Montauk, located on the easternmost tip of the South Fork, is one of the sport fishing capitals of the world, as well as home to the oldest lighthouse on Long Island.
Take Montauk Highway East and go to the very end. You can’t miss the lighthouse!
The United States Coast Guard operates the light, but the Montauk Historical Society maintains the lighthouse, keeper’s dwelling, outbuildings, and grounds. There’s an excellent museum in the keeper’s dwelling.
On display are reproductions of Coast Guard Vessels and a 3D map of East Coast Lighthouses. Visitors are welcome to climb the 137 spiral steps to the top of the lighthouse and, on a clear day, look out at Block Island across the sound. If its foggy, listen for the songs of ancient shipwrecks in the wind …
In the winter months, there are Seal Sighting walks along the beach on the point. Check with our Personal Assistants about scheduled hikes, or set out on your own (dress for cold winds!). Hike about a half-mile north of the Lighthouse on the rugged beach and you should see the seals basking on the rocks just offshore. Bring a camera — they love to pose! Even in the dead of winter you will see fishing boats off the point; maybe even surfers.
Exploring the Beauty and Charm of Montauk
A visit to Montauk Harbor is a must when you are out east. There is a lot to explore:
- Stroll through Gosman’s Dock and do a bit of shopping, or tackle a fresh steamed lobster while watching the fishing boats go in and out of the harbor from the top deck at Gosman’s Topside.
- Stop for fresh sushi with an amazing view at the Inlet Café and Sushi Bar.
- Watch the sunset at the Inlet Seafood Restaurant just across the Harbor.
- Try some chowder (or the fish & chips) and hang with the locals at The Dock adjacent to the commercial fishing boats.
- Check out the charter boats and maybe book a half-day fishing excursion …
Back on Montauk’s Main Street …
- Check out John’s Drive In for burgers and ice cream.
- Duck into Shagwong Tavern for a cocktail and a bit of history — it’s been serving liquor and clams on the half shell since 1938 — just after the repeal of Prohibition.
- Enjoy a few beers from the Montauk Brewing Co. just around the corner on the beach. Not so historic, but the ocean views are to die for (and the beer is excellent, too!)
- Don’t forget the Memory Motel where Mick Jagger wrote the song and Gary & I met in the summer of 1995! A true dive bar — unforgettable.
Montauk: A Spirited History
Speaking of Prohibition … there’s more than one reason there’s a Gin Beach in Montauk — “Because of its harbors, bays, and inlets, along with its proximity to New York City, the East End was the perfect location for this kind of illegal activity” — bootlegging. (Check out The Usual for more on this colorful history.)
Today, Montauk Rumrunners distills their own whiskey, rum, and gin. (Chef Carolyn has been known to make delectable treats with these …) And if you want to camp out on Gin Beach, we can explain how to get a Suffolk County Park Permit.
Montauk’s Amazing Parks
In addition to the Suffolk County Park at Gin Beach, Montauk is home to some truly spectacular parks:
- Montauk Point State Park: The Lighthouse, surfing, hunting, surfcasting, horseback riding, hiking, nature trails.
- Hither Hills State Park: Camping, hiking, mountain biking, and hunting.
- Camp Hero State Park: Surfing, surfcasting, hiking, horseback riding, and The Montauk Project (more on this in a future blog!)
- Shadmoor State Park in Ditch Plains: Hiking, bird watching, picnicking, exploring the two WWII concrete bunkers.
- Montauk Downs State Park: Best known for its Robert Trent Jones-designed, championship-length, 18-hole Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course. Plus … a driving range, six championship tennis courts, a main swimming pool and a wading pool for children, a beautiful catering facility, a clubhouse and a grill room serving breakfast and lunch.
Fresh Water, The Blessing of the Fleet, and a Cattle Ranch!
It’s not all saltwater in Montauk.
Check out Big Reed Pond, (keep an eye out for Indian Relics and bald eagles) Oyster Pond, and Fresh Pond in Hither Hill State Park. Here’s Larry Penny’s take in the East Hampton Star, and read 27East.com’s take on the new Montauk Indian Museum.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Montauk in early June be sure to catch the Blessing of the Fleet, which has been kicking off the summer season since 1955. The event combines a festive atmosphere with a somber reminder of those lost at sea the previous season.
Finish your day with a sunset horseback ride on the beach at Deep Hollow Ranch, the oldest cattle ranch in the United States (featured under a pseudonym in ‘The Affair’ on Showtime).
Then home to the Mill House Inn to warm up with a cappuccino (spiked with some of that Rumrunners Honey whiskey?) before walking to dinner in East Hampton Village …
Montauk is one of the great treasures to explore in the Hamptons. Call us or email us today to schedule your stay!