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Tips On Visiting Pearl Harbor on Oahu, HI

Tips on visiting Pearl Harbor in Honolulu on your own

Pearl Harbor Memorial is probably the most iconic landmark, and the most visited attraction on Oahu !

If you're visiting Pearl Harbor on your own, there is a lot of information online...Unfortunately, personally for me, most of it was quite confusing... with the biggest question - " Can you visit Pearl Harbor without a tour ?"

In this blog post, I'll share a few tips that, hopefully, will help you plan your visit, and save you time and money !

First things first :
Can you visit Pearl Harbor without a tour ?

Yes... and No 🤣

You see, Pearl Harbor Memorial consists of "5 parts" :

1 - Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
2 - USS Arizona Memorial
3 - USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park ( which is conveniently located within the Pearl Harbor
Visitor Center ).
4 -Battleship Missouri Memorial
5 - Aviation Museum

The admission to Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is FREE so you can walk around, take cool pics, watch a  documentary.

The USS Arizona Memorial ( the one where you have to take a boat to see the battleship under the water ) was closed during our visit, so I'm not sure if you have to pay for that ( when it's open, you can take a boat there, walk around it, and see the USS Arizona underneath ).

But if you want to visit the USS Bowfin Submarine, Battleship Missouri, and the Aviation Museum, you'll have to pay for that separately ( for each attraction ), or as a package if you want to see them all ( we only paid for visiting the battleship, and the aviation museum ).

From my personal experience, there is absolutely NO reason to pay (extra) for guided tours, or "Pearl Harbor deluxe tour" !

If you've ever been on a battleship/submarine or at an aviation museum before, if you want to visit Pearl Harbor for free, just come and hang out at the visitor center...

Best Day of the Week To Visit Pearl Harbor:

Pearl Harbor is extremely popular among tourists year round/every day of the week !

TIP: come either early in the morning, or (as we did) at around 3pm ( especially if you're not planning to visit all the attractions ). Pearl Harbor Visitor Center hours are 7am - 5pm... ( and 2 hours were enough for us to hang around, and see the battleship and the aviation museum ! ).

Parking is FREE...BUT the lots fill in quickly !

What to bring ?

Remember - Pearl Harbor is an active military base, which means - no bags are allowed in the visiting center or any other attractions ! You can bring your camera/phone ( big camera bags are not allowed either ! ), and... water bottles.

Do you need to buy tickets in advance for Pearl Harbor ?

As I've just said above, the admission to the Visitor Center and the grounds around is free...
But if you want to see other attractions, and want to be 100% sure, you might want to buy tickets in advance AS LONG AS YOU KNOW WHAT EXACTLY YOU WANT TO SEE !

We came at ~ around 3pm on Friday, and had no problems buying tickets to see the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and the aviation museum ( you'll board a bus to get there as they're located on Ford Island, and it's the only way to get there ! ).

Since we'd been on a submarine before, we decided to skip visiting USS Bowfin ( which is located on the Visitor Center grounds, and you can just take pictures standing next to it ! ).

All in all, visiting Pearl Harbor ( for me ) was one of those "touristy things to do while in Honolulu", but for my son ( who's a huge history buff ! ) it was the dream come true !

Check out the video below to get a general idea visiting Pearl Harbor, and maybe it will help you decide if it's worth your time ( and money ! )

Looking for more fun things to do while visiting Oahu ?

Check out this blog post - 

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