The Hamptons, a community of sea- and bay-facing hamlets on the southern tip of Long Island, has long been known as a mandatory destination for tony New Yorkers. But you don’t have to be a billionaire (or even a millionaire) to enjoy all that the Hamptons have to offer. The region, which is defined as the peninsula of land east of the Shinnecock Canal, is roughly 90 miles from New York City.
Once potato farming land, the Hamptons’ green, flat landscape offers formidable wineries and spirits producers, and plenty of wide open spaces. High season is summer, and while you may find that the crowds are thick, there’s no shortage of activities when it comes to this seasonal getaway from New York.
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Getting to & around the Hamptons
From New York City, visitors can take the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station, a commuter rail that takes just over two hours to reach the westernmost towns. On weekends in summer, the railroad also offers a “Cannonball,” or express train, which skips the first stops and streamlines the ride. Trains only run a few times a day, even in high season, but the privately owned Hampton Jitney, a Southampton-based motorcoach, provides near-hourly trips between the hamlets and the city. Visitors can also come by car. There is no public transit in the area, although taxi services and bike rentals are available.
What to do in the Hamptons
Not all of the Hamptons’ storied beaches are open to non-residents. Cooper’s Beach in Southampton Village, Foster Memorial Beach in Sag Harbor, Main Beach in East Hampton, Hither Hills State Park and Kirk Park in Montauk, Flying Point Beach in Watermill, Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack, Mecox Beach in Bridgehampton, and Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett all have paid parking lots for visitors, although some of these lots are only open weekdays. While parking is restricted, access to the actual beach is not, so consider arriving by taxi or bike.
The Hamptons has always been popular among artists, both nascent and established. For a taste of the art scene, visit the Parrish Art Museum, which is currently exhibiting Affinities for Abstraction: Women Artists on Eastern Long Island, 1950-2020. The museum is open Thursday through Monday. The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, in the Springs neighborhood of East Hampton, is a National Historic Landmark, built in 1879. The space once belonged to the painters Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, and visitors can tour their living quarters and painting studio. Admissions are by reservation only, Thursday through Sunday.
In Montauk, take the 2.6-mile-long loop trail to Amsterdam Beach, a wooded path that opens to a view of Eothen (often referred to as the Warhol Estate), a sprawling property with a series of oceanfront buildings from the 1930s. Built by the Church family, who were responsible for Arm & Hammer baking soda, the estate was known as artist Andy Warhol’s entertainment hub in the 1960s.
Where to eat in the Hamptons
Enjoy an East Hampton breakfast or lunch at Carissa’s Bakery, where a new chef, Evan Tessler, has recently taken the reins. In the restaurant’s garden, dig into the vegetarian Reuben, made with roasted beets and kimchi slaw, but don’t leave without a chocolate croissant—or a pint of Oishii Omakase strawberry gelato. Namesake Carissa Waechter and her business partner, Lori Chemla, are expanding their popular bakery and café this summer into Sag Harbor, too.
For dinner, head to Amagansett, where Donna Lennard, Justin Smillie, and the il Buco Alimentari team recently opened il Buco al Mare, a restaurant focusing around the area’s local seafood and produce as well as imported tinned fish and dishes from the space’s wood-burning oven. A curated beverage list, the project of beverage director David Giuliano, offers light and refreshing drinks, as well as a Long Island-centric wine list.
The rosé is cold at Fresno Restaurant’s outdoor rosé garden. The established East Hampton spot has converted their parking area and patio into a bespoke seating area, with heaters, loaner blankets, and, of course, plenty of rosé.
Also new to the dining scene this summer is Manna at Lobster Inn, a waterfront collaboration between aquaculture pioneer Donna Lanzetta and Hamptons restaurateur Ryunosuke Jesse Matsuoka. Open daily for brunch, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant stars seafood—tuna and watermelon tartare, a blackened fish sandwich with coconut slaw, and fluke Milanese are just some available offerings—with a focus on sustainability.
For an ephemeral dining experience, head to Montauk, where Breakers motel’s restaurant, Hello Coco, will host a twice-weekly pop-up called Dinners on Deck, a multi-course, prix fixe al fresco dining experience.
Where to stay in the Hamptons
Gurney’s Montauk, a Reader’s Choice Award-winner in 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021, offers luxury beachfront accommodations and all the bells and whistles, including a beach bar, multiple dining venues, and 158 rooms. For a more Bohemian vibe, head to Montauk’s Crow’s Nest, hotelier Sean MacPherson’s 23-room hotel and restaurant nestled into the sunset-facing waters of Lake Montauk.
At the Roundtree, in Amagansett, find 10 guest rooms and five standalone cottages, as well as beach cruisers, evening s’mores, and morning yoga classes. Farther west, in Sag Harbor, the 67-room Baron’s Cove overlooks Sag Harbor Cove (the connecting body between Noyac and Sag Harbor Bays), a view guests can enjoy from the swimming pool. Bridgehampton’s understated A Room at the Beach, with its casual beach décor and tucked-in-the-woods feel, has 10 rooms for guests, as well as a pool, sauna, and yoga classes.
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