Can You Take Sand From Hawaii? Related Law And Notes

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Hawaii’s beaches are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful in the world. The soft, white sand and crystal clear water make for a perfect beach day. A question that many people are interested in is Can you take sand from Hawaii?” – The answer, related law, and notes will be revealed shortly. Let’s read!

Can you take sand from Hawaii?

Unfortunately, the answer is no – you won’t be able to take sand from Hawaii. There are several reasons for this, which we’ll go through in depth below. Among them, the primary reason is that “taking sand” is an illegal activity. Let’s into the detail!

Why is it illegal to take sand from certain beaches in Hawaii?

Law regarding taking sand from Hawaii

Since 2013, when the Hawaii State Legislature passed the legislation, it is illegal to take sand in Hawaii because of the negative effection of this action.

According to Hawaii Revised Statutes, Title 12 (Conservation and Resources) Section 171-58.5: “Prohibits the mining and taking of sand, dead coral or coral rubble, rocks, soil, or other marine deposits seaward from the shoreline or the shoreline area’

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In addition to legal reasons, there are beliefs related reasons why you shouldn’t take sand in Hawaii:

Pele’s Curse

Pele’s Curse is a legend that is often told to dissuade people from taking sand or rocks from Hawaii. The story goes that Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes, is very angry when she discovers people stealing her sacred material from her home. 

She casts a curse on those who take her property, which results in bad luck or even death. While there is no evidence to support the curse, it is still considered bad luck to remove sand or rocks from Hawaii. Many people believe that this curse is real and that it has caused many people to experience bad luck.

peles curse
Pele’s Curse

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Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiians believe that taking sand from Hawaii disrupts the natural balance and harmony of the islands. This belief is based on the idea that sand is not a static object, but rather is part of a living, breathing ecosystem.

Taking sand away from Hawaii will therefore damage the ecosystem and ultimately harm the island. Additionally, It is considered an offense to the island and its people to remove sand from Hawaii, and offenders can face punishment.

Overall, Hawaii is a unique place with a lot of history and culture. The sand on its beaches is special, too. There are many reasons to avoid taking sand from Hawaii that you need to notice!

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Hawaiian Culture

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What are the consequences of breaking this law?

Negative effect on the environment

  • Coastal erosion: When people take sand from the beaches of Hawaii for their personal use, it can lead to coastal erosion. Erosion occurs when waves, wind, and water wear away the land’s surface. When too much sand is removed, it can weaken the beach and lead to its collapse. This can damage nearby homes and businesses, as well as impact local ecosystems, and even loss of life.
  • Black Market: The black market for sand is a global trade where the commodity is illegally traded at a higher price than its legal value. Hawaii’s sand has become a hot commodity on the black market. People are taking it from the beaches and selling it to construction companies and people who are looking to make a profit or use it for personal purposes. 

By removing sand from Hawaii, the state loses a valuable natural resource that is used in a variety of industries. This can have negative consequences for the local economy and environment. Plus, the beaches are becoming depleted and there is less sand for people to enjoy. This is causing some people to get angry, as they feel that they are not able to enjoy the beaches as they used to.

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Administrative fines

If you were to take sand from Hawaii, you could face some serious penalties. Both state and federal laws protect Hawaii’s beaches and sand, and violators can be fined up to $100,000. In some cases, violators may even be arrested. So if you’re thinking about taking a souvenir home from your vacation in Hawaii, think again – it could cost you a lot more than just the price of a souvenir.

To summarize, if you still wondering “Can I take black sand home from Hawaii?” – the answer certainly is NO. It’s actually against the law – serious impact on ecological balance and economic development of Hawaii.

black sand beach in hawaii
Black sand beach in Hawaii

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Is it against the law to remove coral from Hawaii?

It is against the law to remove coral (including any reef or mushroom coral) from Hawaii. Coral is a vital part of the marine ecosystem, and its removal can have serious consequences for the environment. Hawaii has some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, and it is important to protect them. Anyone caught removing coral from Hawaii will be subject to fines and penalties.

Unless allowed by law for scientific, educational, or management activities under a special activity permit (HRS 187A-6).

coral in hawaii
Coral in Hawaii

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What can you not bring back from Hawaii?

Common Items from Hawaii NOT ALLOWED include:

  • Sand
  • Shells, Sand dollars, Starfish
  • Conch shells
  • Crabs
  • Turtle shells
  • Other live organisms 

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Are there any other souvenirs that can be taken from Hawaii’s beaches?

Hawaii’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world and are popular tourist destinations. But as we know – sand, shells, coral, and something like that are not allowed to bring back home as souvenirs. 

However, other items can be taken from Hawaii’s beaches without running afoul of the law. These include beach glass, sea urchins, and driftwood. 

  • Beach glass is created when waves crash against rocks on the shoreline, breaking the rocks into small pieces. The glass is then smoothed by the sand and seawater and can be found on many Hawaiian beaches. 
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Beach glass in Hawaii
  • Sea urchins are spiny creatures that live in tide pools and can be found on many of Hawaii’s beaches. They are a popular souvenir for visitors because they are relatively easy to collect and have a unique look. 
  • Driftwood is wood that has been washed ashore by the ocean. It can be collected from any beach in Hawaii and is often used to make crafts or jewelry.
  • Or you can find beautiful shell necklaces and earrings at most stores, or pick up a piece of art from one of the local artists. There are also plenty of stores that sell traditional Hawaiian clothing if you want to take a bit of the island lifestyle home with you. 

Whatever you choose, be sure to enjoy your time in Hawaii – it’s a magical place!

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Where does Hawaii get its sand?

The carbonate shells and skeletons of marine organisms, such as mollusks, corals, algae, foraminifera, echinoderms, and bryozoans, make up the majority of ‘white’ beaches and marine sediments in Hawaii.

Can I buy sand in Hawaii?

The answer to this question is NO. Selling and buying sand in Hawaii is not allowed and it is a crime. It is because of this thinking that the black market has more opportunities to develop illegally. Never do that!

Read more: Can You Drink On The Beach In Hawaii? Did You Know The Drinking Laws?


So, if you’re thinking of taking a little bit of sand or shells from your favorite beach to remember your trip, think again. Not only is it illegal to remove natural resources from Hawaii beaches, but you’re also doing a lot of damage to the environment by taking away what helps keep the beaches healthy. Next time you visit the beach, take in the sights and sounds and leave everything exactly as you found it so future visitors can enjoy it too. Can you take sand from Hawaii? – We hope you had an answer exactly.

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