If you are an enthusiast of travel, then you must have heard about Pearl Harbor. It is the Hawaiian naval base where the Japanese air assault on 7th December 1941 happened, which projected the U.S. into World War II. Many people who visit Honolulu in Hawaii never miss visiting Pearl Harbor. Since this site is Hawaii’s leading tourist destination, many people visit every year to re-live history and pay their respect at the USS Memorials. Pearl Harbor is a fascinating place you will love.

If you want to visit Pearl Harbor, here are things you need to know:

Facts Concerning Pearl Harbor

  • When Japanese attacked that quiet morning of 7th December 1941, they caught the site completely by surprise.
  • The attack occurred in two waves starting before 8. a.m. local-time and lasted for about two hours.
  • Despite the destruction of 350 aircraft, the carriers were not at Pearl Harbor that morning and were not harmed.
  • Over 3,500 residents of America were killed and others wounded that morning, and 1,177 went to watery graves when USS Arizona exploded and sank in the small harbor.
  • Twenty-one vessels were either spoiled or sunk. Additionally, all battleships of United States Pacific Fleet (which were eight in number) were also destroyed. The USS Utah and Arizona are still at the bottom of the harbor.
  • Located towards West of Honolulu city, Pearl Harbor serves as a home to the U.S. Navy’s Fleet to this day.

Travel Tips

Going to Pearl Harbor is the greatest trip you can ever experience out of Honolulu. Here are some suggestions you need to have in mind to make your trip successful:

  1. Keeping Time:

    If you want to enjoy the harbor, go as early as possible because the site has many visitors and you may find it crowded, ESPECIALLY weekends and holidays. If you don’t have a ticket to USS Arizona Memorial, which is quite popular, it is a good idea to be there very early in the morning. All tours begin at 8 o’clock and go for every 15 minutes and close up at 3 p.m.; therefore you need to get the ticket at 7 a.m. for the USS Arizona. 1,300 free walk-in tickets are available every day, but are first-come-first-serve. The tickets are fully allocated by mid hours of the morning.

  2. No carrying purse or bag:

    Security is highly valued in Pearl Harbor. Any visitor must enter the Visitor Center to be checked. All bags are not allowed except a wallet, water bottle, and a camera. In case you take a bag with you, there is a storage room where you can keep it safe, but you pay a small fee per bag. The best thing to do is to wear a clothing with ample pockets to put your small items.

  3. Take sunscreen with you:

    Hawaiian weather changes anytime during all hours of the day. The sun shines a lot here, and because the Pearl Harbor attractions will force you to be outside for some time, sunscreen is imperative. Ensure you pack it alongside other items.

  4. Do not wear a bikini:

    Visiting Pearl Harbor doesn’t mean that you must dress formal. You should dress appropriately however, since the site is Memorial, a graveyard for those who perished in the ’41 attack; it is a way of being respectful to the departed souls. Just dress considerately.

What to Observe In Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor was recognized as a National Historic Landmark on 29th January 1964.
The following are things you will want to witness:

USS Bowfin Submarine

Located next to Visitor Center, the Bowfin was launched on 7th December 1942 soon after the attack. The Bowfin could sink 44 enemy vessels.

USS Arizona Memorial

The rapid loss of life due to the destruction of USS Arizona is symbolized by the Arizona Memorial. Lately, the memorial is operated by the National Park Service. A free ticket is offered to visit here. The program takes almost 75 minutes which comprises of 23-minute video session and finally a ride to the site.

Battleship Missouri Memorial

Launched on 29th January 1944 the Battleship Missouri began to operate in the last months of World War II. This is where the “Instrument of Surrender” was signed on 2nd September 1945, Tokyo. It is when World War stopped. The Missouri is open from 8am – 5pm while shuttles work until a quarter past five.

Pacific Aviation Museum

The museum, situated on Ford Island is a site which you should visit. Tickets to the Pacific Aviation Museum are purchased and a ride to the place is offered.

USS Oklahoma Memorial

This memorial site signifies 429 marines and sailors who lost their lives on the Battleship Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack. Operated by National Park Service, visiting is free although need a shuttle ticket to get you to Ford Island.
All tickets are bought at the Visitor Center, and prices to the sites vary.

How to see everything:

Purchasing a Harbor Pass

In case you want to visit some attractions at the Harbor reasonably, it is recommended to purchase a pass whereby you can visit USS Missouri ship, USS Arizona, Bowfin Submarine and Pacific Museum. You pay for the pass comprising of shuttle transport to and from Pearl Harbor and Waikiki, and it is usable for 30 days.

How to Get to Pearl Harbor

You can get to the harbor by booking directed tours from Honolulu. It will pick you from the hotel you are staying and take you to the Visitor Center. Cheaper tours include a ticket for a particular time for you to visit the USS Arizona. Entire-day access tours are more flexible and include tickets to the different sites including USS Missouri, Bowfin, and Arizona Memorial.

Place to Stay while on Visit

Honolulu is the best place to stay while touring Pearl Harbor. There are some great hotels near Waikiki Beach, or if you want to venture off the beaten path, there are some very charming AirBnb rentals as well.

In conclusion, if you want to get the most out of your visit to the harbor, consider visiting National Memorial Cemetery which is near Honolulu; this will complete your experience and add great satisfaction to your tour of Pearl Harbor. You’ll want to visit the site over again on your next trip to Hawaii.