I'm going to be on Oahu in May for 10 days. First half in Waikiki, the rest on the North shore. I spent three days on Oahu a few years ago, all in Waikiki, and only drove through the North shore briefly, when I took a flight with Paradise Air (amazing experience!) I didn't really get a good feel for the character of the various communities then. I usually go to Kauai, where my favorite spot is Hanalei.
So what is your favorite area to stay on the North shore, and why? If you know Hanalei, which area most closely resembles it on Oahu?