A famous strip of small towns in Long Island collectively known as “the Hamptons” is where hip Manhattanites are heading over to celebrate life with a rose in one hand and a designer handbag in another. But what this vacation destination is truly known for is the best beaches: with white gleaming sand and the most incredible sunsets.
From all the Hamptons shores, Montauk beaches are most loved by both the locals and visitors. Stretching all the way to the point of the South Fork peninsula, “The End” beaches vary from rocky and untamed to luxurious and picture-perfect.
Before you hit the traffic out East, bookmark these best beaches in Montauk to visit.
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How to Get to Montauk Fast
There is a running joke in the Hamptons about traffic. Every conversation begins with how long it takes to get out East. And every small talk kicks off with a complaint that “traffic is terrible” between the villages. What visitors don’t realize is that there are various ways to get to Montauk that don’t involve staying in traffic:
Buses to Montauk ($$)
The Hampton Jitney is a bus service that departs from multiple locations in the City to all small towns in Long Island along the east coast. It will take about three hours to travel from Midtown Manhattan to Montauk; fares start from $37 one-way if pre-booked online during the off-peak season.
You can upgrade to a more comfortable Hampton Ambassador ride that offers snacks, free WiFi, and even gift bags from local brands; pre-paid internet rate starts from $58. Bonus: you can bring your pet (in a carrier bag) on both busses; there is a $10 fee for each pet.
Train to Montauk ($)
The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) offers regularly scheduled trains to Montauk that seem less booked during the peak season than the Jitney. There is a slight inconvenience with the train as you need to make one switch at Jamaica station, which could get crowded during the peak season. Online ticket prices start from $22.25 during off-peak hours.
Driving to Montauk ($$)
Driving in your own car is a great way to get to Montauk and explore the area, but you need to be strategic about it. The best time to drive to avoid the traffic is before 6 am and after 8 pm. If there are more than two people in your car, you can take the HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway (LIE, also known as I-495 Interstate), which will save you some time in traffic.
Helicopters to Montauk ($$$$$)
A helicopter is the fastest option to Montauk beaches, with Blade’s $395 helicopter ride out East taking only 40 minutes. The flights depart from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, a 12-miles ride from Midtown Manhattan.
Another option: take a helicopter ride from West 30th Street to East Hampton and drive to Montauk from this nearby village (about half an hour).
Private Jet to Montauk ($$$$$)
A private jet is another luxurious transportation option for visiting Montauk. Evo Jets offers a charter flight from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, starting at $5,000 per flight (for 4-9 people). Travel time on a private jet to East Hampton is about 28 minutes, plus nearly the same for a car ride to Montauk.
The 9 Best Beaches in Montauk to Visit
No matter how you ended up getting to and where you are staying, there is a place in the sand for everyone on the best Montauk beaches. You just need to decide on a vibe you are looking for and unique features.
Remember that if you rent a place in Montauk for a weekend or stay not in a beach-front hotel, it doesn’t give you a parking lot permit required during the peak season. So you might need to walk, bike, or Uber to the beach if it’s not near your accommodations.
These are some of the most popular beaches in Montauk to consider:
1) Ditch Plains Beach
This 500-feet long beach is rocky and windy, making it a perfect spot for surfing lovers – all season long. Experienced paddleboarders often come to Ditch Plains Beach to enjoy the waves, while newbies learn to paddleboard with local instructors.
Despite the unkempt feel of Ditch Plains Beach, some services make this place a little more convenient for visitors. In summer, there are lifeguards on-premise. What’s advantageous about Ditch Plains Beach is access to public bathrooms and outdoor showers.
Typically, you can find on Ditch Plains Beach a few food trucks with snacks and refreshments on the second and third parking lots. Locals usually occupy the first parking lot with the season’s parking passes.
Having food options available on the premise is especially handy if you plan to bike or walk to this beautiful beach. Some nearby hotels also offer complimentary day beach parking passes for their residents. If you have a parking permit, it’s not that difficult to find a spot, even during the peak season.
Location: 18 Ditch Plains Road, Montauk, NY 11954.
2) Navy Beach
Overlooking Fort Pond Bay, Navy Road Beach is just another place to enjoy the views rather than tanning. In fact, swimming is prohibited on this rocky beach. And parking is only accessible to people with a local parking permit.
Located within walking distance from the village, Navy Road Beach is a popular destination for launching kayaks and small boats. The beachfront location of Navy Beach Restaurant welcomes safe boaters to anchor in Fort Pond Bay to enjoy Montauk’s favorite beachfront restaurant. Fun fact: Newsday included this place in one of the top five water-viewing dining spots on the East End.
Be prepared to hit the rocky ground on the beach at Navy Beach; it’s not your typical soft sand kind of beach. Visitors mention that the park overlooking the bay is clean and well maintained. This gorgeous Montauk beach is also ideal for bird-watching as it attracts many birds.
Location: End of Navy Road, Montauk, NY.
3) Gurney’s Beach
Extending over the 2,000-foot-long private beach at Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa, this tourist’s favorite destination is known for its picture-perfect day beds, impressive cocktail menu, and vivid nightlife.
While you can enjoy the hotel’s amenities – restaurants, coffee shops, and Spa – without being a resident, enjoying Gurney’s Beach is not an option. Before the pandemic, there was a day pass option for the resort visitors. But after the COVID restriction, day passes are no longer available.
These days, if you want to enjoy one of the most prestigious beaches in Montauk, be prepared to pay about $2,000 per daybed (for non-resort guests). This rate also gets you access to a 30,000 square-foot indoor seawater pool at Seawater Spa. The pool is scheduled to reopen in April of 2022 and will be the only pool of its kind in North America.
4) Hither Hills State Park
Who said a good beach day couldn’t coincide with a camping day? A gorgeous beach located in Hither Hills State Park allows you to enjoy both of these activities and more. Here, at one of the most famous Montauk beaches, you can enjoy all of summer’s best activities in one perfect place. Fishing, biking, surfing, and windsurfing – at one location with breathtaking sunset views.
Though there are no food trucks available at Hither Hills State Park, you can bring your snacks to enjoy at dedicated picnic areas or simply on the beach. There is also a seasonal snack bar available for visitors during the summer months.
This area of Montauk is also famous for the Hither Hills Campground. You have to pre-book a spot up to nine months in advance on New York State’s Parks and Recreation website. That online resource also provides a virtual tour of the premises and lists upcoming recreation programs for the summer season. Some of the organized entertainment activities at Hither Hills State Park include family movies, children’s summer theater, and environmental education programs.
In addition to its beautiful sandy beach, Hither Hills State Park is also known for its nature trails. Enjoy the biodiversity of this beautiful place while hiking or biking through the park. And don’t forget to bring your photo camera and binoculars as Hither Hills park is also known among bird-watching lovers.
5) Gin Beach
If you are looking for a private, smaller-scale Montauk beach, consider a quiet and serene Gin Beach. Many visitors who have kids prefer this local gem as it’s easier to navigate, and the water in that part of Montauk is calmer.
Gin Beach is located a walking distance of the famous Inlet Seafood Restaurant, a handy lunch spot for visitors with kids. You can also spot food trucks in the parking lot during the warmer season that offer convenient snack options.
There is a photo-friendly rock pier located at peaceful Gin Beach. It’s also a special place for local fishermen to cast their lines.
While there is no dedicated camping area on this beach, some people come over in RVs. If you plan on traveling to “The End” this way, keep in mind that RV camping is an option not available on most Montauk beaches.
6) South Edison Beach (Nick’s Beach)
Hamptons locals know South Edison Beach as “Nick’s Beach” due to its proximity to Nick’s Bar, famous beach restaurant, and nightclub. Known for its comfort food, beer or tap, and non-stopping party, Nick’s Bar attracted a younger crowd who came out East to have fun. The Montauk-famous place closed its doors during the pandemic, but local people still remember this hot spot as a crucial center of Montauk’s nightlife.
South Edison Beach is located within walking distance of town, with a wide range of affordable hotels and motels nearby. There are plenty of parking spots in town, but none are available to the public on the beach itself. Some visitors find it doable to park in the village and take a short walk to the beach.
South Edison Beach has a lifeguard on duty during the summer season and offers a public restroom. There are bottegas, small shops, and restaurants along the way to this Montauk beach.
Location: 130 S Emerson Ave, Montauk, NY 11954.
7) Kirk Park Beach
If you are looking for a beautiful beach within walking distance from town, Kirk Park Beach is an attractive option to consider. In comparison to other Montauk beaches, this sandy gem is more family-oriented. It’s quiet and relaxing with nothing much going on, so you can stretch out and forget about everything.
Soft, white, very soft sand is the key feature of this gorgeous Montauk beach. You can also enjoy an occasional food truck stopping by. Public bathrooms and showers – all in pristine condition. Lifeguard on duty during the summer month. Keep in mind that there is no chair or umbrella rentals, so don’t forget to bring your own.
A few years back, Kirk Park Beach was famous for its free parking. But things have changed recently, and most parking spots are available for locals only (or people who own property in Montauk). Be aware that leaving your car without a permit at a parking lot might lead to a $150 ticket.
8) Montauk Point State Park
More of a scenic than a sun-tanning kind of location, the Montauk Point State Park beach offers breathtaking views of the ocean where it meets the Block Island Sound. It’s a truly unique experience as you can observe the seals’ sun tanning on the rocks or take advantage of the best hiking trails on Long Island.
The rocky shoreline is also home to New York State’s oldest lighthouse, commissioned by George Washington and constructed in 1796.
Montauk Lighthouse is a national historic landmark that opens throughout the year, but only on good weather days. Keeping that in mind, double-check if the museum and gift shop is open the day of visiting on the oldest lighthouse’s Facebook page. The entry fee to the lighthouse is $12 for adults, and the parking fee is $8 (between 8 am and 4 pm).
While not a traditional “beach,” Montauk Point State Park is a must-visit historic destination all year long. This beautiful beach attracts hiking enthusiasts and surfers, and people who enjoy fishing.
9) Amsterdam Beach State Park
If you are looking for untouched beaches in Montauk, Amsterdam Beach State Park (also known as Amsterdam Beach Preserve) is the spot for you. Here, you can find one of the most breathtaking shorelines on the east coast. As well as some of the best nature trails Montauk has to offer. While the beach is open year-round, the best times to visit are March through November.
This 200-acre park is primarily undeveloped and preserved in its natural habitat. Though beware the beach is very pebbly.
That’s why nature lovers especially appreciate this beach. Enjoying the nature trails of Amsterdam Beach State Park, you’ll meet plenty of rabbits, deer, and birds. Locals warn that bug and tick sprays are handy on this particular beach because of the unique location and proximity to wild deer.
If you love horses, stop by on your way out by the famous Deep Hollow Ranch, located nearby Amsterdam Beach State Park. Enjoy a horse ride along the woods to the beach or just say hi to the horses. Group horseriding tours are welcome. The spots fill in fast, so it’s better to book your horse riding activity ahead of time.
Important Things to Know About Visiting These Montauk Beaches
Lastly, there are a few things you need to know about Montauk beaches:
- Dogs are allowed on the local beaches between 9 am and 6 pm from mid-May through the end of September.
- If you forget a swimsuit or sunscreen, there are plenty of local shops in town. There are both designer boutiques and affordable mom-and-pop shops in town, all predominantly oriented on signature relaxed Hamptons looks. Think lots of linens, neutral hues, and natural fabrics.
- You can book a fishing boat trip in Montauk. There are two main types of boat tours available: charter and party boats. Lazy Bones and Viking Trips are the most popular companies offering fishing activities departing from Montauk beaches.
- Some hotels in Montauk booked a year ahead, especially when it comes to resorts popular for hosting weddings and family events. If you want to reserve your spot under the Montauk sun, it’s better to book your trip at least six months in advance.
- According to the Sea Temperature, the warmest water temperature on Montauk beaches is in August, with an average of around 73.2°F / 22.9°C.
Accommodations Near Prettiest Montauk Beaches
It’s not often easy to find accommodation at “The End” of Long Island as Montauk beaches attract crowds of tourists and New Yorkers every summer. Most people rent houses near the best beaches in Montauk for the entire month or even season. But there are other accommodation options, including some affordable alternatives.
- Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is one of the best places to stay and visit when exploring Montauk. It’s a luxurious, fun-filled hotel with breathtaking beach views and vivid nightlife. Montauk’s best Spa is located at Gurney’s Montauk Resort. The hotel’s 30,000-feet long seawater pool is under renovation but will reopen for the summer 2022 season. There are regular workout classes with invited fitness trainers throughout the summer season. This chic resort is also perfect for a wedding or romantic getaway.
- Montauk Manor is an excellent choice if traveling to Montauk by train. Located within walking distance from the station, this spacious resort near Kirk Park Beach (1.8 miles away) offers 140 condo-style rooms, ranging from studios to three bedrooms. There is a 44-feet outdoor pool, barbeque and picnic areas, spa and wellness center, and three tennis courts.
- If you are looking for a party scene, The Surf Lodge might be the best option. There is no other spot in Montauk offering more concerts, DJ sets, and party options than this coastal gem. Don’t expect to have calm, relaxing evenings at this spot – it could get quite loud. But if you are ready for celebrity-spotting and yummiest seafood coming fresh off the fishing boats of Montauk Harbor, that’s the place to go.
More Affordable Montauk Accommodation
Are you heading to explore Montauk beaches with a group of friends? It might be more cost-efficient to rent an entire house and split the cost.
- Airbnb and Vrbo are equally great platforms for finding vacation rentals in Montauk. Depending on the price and availability, you can find places within walking distance from Montauk beaches, driving distance from a golf course, or near nature trails. This two bedroom Vrbo is $150 a night and this one is $175 a night.
- Another more affordable option to visit Montauk is to find accommodations in a motel. A few motels in the area don’t offer you beach access or fancy breakfast options, but they are much more affordable than typical hotels or even vacation rentals.
- You can also rent a cabin with friends in Springs (a village between East Hampton and Montauk). An even more affordable option is to book a place at Manorville, a town with one of the most beautiful hiking trails on Long Island, the Pine Barrens Preserve. Be prepared that the drive from Manorville to Montauk is about an hour without traffic.
About the Author: Katya Bychkova
Katya Bychkova is an avid traveler and writer based in New York City. Katya loves to spend her summers in the Hamptons and winters in the Caribbean. She aims to travel every month. Her adventures soothe her cravings for culture; and warm-climate countries make perfect backgrounds for her Instagram. No matter where Katya goes, New York is the state that truly has her heart. In her free time, she also writes about beauty and lifestyle at the Style Sprinter.