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America's only royal residence was built in 1882 on the site of an earlier palace. It contains the thrones of King Kalakaua and his successor (and sister) Queen Liliuokalani, who was imprisoned in her home after the 1893 overthrow. Bucking the stereotype of simple island life, the palace had electricity and telephone lines installed even before the White House. Downstairs galleries showcase the royal jewelry and a kitchen and offices restored to the glory of the monarchy. The palace is open for guided or self-guided audio tours, and reservations are recommended. If you're set on taking a guided tour, call for reservations a few days in advance. The gift shop was formerly the Iolani Barracks, built to house the Royal Guard. www.iolanipalace.org. COST: $22 guided tour, $15 audio tour, $7 downstairs galleries only. OPEN: Mon.--Sat. 8:30--4, guided tours every 15 min in the morning, self-guided audio tours in the afternoon.
For many years the home of Hawaii's governors, this white-columned mansion was built by sea captain John Dominis, whose son married the woman who became the Islands' last queen, Liliuokalani. Deposed by American-backed forces, the queen returned to the home—which is in sight of the royal palace—and lived there until her death. The nonprofit Washington Place Foundation operates the gracious estate now, opening it for tours weekday mornings and on special occasions. www.washingtonplacefoundation.org. COST: Donations accepted. OPEN: By appointment only, at least 48 hrs in advance Mon.--Fri. only.
This beautifully renovated main library was built in 1913. Its Samuel M. Kamakau Reading Room, on the first floor in the Mauka (Hawaiian for "mountain") Courtyard, houses an extensive Hawaii and Pacific book collection and pays tribute to Kamakau, a missionary student whose 19th-century writings in English offer rare and vital insight into traditional Hawaiian culture. COST: Free. OPEN: Mon. and Wed. 10--5; Tues., Fri., and Sat. 9--5; Thurs. 9--8.
Below a scenic turnout along the Koko Head shoreline, this oft-photographed lava tube sucks the ocean in and spits it out. Don't get too close, as conditions can get dangerous. Look to your right to see the tiny beach below that was used to film the wave-washed love scene in From Here to Eternity. In winter this is a good spot to watch whales at play. Offshore, the islands of Molokai and Lanai call like distant sirens, and every once in a while Maui is visible in blue silhouette. Take your valuables with you and lock your car, because this scenic location is overrun with tourists and therefore a hot spot for petty thieves.
Today Haleiwa is a fun mix of old and new, with charming general stores and contemporary boutiques, galleries, and eateries. During the 1920s this seaside hamlet boasted a posh hotel at the end of a railroad line (both long gone), while the 1960s saw hippies gathered here, followed by surfers from around the world. Be sure to stop in at Liliuokalani Protestant Church, founded by missionaries in the 1830s. It's fronted by a large, stone archway built in 1910 and covered with night-blooming cereus.
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