After much feedback from TA members and experts we visited Lanikai today and the beach was fantastic!
It is about a 30min drive (non traffic) from Waikiki off Mokulua Drive. I recommend parking at cross streets between Mokulua and Mokumanu through Kualima Drives- as these cross streets have the best paths leading onto the beach.
The beach itself is very clean, surf is very calm and there were many families with children (or couples). Ideal for a safe, peaceful, and family oriented experience without the rowdiness of Waikiki crowds and tourists. There are no bathrooms or showers, however, Kailua beach 5 mins away has all these amenities.
Pack snacks, lunch, drinks and spend all day here. I did not snorkel as planned but did observe many snorkeling.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.