Pearl Harbor from Maui

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No trip to Hawaii would be complete without seeing the state’s most popular and historically important attraction … the USS Arizona Memorial. The documentary film that is shown at the Visitor’s Center sets a somber and reflective tone which this sacred place deserves. People walk out to the ferry boat in hushed silence for the short ride out to the Memorial.

Once you arrive you will gaze down into the water where, just below the surface, lies the submerged hulk of the USS Arizona. The sunken ship is the final resting place for many of the 1177 crew members who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. Looking up through the skylights of the Memorial, you’ll see the American flag waving at half-staff in contrast to the stark white of the Memorial and the deep-blue sky. And looking at one end of the Memorial, you’ll see the names of those who died on the Arizona carved in stone. If you look closely, you’ll see a sheen of oil at the surface of the water. More than 70 years later trace amounts of oil still leak from the hull of the Arizona.

While the Arizona Memorial is the main attraction at Pearl Harbor, there is lots more to see and do here. Right next door is the USS Missouri, the Iowa-class battleship where the Empire of Japan surrendered to formally end WWII. Together, the Arizona Memorial and the “Mighty Mo” form the bookends of the beginning and end of the war. Other Pearl Harbor sites include the Pacific Aviation Museum, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the USS Bowfin Submarine.

Pearl Harbor is on the island of Oahu … known as the “Gathering Place.” This is the same island where Honolulu is found. For our guests who are staying on Maui during their entire vacation, or who are also visiting Kauai or the Big Island but not Oahu, we offer a variety of one-day tour options to Pearl Harbor and you can select the one that best fits your travel needs. The Maui to Oahu Fly-Drive package is a self-guided option. It is a great choice if you are planning well in advance of your vacation and are able to arrange your own Pearl Harbor tickets, and all you need are reservations for airfare and a rental car. For those who prefer a guided option, the Complete Pearl Harbor Experience takes the worry and hassle out of the day by bundling airfare, a guide for the day on Oahu, and admission to all the battleships, museums, and sites at Pearl Harbor into one historically-oriented epic day. And for those who want to see the Arizona Memorial but also do some sightseeing around the island of Oahu, we offer the Oahu Circle Island with Pearl Harbor Tour.

All three of these package options depart from the main airport at Kahului which is centrally located on Maui. The flights are done on 117 seat Boeing 717′s and take about 30 minutes each way.

There is a LOT of information here. Take your time and read over this page, and then decide which approach is best for you. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you make arrangements to visit Pearl Harbor as soon as possible. The Arizona Memorial fills to capacity almost every single day of the year. Coming from another island adds a layer of complexity since you also need to coordinate airfare. The longer you wait to get this reserved, the harder it will get! Whichever option is best for you … get it RESERVED NOW!


Maui to Oahu Fly-Drive: $250 per person

NOTE: $50 higher per person for holiday dates from December 15th to January 4th.

The Maui to Oahu Fly-Drive is a completely self-guided option … it allows you to be on your own schedule. You can spend as little or as much of the day as you like at Pearl Harbor, and have the freedom to visit Waikiki, downtown Honolulu, shopping at Ala Moana or the Aloha Stadium flea market, drive up to the Pali Lookout, famous North Shore surfing beaches … go wherever you’d like to go on Oahu.

While most self-guided people obtain their Arizona Memorial tickets by waiting in line once they arrive at Pearl Harbor, this Fly-drive option is best if you plan far enough ahead that you can reserve your Arizona Memorial tickets in advance. Approximately 20% of available tickets are currently being offered as “reserved seats in advance” for the Arizona Memorial tour times for dates a minimum of three weeks in advance. Tickets are still free, but they charge $1.50 per seat “convenience fee” for this service. Before booking a Fly-drive package, check if tickets for the Arizona Memorial are available to reserve in advance for your date using this link to the National Park Service website: Arizona Memorial Tickets. When you click on this link it will open a new window, leaving our website open in the background so you can come back here to reserve your Fly-drive after securing your Arizona Memorial space. Since you must pick up your tickets to the Arizona at least one hour before your tour time, and since you are coming from another island, we recommend that you select an afternoon time slot to see the Arizona.

If you are able to reserve a specific Arizona Memorial tour time in advance, that helps you plan your time on Oahu more effectively. Your best bet is still to book an early flight time so that you can make the most of your day on Oahu.

If all available advanced tickets are already taken for all of your possible dates, you may still use the Fly-drive option as the majority of each day’s tickets are distributed on a first-come first-served basis when they open each morning. If you don’t want to take this risk though, then you should select one of the guided tour options like the Complete Pearl Harbor from Maui or the Oahu Circle Island Tour with Pearl Harbor from Maui instead.

Schedule: Daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. We also recommend that you avoid Pearl Harbor Day … while technically open on December 7th, there are always so many ceremonial events going on that makes it difficult to have a normal experience. It is also a good idea to avoid Fridays; this is the day of the week that most Pride of America cruise ship passengers visit Pearl Harbor.

Flights: Departure from Kahului Airport is typically 6:09am or 7:09am (all flights depart from the main Maui airport in Kahului) with return 5:55pm, 6:13pm, 7:32pm, 8:07pm or 9:50pm. We highly recommend the 6:09am flight as it enables you to get to Pearl Harbor shortly after they open at 7am. This can save you hours of waiting … if you arrive later you’ll end up stuck in line behind hundreds of tour bus passengers from Waikiki.

Billing Policy: Air/car packages are charged in full at the time the reservation is finalized and are non-refundable. They should also be considered non-changeable as ANY itinerary changes will incur significant airline change fees plus the difference in the cost of the airfare.

Tour includes: Round trip airfare and rental car for the day

What to Bring & Wear: Comfortable clothes sand walking shoes.

Note: Rates quoted are our typical package prices available in advance for most dates. If travel on your selected date is going to cost more than the posted price, we will contact you prior to finalizing your reservation and BEFORE your credit card is charged. The price is based upon a minimum of 2 people sharing the cost of the car. Solo travelers will pay $20 more.


The Complete Pearl Harbor Experience from Maui: $399.99 per person

If you want to immerse yourself in the Hawaii's historic and pivotal role in World War II, this tour is your chance to experience everything you could possibly do in a single day. You get yourself to the Kahului airport … and meet up with your tour guide in Honolulu. The rest of your day is guided, with all admissions to all the Pearl Harbor sites prearranged. There is nothing else for you to do but enjoy your time at Pearl Harbor worry and hassle-free. Your day will include the museums and memorials of Pearl Harbor, including the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri Battleship, USS Bowfin Submarine, and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Drive through historic Honolulu including Punchbowl Memorial. Other sites on the tour include downtown Honolulu City, Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, King Kamehameha the Great Statue, Ali'Iolani Hale & Hawaii State Capitol. If you are a history enthusiast, this tour is perfect for you.

There will be a No-Host Lunch Stop at Laniakea Cafe Inside Pacific Aviation Museum, and additional meal opportunities at Visitor Center and USS Missouri Entrance

Schedule: Tour held Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, & Sat. No tours on Friday or Sunday. No tours on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, or Pearl Harbor Day (December 7). Punchbowl National Cemetery closed on all Federal Holidays, except Memorial Day; tours are unable to enter cemetery on those days.

Billing Policy: Tours involving interisland airfare are charged in full at the time the reservation is finalized, are not cancellable, and are completely non-refundable. They should also be considered non-changeable as ANY itinerary changes will incur significant airline change fees plus the difference in the cost of the airfare.

Tour Times: Depart: 7:00 am & Return: 8:00 pm (All Tour Times Approximate)

Check In: Kahului Airport 1-hour prior to departure

Tour includes: Includes all admissions and round-trip airfare, expert World War II tour guide, a driving tour of Honolulu's historic sites & preferred ticketing to the USS Arizona Memorial!

What to Bring & Wear: Wear comfortable clothes & shoes, and dress appropriately and respectfully for the Arizona Memorial (no beachwear permitted there). Bring sunscreen and a Government Photo Identification (Required for Ford Island Access and airline boarding). No bags of any type allowed at Pearl Harbor. Bags must be checked at Pearl Harbor entrance for $3.00 per bag

Tickets: All admissions are included in the tour price and tickets are prearranged for you.

Sites and attractions listed for this tour are those visited on a typical day on the vast majority of tours. Partial refunds are not given in cases where flight delays, weather conditions, or unscheduled closure prevents the tour from visiting a listed attraction. If the airline delays your flight to Oahu by more than two hours (extremely rare) the tour operator will cancel the tour and you will receive a full refund.

A slightly shorter version of this tour is available from the West Maui (Kapalua) Airport. While this saves the drive to Kahului for those staying in the Kaanapali / Lahaina area, the flight times give you a shorter day on Oahu and not as many Pearl Harbor sites are visited (the priorities are the Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri). The aircraft is MUCH smaller … typically a 12 seat turboprop, and the price is $429.99 per person. Click here to reserve the West Maui departure option


Oahu Circle Island Tour with Pearl Harbor from Maui: $399.99 per person

For those who want to visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial but don’t want to spend the entire day there, this option gives you the opportunity to circle around Oahu hitting some of the major destinations and attractions of this island that is known as “the Gathering Place.” It is one fun-filled day of sightseeing, history, and beautiful landscapes. Your first stop is historic Pearl Harbor, highlighted by the USS Arizona Memorial and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Learn the history of Pearl Harbor from your expert tour guide. You will travel from the perfect beaches of Oahu’s North Shore to the lush rainforests of the Ko`olau Mountains, and visit the rocky South Shore of the island. Other wonderful sites include Dole Pineapple Pavilion, La’ie Point, Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Waimanalo Beach Park, Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, Halona Blowhole Lookout, Hanauma Bay Lookout (Closed Tuesdays), Rabbit Island from Makapu’u Lookout, and Kahala Estates Homes & Mansions.

Schedule: Tours held Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, & Sat. No tours on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and Pearl Harbor Day (December 7).

Billing Policy: Tours involving interisland airfare are charged in full at the time the reservation is finalized, are not cancellable, and are completely non-refundable. They should also be considered non-changeable as ANY itinerary changes will incur significant airline change fees plus the difference in the cost of the airfare.

Tour Times: Depart: 7:00 am & Return: 8:00 pm (All Tour Times Approximate)

Check In: Kahului Airport 1-hour prior to departure

Tour includes: Lunch is included with your tour! Choose from our list of locally prepared dishes, and each lunch choice comes with chips, Chef Teresa’s Chocolate Cookie, and bottled water.

What to Bring & Wear: Wear comfortable clothes & shoes, and dress appropriately and respectfully for the Arizona Memorial (no beachwear permitted there). Bring sunscreen and a Government Photo Identification (Required for Ford Island Access and airline boarding). No bags of any type allowed at Pearl Harbor. Bags must be checked at Pearl Harbor entrance for $3.00 per bag

Tickets: All admissions are included in the tour price and tickets are prearranged for you.

Sites and attractions listed for this tour are those visited on a typical day on the vast majority of tours. Partial refunds are not given in cases where flight delays, weather conditions, or unscheduled closure prevents the tour from visiting a listed attraction. If the airline delays your flight to Oahu by more than two hours (extremely rare) the tour operator will cancel the tour and you will receive a full refund.

ACTIVITY TIPS

Kevin at Falls

While it does take a little bit of effort to get there from Maui, if you've never been to Hawaii before you really should see Pearl Harbor. It is open seven days a week ... every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. And while technically open on December 7th, there are always so many ceremonial events going on that it makes it difficult to have a "normal" experience at Pearl Harbor on that date. We also recommend that you avoid Friday as this is the busiest day of the week at Pearl Harbor ... this is the day that many people who are doing the weekly interisland cruise on the Pride of America visit Pearl Harbor.

The Arizona Memorial is the most popular visitor destination in Hawaii with over 1 million annual guests. It is truly a moving experience to stand on the memorial and look down at the outline of the sunken hull and realize that this ship is the final resting place for over 1,100 sailors who were killed on December 7, 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbor. With this many visitors per year, it is not uncommon to have all of the 4500 or so tickets for the day fully allotted by 9am or earlier. Approximately 20% of tickets are available in advance on the National Park website and if you are able to score those tickets now, one of the Fly-drive packages is our least expensive option for visiting Pearl Harbor. It gives you the most flexibility, but also means you need to "find your way around" once you land on Oahu (the rental car company will give you a map and directions to Pearl Harbor which is about 10 minutes away from HNL airport).

If you are going on your own and not on our guided "Complete Pearl Harbor Experience" or "Oahu Circle Island with Pearl Harbor" tours, don't forget about the USS Missouri ... tickets to tour this battleship are available for purchase right next door to the Arizona Memorial. Walking around on the decks of the Missouri and standing in the shadows of those giant guns is in many respects a fuller experience of WWII than actually going on the Arizona Memorial, where you can only see the faint outline of the ship below the surface of the water. We also highly recommend a tour of the USS Bowfin submarine - it's amazing to experience the tight living and working conditions aboard WWII era submarines. There is much to see and do at Pearl Harbor.

One photography tip for you while you are visiting the Arizona Memorial ... when you are re-boarding the boat for the return to shore, try to get in the last row. As the boat pulls away from the Arizona you will get a dramatic photo.

One question I often get asked about the fly-drive ... "If there are four of us, shouldn't the price get a little cheaper since there are four of us sharing the cost of the car instead of two?" Good question. The answer is "no" ... unless you want to squeeze four people into an economy car. Parties of four get larger cars ... and larger cars cost more. It evens out ... trust me! A major credit card is required at the time you pick up your rental car (damage deposit). Most people don't take out the option insurance coverage because their auto insurance at home covers rental car damage as well (subject to your deductibles ... see your policy for details). My advice on the gasoline ... DON'T pre-purchase a tank of gas from Avis... tell them you will bring it back full. You won't likely use a whole tank of gas unless you drive the car all day long and do three circles around the island of Oahu!

If you want to enjoy your day without the hassle of finding your way around and arranging your own tickets, then go with one of our guided tour options. The "Complete Pearl Harbor Experience from Maui" is going to squeeze everything possible into your day, and is best for those who want to immerse themselves in Hawaii's historic role in WWII. If you want to visit the Arizona Memorial, but don't want your ENTIRE day to be centered on Pearl Harbor, the "Oahu Circle Island with Pearl Harbor" tour will balance your time at Pearl Harbor with general sightseeing around the island.

With the guided tour options you still are "on your own" to get to the Kahului Airport. After your flight to Oahu you will meet up with your tour guide just outside of baggage claim at the Honolulu Airport. And at the conclusion of your day your guide will drop you off at the Honolulu Airport for your return flight to Maui. While airfare is included with these guided tour packages, any issues with cancellations are the responsibility of the airline and not the tour operator.

It is important to realize that with either guided tour option the list of sites and attractions that are included with the tour is the typical itinerary that is done on the vast majority of tours. Not all days are perfect. The tour operator is not able to do partial refunds if something on that list isn't available due to circumstances beyond the tour operator's control. If a mechanical issue with Hawaiian Airlines delays your flight to Oahu by an hour, that means that your day of sightseeing is going to be an hour shorter. Either less time will be spent at each stop, or one stop will be dropped in favor of quality time at the other sites. If a traffic accident closes the road to Sunset Beach and your Oahu Circle Island tour needs to be rerouted, you aren't going to get compensated for not being able to see North Shore Surfing Beaches. If your morning flight to Oahu is delayed so long that the tour operator doesn't feel they have sufficient time to give you a quality tour, they will cancel the event and you will receive a complete refund. But no partial refunds are done for tours that are less than "perfect" if those circumstances are outside of the tour operator's control.

The two most important things you need to understand about Pearl Harbor...

1. You MUST plan it right away. The longer you wait the cost of flights can only go UP and your chances of seeing the Arizona Memorial can only go DOWN.

2. Once you have reserved your package involving interisland airfare you should consider it "set in stone." Due to interisland flight restrictions your event cannot be cancelled or refunded (unless the airline cancels due to weather or mechanical issues, etc). And while date changes may be possible, significant airline change fees will likely make any date change "cost prohibitive."