Should I Cancel My Visit to Pearl Harbor If It Rains?

By: Kellar Ellsworth

Pearl Harbor, one of the most historically significant sites in the United States, is also located in one of the most beautiful places in the world: on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. People come from all over the world to experience history first-hand and enjoy paradise at the same time. However, even in paradise, there are the occasional rainy days. But a little rain doesn’t  mean you’ve lost a day of your vacation. In fact, there is an argument to be made that some rain can actually improve your day at Pearl Harbor. We’ve laid out the pros and cons for a visit to Pearl Harbor if it rains.


Like many Pearl Harbor sites, the Waterfront Submarine Memorial is outdoors

Like many Pearl Harbor sites, the Waterfront Submarine Memorial is outdoors

The downsides of a visit to Pearl Harbor on a rainy day are pretty straightforward. Since many of the sites, including the outdoor exhibits of the Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, and many of the elements of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center are out in the open, you’ll be exposed to the rain. On the other hand, the exhibit galleries of the Visitor Center, the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater, the interiors of Bowfin and Missouri, and the Pacific Aviation Museum are all indoors, so you won’t be spending all of your time at Pearl Harbor in the rain.

Another downside relates to the USS Arizona Memorial, which sits in the harbor above the battleship sunk during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. For everyone’s safety, if the rain is accompanied by strong winds, the US Navy has to cancel the shuttle boats to the memorial. All of the other parts of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument operate normally.

If you don’t mind being in the rain, there is really no reason to not enjoy Pearl Harbor on a less-than-ideal weather day. It should also be noted that the vast majority of rain in Hawaii comes in short bursts. Only rarely does it rain continuously all day.


Cramped passageway aboard the USS Bowfin

Cramped passageway aboard the Bowfin submarine

The number one advantage of a rainy day at Pearl Harbor is the thinning of the crowds. When many people see rain, they automatically assume they’ve got to shift to their plan B, whatever that may be. This could allow you and your family—savvy travelers that you are—to experience the history of Pearl Harbor in respectful, thoughtful quiet, as opposed to dealing with a throng of people around you. The extra elbow room will come in especially handy as you explore the Bowfin submarine and the incomparable Battleship Missouri!

Another advantage of sticking with your planned visit to Pearl Harbor if it rains is cooler temperatures. Pearl Harbor is located on the south side of the island, which can get quite warm. On a normal, sunny day, hats and sunscreen are an absolute must. A rainy day will bring some relief from high temperatures, allowing for a leisurely stroll through all of the phenomenal history of Pearl Harbor.

Finally, while you’re walking around in comfortable temperatures without hordes of people, you can take heart in the fact that you aren’t losing a sunny day at the beach. While Pearl Harbor is an amazing place that everyone should see, most people come to Hawaii for the sun-drenched beaches and other outdoor activities. By visiting the historic sites on a rainy day, you can save the perfect weather days for enjoying the beach or hitting the links.

Pearl Harbor is one of the most historically significant sites in the entire country, and a little rain shouldn’t get in the way of experiencing it.

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