Welcome to the “end of the world” as Montauk is called. This beautiful small town is located at the most eastern tip of New York State. As such, it’s about 3 hours driving from NYC or a beautiful 3-hour train ride on the LIRR train. But don’t let those few hours deter you, a day trip to Montauk is well worth it!
Montauk offers several beaches, some of the most beautiful state parks in New York State, outdoor activities, and endless restaurants to choose from. While you may be tempted to spend a few nights here, remember that this is the Hamptons. As such, hotels and Airbnbs are very expensive here and sell out fast in the summertime. So unless you have a fluffy budget, consider a Montauk day trip.
You can start your Montauk itinerary with breakfast/coffee, take part in a healthy outdoor activity, go shopping, grab dinner and drinks, and then be back home by bedtime.
How to Get Around Montauk
Montauk is more walkable than other famous Hamptons towns. If you arrive by train or bus, you can walk to the downtown area and from there easily head on over to the beach. Many restaurants are located on the main road, too.
However, if you are planning on visiting sights like Montauk Lighthouse or National Parks, a car is required. Or a very long walk. All the hiking, kayaking, and bird-watching trails, as well as farmer’s stands and some iconic restaurants, are outside of the city center.
Street taxis are harder to find in Montauk. There are some local cab-operating companies that you can call, as well as taxi stands, but it’s challenging to find them, especially if you are new to this town. So plan ahead.
Uber and Lyft work in Montauk. But the wait times for these services could be long so take the wait time into consideration when planning your Montauk trip itinerary.
Parking is a problem for the Hamptons in general, but in Montauk, it’s an even bigger challenge. And there is a parking permit requirement if you want to park at one of Montauk’s beaches.
Best Time to Visit Montauk
You can visit Montauk year-round. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for the weather in Montauk. The climate here is different than the rest of Long Island. Even within Montauk, two parts of the town can have completely different weather.
The end of May through early September are the busiest times in Montauk. This is also when prices soar. And for good reason. The summer in Montauk is heaven. You can swim, tan, and do all the other outdoor activities. The sun also sets later which means you can squeeze in more fun into your day trip.
Late September to October still provide warmer weather so that you can enjoy the many things to do in Montauk without the crowds.
During the winter season, most things are closed in Montauk. However, that doesn’t stop some people from coming out to admire the snowy views. In fact, it’s one of the iconic parts of the popular movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which put Montauk on the map for many New Yorkers.
How to Get to Montauk From NYC
- TRAIN: The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) offers regularly scheduled trains to Montauk. You can leave at 7:30 AM and come back from Montauk at 10:00 PM.
- BUS: The Hampton Jitney or the Hampton Ambassador
- CAR: You can drive your own car or rent one. The nearest town that’s the cheapest is Ronkonkoma.
- HELICOPTER: A helicopter is the fastest option to Montauk beaches, with Blade’s $395 helicopter ride out East taking only 40 minutes.
Your Day Trip to Montauk – Itinerary
If you are planning a Montauk day trip, this handy itinerary will help you structure your day to enjoy as many of the best Montauk activities as possible. Considering how booked and busy Montauk hotels become in the summer, a day trip is a more budget-friendly way to spend time in the Hamptons.
Early Morning: Grab Breakfast & CoffEe
Here’s where we recommend you grab some breakfast or coffee in Montauk:
- ★ Left Hand is one of my top favorite places to get AMAZING coffee. You can stop here for your morning coffee or in between your activities. They also have teas and baked goods.
- Or, consider Tillie’s at the Gurney’s Montauk Resort for a sit-down breakfast with a view. Expect yummy comfort food with limited pressed juice options.
Since it’s a bit of a ride to Montauk, you might get hangry sooner. So you can also stop in one of the many neighboring Hampton towns that are on the way.
- Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee offers the finest selection of gourmet coffee drinks and health-conscious snacks. (Amagansett, NY)
- Across the street, Organic Krush cafe is a great place to grab a smoothie or a green juice for the road. (Amagansett, NY)
- Goldberg’s Famous Bagels is an excellent choice if looking for a more substantial breakfast meal. (Southhampton, NY)
Morning + Afternoon: Explore Montauk’s Natural Wonders
You want to dedicate this time to one of the many outdoor adventures in Montauk. We recommend choosing one of the following:
Option 1: Montauk State Park + the Lighthouse
You can start your Montauk adventures at Montauk Point State Park. The parking situation at this year-long operating park is cheaper and more accessible than in most places. For $8 a day, you can drop off your car at the State Park and walk to the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse.
A picturesque spot, the Montauk Point State Park offers outstanding views of the Atlantic Ocean, where it meets the Block Island Sound. The easternmost point of Long Island, this park opens at 8:00 am, allowing you a few hours to hike, enjoy the ocean views, watch the seals sun on the rocks, and even surf.
It takes about 20 minutes to walk from the Montauk Point State Park parking lot to Montauk’s most recognizable historical sight, the Lighthouse. Planning your day, keep in mind that the gift shop at the Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum opens around 10:30.
Option 2: Horseback Riding in Montauk
On the way to the city center, stop by the famous Deep Hollow Ranch. You can park your car and enjoy a different type of commuting – a horseback ride on the beach. Known for its slow-paced beach rides, Deep Hollow Ranch offers group and individual tours along the beach shore with no previous experience required.
Enjoy a slow-paced horseback ride while savoring the most spectacular water views. Don’t forget your water, sunblock, and hat as you’d be adventuring during direct sun exposure. A typical hide with the Deep Hollow Ranch is about an hour and a half. It’s recommended to plan your group’s horseback riding adventure ahead of time.
Option 2: E-Biking Tour ★
We took a tour with Go Go E-Bikes and it is officially one of our favorite things to do in Montauk! You get to see all the highlights while peddling through roads, grassy trails, and epic sights. The cost is between $150 to $200 per person, but it is well worth it! You also get two guides that lead your group and we felt very safe biking with them.
If you rather bike without a guided tour, another option is to rent a bike at the Montauk Cycle Company. They offer mountain bikes and e-bikes all varying in price.
Option 4: Surfing (Or Surfing Lessons)
Montauk is known for surfing, so there are plenty of options to explore if you love the waves. Ditch Plain and Turtle Cove are some of the best beaches in Montauk. The prime destination for surfers of all levels, while Gin Beach is more suitable for beginners.
If you’re new to surfing, here are some places that offer lessons:
Option 5: Hiking in Montauk
Some of Long Island’s best hiking trails are in Montauk! In addition to Montauk Point State Park, there is also Shadmoor State Park which is one of the most beloved trails for birdwatching and enjoying the shore views. Point Woods Loop Trail is a quick 3-mile walk along the water with little elevation.
Other Options for Montauk Outdoors:
- Lake Montauk is one of the best places to go kayaking on Long Island; it’s also a popular spot to launch a paddleboard. You can rent equipment at Puff & Putt or one of the local parks: Montauk County Park or Hither State Park.
- Rent a sailing boat or join one of the tours offered by the Sail Montauk. A trained captain will help you guide the shore while you are enjoying the views and having fun in the sun.
- Go beach hopping throughout some of Montauk’s most beautiful beaches.
Afternoon: Lunch in Montauk
After an outdoor fun-packed morning, you’re going to be very hungry! It’s time to relax and enjoy a tasty meal. There are countless restaurants in Montauk serving anything from seafood to tacos. Here’s what we recommend for lunch:
- Stop by John’s Drive-In, a casual spot serving American cuisine classics; it’s one of the best places to get ice cream for a quick bite.
- The Surf Lodge is a perfect spot if you enjoy checking out the party scene of the Hamptons while enjoying refreshments and the view.
- If you don’t mind an extra drive, check out the iconic Lobster Roll Restaurant. Serving the freshest seafood and comfort snacks since 1965, this outdoor restaurant serves the most delicious clam chowders, lobster rolls, and fries.
- For epic beach-side views, check out Inlet’s Seafood Restaurant. The scallops were amazing!
- For delicious cocktails and good seafood by the beach, head to Sel Rrose. I love the interior decor.
- TT’s Montauk is a cute spot with lots of pink colorful displays. Definitely try the fish tacos here. This spot is also much more casual.
Late Afternoon: Visit One of MONTAUK’S Beaches
After lunch, spend a few hours wandering around the village with tiny shops and coffee places. Reapply sunscreen, get your beach bag and towels ready — it’s time to head over to the beach.
We have an entire post dedicated to our favorite beaches in Montauk, but in the meanwhile here are the best spots for your Montauk Day Trip itinerary.
If you were lucky to get a parking spot in the village, the white-sanded Kirk Park Beach is within walking distance from the city center. This family-oriented beach offers showers and bathrooms, but there are no beach chairs to rent. Only locals can park at this beach, so you’d have to park in the city if you plan to visit.
A little out of the way is Ditch Plains Beach, a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and paddleboarding. In summer, there are lifeguards on duty at this beach.
If you don’t mind driving, check out Hither Hills State Park. Known for having one of the best Long Island hiking trails and educational programs for the entire family, the park also has access to the white sand beach. You can enjoy the sun and ocean and fishing, biking, surfing, and windsurfing there.
I also really liked visiting Navy Beach (pictured above). It’s totally different from the other beaches in that it’s got calmer and clearer waters for swimming. I loved looking at the unique rocks and colorful quartzes along the shore.
Early Evening: Visit a Winery or Brewery
Brewery: After visiting the beach and getting some vitamin D, head to the Montauk Brewing Company for a glass of craft beer. There is typically a crowd outside of the brewery with outdoor tables available. There is beer on tap, bottled options, and small snacks. I recommend buying a half-pint ($4) of their various beers so that you can create your own tasting menu.
Winery: While there is no winery in Montauk per se, the famous Wolffer Estate Vineyards is just a quick drive away in Sagaponack. Depending on the season and which day of the week you are visiting, there are live music events and various wine tastings. There is also a wine stand where you can get the finest selection of rosé and other wines to go. If you’re interested in wine, check out one of these Long Island wine tours and self-guided itineraries for wine tasting.
Evening: Dinner in Montauk
Come back to the city center to enjoy a relaxing dinner at one of Montauk’s famous restaurants. Regardless of your budget, there are plenty of options to choose from, most of which offer spectacular sunset views around 8 pm.
Best Luxury Restaurants in Montauk:
- Scarpetta Beach at Gurney’s is a fine Italian restaurant located in the fanciest resort in town. Grab your table, place the order, and walk down the private beach for spectacular photos while your meal is getting prepared.
- Showfish offers a luxurious twist to the East-End menu, with a focus on seafood and fresh vegetables. At this chic spot, you can request the chef to prepare your own catch of the day in a gourmet style.
Best Middle-Price Restaurants in Montauk:
- Inlet Seafood Restaurant overlooks Montauk Harbor and splits its menu between finest seafood and sushi.
- Duryea’s Lobster Deck is all about Mediterranean cuisine with spectacular sunset views and family-style mains.
Affordable Dinner Spots in Montauk:
- Hooked is a fast- all about local seafood and the freshest ingredients. It’s a self-serve cafe with delicious meals and non-Hamptons prices.
- El Taco Ole is a fast-casual Mexican cafe offering dozens of great options when it comes to tacos and bowls.
Montauk Day Trip Budget
Compared to other parts of Long Island, the Hamptons area is certainly on the pricier side. Here, you can find some of the most luxurious dining and recreational activities in the world with a price tag in accordance. But if you are skipping some of the top-notch restaurants, it’s still possible to make a budget-friendly day trip to Montauk.
- Transportation to Montauk cost: from $22.25 one way during the off-peak season on the LIRR train; or the cost of renting the car with gas (around $83 per day).
- Lunch cost range: from $10 casual pasta spot to $33 lobster roll at the iconic Montauk restaurant.
- Dinner cost range: from $12.99 tacos to $45 main course fish, depending on the restaurant.
- Rent a bike cost: from $10 per hour or $39 per day to $150 for a guided tour (worth it).
- Horseback riding cost: from $55 per person, not including a suggested 20% gratuity.
- Rent a kayak or paddleboard cost: from $22 for 30 minutes and $40 for one hour.
- Visiting the parks: are free except for parking which starts from $8.
One-Day Montauk Itinerary Summary + Map
That’s a wrap on how to spend a perfect day in Montauk. To overview, here is a suggested order of activities to consider while exploring The End:
- Grab your breakfast on the way to Montauk or in Montauk at Left Hand or Tillies.
- Start with an outdoor adventure of your choosing. Such as:
- Montauk Point State Park + the Lighthouse
- Grab lunch at one of the many restaurants.
- Admire one of the many Montauk beaches
- Go beer tasting at the Montauk Brewing Company or enjoy a glass of rose at Wolffer Vineyards.
- Dinner with a sunset view is a perfect way to wrap up your day trip to Montauk.
Our Long Island Travel Guides
- Cute Small Towns on Long Island to Visit
- Best Kayaking Spots on Long Island + Guided Tours
- Craft Breweries on Long Island to Visit This Summer (coming soon)
- Easy NYC Weekend Getaways
- Best Beaches in New York State to Visit (Upstate + Long Island + NYC)
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About the Authors: Katya & Gerry
Katya Bychkova is a blogger and writer based in New York City. Katya enjoys traveling the world and sharing her adventures through writing and photography. She also loves beauty and skincare which she writes about in her Style Sprinter blog.
Gerry Isabelle is a born-and-raised New Yorker of proud Dominican heritage. She is the founder of Dominican Abroad, a world travel blog with a special focus on her home state of New York. Gerry believes in intentional and informed travel/cultural experiences so that as a community we are traveling with knowledge and respect. You can follow our adventures on Instagram or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on our upcoming adventures and travel guides.