Know Before You Go: Visiting Pearl Harbor

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Annually over 1.5 million people visit the USS Arizona memorial, a tribute to the memory of the Pearl Harbor attack, which launched the United States into World War II. Visiting such a popular attraction can require some advance planning, so here are some travel tips to keep in mind.

Book your tour early.
Pearl Harbor is one of Honolulu’s most popular attractions, and though there’s no charge to visit, tickets are required. Walk-in tickets are limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve a tour or tickets ahead of time to avoid disappointment, or plan to show up first thing in the morning before the visitor center opens.

Don’t miss the USS Bowfin, USS Missouri, and Pacific Aviation Museum.
When most visitors think of Pearl Harbor, they have the USS Arizona Memorial in mind. While this memorial is the most recognizable in Pearl Harbor, the area has several other historic sites to help fill in the picture, including the USS Bowfin submarine, the battleship USS Missouri, and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Set aside a full day to visit all of them.

Be respectful.
More than 3,500 Americans lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor, so remember to be respectful when choosing what to wear. There’s no formal dress code, but it’s best to save the bikinis for Waikiki.

Protect yourself from the sun.
Weather in Hawaii changes quickly, and the sun can feel very direct when it is shining. Since many of Pearl Harbor’s attractions are outdoors, it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen before leaving your hotel and bring along a hat and a pair of sunglasses.

Leave your bags and backpacks behind.
No bags of any sort are permitted through security at the entrance to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. All you’re allowed to bring inside are a wallet, camera, and water bottle, and you’ll have to carry them. Lockers are available outside security.
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