Spend the summer like a celebrity in The Hamptons! It is a cluster of seaside communities on the eastern part of Long Island, USA. It is a place where the affluent spend their holidays, either on the beautiful beaches or in the vast farmlands. Adding character to the area are 18th-century buildings and estates, surrounded by upscale restaurants and designer boutiques.
Ready for a luxurious summer trip in the East End? We’ve prepared a list of some of the things you can do while you’re here!
1. Surf in Montauk
Surfing enthusiasts are in for a treat when they visit Montauk during the summer. Featuring good waves and an amazing coastline, this hamlet is listed by Surfer Magazine as the eighth-best surf town in the United States. If you’re looking for a particular surf spot to practice your surfing skills, there’s Ditch Plains Beach. It is popular among local surfers, as well as families with kids. Another option is Camp Hero State Park located at the Old Montauk Highway, which has a picnic area and grills.
2. Catch a movie at the Hamptons Film Festival
Independent filmmaking is a thriving form of art in The Hamptons. If you want to catch some of the best films and documentaries by local and international filmmakers, you can attend the Hamptons International Film Festival, which is held every year in October. Since 1993, the festival has been featuring films “that express fresh voices and differing global perspective”. These are screened in theatres across The Hamptons, including East Hampton, South Hampton, and Sag Harbor.
3. Tour a vineyard in Bridgehampton
Those who are not so fond of beaches can spend their vacation in one of The Hampton’s many vineyards instead. In Sagaponack, there’s the famous Wölffer Estate Vineyard, a 55-acre (22-hectare) family-owned winery that features tasting rooms and horse boarding stables. Another must-visit is the Lieb Cellars at East Hampton, popular for its fruity wines and boxed wines that you can easily bring home. Its vineyard spans 85 acres (34 hectares) and has been serving wine-lovers since 1992.
4. Learn how to play polo
Keen on picking up a new sport during the summer? The Hamptons is a great place to learn polo! It is a team sport that requires participants to ride on a horse and score goals against the competing team. There are groups offering polo lessons, like the Southampton Hunt and Polo Club. Founded in 1989, it is one of the largest polo clubs in the United States. Another option is the La Pampa Polo School, where the famous polo player Nacho Figueras teaches. Both polo schools accept beginners.
5. Enjoy horseback riding
With so many stables and wide farmlands, kids and kids at heart will definitely enjoy horseback riding in The Hamptons. One of the most popular options is the Stony Hills Stables located in Amagansett. All ages are welcome here, even in their events like pony camps and horse riding competitions. In Montauk you’ll find Deep Hollow Ranch, which is the oldest working cattle ranch in the town. Nearby is Rita’s Stables, where guests can also experience farming and crafting.
6. Go on a sports fishing excursion
If you’re into sports fishing, The Hamptons is an ideal place to go on a fishing excursion. Montauk in particular has been dubbed the “Sports Fishing Capital of the World,” mainly because of the world-record fish that have been caught off its shores. The best option is to rent a charter boat that can accommodate up to six people, but you can also rent a party boat with a maximum capacity of 100 people. Meanwhile, you can also try surf fishing, which can be done anywhere in Montauk.
7. Climb up Montauk Point Lighthouse
Standing at 110.5 feet (33.7 metres), Montauk Point Lighthouse is New York State’s first ever lighthouse. It is currently the fourth most active in the United States. It is now privately owned, with a museum showcasing photographs and other items related to the history of Montauk. From the museum area, you can climb up to the actual light at the top and enjoy the panoramic views. Other features include a gift shop and a restaurant.
8. Enjoy a nature walk at LongHouse Reserve
Spread on a 16-acre (6-hectare) land area, the LongHouse Reserve is an ideal destination for nature-lovers, and even for those who are simply looking for a relaxing afternoon stroll. It is filled with plant collections and over 70 outdoor sculptures, carefully chosen by founder Jack Lenor Larsen and his team. Larsen is a world-class textile designer, whose aim is to inspire creativity in people who come and visit the garden.
9. Camp at Hither Hills State Park
For outdoorsy types, why not give camping a try? You can go to the Hither Hills, a 1,755-acre (710-hectare) state park tucked in Suffolk County. It has a sandy beach, nice picnic areas, and places to build fires, as well as options for sport fishing. There’s a great catch all year round, but visitors are advised to obtain permits if you want to fish at night. You can also bring kids to the park’s playground.
10. Eat fresh seafood
Since The Hamptons is located near the coast, restaurants and shacks serving delicious seafood are everywhere. For a casual eatery with great views, you can go to Gosman’s Dock in Montauk. It features a rooftop deck, as well as a clam bar serving fresh lobsters and seafood chowder. Another local favourite is Canal Cafe at Hampton Bay, a laid-back diner that serves meals on paper plates. They’re also known for their generous serving of lobster rolls. Honorable mentions include the Dock House at Sag Harbor and Bostwick’s Chowder House at East Hampton.
11. Learn about local animals at Quogue Wildlife Refuge
Founded in 1934, Quogue Wildlife Refuge is a 300-acre (121-hectare) nature preserve that is home to diverse wildlife species. It has a walking trail, established for guests to explore natural animal habitats such as forests and ponds. The admission is free and you can visit any time of the year. This is a great opportunity to learn about local animals and their preservation, especially for school-age kids. Other features of the reserve include wildlife exhibits, a library, and a gift shop.
12. Have a serving of ice cream
Summertime means ice cream time! There are many well-loved ice cream shops across The Hamptons, offering customers a sweet refuge from the sweltering heat of the sun. One of them is Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen, a family-owned business established in 1925. It offers homemade ice cream with local fruits, a tradition they haven’t changed since they first opened the shop. Another popular ice cream shop is the Snowflake in Riverhead, a 30-year-old business offering classic ice cream flavours.
14. Indulge in fresh fruits
Here’s another way to enjoy the summer in the outdoors: fruit picking! At Patty’s Berries & Bunches in Mattituck, the picking season starts in June for strawberries. Blueberries and raspberries don’t get harvested until July, while August is a better time for picking blackberries. They also have a picnic area where you can enjoy your freshly-picked crops and you may also bring along your own packed meals. For a better understanding of how they grow the fruits, the farm offers organised tours for groups.
15. Play golf with the whole family
Family-friendly golf courses? The Hamptons have lots of them! There’s the Montauk Downs State Park, for instance, which is known for its 18-hole course. It is said to be one of the best public courses in the state, where greens fees are as low as 36 USD. After playing golf, you can also take a dip in one of the pools or explore the driving range. Another good option is the Puff n Putt Family Fun Center, where kids can play on a mini-golf course especially designed for them. Other activities you can try here include paddle boat and canoes.
16. Check out exhibits at the Railroad Museum of Long Island
With two sites open year-round, the Railroad Museum of Long Island is something that kids and train enthusiasts would surely enjoy. There’s a minimal entrance fee that includes a ride on a miniature train and a guided tour of both the Riverhead and the Greenport site. However, during winter and days when there’s inclement weather, the train isn’t allowed to operate for the safety reasons. Exhibits are mostly about the rail history of Long Island, with some interactive displays.
17. Stock up on organic food items
Maintaining a healthy summer body is all about discipline and eating the right food. If you are keen on keeping a healthy diet while on vacation, you can pick up some organic food items from The Green Thumb located at Montauk Highway. Their products are homegrown and certified organic by the US Department of Agriculture. Items include vegetables, herbs, and fruits. This farmstand has been operating since 1961, and it is open from May to November each year.
18. Spend a relaxing day at Montauk Salt Cave
Montauk Salt Cave brings salt therapy closer to the residents of The Hamptons, providing positive benefits for those who are suffering from asthma, arthritis, and even digestive problems. The cave is filled with pink Himalayan salt imported from Pakistan, which is believed to contain vitamins and minerals that have therapeutic benefits. The whole place is lit only by salt lamps. Guests can also purchase pink Himalayan salt that they can use at home.
19. Experience sailing at Montauk Yacht Club
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
If you want to spend some time sailing or learning how to sail, the place to go is Montauk Yacht Club. They have partnered with Sail Montauk and now offer private sailing charters that allow guests to have a hands-on sailing experience. You can even register for private lessons for beginners, which use a Catalina 22 sailboat. Other courses offered by the Montauk Yacht Club include Basic Keelboat Sailing and a Junior Sailing Program.
20. Visit the Southampton Cultural Center
The Southampton Cultural Center is a non-profit organisation that aims to promote art, dance, and music to the local community. They offer an array of workshops and activities all year round, but during summer they sponsor concerts where talented locals are encouraged to perform. These concerts are usually held at Agawam Park and Cooper’s Beach. Another thing to look forward to is the Southampton Strings Festival held during August, where the young ones have the opportunity to learn how to play string instruments.
21. Go beach hopping
If your idea of a summer holiday is frolicking on the beach for a couple of days or more, then pack your bags and don’t think twice about hitting the road to The Hamptons. First, there’s the Main Beach at the East Hamptons. It has amazing views facing the Atlantic Ocean and amenities like public showers and a snack bar. Next is Sagg Main Beach at Sagaponack, a nice beach with a laid-back vibe. They conduct weekly drum sessions every Monday, something to look forward to if you’re a music-lover. Another great option is Coopers Beach at Southampton, boasting a seven-mile (11-kilometre) white sand coastline.
22. Try your hand at paddleboarding
Can’t get enough of water activities? Try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding! You have several options at The Hamptons, including Adventure Paddleboards located at Hampton Bays. They offer family-friendly paddling tours at Shinnecock Bay. Meanwhile, at Sag Harbor Sailing, you can rent out paddleboards, as well as kayaks. They will provide a quick demo before letting you out in the waters. Other options are Plaza Surf N Sports in Montauk and Peconic Paddler at the Riverhead.
23. Explore Sag Harbor
Sag Harbor is a charming village with an old-school feel. Three fifths of the village is a part of Southampton, while two fifths are in East Hampton. One of Sag Harbor’s main landmarks is the Main Street, filled with fancy restaurants and upscale boutiques. There’s also the Old Whaler’s Church, the first Presbyterian church in Sag Harbor, and the Whaling Museum, which has a large collection of whaling equipment.
24. Experience the nightlife in The Hamptons
Summer is the best time to experience the nightlife in The Hamptons! In Hampton Bay, there’s the Beach Bar, a popular weekend nightspot featuring lively DJ music and a patio overlooking the bay. Another option is the 75 Main in Southampton, which is an Italian restaurant by day and a lounge with an energetic dance floor at night. Other nightclubs worth mentioning are the Elm, also located in Southampton, and The Leo, which is in East Hampton.
25. See a state-of-the-art natural history museum at the South Fork
The Hamptons has remarkably maintained efforts to conserve its natural resources throughout the years. There are facilities like the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center, which aims to educate visitors about Long Island’s biodiversity. Also known as SoFo, it features hands-on exhibits and activities for all ages. Adults may take part in nature walks, while kids may learn about underwater creatures at the marine touch tank. Of course, there are also photographs, writings, and works of art relating to The Hamptons’ natural history.
The Hamptons, a luxury summer getaway
If you have a big budget for a summer getaway, The Hamptons may be the perfect vacation destination for you. From the most beautiful beaches to the fanciest restaurants, it has everything a luxury traveller can ask for!
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