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Know Before You Go: Visiting Pearl Harbor


Know Before You Go: Visiting Pearl Harbor
Hi, I'm Lydia!

Lydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

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Over 1.5 million people visit the USS Arizona memorial annually, 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 early

This popular attraction gets busy.

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.

Booking or arriving early are the only ways to guarantee entry. Photo: Elyse Butler / Viator

Don't miss the other attractions

There's more to Pearl Harbor than USS Arizona.

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

This is an attraction, but it's also a memorial.

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.

Be sure to dress respectfully and set aside time to enjoy all the sights. Photo: Elyse Butler / Viator

Protect yourself from the sun

You don't want sunburn as a souvenir.

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 behind the bags

You can't enter with them anyway.

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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Hi, I'm Lydia!

Lydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

Keep exploring
See all Oahu tours
881 tours & tickets
Things to do in Oahu
See all things to do in Oahu
Where to Find the Best Views on Oahu
Where to Find the Best Views on Oahu