Comprising various historical locations and monuments, Pearl Harbor serves as a tribute and educational resource on the Japanese attack against the United States on December 7, 1941, which led to the nation’s involvement in World War II. As one of Hawaii’s most frequented destinations, it holds great importance as a WWII memorial site in the country.
Pearl Harbor consists of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, featuring the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Utah, and USS Oklahoma, as well as the all Historic Sites, such as the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and the Aviation Museum (previously known as the Pacific Aviation Museum). While most tours cover only a subset of these numerous locations, some combine visits to select Pearl Harbor sites with excursions to other attractions on Oahu.
Essential Information Prior to Visiting
- The Memorial sites tend to be quite busy; it is recommended to reserve your tickets or tours ahead of time and consider selecting a skip-the-line option.
- Individual memorials necessitate separate admission passes; opt for a tour or a combination ticket that covers your desired sites.
- Since Pearl Harbor remains an active naval base, visitors must comply with security measures.
- The Memorial is designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
- Complimentary on-site parking is available.
Directions to Pearl Harbor
Situated on the south coast of Oahu, Pearl Harbor is approximately 12 miles (20 kilometers) northwest of Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. To access the memorial from downtown, take HI-99 west and follow signs for Arizona Memorial Pl. Shuttle services are available from both Honolulu and Waikiki, and some tours even offer transportation from other islands.
Best Time to Visit
The Visitor Center is open every day from morning until early evening, excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. While the memorials maintain distinct hours, they are generally accessible from morning to early evening. Pearl Harbor is a popular destination throughout the year, with peak visitation during spring break, summer, and winter holidays. To avoid large crowds and ensure ample time to explore the various sites, it is advisable to arrive early in the morning.
USS Arizona Memorial
Recognized as the location with the highest number of casualties (1,177 crewmen), the USS Arizona Memorial is the most renowned site in Pearl Harbor. The white monument, which hovers above the submerged battleship, serves as a serene space for contemplation. Tours commence at the visitor center, where visitors view a film before boarding a shuttle boat to the memorial. Although admission is free, tickets are mandatory due to the strict daily limitation on the number of guests allowed inside the memorial.