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Weird Laws in Every US State You Should Know About



The United States is a diverse country with many different climates, landscapes, and cultures. But what makes it also diverse and unique are the many different weird laws in the US. Let’s take a look at weird laws in all 50 of the US states.


Putting salt on a railroad track could be punishable by death.

alabama salt on railroad tracks

At first glance, this weird law seems completely out of left field, but with a little insight, things make a lot more sense making it less weird. Apparently, salt could potentially attract cattle to railroads, and with trains potentially passing through, this could create quite the mess. So if for some strange reason you’ve been thinking about sprinkling the tracks, don’t!


It is illegal to wake a sleeping bear for the purpose of a photograph.

sleeping bear alaska

It seems like if someone is willing to go to these lengths for the ‘gram, maybe they could use this advice. It seems doubtful that you would get a good smile out of a bear if you interrupted his nap, anyway, so why risk it? Though out of all the weird laws in the US, this one may just save your life. Just leave bears alone and all will be well.


It is illegal to refuse a person a glass of water.

glass of water arizona

Do you hear that Arizonans? Hospitality isn’t optional! This law certainly seems like it could be tied to the sweltering temperatures that occur in the summer. No fear though; you can knock on any door for refreshment! It would be immoral to actually disobey this one. Weird laws in the US sometimes are based on moral imperatives like this one.

See more weird laws in Arizona.


It is illegal to honk your horn at a sandwich shop after 9 P.M.

honking your horn arkansas

Oddly specific, but true. Actually, this law applies to any establishment that serves cold drinks or sandwiches. I feel like a funny origin story is behind this one…


Vehicles with no drivers may not go over 60 miles per hour.

self driving cars california

This one seems like a no brainer until you look at it a little more closely! Autonomous cars are a reality now. We’re living in the future, folks. A future that moves at a moderate speed, apparently. So, let’s call this one the most futuristic out of the weird laws in the US.


It is illegal to lend your vacuum to your next-door neighbor.

lending your vacuum cleaner illegal

Calling on those close by for a cup of sugar is fine, apparently, but you’re on your own when it comes to cleaning supplies. I wonder if you would be in the clear if you called the neighbor across the street? I wouldn’t risk it though. Maybe there were too many lawsuits about neighbors not returning borrowed vacuums.


It is illegal to educate dogs.

illegal to educate your dog in conneticut

This one certainly seems harsh. What’s wrong with trying to show Fido a new trick or two? Perhaps this law was created to avoid people’s disappointment when their old dog inevitably can’t learn new tricks. Whatever the case, this is one of the most dog-offensive weird laws in the US.


It is illegal for a pawnshop to accept someone’s wheelchair or prosthetic limb as payment.

Imagine being so desperate you offered up your fake arm or leg as a means of payment. That’s rough!


If you tie an elephant up at a parking post, you are required to pay the fee as you would for a car.

elephant parking lot

Imagine, even if you were cool enough to have a pet elephant, you would still have weird laws in the US like this one to deal with. It makes sense though, because an elephant arguably takes up even more room than a car.


It is illegal to keep an ice cream cone in your back pocket on Sundays.

ice cream cone in back pocket illegal

I’m not sure who would consider this a remotely reasonable option, but if you’re the person who does, feel free on the other six days of the week.


It is illegal to have more than one alcoholic drink in front of you at a time.

multiple alcoholic drinks illegal

I suspect that this one may not be very well enforced. Who can resist the call of a fresh, fruity cocktail while you’re relaxing oceanside, listening to the waves crash. It’s completely reasonable that you would want to have a backup drink ready and waiting for when your current glass runs dry, right? Though it’s not necessarily the weirdest of the weird laws in the US, considering it keeps people from drinking too much – also it can potentially save a lot of money.

See more weird laws in Hawaii.


It is illegal to fish from a camel’s back.

illegal to fish from camels back

As far as weird laws in the US go, this one takes the cake. Is a camel’s back a particularly good vantage point for fishing? Someone must have thought so! It seems like a strange, but harmless thing to do. All the same, I don’t recommend it unless you’re looking for trouble with the law.


It is illegal to have a smelly dog.

illegal to have a smelly dog

This is a fairly substantial commitment if you’re getting a dog, since we know how dogs love getting into all sorts of gross things. Better keep the baths frequent or you may see the red and blue lights pulling up outside your house anytime!

See more weird laws in Illinois.


Baths are illegal between the months of October and March.

taking a bath illegal

I think we can all consider ourselves lucky that this law isn’t enforced. I imagine half the country might be able to smell this state a couple of months out of the year. Though, it says nothing against taking showers.

See more weird laws in Indiana.


One-armed piano players must perform for free.

one armed piano player

Okay, well this one may be the most offensive of the weird laws in the US. If someone with one arm manages to become an accomplished piano player, that’s very impressive and they definitely shouldn’t have to do it for free. Hopefully, this one has been successfully challenged.


It is illegal to eat clam chowder on Sundays between 11:50 A.M. and  12:48 P.M.

illegal to eat clam chowder

This one is another strangely specific law. I guess that helps narrow down the choices for lunch, right? Is there perhaps a shortage of clams in Kansas? Whatever the case, clam chowder lovers may have difficulty following weird laws in the US like this one.


All Kentucky residents are required to shower once per year.

This law seems rather generous… We certainly hope that the citizens here are overachievers, or we may have to lump them in with Indiana during March and October. As far as weird laws in the US go, this one may be based on conservation.


You must buy a special license in order to legally sport a goatee.

goatee beard

Whoever enacted this law clearly has some strong opinions on men’s facial hair. This also may be the most just of the weird laws in the US. I wonder if the fashion police oversee the enforcement of this law? I hear they’re brutal.


It is illegal to keep an armadillo as a pet.

armadillo pet

If you’re looking for something a little more interesting than your everyday dog, cat, or bird, armadillo, unfortunately, isn’t an option. Wonder why this specific animal was outlawed…


It is illegal to be in a public park in a sleeveless shirt.

If you’re bringing the gun show to town, don’t head to Maryland, because they won’t take kindly to seeing your biceps. Clearly this has been a problem at some point in the past. I wonder if you could get arrested for selling sleeveless paraphernalia (tank-tops).


It is illegal to eat more than 3 sandwiches at a wake.

3 sandwiches

It stands to reason that a true mourner wouldn’t be quite so hungry? Three sandwiches are quite a meal for most people though, so who knows. It does say a lot about you if wakes make you hungry.


It is illegal to serenade your girlfriend

illegal to serenade your girlfriend

This law certainly puts a damper on the romance in Michigan. Perhaps you could get away with it if you did it in the privacy of your own home? After all, women love a bad boy. What makes this one of the weirdest of the weird laws in the US, is apparently it’s okay to serenade anyone who isn’t your girlfriend. It just singles out girlfriends.


It is illegal to tease skunks.

illegal to tease skunks

Not sure who had our black and white friend’s best interest in mind when this law was created. Or, maybe, the law was actually created to protect humans. After all, irritating a skunk could have some serious consequences.


Any dog being walked must wear a diaper.

dog diapers

We’re not sure if this is more or less glamorous than carrying around poop bags. It also seems like it might be extremely hard to execute a successful diaper change on a rambunctious pup.


It’s illegal to worry about squirrels.

Someone, somewhere in Missouri is looking out their window at a squirrel, thinking “Gee, I wonder if that furry guy has enough nuts saved up to make it through the winter.” That person is a criminal! And arguably has a very boring life…


It is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.

I’m guessing that one time, a sheep did a heck of a lot of damage to result in the creation of this law. Not the best choice of farmyard animals as a copilot then. One question remains though: is a sheepdog considered a chaperone?


It is illegal for bars to sell beer unless they are also cooking a kettle of soup.

Whoever created this law simply wanted to make sure that if a couple of drinks sparked your appetite, you would have a hearty option on hand for a meal. How considerate.


It is illegal to ride a camel on the highway.

riding a camel on the highway

I really have no clue what the top speed of a camel is, but I feel certain that a highway would not be a safe place for this animal. Best to find yourself a casino and cross your fingers that you’ll win enough for a new car.

New Hampshire

It is illegal to keep time to the music in cafes or taverns.

This includes nodding your head and tapping your feet. If this law was enforced, I imagine a lot of people would be in trouble. What’s the point of music if you can’t enjoy it?

New Jersey

It is illegal for birds to poop on statues.

illegal for birds to poop on statues

Another brilliant idea on someone’s part, again… if we had any ability to enforce it. Who knows, maybe the birds in New Jersey are all law-abiding. Simply post a sign and the problem is solved. I hear bird prison is tough too.

New Mexico

If a newspaper spells someone’s name incorrectly, they could be subject to a fine.

Talk about accountability! New Mexico cares about each and every one of its citizens and won’t stand for disrespectful mistakes! I like this one. As far as weird laws in the US go, this one seems to be one of the fairest.

New York

It is illegal to wear slippers after 10 P.M. in public.

It’s said that slippers might attract the attention of New York’s notorious subway rats. That and scathing looks from all the fashion-forward models and celebs, no doubt.

See more weird laws in New York.

North Carolina

Elephants may not be used to plow cotton fields.

elephant cotton field

You know, in case you were considering it. I can see how they might be good for the job, but apparently it isn’t allowed. You’ll have to stick with traditional horses. How many elephants are in North Carolina anyhow?

See more weird laws in North Carolina.

North Dakota

It is illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on.

sleeping with your shoes on

Have a hard day at work? No excuses! The least you can do is remove your shoes before heading to bed, or North Dakota law enforcement very well may have a word with you.


You will need a license to kill a housefly within 160 feet of a church.

How does one go about obtaining this license? Is there a test you must pass? I have so many questions.


It is illegal to open a soda bottle without a licensed engineer present.

Evidently Oklahoma has very little faith in its citizens. I think this law definitely goes a little overboard, even in the interest of “safety first.” And does it matter what kind of engineer? Would a software engineer suffice? In any case, this is one of the most despised weird laws in the US by the Coca Cola company.


It is illegal to wear roller skates in a bathroom.

This law seems like common sense. It would be extraordinarily awful to take a tumble and end up with an arm in the toilet, or worse. Best to keep activities like roller skating to the great outdoors.


It is illegal to sleep on a refrigerator outside.

Personally, I have never once considered doing this, but clearly someone has. I’ll side in favor of this law, because it doesn’t seem like a comfy choice, and it could potentially be quite chilly outside as well in this eastern state. I wouldn’t suggest sleeping on a refrigerator inside either. But I don’t get to write any weird laws in the US or any other country for that matter.

Rhode Island

You cannot ride your horse on the highway for the purpose of testing its top speed.

horses on highway

Undoubtedly, someone had this idea and thought it was a brilliant one. And while I can see how they might think so, it seems dangerous for not only the horse and rider but motorists as well. I guess your horse’s top speed will just have to remain a mystery.

South Carolina

Nothing may be sold on Sundays except light bulbs.

light bulbs

Clearly, we have come a long way since this weird law. And thankfully, because for those of us who don’t plan in advance, you can’t make a very tasty dinner using light bulbs. Also, think about all the businesses that would have to be closed on Sundays. How would you even purchase gas for your car?

South Dakota

It’s illegal for horses to enter Fountain Inn if they aren’t wearing pants.

horse wearing pants

This law seems like a clever way of getting around not simply barring horses from entering, but still making life very difficult for someone who wanted to bring their horse in. After all, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an establishment that sells pants for horses. Custom order, here we come.


Only persons 18 or above may play Pinball.

This law seems like it could be the plot of a hilarious, Footloose-esque movie, where youths fight for their right to play this arcade classic. I’m glad I didn’t grow up in Tennessee then. I loved playing pinball when I was a kid. Still do actually. Anyway, there are certainly much worse things young people could be doing.


You are required to give written or oral notice to the victim of any crime you may commit 24 hours prior to doing so.

This law sure puts a damper on things for criminals, but I’m guessing it’s one that isn’t adhered to often. Props to whoever came up with it though, it’s bound to snag a dumb criminal or two occasionally.


Husbands are responsible for crimes committed by their wives if they are present at the time.

Men, you better choose your spouse very carefully, because if your wife decides to break the law with you around, she could land you both in the slammer. Is this perhaps the most unfair of all the weird laws in the US.


It is illegal to undress in public.

illegal to undress in public

This law seems like common sense, but it becomes interesting when you address the fact that leaving your house naked is fine. No weird laws in the US against public indecency here, just make your decision before leaving the house.


It is illegal to wash a mule on the sidewalk.

Honestly, this doesn’t seem like the most ideal place to wash your mule if you had one, but clearly, someone has attempted it in the past and caused a stir. Stick to the barn if your mule is getting stinky.

See more weird laws in Virginia.


It is illegal to harass Bigfoot.


Not that I’ve had the opportunity, but this doesn’t seem like a wise choice even if I did. Why can’t we all just be friends?

West Virginia

It is legal to collect roadkill and eat it.

While this idea might disgust many, the state actually hosts a Roadkill Festival annually dedicated to exactly this. I personally don’t find it appetizing but to each his own… I do know that in the state of Arizona, you legally gain ownership of the roadkill victim as long as you can prove you did it. Hmm… that’s another weird law for Arizona.


The taste of cheese must be “highly pleasing.”

Actually, only certain grades of cheese are required to taste “highly pleasing” while others must only taste “fairly pleasing.”  It’s unclear who exactly makes the call on the taste of these cheeses or how the evaluation works. But if there’s one thing Wisconsin knows, it’s cheese.


It is illegal to take a picture of a rabbit between the months of January and April.

In fact, this law originally included all animals and dates back to 1921 when you had to have a game warden accompany you if you had a photoshoot planned. With apps like Snapchat and Instagram, we can count ourselves lucky this law is no longer enforced. Who wouldn’t want to immediately take a picture of a cute bunny? A monster… that’s who!

So, now that you know a little more about a few of the weird laws in the US, which one do you think is the weirdest of them all?



Cheyenne Reed was born and raised in Ohio. She recently relocated to rural Wyoming to try out working at an exclusive guest ranch. She graduated from Kent State University with an English degree, and most enjoys writing about travel. If she has free time, you may run into her anywhere, because she is always itching to explore new places. Her personal motto is, "Any day can be an adventure if you make it one!"