With a militarily strategic location in Hawaii, Pearl Harbor bore witness to one of the most important events in world history. The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 changed the American psyche and brought forward the end of World War II. Visiting this historic site is one of the top things to do in Oahu. Pearl Harbor is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating places in the world. So what’s best during your Oahu vacation? A tour of Pearl Harbor on your own? Or on a guided tour?
Seeing Pearl Harbor on your Own Does Come at a Price
Touring Pearl Harbor by yourself can be an interesting experience, as you explore at your own pace. It can also be cheaper, at least at first glance. However, in this case, you really do get what you pay for. You miss out on a lot of historical and cultural insight that only a certified guide can offer you. Exploring Pearl Harbor on a guided tour turns the day from interesting into truly fascinating. Every step you take, every site you visit, is accompanied by a comprehensive explanation and anecdotes. A tour is emphatically enriched when you learn about the stories behind each place.
There is a lot to see in Pearl Harbor and lots of places to visit, including historic museums, memorials, and monuments. A guided tour of Pearl Harbor is a great chance to soak in a hefty dose of history and to pay your respects. There are numerous guided tours available, so you can pick and choose which sights you want to see.
Pacific Aviation Museum Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor
The first option is the Pacific Aviation Museum Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor tour. This impressive day out takes you to the Pacific Aviation Museum, which is dedicated to the Pacific fleet. Admire vintage planes and other fantastic exhibitions, and jump in a flight simulator. The museum is located on 441-acre Ford Island, the original airfield for the U.S. in 1918. Afterwards, you’ll visit the 17-acre Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and the USS Arizona Memorial. The USS Arizona was destroyed on that fateful day back in 1941.
Pearl Harbor Heroes Adventure
Another full day tour you can experience is the Pearl Harbor Heroes Adventure tour. On this tour you’ll visit the “Pearl Harbor Avenger”, the USS Bowfin submarine. This vessel was launched a year after the attack and was on the hunt for the rest of the war. You’ll also see the resting place of the sunken USS Arizona, where 1,177 sailors and marines lost their lives. Afterwards you’ll see the Pacific Aviation Museum, before heading to see the USS Missouri battleship. The USS Missouri was where the Japanese surrender was signed on September 2, 1945 and is synonymous with the end of World War II. It now watches over the remains on the USS Arizona, so the fallen may rest in peace.
A Day at Pearl Harbor
A final guided tour is the A Day at Pearl Harbor tour. This takes you to see the USS Arizona and the USS Missouri, as well as the USS Bowfin. You’ll also get the chance to pay your respects at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. What makes this tour more unique is that it also takes you exploring non-military Oahu landmarks. See interesting sights like the Hawaii State Capitol, Iolani Palace, and Kawaiahao Church during this full-day trip.
Rather than Touring Pearl Harbor on your Own, Go with a Guide!
As you can appreciate, Pearl Harbor is a must-visit during your trip to Hawaii and Oahu. The best way to explore the historic sites is without a doubt a private or shared guided tour. Don’t pass up the chance to find out more about each monument, place and memorial from an expert guide. Instead of touring Pearl Harbor by yourself, make the most of your time in this fascinating place when you book one of these fantastic tours.
More experiences to try at the other Hawaiian islands
If you’re visiting the other glorious islands of Hawaii, check out these suggestions from the local experts: