Delve into Hawaii's World War II history with a visit to Pearl Harbor and experience the pivotal sites that changed the face of America on this eye-opening day trip.
Start with a short flight from the Big Island to Oahu, where a comfortable bus awaits to take you to Pearl Harbor. Skip the lines to the visitor center and begin with a short film that gives a harrowing overview of the 1941 bombing by Japanese Imperial forces, which launched the country into WWII.
Next, ferry out to the USS Arizona Memorial, built atop the wreckage of the actual naval craft that sunk on that fateful day, along with 1,177 brave sailors and marines. From here, head on to the USS Missouri—the last battleship built by the US Navy—to see the spot on Big Mo's deck where Japan formally surrendered to the United States.
Cruise back to shore and climb in the bus for a tour of downtown Honolulu, including a drive through the hallowed Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific. Delicately-maintained landscapes and monuments pay tribute to America's fallen servicemen.
Then drive past Iolani Palace—the only royal palace on American soil—and make your way to the historic Kawaiahao Church. A towering 18-foot (5-m) statue of King Kamehameha, unifier of the Hawaiian islands, bids you aloha as you head to the airport for your return flight to Kona.