The Hamptons, Long Island Travel Guide
The Hamptons Summary
- Unspoiled beaches with white, clean sand
- Array of water sports like fishing, surfing, and water skiing
- Many family farms providing local food to restaurants and farmers markets
- Wine tasting at local vineyards
- Fresh seafood caught daily
- Scenic and litter-free public parks near the ocean, bays, and ponds
- Roads boast beautiful surroundings like wide, open plains and rolling hills
- A celebrity hot spot
- Many local festivals and events, including the Hamptons International Film Festival and various music festivals
- Art and history museums like the Parrish Art Museum, Montauk Lighthouse Museum, and the Southampton Historical Museum
- Diverse shopping options, from Michael Kors in Southampton to the World Village Fair Trade Market in Hampton Bays
- Many high-end restaurants but also some down-to-earth places like Townline BBQ in Sagaponack and Almond in Bridgehampton
- Some beaches get crowded
What It's Like
Walking around in flip-flops and a sarong may be completely acceptable in the Hamptons, but don't let its laid-back, beachy vibe fool you completely. The easygoing aura is accompanied by sky-high prices. While this string of beach towns on the South Fork of Long Island gained fame from its (as some people say) stuffy, old-money residents, the Hamptons also offers natural beauty, family-friendly resorts, and a young and vibrant party scene.
Montauk is one of the least built up, most peaceful towns. Located at the very tip of Long Island (and nicknamed "The End"), this little hamlet has 12 miles of exposed, open road surrounded by water on three sides. Many visitors opt for recreational activities like surfing at Ditch Plains, hiking through the Montauk Mountain Preserve, and playing tennis at Montauk Downs.
To the west at Sag Harbor, once a whaling port in the 18th and 19th centuries, an entirely different vibe radiates. Boats dot the marina, and much of the older architecture -- Greek-revival houses and early-colonists' homes -- remains intact.
It's safe to say that the Hamptons come with a notorious nose-in-the-air reputation, but many visitors will be happily surprised at the diversity of experiences to be had. Visitors can choose between towns like ritzy Southampton (one of the most exclusive villages, with plenty of multi-million dollar homes), to laid-back Montauk, to quaint villages like Quogue and Sag Harbor.
Where To Stay
Many visitors to the Hamptons rent houses, so hotels can be a little difficult to find. Montauk probably has the most hotels, and the area from Southampton to Westhampton Beach also offers a decent number. If you're looking for a romantic, super secluded stay, a few hotels can be found on Shelter Island, which is only reachable by boat. Montauk is the best family choice, with plenty of activities for all ages.