On my first visit to Hawaii, one of the sites I wanted to visit was the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, including the USS Arizona Memorial.  There is a lot of history there, much of which I learned long ago through history courses.

Because I didn’t have a lot of lead time to plan for my first Hawaii trip, there was no availability when I looked into the  “advance ticket” option.  Not knowing when I would visit Hawaii again, I decided not to chance it and booked a grand circle tour that included the USS Arizona Memorial visit.  In hindsight, while the grand circle tour was fine, it was really unnecessary if you already have a rental car.

What are the tour options?

The government’s recreation.gov site offers 3 tour options:

  1. USS Arizona Memorial
  2. USS Arizona Memorial Narrated Tour
  3. Passport to Pearl Harbor

Once you figure out which tour option you want, you can request advance tickets.  They are “available up to 2 months before your visit or from 7AM HST the day before your visit.”

How to Request Tickets

The government’s website publishes some reservation guidelines, but there are 3 ways.

  1. Book at 60-day window:  If you have a particular date in mind, set an alert and book early. The tickets go quickly and morning tends to be especially popular.  For example, there are only 25 tickets available for some morning slots and they go quickly online (usually same-day).
  2. Book at the 24-hour window:  Some “next day” tickets may become available beginning at 7:00 am HST.
  3. Walk-In Tickets:  According to the site, “1,300 Walk-In tickets are available daily on a first come first served basis at the Park Visitor Center”.  I don’t know how long the wait typically is, but most people recommend getting in line early.  You can always walk around the grounds and visit other museums.


a close-up of a reservation

Reservation Guidelines from the recreation.gov website


In other words, if you are interested in visiting Pearl Harbor and its historic sites, be sure to plan ahead.

If you’ve waited in line for the tickets, how was your experience with the wait?