When you tour Pearl Harbor, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the unique history of the location and its various landmarks, but there are a few things you should know ahead of time:
- Don’t bring your bags. For security, the Pearl Harbor tour officials don’t allow purses, backpacks, camera bags, luggage, fanny packs or any other kinds of bag into the visitor center or the USS Arizona memorial. Visitors are recommended to leave any valuables at their hotel and bring in cameras, wallets and phones rather than leaving them in a vehicle. Bag storage is available for $3 a bag at the Visitor Center. Wheel chairs and strollers are allowed in.
- Consider ordering tickets to USS Arizona tours online. Tickets are free but they go fast, especially if you try to get them at the last minute. The parks service is working on making more walk-up tickets available, but reforms are still ongoing. Fortunately, tickets can be booked up to six months in advance for a small service fee. The fee is non-refundable, so make sure not to book tickets to tour Pearl Harbor unless you’re sure you can make the date.
- If you don’t order online, or you couldn’t get tickets, try to arrive at the gate by 6:30 a.m. A small number of tickets are given out for free every day, but they go fast, especially when the tour buses start to arrive. Of course, if you have tickets through a tour agency already, you won’t have to worry about getting tickets. They’ll already be provided as part of your package.
- Arizona tickets are usually for specific times, so while you’re waiting, you can tour Pearl Harbor’s other offerings at your own pace. The USS Bowfin Submarine, the USS Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum are all open to visitors, and history buffs can purchase audio or guided tours for each location ahead of time or at the memorial.
- Come equipped. Bring a camera and a light windbreaker in case things get more breezy than you’d prefer. You’ll also be outdoors a lot, so make sure the whole family wears sunscreen.
Keep these things in mind and your visit to Pearl Harbor will be much more enjoyable!