This beach was BY FAR myself and my partner's favourite, having visited most of the beaches on Oahu during our three week trip, bar those on the Leeward Shore. I cannot recommend a visit to Lanikai enough, it is a wonderfully beautiful, peaceful oasis away from the heavy tourist bustle of Waikiki, immaculately kept; unlike Ala Moana beach, is blessed with warmer waters than the North Shore beaches, and is a great uncrowded snorkelling spot (although beware of the Portuguese Man of War jellyfish), as well as good place from which to kayak to the Moku Lua Islands. We easily spent a couple of days travelling back and forth to Lanikai to snorkel and relax.
I would recommend going early in the day to this place to nab a parking space. As the beach fronts an expensive and exclusive residential area, there is no dedicated beach parking, however you may park without a fee along any of the roads linking Alapapa Drive to Mokulua Drive if it is not too busy. The beach can be accessed via a series of sandy footpaths lead onto the beach from Mokulua Dr.
Lanikai beach can be reached within 35mins by car by travelling westwards from Waikiki via Highway 1 then north east following the Pali Hwy. We found this to be the quickest route, and you can visit the great Pali Lookout on the way.
An alternative, though longer route from Waikiki packed with photo-worthy pit-stops and an amazing coastal drive, is the eastward drive along Highway 72 and then up the Kalania'ole Hwy. This direction takes you directly past Diamond Head, Koko Head, the Makapu'u Head & Lighthouse trail (there is a great lookout here from which to view Rabbit and Turtle Island), and several beaches (don't miss gorgeous Waimanalo Beach Park!!!).
This entry is quite overdue, having holidayed in Hawaii last June-July 2010 but reading more recent reviews of Lanikai Beach, it seems that the place hasn't lost any of it's beauty at all!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.