John Adams Kuakini, royal governor of the island, built this stately, two-story New England–style mansion overlooking Kailua Bay in 1838. It later became a summer home for King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani and, like Queen Emma’s Summer Palace and Iolani Palace on Oahu, is now lovingly maintained by the Daughters of Hawaii as a showcase for royal furnishings and Native Hawaiian artifacts, from hat boxes to a 22-foot spear. You can take a self-guided tour of its six spacious rooms, but guided tours, offered throughout the day, are worth the extra $2 to learn more of the monarchs’ history and cultural context; guided tours are also the only ones permitted on the oceanfront lanai. A sign directs you to remove your shoes before entering; free booties are provided upon request.
The palace lawn hosts 12 free events a year honoring a different member of Hawaiian royalty, with performances by local hula halau (schools) and musicians. Called Afternoon at the Palace, they’re generally held at 4pm on the third Sunday of the month (except June and Dec, when the performances are held in conjunction with King Kamehameha Day and Christmas). Check the Daughters of Hawaii website for dates. Note: The www.huliheepalace.net website looks official but is unauthorized as well as outdated.