New Yorkers know that when city streets heat up in the summer, weekends are best spent by the coast. That’s why every Friday, urbanites in search of escape fill the Hampton Jitney and the Long Island Expressway to take in some sun and fun in the Hamptons.
The Hamptons is a string of villages in Long Island’s East End, around 100 miles (161 kilometers) east of New York City. In summer, its cool bays and laid-back atmosphere provide relief to the stifling city heat. Home to quiet streets, country stores, world-class restaurants and museums, and broad sandy beaches, many well-to-do New Yorkers and celebrities have summer residences here.
Although it makes for a long day of traveling, it’s possible to visit on a day trip from NYC. Guided tours usually pick up passengers in Midtown Manhattan and generally include walking tours of a handful of the charming small coastal towns, such as Southampton and Sag Harbor. Some break up the return journey with a stop at the Tanger Outlets mall and often include discount cards.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Hamptons is a must-visit for NYC visitors looking for an outdoors escape.
- Make restaurant reservations in advance, especially on summer weekends.
- Some beaches are private and require passes to access.
- If you’re driving, you’ll need a permit to park at many beaches.
How to Get There
The Hampton Jitney bus service makes several stops in NYC and throughout the Hamptons. If you’re driving, the Long Island Expressway or Southern State Parkway to Sunrise Highway takes you straight through the Hamptons. Or, avoid traffic and take the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station; the Montauk Branch stops at Southampton, East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk.
When to Get There
The Hamptons are busiest during summer weekends: Beaches are crowded, accommodations book up (and prices inflated), and you’ll likely have a hard time getting a seat at the best restaurants. Try to visit on a weekday instead. In winter, the biting sea wind can be unpleasant, but spring and fall are usually mild and lack crowds, although some businesses close outside of peak season (Memorial through Labor Day).
Contemporary art lovers shouldn’t miss the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, and the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton. History buffs should head for the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, and Southampton’s Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum, dedicated to Native American history.