Montauk New York is the most eastern tip of Long Island and it’s commonly referred to as “The End”. It truly doesn’t feel like anywhere else in New York. It’s a little slice of paradise that is a Long Island locals gem. Back in the day, it was a small surfer town with not much but stunning coastlines and great surf. It still has the aforementioned but has gained much popularity over the past 20 years. Montauk has multiple hotels, chic eateries, shops, and bustling nightlife.
Nevertheless, it still possesses that same small-town charm! I grew up visiting Montauk and in this locals guide, I’ll share the best things to do in Montauk New York, where to stay, places to eat, and so much more!
When to Visit?
The high season is from June-September (more specifically Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend). Off-season comes with better prices and fewer crowds. I personally love visiting Montauk in October because you can still catch a good sunny day but enjoy the crisp fall air.
Best Things to Do in Montauk
Visit the Montauk Lighthouse
When most people picture Montauk, they think of the lighthouse. It’s a national landmark and was actually the first lighthouse constructed in New York. It is still in use today and you can visit 7 days a week (tickets: $12 / parking $8). Finally, for the best views of the lighthouse, there is a small path adjacent to the entrance that takes you down to the beach. Don’t miss that view, but know the beach is very rocky.
Visit One of the Six State Parks
Did you know there are six state parks located in Montauk? They all are pretty similar and provide trails for hiking and biking, beautiful coastlines, beaches, and campgrounds. You will need to pay entry at most of these parks and the trails to the beach are not always family-friendly. But they do have some of the best views on Long Island. Lastly, note that most cell service is spotty out here so download a map offline before visiting.
- Montauk Point State Park: The iconic lighthouse is located at Montauk Point State Park
- Camp Hero State Park: pictured above, beautiful views of the lighthouse
- Amsterdam Beach State Park: moderate hiking trail to get down to the beach. very rocky beach not intended for swimming
- Hither Hills: campgrounds and trails for hiking
- Shadmoor State Park: beautiful beach and cliffside hiking trails
- Montauk Downs State Park: small park with a golf course
Visit The Beaches
There are copious amounts of beaches out in Montauk however most of them you do need a town permit in order to park there (and if you don’t have one you will get a $150 ticket). Most local hotels will offer free day passes to park. Consider choosing a hotel close to the beach or ubering to the beach.
- Ditch Plains: popular beach for surfing
- Gin Beach: small quiet beach with calm water
- Kirk Park Beach: family friendly beach (need permit to park)
- Sunset Beach: small bay beach known for, you guessed it, beautiful sunsets
Take a Sunset Sail
Catamaran Mon Tiki
Whether you want to take a private sunset sail or charter a small group, the Mon Tiki has got you covered! These catamarans were hand-built in Montauk and inspired by a Polynesian design (locally-owned small business) that’s been around for years. BOOK YOUR CRUISE HERE.
HAVE A BONFIRE ON THE BEACH
One of the most popular things to do in Montauk during the summer is to have a bonfire. You are legally allowed to do so as long as it’s contained in a metal container and after 6 pm (memorial day to labor day). Learn more about the regulations here.
- Duryeas Lobster Deck ($$$): indoor/outdoor dining on a dock with delicious seafood
- Scarpetta Beach ($$$$): upscale Italian located at Gurney’s
- Navy Beach ($$$): nautical themed restaurant located on the bay
- The Crow’s Nest ($$$): bohemian restaurant frequented by celebs
- Sel Rose ($$): popular brunch spot in town
- Gosmans Restaurant ($$): local joint located on a dock
- The Montauket ($$): bar/restaurant popular for watching the sunset
- Surf Lodge ($$): American restaurant popular for nightlife as well
- Harvest on Fort Pond ($$$)
- The Lobster Roll: this iconic lunch spot was featured in the show “The Affair” and is a Montauk staple.
- Bluestone Lane Coffee: expensive albeit delicious coffee. It’s worth the price, trust.
- The Original Goldberg’s Bagels: I may be biased but Long Island has THEE best bagels in the world. Goldberg’s is the perfect spot for a casual breakfast/lunch.
- Anthony’s Pancake House: casual diner-like breakfast restaurant
- Ralph’s Italian Ices: An Italian ice chain in the tri-state area that is a STAPLE. Get the Jelly Ring ice and thank me later.
Surprisingly there are many options when it comes to nightlife in Montauk. From bars that are more casual to higher-end spots, there’s a little something for everyone. Do note that during the high season there is a high chance there will be long lines to get into the more popular spots.
- Stephen Talkhouse
- An intimate venue that is unlike any other, Stephen Talkhouse is a Montauk legend and has featured artists from all over the world. It’s technically not in Montauk but close enough to experience if you’re looking to experience Montauk as a local. Famous singles have been known to pop in unannounced so you never know who you will see at Stephen Talkhouse.
- Surf Lodge
- Bounce Beach Montauk ( was The Sloppy Tuna)
- Gurneys Beach Club
- The Montauket
- Nick’s on The Beach
While all opinions and recommendations are always my own, my content on this blog post may contain affiliate links for hotels I’ve traveled to, tours I’ve completed, and products I recommend. This means I get a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you book a stay or purchase a product after clicking one of these links. As always, I am so thankful for your support so I can continue to offer free resources!
What to Pack?
Visiting during the warm weather months? Pack these staples below:
Visiting during the cooler months? Don’t forget these essentials below:
Gurney’s Resort: located on a private beach, this resort is the creme de la creme of Montauk. It has a private beach club, delicious restaurant and bar, and a world-renowned spa. When visiting during the week you gain access to the amenities by simply booking a spa service. BOOK YOUR STAY HERE!
Montauk Manor: located on top of the hill with sweeping views of the bay. This manor is historic with a chiller atmosphere. They also have an indoor and outdoor swimming pool. BOOK YOUR STAY HERE!
Surf Lodge: the Surf Lodge got so popular it built its own hotel. If you’re a nightlife person I would recommend staying here. BOOK YOUR STAY HERE!
Hero Beach Club: this newer hotel is located on the beach and close enough to walk into town. BOOK YOUR STAY HERE!
Tips for Visting
- During the summer, head to the beach early (before 10am) to snag a spot
- You need a town permit to park at town beaches (which most are in Montauk) and you will get a $150 ticket if you park at the beach and don’t have one. If you are staying overnight consider renting bicycles, walking, or ubering to the beach from your hotel. Or stay at a hotel on the beach and you’ll be golden!
- There is one main road in and one main road out so during high season there could be lots of traffic
- You can take the Hampton Jitney (a coach bus) from NYC or the LIRR. It takes about 3 hours depending on traffic
- Make reservations for dinners during the summer otherwise you could wait upwards of 1 hour for a table on the weekends
- Liquor stores close at 6pm. New York is pretty strict with their liquor sales.
- Visit during the shoulder seasons (September-November and April-May) or high season during the midst of winter it’s extremely slow out in Montauk
Thank you for reading my “A Locals Guide to Montauk New York” if you’re also venturing into “the city” (locals jargon for New York City) you don’t want to miss my “30 Best Things to Do in New York City” post. As always, comment any questions below!
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