The town of Montauk lies at the extreme eastern tip of Long Island, New York, about 110 miles from New York City. Montauk’s white sand beaches and surrounding sea are popular for swimming, boating, and water sports. Additionally, its numerous state parks and preserves are great for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and observing nature. Admire the many quaint storefronts, and check out unforgettable restaurants when you’re craving something delicious. Book your Montauk vacation rental today. That said, here are the 12 most exciting destinations in Montauk to visit.
1. East Montauk
At the easternmost end of Montauk is Montauk Point Light, New York’s first lighthouse and one of the oldest active lighthouses in the United States. You can tour this iconic landmark and visit its museum, which has fascinating exhibits on the history of the lighthouse and the local whaling industry. Adjoining the lighthouse grounds is Montauk Point State Park. Hike or cycle the trails in the summer and go cross-country skiing in the winter near your vacation rental. Other park activities include picnicking, surf fishing, and observing seals on the offshore rocks. To the south is Camp Hero State Park, part of which used to be an Air Force station. Its forests, wetlands, and bluffs overlooking the ocean are great for hiking and horseback riding and fishing.
2. Central Montauk
In the center of town is Lake Montauk, which is actually a saltwater bay with marinas where you can charter boats for fishing. Montauk is famous for its numerous world fishing records. Near Lake Montauk is Montauk Downs State Park, which includes a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a championship 18-hole golf course. To the south, Shadmoor State Park is a largely undeveloped area of bluffs and beach with trails for hiking and cycling as well as elevated platforms for bird watchers.
3. West Montauk
West of Montauk Downs State Park is Fort Pond, a large freshwater lake that offers great angling for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, carp, and other fish. Hither Hills State Park dominates the western end of Montauk. It provides picnic tables, fireplaces, and a wide sandy beach that’s perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Its sand dunes and woodlands of pine, oak, and Russian olive have trails for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding.
The village of Napeague lies on a narrow strip of land between Gardiners Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Napeague Harbor is a popular spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding due to its calm waters and steady breezes. The harbor also hosts a unique art gallery called the Art Barge, a two-story structure anchored offshore that offers exhibits of contemporary art. Undeveloped Napeague State Park includes an enormous abandoned fish factory, extensive wetlands, and a lovely pristine Atlantic Ocean beach.
The hamlet of Springs is on a peninsula between Napeague Bay and Gardiners Bay on the South Fork of Long Island. It’s famous as the home of many artists and writers, including Jackson Pollack, Kurt Vonnegut, Nora Ephron, Philip Roth, and John Steinbeck. The Pollack-Krasner House and Studio is a National Historic Landmark that commemorates the lives and work of Jackson Pollack and Lee Krasner. Numerous relaxing beaches surround the town.
The resort hamlet of Amagansett lies south of Spring along the Atlantic coastline. Its iconic Main Street retains its charm due to its designation as a historic district. Amagansett is a popular getaway destination for numerous celebrities, including Paul McCartney, Scarlett Johansson, and Alec Baldwin. The Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge is a portion of the shoreline with a double dune system that protects orchids and other wildflowers as well as various species of endangered birds.
7. Northwest Harbor
Northwest Harbor is west of Springs across Three Mile Harbor. At its northern end is Cedar Point County Park, a recreational area of over 600 acres that has picnic tables, a playground, and trails for hiking. It’s a great place for bird watching, scuba diving, and surfcasting for bluefish and bass. A narrow strip of sand connects the decommissioned Cedar Point Lighthouse with the mainland.
8. Sag Harbor
Sag Harbor is a former whaling port that lies west of Northwest Harbor on Sag Harbor Bay. Old houses of whaling captains and other colonists line the beautiful streets. Numerous museums and historic buildings give testimony to its seafaring past, including the Customs House Museum and the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum. Bottlenose dolphins and harbor porpoises swim in the coastal waters, and local preserves are homes to white-tailed deer, eastern coyotes, red foxes, weasels, and other wildlife.
9. East Hampton
The village of East Hampton combines verdant green farmlands with beautiful beaches. East Hampton’s beaches offer long stretches of white sand. Most of the beach areas are minimally developed commercially and forbid fishing and all types of water craft, making them perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing play. Within the village, you can stroll and explore its boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries.
10. Shelter Island
Shelter Island lies between the North Fork and South Fork of Long Island. Ferries from Greenport on the north side and North Haven on the south side connect the island with the mainland. It has a number of beautiful sand beaches where you can swim and sunbathe. Mashomack Preserve, a sanctuary with extensive trails for bird watching and wildlife observation, takes up one-third of the island.
The community of Noyack is south of Shelter Island and west of Sag Harbor. Vacation rentals have access to shops, markets, and excellent beaches. Long Beach in Noyack is a popular site for novice scuba divers. Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge is a long peninsula comprising ponds, salt marsh, beaches, a lagoon, and wooded bluffs. It protects wildlife such as white-tailed deer, painted turtles, ospreys, and various species of songbirds and waterfowl.
Wainscott lies on the Atlantic coast west of East Hampton. It has managed to maintain its rural ambiance by spurning modern development. Its Main Street has the only public one-room schoolhouse still in use in New York. A popular surf shop in the hamlet offers lessons and rents equipment to surfers.