Located on the south coast of the island of Oahu is Pearl Harbor, a place whose name mostly evokes three associations.
To some, it’s an amazing holiday destination with stunning beaches and beautiful resorts.
To others it is the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet.
However, the majority associate it with the devastating attack on American naval soldiers by Japanese forces one quiet Sunday morning in 1941, an onslaught that was the catalyst for the Doolittle Raid.
Whichever the case, Pearl Harbor remains a great destination with tours galore that take you to countless places of interest along Hawaii’s largest natural harbor.
The attractions span from historical to geological, beaches to golfing, resorts to gastronomy, and more.
Here are 15 best Pearl Harbor tours we think are every bit worth the ticket.
1. Hawaii: Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Small Group Tour
This skip-the-line ticket takes you on a 3-4-hour discovery of the most visited attraction in Hawaii, the USS Arizona Memorial, the resting place of sailors and Marines who perished on that fateful day in 1941.
With three departures at 8am, 10am, and midday, it starts with a narrated boat tour around the USS Arizona Memorial, before a visit to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
Here, you will learn about the events preceding the attack and its aftermath, and get a chance to view artifacts that include photos of the battle and personal memorabilia from the soldiers.
Then, take a boat shuttle to the memorial, which was constructed over the remains of the Battleship USS Arizona to pay your respects to more than 1,000 crewmen who died in the attack.
2. Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial Tour with Pick-Up
Enjoy hotel pick-up and drop-off from any hotel in Waikiki with this tour that takes you aboard the USS Arizona Memorial.
You will get acquainted with the infamous attack and why the United States got involved in WWII.
This ticket grants you access to the “Road to War” and “Attack” museums where you can watch actual film footage of the events that transpired on that day.
Wrap up the tour with a historic touch as you tour downtown Honolulu, where you will visit iconic sites such as the Iolani Palace, where the Judiciary History Center and State Supreme Court are based.
3. Oahu: Official USS Arizona Memorial Narrated Audio Tour
Embark on a 2.5-hour audio tour of the USS Arizona Memorial which vividly details the siege of Pearl Harbor.
You will visit the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center where you will find, among other attractions, the two world class museums, “Attack” and “Road to War”.
The award-winning tour comes with the National Park Service stamp of approval, and includes a gripping, 23-minute multilingual documentary put together by the Park.
This tour should be a feast for history buffs.
4. Passport to Pearl Harbor: Official Full-Day Ticket
This full-day ticket grants you access to the 4 historic sites at Pearl Harbor, starting with a multilingual narrated tour of the USS Arizona Memorial where you can honor the fallen at their final resting place.
From there, you will gain access to the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park to see artifacts to do with submarines.
Then, gain admission to the Pacific Aviation Museum to learn about the history of fighter planes through the years, after touring the USS Missouri where the battleship’s crucial role in history is detailed.
The tour can be done in whichever order you prefer, and also includes admission to the new Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center that offers three amazing virtual reality tours.
5. Honolulu: 6-Hour Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial
This 6-hour pass takes the hassle out of your trip and lets you attend to the business at hand: enjoying the attractions on offer.
Everything on this tour will be managed for you, from the round-trip transportation to and from Waikiki, to the tickets granting admission to the three main points of interest.
Whether it’s the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine, or the Submarine Museum, this pass allows you to skip the lines and make the most out of the allotted time.
The package also comes complete with a complimentary light lunch (soup or hot dog).
Take a detour through the historical Honolulu downtown as you make your way back to Waikiki.
6. Hawaii: USS Arizona Memorial & Battleship Missouri Tour
This 5-6-hour tour details the history of the Pearl Harbor attack and gives you access to two major U.S. treasures: the USS Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri Tour.
Standing over the remains of the Battleship USS Arizona, the USS Arizona Memorial is the biggest draw in Hawaii with more than 1.8 million visitors per year.
Once your visit there is done, you will take a shuttle boat to see the Battleship Missouri. This was the last American battleship built which served as an intimidating force for 5 decades before being decommissioned.
It was nicknamed the Mighty Mo and is famed for being the place the Japanese surrendered, bringing an end to WWII.
7. Pearl Harbor All Inclusive Full-Day Tour with Tickets
This is a comprehensive 7-9-hour tour that takes you on an adventure around Pearl Harbor’s biggest draws.
The beauty of it is that, in addition to the abundance of time to explore the various attractions, this also happens to be one of the smallest group tours in Oahu.
It starts with a visit to the must-see that is the USS Arizona Memorial, followed by a stop at the USS Missouri Battleship after lunch.
Then, you drive through downtown Honolulu to drink in its rich history which includes Iolani Palace, the golden statue of King Kamehameha the Great, Washington Place, and of course, the state capital.
8. USS Arizona Memorial and Aviation Museum Small-Group Tour
This small group tour takes you on an executive-level excursion of Pearl Harbor, starting with a chauffeured ride either from the airport, port, or your place of accommodation.
You will embark on a narrated boat tour around the USS Arizona Memorial and a complimentary audio guide will be provided as you explore the Aviation Museum.
The tour is not complete without a visit to the Road to War Museum and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, where you can watch actual footage of the Japanese attack on American naval soldiers and Marines.
9. Oahu 60-Minute Helicopter Tour: Doors On or Off
Hawaii’s third-largest island has a lot of rewarding experiences to offer, and one of the best ways to enjoy them is by appreciating them from an aerial perspective.
This is a 1-hour helicopter ride that flies past attractions like Diamond Head, the National Natural Monument, and round volcanic cliffs as you head to Makapu’u Lighthouse where you will find the largest lens lighthouse in the U.S.
This helicopter ride is a treat for both nature and historical lovers as it flies you over the most scenic natural and historical spots in Oahu.
You will see Ka’a’awa Valley, the place previous kings of the island called home, the gorgeous coral formations of Lanikai Beach, Ko’olau Mountains, as well as Kaneohe Bay, considered one of the most picturesque locations on earth, and much more.
10. Private Pearl Harbor Memorial Tour
A private tour of the Pearl Harbor Memorial lets you milk some perks that come with an exclusive tour – round-trip transportation (for three people), skipping the line, a fully insured vehicle, and a light lunch in front of the USS Bowfin submarine.
The ticket includes visits to the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri Battleship Memorial (covering three people) and a trip to Honolulu’s famous historical downtown.
You will also see the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and two museums – “Road to War” and “Attack” – with a complimentary cold drink to boot.
11. Oahu Day Tour: Pearl Harbor and Punchbowl Cemetery
This is a 6-hour land and sea day tour that will take you on a historical expedition of the island of Oahu, aka the Gathering Place.
It starts with a trip to the Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor, walking you through what unfolded on the morning of the attack that prompted America to join WWII.
You will then head over to the Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, where you can find historical artifacts and the film of the attack, then ride the Navy to honor the fallen soldiers at the Arizona Memorial.
From there, you will make a stop at the Punchbowl National Cemetery, before driving through the Courts of the Missing, a memorial in honor of soldiers missing from WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
The tour wraps up with an overview of Honolulu’s historic district.
12. Ultimate Pearl Harbor and Circle Island Tour
This is one of the most comprehensive tours of Pearl Harbor that gives you a little bit of everything the lagoon harbor has to offer, with a knowledgeable guide to escort you.
Take a walk through history with a trip to the WWII “Valour in the Pacific” Monument and USS Arizona Memorial.
Once you have had enough of this deeply immersing experience, you will take a boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial structure to see the remains of the iconic battleship.
The 10.5-hour tour will then stop by Dole Plantation, before heading to the famous North Shore surf spots that include Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline, and Sunset Beach.
Then proceed to the Ni’uana Pali Lookout, the site of the ancient Hawaii Battle, before a stop at one of the most photographed locations in Hawaii, Hanauma Bay, where Elvis filmed Blue Hawaii.
13. Oahu: Full-Day Complete Pearl Harbor Experience from Waikiki
This 8-10-hour tour gives you round-trip transportation and tickets to Hawaii’s most famous attractions – the USS Missouri Battleship, the USS Bowfin submarine, and the Aviation Museum.
It’s an opportunity to see the USS Oklahoma on Ford Island and get acquainted with some rich history at the “Road to War” and “Attack” museums.
The USS Arizona Memorial is a must-visit attraction while here. Thankfully, this pass allows you to save time by skipping the long lines.
Sample American hot dogs for lunch as you bask in the magnificence of the USS Bowfin submarine docked at the ocean front, with a live guide providing narration at every one of these sites.
Enjoy a drive through downtown Honolulu and take in its myriad of attractions as you make your way from Pearl Harbor.
14. Oahu: Waikiki 20-Minute Doors On / Doors Off Helicopter Tour
This 20-minute helicopter tour gives you a bird’s eye view of the photogenic Waikiki, as a helicopter sweeps over the most eye-catching areas of this vibrant neighborhood.
The tour kicks off over Honolulu Harbor and then sweeps over the white sandy beaches of Waikiki until the Ala Moana open-air shopping mall is in sight.
You will then fly over the popular picnic grounds of Magic Island before the helicopter whisks you over the famed Waikiki Beach.
From there, you will soar over Diamond Head just before you get to the illustrious Punchbowl Crater. Then, wrap up the quick-fire tour by gliding towards Pearl Harbor, home to the USS Arizona Memorial.
15. Pearl Harbor, USS Missouri, Iolani Palace Full-Day Tour
This is a tour designed to let you squeeze the most out of Oahu’s top attractions.
The full-day tour starts with a stop at Pearl Harbor, from where you’ll take a Navy launch to the USS Arizona Memorial where the Japanese brokered a peace deal to end WWII.
A guided tour of the USS Missouri battleship is part of the package, but this is not before you swing by the Visitor Center to witness the collection of artifacts that survived the Japanese assault.
A tour of downtown Honolulu is on the cards as well, and this offers a trip back in time through attractions such as the Kawaiahao Church and the prominent statue of King Kamehameha the Great.
Then, discover the impressive exhibits housed at Hale and Mission Houses Museum, before wrapping up the tour by driving through the Punchbowl National Cemetery.