture. Hawaii’s indigenous people, the Native Hawaiians, had a deep-rooted relationship with the sea, relying on it for sustenance, transportation, and cultural practices. Over time, this connection to the ocean became a defining feature of Hawaiian identity.

Symbolic Meaning

This law carries a strong symbolic meaning and serves several purposes:

  • Celebrating Maritime Heritage: It pays homage to Hawaii’s maritime heritage, acknowledging the vital role the ocean has played in the state’s history.
  • Fostering Responsibility: While not enforced as a practical requirement, the law encourages a sense of responsibility and stewardship toward the ocean among residents.
  • Promoting Recreational Boating: By emphasizing boat ownership, the law indirectly supports recreational boating, which is a popular pastime in Hawaii.

Enforcement and Penalties

In practice, this law is considered symbolic rather than enforceable. There are no penalties associated with failing to own a boat, and compliance is not monitored. It exists more as a cultural symbol than a legal obligation.

Reactions and Observations

The law mandating boat ownership in Hawaii often leads to intriguing reactions and observations:

  • Cultural Pride: Many Hawaiians take pride in the law as a reflection of their cultural ties to the ocean.
  • Symbol of Identity: Some see the law as a symbol of Hawaiian identity, celebrating the state’s unique relationship with the sea.
  • Cultural Education: The law serves as an educational tool, helping residents and visitors alike appreciate the importance of the ocean in Hawaiian culture.


Exploring the weird Hawaii laws offers a unique and fascinating perspective on the Aloha State. From the quirky ban on billboards to the prohibition of placing coins in one’s ears, these laws paint a picture of a state deeply committed to preserving its natural beauty, culture, and tranquility. Whether you’re living in, visiting, or just curious about Hawaii, these weird Hawaii laws are sure to provide an entertaining glimpse into the state’s unique legal landscape.


Q: Are these weird Hawaii laws still enforced?

A: Most of these weird Hawaii laws are not strictly enforced today. However, they remain part of Hawaii’s legal code and are fascinating reflections of the state’s history and culture.

Q: Why does Hawaii have such unusual laws?

A: Many of these weird Hawaii laws originated from historical, cultural, or environmental concerns unique to Hawaii. They offer a glimpse into the state’s efforts to preserve its natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Q: Can tourists get in trouble for breaking these weird Hawaii laws?

A: While it’s unlikely for tourists to face serious consequences for unknowingly breaking these weird Hawaii laws, it’s always good to be aware of local laws and customs.

Q: How do these weird Hawaii laws impact daily life in Hawaii?

A: Most of these weird Hawaii laws don’t have a significant impact on daily life. They are more quirks of the legal system than actively enforced statutes.

Q: Where can I learn more about Hawaii’s laws and culture?

A: For those interested in learning more about Hawaii’s laws and culture, visiting local museums, cultural centers, and historical sites is a great way to gain deeper insights.

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