- Distance from New York City: 119 miles
- Best time: May to October
- Best for: FamilyGirl's GetawayBeaches
Some beach destinations are ideal for doing nothing but enjoying the sand and sea, and Montauk, at the Eastern tip of Long Island, is certainly capable of providing just such a relaxing respite. But this lively hamlet located at land's end (with its historic lighthouse) is also ideal for weekend travelers looking to kick things up a notch with some surfing, golfing, hiking and other activities—followed by some serious eating. With its more than 50 hotels and inns and abundant restaurants, Montauk has something to offer couples, families, and even groups of girlfriends looking for fun in the sun. It's impossible to calculate the amount of seafood (fresh lobster, tuna, clams and scallops top most menus) served here daily—you can even get in on the action with a half-day deep-sea-fishing excursion. And if your muscles ache from being a weekend warrior, you can always enjoy a seaside massage before you head home. Here's how to experience Montauk on the go. –By Donna Heiderstadt
Montauk Cheat Sheet
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1.Stretch your legs after your long drive or train ride by renting a road bike from Montauk Bike Shop in the center of town and cruising out to the fisherman's dock to see the day's catch unloaded. It's an eight-mile jaunt round-trip, so allow about 90 minutes for the ride.
2.You're at the beach, so savor the sunset. Grown-ups weekending without kids should head to East by Northeast, a sophisticated but casual Asian-fusion restaurant/bar, where cocktails come with panoramic views of Fort Pond. If you have kids in tow, but still want to enjoy a water view and delicious seafood, grab a snack at Navy Beach, where you can opt for Montauk clam corn chowder and seared sea scallops, while the Kids Menu offers burgers and fish & chips.
3.For dinner, the Fort Pond area offers a number of delicious (if pricey) options: Head to either Harvest on Fort Pond to dine on steamed mussels, calamari salad, grilled pizza and more in an outdoor herb garden or Inlet Seafood Restaurant for clams on the half shell and potato-crusted flounder; the owners are six local fisherman.
1.For a classic breakfast diner experience, join the crowds at John's Pancake House on Main Street where the portions are generous and the coconut pancakes are a specialty.
2.Spend your morning on the water: Catch some breaks at the top local surf spot, Ditch Plains; newbies can take lessons with Air and Speed Surf Shop. Or go fishing for fluke or striped bass (in season) on a charter fishing boats.
3.Take a break from the action by enjoying a casual lunch at the Clam Bar on Gosman's Dock, a been Montauk tradition since 1947. Favorites include the crab cakes and the seafood combo plate—fried clams, calamari, shrimp, and fish—just watch out for sneaky seagulls trying to steal your french fries!
4.Have your cameras ready as you enjoy an easy afternoon hike on the five miles of hiking trails at Montauk Point State Park, where you can also climb the 137 steps to the top of the Montauk Point Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in New York State. It dates from 1792 (George Washington was still in office!).
5.Wind down with cocktails, live music, and terrific sunset views at the outdoor daiquiri bar at Montauket. For a family alternative, consider a friendly mini-golf competition at the 18-hole Puff 'N' Putt Family Fun Center
6.Friends should reserve a table in advance at South Edison to enjoy former Manhattan chef Todd Mitgang's delicious versions of beach classics such as fried belly clams, local diver scallops and seared yellowfin tuna; families can head to the diner-like MTK Café for kid-friendly fare (and a ping-pong table) plus plenty of grown-up options such as lobster rolls, too.
7.For a sweet end to the evening, grab some ice cream at local favorite John's Drive-In on Main Street. If adults want to keep the night going, designate a driver or hire a taxi and head back West on Rt. 27 to take in live music at The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett (shows are at 8pm and 10pm and there's usually a cover charge).
1.Stop by for an early brunch at Bird on the Roof which, despite its simple décor and location behind a souvenir shop, actually serves up memorable omelets and eggs Benedict.
2.Digest and soak up a little sun at nearby Edison Beach or end your stay with a relaxing 60-minute aromatherapy massage at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn.
3.On your way back West, enjoy one last taste of the briny Atlantic with a stop at Lobster Roll on Rt. 27 in Amagansett, where signature rolls and sliders are made with a 50-year-old recipe. Afterwards, stop in Amagansett and browse the shops at Amagansett Square.
Where to Stay
For a breezy cottage vibe—think white-on-white décor and large windows—and a relaxing ambiance, stay at Panoramic View Resort (rooms from $225/night) set on 10 oceanfront acres. Some rooms include kitchenettes.
Located in the center of town, and just a block from the beach, the 17-room Ocean Resort Inn (rooms from $115/night) offers clean, comfortable quarters (some with Jacuzzis) and friendly service.
When to Go
Summer is the best time to enjoy all that Montauk has to offer—but reserve your hotel room weeks in advance for weekend travel. If you have a shark obsession (or teenage kids) you may want to schedule your visit during one of the three major shark fishing tournaments at the Star Island Yacht Club and Montauk Marine Basin to be on hand when the biggest catches are weighed and the cash prizes are awarded.
In late spring, the Montauk Music Festival features four days of performances by up-and-coming artists, and in October, you can take part in the Hamptons International Film Festival and Montauk Fall Festival.
In winter, many of Montauk's restaurants and bars are closed or have limited hours—but if you love empty beaches it can be heavenly.
How to Get There
By car from New York City: Montauk is located about 117 miles from Manhattan and driving takes about 2. 5 hours. Take the Long Island Expressway (I-495) to Exit 68 for the William Floyd Parkway and merge onto NY-27 E and follow the signs for Montauk.
By bus from New York City: The Hampton Jitney runs regularly scheduled trip from several stops in Manhattan to Montauk daily, with expanded service on weekends. The trip takes about 3 hours.
By train from Penn Station in New York City: The Long Island Railroad also services Montauk several times daily from Penn Station. The ride also takes about 3 hours.
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