Montauk sits right at the tip of Long Island, around 120 miles east of New York, and is a haven for family getaways and vacations. Long stretches of sandy beaches and miles of hiking trails make the area an ideal place for families that love the outdoor life. Many Montauk vacation rentals are situated in proximity to the ocean, with some having private beach access, or occupying the lakefront on Fort Pond. Downtown Montauk has an abundant selection of shops and restaurants, so you won’t need to travel far for a great time or meal. Check out the most prominent family-friendly activities in Montauk.

1. Head off to the Beach

The unspoiled, sandy beaches around Montauk are some of the tops in the country. Ditch Plains Beach, ideal for the family’s surfers with its rolling breakers, is two miles east of the village. You need a permit to park here so it might be a bit of a stretch if you’re located more centrally. Families with younger children generally opt for the town’s Kirk Beach, a wide stretch of sand with free parking, rest rooms, and a lifeguard. Gin Beach with its gentle waters and soft sand also attracts families, but parking is by permit only.

2. Take a Nature Hike

Montauk has numerous trails that wander through acres of natural parks, making it an ideal place to spot wildlife. Take the binoculars and get the kids to practice walking quietly so they can look out for deer, raccoons, and chipmunks on the ground, and osprey, red-tailed hawk, and bald eagles overhead. Get a trail map from Montauk Bike Shop or the Town Hall Annex in the Montauk Playhouse. Camp Hero State Park at the very far end of the peninsula has wooded areas, freshwater wetlands and large expanses of beachfront. You can drive up and park for a fee. For something less wild, Kirk Park, which includes Fort Pond freshwater lake, is a pretty place to stroll. The park has a picnic area and pavilion where it hosts events year round.

3. Go for a Bike Ride

Take advantage of the many trails running through the area to get the family out on bikes. Some vacation rentals come complete with bikes, or you can hire them from the Montauk Bike Shop in the village. They offer bikes, trailers, and tag-along, so the whole family can get out on two wheels, with hourly, daily and weekly rentals. You need to provide your own helmets for children 14 years and under. They also run guided tours.

4. Play a Round of Mini Golf

The whole family can have fun at Puff ‘n’Putt on Montauk’s Main Street. This kid-friendly place lets under-threes play for free when accompanied by an adult, and there are 18 holes of varying difficulties to challenge all ages and abilities. Summer opening hours are 9 a.m. through 11 p.m Monday to Saturday, and 10 a.m. through 11 p.m.on Sundays. They don’t accept payment by credit card, but there is an ATM on site.

5. Learn to Sail

Puff ‘n’ Putt also offers a range of water sports rentals, including pedal boats, kayaks, paddle boards, Hobie Cats, and Sunfish sailing boats. The friendly staff gives young sailors dockside instruction and keeps a watch on them as they head off into the safe, enclosed waters of Fort Pond. Life jackets are included in the rental. Summer opening hours for boat rentals are 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 10 a.m. through 6 p.m.on Sundays.

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6. Visit One of the Nation’s Oldest Lighthouses

Montauk Point Lighthouse is a National Historic Site that dates back to 1797. Climb the 137 iron steps right to the top of the U.S.A.’s fourth oldest active lighthouse, and marvel at the amazing views of the Atlantic and surrounding area. Spend time in the visitor center’s museum looking at the exhibits of ancient maritime items, and signed documents by Thomas Jefferson and President George Washington. The center is open year-round with Santa visiting during the festive season.

7. Ride a Horse on the Beach

To ride a horse on a wide sandy beach is a dream come true for many kids and adults. Deep Hollow Ranch helps you turn that dream into reality with its real cowboys and cowgirls who take out small groups onto the beach and trails. The ranch caters to beginners and experienced riders so the whole family can join in. They also offer summer pony camp from June through August for kids ages 7 to 12 who want to spend more time with these magnificent creatures.

8. Take a Boat Tour

Tomoka Boat Tours and Excursions at Gosman’s Dock runs a family-friendly eco-tour where you can learn about the ecology of Montauk Lake on a 60-minute cruise. The company also offers a two-hour lunch and swim tour where they cruise the waters of Montauk and anchor up in a secluded area for a relaxing swim.

9. Go Parasailing

To get an amazing bird’s-eye view of the area, book the kids onto the ride of their lives with Montauk Parasail. No experience is necessary, but children need to be aged four or more. The boat sets off from the Star Island Yacht Club and Marina where you can enjoy a meal before or after your experience.

10. Catch Live Music at Gosman’s Dock

Pack a picnic and head out to Gosman’s Dock to watch the boats and fishermen, and do some window shopping. The dock runs free concerts on the outdoor stage in July and August on Sundays from 6 – 8 p.m. so take a chair and make a night out of it by finishing off the evening at one of the many restaurants.

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