Arguably one of the most significant World War II sites on the planet, Hawaii's Pearl Harbor—once a tranquil oyster farming bay—hurtled the United States into World War II combat on the Pacific Ocean. Today, the central Oahu port features several attractions that memorialize the 2,403 lives lost to Japan's devastating bombings of American ships and planes in 1941.
Pearl Harbor Tour Attraction Highlights
Floating solemnly on the harbor, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument serves as testament to the bravery of those who served in the U.S. Navy and includes many well-known spots, while a number of other Pearl Harbor historic sites can be found in the waters of the harbor.
Visit the USS Arizona Memorial (where most of the casualties took place during the attacks); view the rows of white marble columns honoring the dead aboard the USS Oklahoma on Ford Island (accessible via shuttle); and see the long dock within view of the rusty sunken hull of the USS Utah, currently only accessible to those with a valid military ID. Other official sites include the docked and accessible USS Missouri, the last American battleship ever built; the underwater museum housed in the USS Bowfin submarine; and a vast collection of WWII-era planes at Ford Island’s Pacific Aviation Museum. It should be noted that various attractions may have separate admission fees.
How to Visit with Viator
An array of tours help take the hassle out of navigating this huge area, offering everything from simple shuttle service from Waikiki to ticket bundles packaging multiple see-it-yourself sites and guided tours on land and by boat. Whether you want round-trip transfer service from Waikiki or a comprehensive full-day Pearl Harbor tour, it’s possible to customize your experience. Bypass long lines with a skip-the-line pass; combine a Pearl Harbor tour with sightseeing in Honolulu; or take an inter-island tour from the Big Island that includes a panoramic Oahu boat tour to delve into the island’s history.
- To make the most of Pearl Harbor’s multitude of historical and maritime attractions, set aside an entire day to explore the site, and be sure to choose a tour that includes all the areas important to you.
- The famous Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open daily from 7am until 5pm, excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
How to Get There
Pearl Harbor is set on Oahu's south coast, about 12 miles (20 km) west of Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. Most Pearl Harbor tours depart from the aforementioned cities, Maui, and Kauai. For a cost-effective option, take TheBus, which serves many stops between Waikiki hotels and Pearl Harbor. Fares come in at an economical $2.50 each way.