Montauk is one of the most popular New York State tourist destinations. Both a hamlet and a census-designated place, it is set on the eastern tip of Long Island. Montauk forms part of the famous area that is known as the Hamptons, and among other things, it is known for its relatively laid-back atmosphere, its fishing, and its surfing. The fact that Montauk is set apart from the area’s more exclusive villages helps to explain the laid-back aspect. In relation to fishing, Montauk claims to have more saltwater fishing records than any other world port and is home to both recreational and commercial fishing fleets. For the surfing enthusiast, Montauk has plenty of Atlantic Ocean shoreline and boasts at least one world famous surfing spot.
Some of the most picturesque beaches on the East Coast can be found in the Hamptons. This helps to explain the area’s major role as a summer tourist destination. In Montauk alone, more than 5,000 acres of public beaches await, and there are strips of sand along both the oceanfront and the oft-calmer waters of Block Island Sound. One of the most renowned ocean beaches in Montauk can be found near the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse. It is known as Ditch Plains Beach and is particularly renowned for its world class surfing. Surfing equipment can be rented or purchased in Montauk, and it is also possible to take surfing lessons or enroll in surfing camps. Along Block Island Sound, the most notable beach is Gin Beach. This long strip of sand is the only Montauk beach with a protected swimming area. As a side note, the Montauk Point Lighthouse was the first lighthouse to be built in New York and is the country’s fourth oldest active lighthouse. It dates back to 1796. The Montauk beaches feature various amenities/facilities, and lifeguards are typically on duty during the summer season. Also, 4x4 beach driving and beach camping are allowed in some of the Montauk beach areas. In some cases, proper East Hampton town permits must be obtained for such activities. A permit must also be obtained if you wish to enjoy access to some of the area’s beach parking lots.
The Montauk area is home to no less than six state parks. This makes it an excellent area to visit for the outdoor enthusiast. Among the most popular activities that are enjoyed in the various Montauk state parks is hiking. In Hither Hills State Park alone, you can find hiking trails winding their ways through acres upon acres of woodlands. Head over to Shadmoor State Park, and you can enjoy amazing hilltop views of the ocean while trekking along the trails. Picnicking, hanging out at the beach, camping, and fishing are just some of the other recreational activities that can be enjoyed at the Montauk state parks, and those who like to tee it up should know that Montauk Downs State Park features one of the country’s best public golf courses. For the camping crowd, Hither Hills State Park is the destination of choice, as it is the only Montauk state park that offers both tent and RV camping.
Montauk, as is true of Long Island in general, is a great whale watching destination. Coincidentally, visitors can also consider adding seal watching experiences to their travel itineraries. Whale watching season, if you will, runs from July through Labor Day, while the best time to go seal watching is January through April. More often than not, whale watching excursions involve getting out on the open waters in a charter boat. Seal watching can also be done in a boat, and it is also possible to arrange guided seal watching walks. Humpacks, fin whales, and minke whales are among the whale species that are spotted off Montauk. The most commonly sighted seal species are harbor and grey seals, though an increasing amount of “arctic” species are being spotted around Long Island. The arctic species include ringed, harp, and hooded seals.
Montauk Hotels & Lodging
Montauk, New york
There are many choices for places to stay in Montauk. In fact, Montauk has more motels, hotels, and bed and breakfasts than any other destination in Suffolk County. That being said, the majority of the Montauk hotels are only open from April through November. Some do remain open year round, though it is always a good idea to check first when planning a cold weather visit. As is true of the restaurants that can be found in the Hamptons, the area lodging establishments don’t include any chain brand operations, so there are no chain motels or hotels in Montauk. For those who are interested in all of the Montauk lodging options, there are campsites and vacation rentals to select from in and around the area. Hither Hills State Park in particular is a great place to camp, as it has both RV and tent sites. On the vacation rental side of things, Montauk offers condos, cottages, and larger homes. It is important to note that given the upscale nature of the Hamptons, Montauk lodging is expensive on the whole. There are some relatively affordable motels and hotels for those who are interested in saving on rates, however, and camping can certainly be cost effective.