The Pearl Harbor Experience

The Pearl Harbor Experience

Pickup: 8:15-9:20 AM

Duration: 5-7.5 hours

12 max (shared tour)

Fitness: Moderate

Highlights
  • Visit Pearl Harbor and its major sites: Arizona Memorial, Missouri battleship, and Bowfin submarine
  • VIP Tour (shared in small group or private) with personal guide to maximize your day
  • Guides are military veterans and local historians to provide more meaning and a richer experience
  • Don't worry about securing limited tickets in advance, and skip the lines too
  • Includes transport from most lodgings and all tickets

Overview

Fully experience Pearl Harbor, the site of the monumental event that changed the course of history. From start to finish, you will be in excellent hands on this VIP tour, which is run by a small business owned and operated by a Hawaiian veteran. You will learn fascinating stories and facts about the infamous surprise attack on this naval base and the aftermath, including insider information from veterans actively involved in Oahu’s military community. Rather than simply being dropped off and having to fend for yourself like most of the other “tours”, you will be escorted the entire time in a small group to get the most out of your time.

After pick-up from your lodging, you’ll efficiently be ushered through the often crowded admission process. You’ll skip the lines for the public shuttle and be escorted via your tour van across the Ford Island Bridge to explore the USS Missouri ("Mighty Mo"), which was the last American battleship ever built and was the site of Japan’s official surrender to end World War II.

You'll return via van to the main entrance for a moving film about the Pearl Harbor attack and a boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial at the site of the sunken battleship (still visible) where over 1,100 sailors lost their lives. You will disembark and spend some time on the memorial for reflection on this hallowed ground. Tickets are secured in advance so you do not have to wait in line to try your luck with limited standby tickets. Lastly is a visit aboard the USS Bowfin, where you will get a firsthand feel for what it was like to live and fight underwater during WWII on this legendary submarine.

Total tour duration is approximately 6-7.5 hours including optional transport, or about 5 hours at the Pearl Harbor sites.

If you prefer a shorter amount of time at Pearl Harbor, mostly for the Arizona Memorial, consider our other tour that combines only 1.5-2 hours at Pearl Harbor with a sightseeing tour of Oahu (North Shore beaches, Dole Pineapple Plantation, and more).

TravelShack's Choice

Why we recommend this tour over others
  • Unlike most other “tours”, this is not just an overpriced taxi service; you will not just be dropped off at Pearl Harbor and then picked up at the end. These other services often lead to not pacing oneself properly, resulting in either killing hours waiting for pick-up or missing key sites due to time being up. This is a Deluxe tour to maximize your experience across the multiple sites. You will get an expert guide who will both bring the history alive and handle all the details to optimize your visit.
  • Guides are military veterans (primary exception is on Wednesdays) and passionate historians
  • Shared tour is a small group (4-12); other “tours” can be 20-30+
  • The efficiency of this VIP tour, along with it running only once a day and that tickets have already been secured in advance, means it doesn’t start so early and there is no risk of being turned away due to Pearl Harbor admission being sold out
  • All-inclusive, including & guaranteeing all tickets so you don't have to waste time waiting in line for them, especially for the Arizona Memorial which has very limited standby tickets; other tours may not include tickets, which means paying out of pocket ~$60/adult for the Missouri & Bowfin tickets alone

Key Details
Traveler Reviews

TravelShack Customer rating:

(561 Reviews)

5 out of 5 stars

Also rated on:

TripAdvisor

Yelp

Guidebook Reviews

Lonely Planet guidebook:

Pearl Harbor has a resonance for all Americans. The site is accessible, evocative, and moving. It’s the top site for visitors to Hawaii.

The USS Arizona doesn't tell the only story. With the nearby USS Bowfin and USS Missouri, together they represent the beginning, middle, and end of the war. Dedicate at least a day.

Fodor's guidebook:

Pearl Harbor: Top Reasons to Go to Oahu. A sobering, don’t miss sight.

Same-day tickets can disappear within an hour [if not part of tour]

Moon guidebook:

The Pearl Harbor Historic Sites are a must-see to grasp.

On a busy day, be prepared to wait several hours [if not part of tour]

Oahu Revealed guidebook:

The USS Arizona Memorial is the single most popular visitor attraction on Oahu and a must-do for good reason, but all three Navy vessels are worth your time. The Arizona is the most somber, the Missouri the most impressive in its scale, and the Bowfin the most interesting for observing what it must have been like to live in a submerged vessel.

Parking can be difficult at peak times.

Location
FAQ