Montauk lighthouse
Photo: Jorg Hackemann

While only about 3,000 people live in Montauk permanently, many people come to this charming Long Island hamlet for the magnificent white sandy beaches, miles of hiking trails, wine tasting and excellent restaurants. A popular weekend getaway from New York City, Montauk is full of history, from its 1797 lighthouse to the quaint Second House, a farmhouse built the same year.

»Montauk Point Lighthouse

Montauk Point Lighthouse

A National Historic Site, the Montauk Point Lighthouse offers sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean from the easternmost point of Long Island and is one of the best things to do in Montauk NY. Visitors can climb 137 iron steps to the top and tour the beautiful grounds. The visitor center houses a gift shop and a museum exhibiting an extensive collection of maritime artifacts and historical documents pertaining to the nation’s fourth oldest active lighthouse.

Wedding packages are available, and the Sprint Triathlon and Relay is hosted here in July. In November, visitors can watch the holiday lighting complete with hot cider and a visit from Santa. Group and school tours are available year round. Plan a fun day trip from NYC and visit this beautiful National Historic Site. Read more

2000 Montauk Highway, Montauk, Long Island, Phone: 631-668-2544 Photo: mnapoli501/Fotolia

Weekend Getaways & Attractions: From NYC, Ohio, TX Places to Visit, PA, CA, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago

»Camp Hero State Park

Camp Hero State Park

If you keep going east to the very end of Long Island, you will find the undisturbed, wild, and diverse Camp Hero State Park. A former military base surrounded by dense, maritime forests mixed with freshwater wetlands, the park is bursting with wildlife and will offer you hours of peace and quiet.

Well-maintained trails will take you along the ocean coast opening to spectacular vistas and near deserted beaches where swimming is too dangerous but surf fishing (with a permit) is among the best in the world. You can hike, bike, ride your horse, or bring your dog for a walk. This park feels like a completely different world from the sophisticated, civilized Montauk.

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»Hither Hills State Park

Hither Hills State Park

Campers at Long Island’s Hither Hills State Park can choose from 153 sites bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Napeague walking dunes. The park’s biodiversity makes it a perfect spot for fishing, hunting, biking, cross-country skiing, hiking, bird watching, and plenty of other forms of entertainment.

Summer visitors can head to the beach and try a variety of children’s activities and special programs. The park offers a playground and playing fields along with a scenic picnic area with fireplaces. In addition to a two-mile sandy beach, a 40-acre lake is open to anglers year-round. Special features include the Napeague Bird Conservation Area and “walking dunes.”

164 Old Montauk Hwy, Montauk, NY 11954, Phone: 631-668-2554

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»Montauk Yacht Club

Montauk Yacht Club

The Yacht Club is a 80-year-old iconic Montauk beach resort located on Star Island in the middle of the Montauk Lake. It will greet you with an excellent replica of the historic Montauk Lighthouse with timeless elegance matched by all the modern comforts. All your needs will be met, including docking for your boat right in front of the hotel in their luxurious marina.

It is to be expected that the food is equally superb, and it is served in Gulf Coast Kitchen’s light and airy dining room overlooking the beach. Fresh fish and seafood is the name of the game, but you can also get a pizza or a burger if that is what you are craving. Don’t forget to go for cocktails at the Turtle Lounge located inside of the Lighthouse tower. Read more

32 Star Island Rd, Montauk, New York 11954, Phone: 631-668-3100

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»Shadmoor State Park

Shadmoor State Park

Shadmoor State Park is an awesome place to spend a day admiring Long Island’s natural wonders. An easy walk to the bluffs provides breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, and two stairways lead to the 2,400 feet of beach where visitors can picnic or saltwater fish. Elevated platforms provide even more spectacular views and opportunities for bird watching.

The park also offers freshwater wetlands and hiking trails for exploration of its ninety-nine acres. For history buffs, the park has two preserved WWII artillery bunkers worthy of inspection. Shadmoor’s impressive foliage includes its namesake shadbush, black cherry trees, and the endangered gerardia plant.

900 Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954, 631-668-3781

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»Navy Beach

Navy Beach

Navy Beach restaurant redefines “beach chic.” Designed to look like interior of a luxury yacht, this delightful, colorful place is not easy to find, but once you get there, you will not regret stopping by. It is located right on the beach on Fort Pond Bay. The beach was used during the WWII for torpedo testing. They took all torpedoes away, but don’t tell the kids, as they might enjoy a bit of a treasure hunt while you are sampling fabulous custom cocktails.

Here, you can easily bump into a number of celebrities, who, just like you, love the fun take on the seafood served at the Navy. Try the Montauk Seafood with mussels, clams, squid, shrimp, coconut milk, and bamboo rice or the outstanding crispy rock shrimp. They know their wine, and the wine list is extensive, but the rosé, of which they have three kinds, is the specialty of the house. Read more

290 Old Montauk Hwy, Montauk, New York 11954, Phone: 631-668-2345

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»Lake Montauk

Lake Montauk

Lake Montauk stopped being a lake in 1927 when Carl Fisher, the owner of Montauk at the time, blasted a hole and let the seawater get in. The lake, once dredged, became a deep, protected bay and is today Montauk’s main port and a home to the biggest commercial as well as sporting fish fleets in New York State. Tiny Star Island, located in the middle of the lake, hosts Montauk Yacht Club and a casino as well as the Coast Guard Station.

There is a ferry service that takes tourists from Long Island to Martha's Vineyard, Block Island, and New London, Connecticut during the summer. Lake Montauk is famous for fishing charters that are coming back with record catches. The myth is that local captain Frank Mundus was the inspiration for the character in the movie Jaws, although the writer Peter Benchley denies it.

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»Sail Montauk

Sail Montauk

Set sail on the S/V Mon Tiki, Montauk’s charter catamaran, for a day cruise to take in the water and scenery or an evening cruise to relax and relish in a beautiful sunset. Captain David Riley built the flagship Mon Tiki himself with the help of local craftsman using eco-friendly construction practices.

The only U.S. Coast Guard Certified passenger vessel operating full-time in the Hamptons, the catamaran offers visitors 2-3 hour day or evening sunset cruises. Sunset cruises are adults only on weekends. In the off season, the company offers the Mon Tiki as a floating classroom for school and youth groups. (Phone: 631-522-5183)

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»Gosman's Dock

Gosman's Dock

Gosman’s Dock opens for the season in May and is the ideal place to admire beautiful Montauk scenery while dining on delicious local seafood. Founded in 1943 by the Gosman family, the small restaurant and chowder stand has grown to include a casual dining room, rooftop deck, café, and clam bar. The restaurant and fish market boast the freshest seafood right from the dock, and exotic specialty items are flown in daily.

Shopping includes gourmet foods, clothing, and Montauk souvenirs. A summer concert series takes place on the outdoor stage on Sunday evenings in July and August. The dock is within walking distance of Gosman’s Culloden House Motels.

500 W Lake Dr, Montauk, New York 11954, Phone: 631-668-5330

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»Montauk Point State Park

Montauk Point State Park

Montauk Point State Park offers the best vantage point for spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean where it meets Block Island Sound. On calm days, the merging tides and beautiful scenery are guaranteed to awe visitors. Native seals can often be spotted sunbathing on nearby rocks. Nature trails provide great opportunities for hiking or cross-country skiing.

Visitors can also enjoy surf fishing and small and large game hunting in season. A restaurant and gift shop overlook the ocean, and the park’s rocky shoreline and Montauk Lighthouse are accessible from the parking area.

2000 Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954, 631-668-3781 Photo: Sylvana Rega/Fotolia

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»Deep Hollow Ranch

Deep Hollow Ranch

Explore some of the most beautiful coastline in the United States on horseback at Deep Hollow Ranch. Let true cowboys and cowgirls guide you through 3,000 preserved acres of picturesque countryside and pristine beaches. Located on the easternmost tip of Long Island, Patrick and Cate Keogh’s family-run ranch caters to riders of every experience level.

Pony rides and parties are available, and the ranch offers children’s summer camps and activities. As the oldest working ranch in the U.S., Deep Hollow’s tours provide guests with the perfect opportunity to experience Eastern Long Island’s ranching tradition, area history, and local Native American culture.

1929 Old Montauk Hwy, Montauk, New York 11954, Phone: 631-668-2744 Photo: Richard Villalon/Fotolia

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Annapolis: Annapolis, a href="">Hammond-Harwood House Museum

»Inlet Seafood

Inlet Seafood

When a restaurant belongs to a cooperative of fishermen, you can be absolutely sure that the fish will be fresh. It literally goes from their boats to your plate. You will never taste fresher sushi, but we recommend making it just a starter. There is so much more to try: scallops wrapped in bacon, fabulous clam chowder, huge oysters, and whatever ends up in the nets that particular day.

The restaurant is located in an attractive but unassuming two-story building on Lake Montauk, and the views from the outdoor deck are spectacular. Try to make it for sunset, grab one of their funky cocktails, and wait for the daily spectacle. The restaurant also has quite respectable wine list.

541 E Lake Dr, Montauk, New York 11954, Phone: 631-668-4272

Great places to visit: Carmel, Saratoga Springs, St Louis, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Reykjavik, Providence. Photo: Inlet Seafood

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»Scarpetta Beach Restaurant

Scarpetta Beach Restaurant

The view from the Scarpetta Beach Restaurant will take your breath away. Whether you are seated in their sleek, modern, airy dining room with an expanse of French doors or on the outdoor deck high above the beach, you can spend hours over your cocktails watching the waves washing over the beach or kids playing volleyball.

This new restaurant, one of only few in Montauk right on the beach, is located in the luxurious Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa. Its menu corresponds nicely with the dramatic view. It is classic Italian, with a natural focus on fabulous seafood, but the chefs have given all dishes their own imaginative flair. Simple polenta made with mushrooms and truffles becomes a gourmet offering. Bread stuffed with spinach and pepperoni can make a meal on its own. A pleasant atmosphere, superb food, and spectacular setting make a visit to Scarpetta a special event.

290 Old Montauk Hwy, Montauk, New York 11954, Phone: 631-668-2345

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»Double D Charters

Double D Charters

Double D has been offering the ultimate experience in Montauk sport fishing for 20 years. Their mission is to provide anglers of every age and experience level with the best fishing possible. Double D has received excellent reviews for their knowledge and navigational skills that provide patrons a fun day on the water while they reel in tuna, marlin, sea bass, and more.

They offer charters for Montauk’s shark tournaments that are a great weekend getaway. Two-day tournament charters include the entry fee and a complementary dinner with drinks on the last day. Sightseeing, sunset cruises, and ferry services can also be arranged.

West Lake Marina, 352 West Lake Drive, Montauk, NY 11954, 631-678-3960 Photo: salvoni photo/Fotolia

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»Naturally Good Foods and Cafe

Naturally Good Foods and Cafe

If health food and products are necessities for you, you can relax: you can get all you need during your vacation in Montauk. Naturally Good Foods and Café offer fresh organic produce, groceries, vitamins, herbs, and cosmetics. Their tiny but charming café sells delicious healthy breakfast and lunch, so just stop by on the way to the beach and stock up. You can get healthy salads, vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies, organic Fair Trade coffee, teas, and vegan and gluten-free baked goods.

If you want to eat in, check their lovely backyard garden, which is bursting with flowers and juicy tomato plants. They have homemade soups, veggie burgers, burritos, veggie stir-fries, salads, and all kinds of wraps. And, since you are in Montauk, there is fish. You have to try The Bruce, the store’s signature sandwich made with fresh yellow-fin tuna on seven-grain bread.

779 NY-27, Montauk, New York 11954, Phone: 631-668-9030

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»La Brisa

La Brisa

La Brisa is a taqueria, but since it is a taqueria in Montauk, it is a bit upscale. The restaurant is located in a modern quirky 50s-style curved glass-walled space overlooking the street. Its Mexican origins are evident in bright, turquoise colors of the outdoor benches and posters in Spanish advertising Tacombi’s signature food and drinks. As the restaurant is in Montauk, there are three kinds of fish tacos, fresh ceviche, and, of course, tacos with lobster.

Delicious corn tortillas are made fresh daily in the fancy machine from San Luis Potosi. Tacombi’s beverage brand Lupita is a fabulous fruit drink made of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and it goes incredibly well with tacos. Another thing that works very well with tacos, especially fish tacos, is Tacombi’s salsa called “Vista Hermosa.” The restaurant opens in late April for the season.

752 Montauk Hwy, Montauk, New York 11954, Phone: 631-668-8338

Top New York destinations: New York City, Rochester, Hudson Valley, New Paltz, Albany, Montauk, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Saratoga Springs, Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Hudson, NY. Photo: La Brisa

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16 Best Things to Do in Montauk, Long Island