Like most states, Hawaii law prevents the sale of alcohol to anyone who is under 21 years of age. A blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or greater is categorized by Hawaiian law enforcement as either public intoxication or, if operating a motorized vehicle, driving under the influence. While drinking at beach venues and on private property is legal, drinking on public beaches is not.
Hawaii is known for its beaches and ocean views, but it also has a reputation of very low tolerance for public intoxication due to the fact alcohol and turbulent waves do not mix. While alcoholic beverages can be purchased at many restaurants and beach bars, drinking on Hawaii public beaches is illegal. Knowing where alcohol is permitted can prevent tourists and local islanders from fines and possible jail time.
Businesses and privately owned beachfronts do allow drinking on their properties. If drinking is a necessary part of your Hawaii vacation or living experience, do so away from public beachfronts. Many hotels, restaurants and beach bars have outdoor seating to accommodate guests who enjoy drinking while watching the surf and surfers. For private parties and social activities when drinking is necessary, consider renting a private beach house with an adjoining private beach.
Non-alcoholic drink alternatives are a safe option to drinking on public beaches. Non-alcoholic drinks, sparkling wines and non-alcoholic beer can be purchased at local grocery stores, wine shops and party supply stores. Water, fruit drinks and smoothies can offer a refreshing alternative, as well as reduce the risk of drowning and dehydration. When in doubt, ask locals for recipes to make your beach experience fun and safe.
If planning a wedding or other social engagement, consider what location will best serve the interests of the attending guests. Before booking rooms, call hotels to find out if they are located on the beach and if they have a drinking policy. Additionally, ask hotel employees where the best alcohol-friendly venues are in relation to the beach. Never attempt to swim while intoxicated or under the influence of any drug.
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