Waikiki may get most of the pub, but locals know Lanikai Beach on Windward Oahu is the place to see and be seen. Swimsuit models regularly grace the powder white sand for magazine shoots, though Lanikai's allure is there with no people present. Aquamarine waters give way to dreamy offshore landscapes: the Kaneohe Peninsula, the tiny seabird islands of Mokolea and Moku Manu, and the near-shore Flat Island.
Kayakers head to the islands, though Kaneohe is an off-limits Marine Corps Base. The snorkeling is very good close in along the length of Lanikai, and kite-borders and windsurfers get pushed around by reliable wind. Lanikai is backed by a grid of modest (but pricey) beach cottages, but there's plenty of public access. Beach combers can walk for miles, first reaching adjacent Kailua Beach Park, with its acres of treed parklands, and then continuing along little-visited Kalama Beach, which stretches toward the military base.
Some very good hiking is also close by. See Oahu Trailblazer, beginning on page 109 for more to do.