Back in New York on a quick mission to sort out my Visa, I made an impromptu getaway to the visit the Hamptons. Always on my wish list of places to see, I quickly realized why so many celebs and vacationers jetted off to this Long Island Region of the world. The air is fresh, the produce is even fresher and there isn’t a shortage of beautiful beaches and dunes. Whether you’re seeking a little travel inspo or looking for recs for a vacation of your own, here’s a very detailed list of all the things that made me fall in love with this serene escape, just a quick jaunt away from New York.
Traveling to the Hamptons from Manhattan was actually a whole lot easier than anticipated. Depending on your budget there are several modes of transportation to escape the city.
The Jitney: Not your most luxurious mode of Transportation, The Jitney is the most cost-effective. We originally planned on renting a car but found this was SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper saving us about $400 round trip. It’s about a 2.5-hour drive from the city, and tickets cost $30 a person.
The Ambassador: If you’re traveling by bus but want a more “first class” option, consider upgrading to The Jitney’s sister bus, the Ambassador.
Uber: If your budget allows, you can always Uber, costing around $400-$500 one way (* Uber X)
Helicopter: If you’re living the high life, traveling via Helicopter or Airplane are always an option. Tickets can cost $500+ per person and you can fly privately directly into East Hampton Airport.
*** Rental Car: If you plan on doing any activities in the Hamptons I 100% recommend renting a car. We decided to take the Jitney opposed to driving from Manhattan to save $, but went with Hertz once we got into town. It only cost us $70 for the weekend and they have locations in South Hampton and East Hampton depending on what’s most convenient to your location.
While I wouldn’t categorize the Hamptons as a go-to place for those seeking an over the top Luxury resort, it is home to several charming properties, some beachfront, some harbor front, and others off the beaten path. Because “The Hamptons” are broken down into several different regions- South Hampton, Bridge Hampton, Sag Harbor, East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk. I recommend doing a little research and figuring out which area you want to be based in, then book your lodging from there.
BARON’S COVE: This is the only property I can speak about first hand. After settling on Sag Harbor for its central location and authentic East Coast feel, we spent our weekend in the Hamptons at Baron’s Cove. I loved the entire vibe of the Hotel, it felt super authentic with East Coast appeal, particularly the Lobby, Bar, outdoor patios, and bedrooms. It reminded me a bit of my days at summer camp with bicycles on site, a small garden, on-site pool, clubhouse and outdoor fireplace. The staff was a bit disorganized at times and the service was a little slow at the restaurant but other than that we had a lovely experience, and really savored our breakfasts on the balcony and central location. (Pictured Above)
GURNEY’S MONTAUK: While we didn’t stay here, I did enjoy a spa treatment at Gurney’s Saltwater Spa and would say this is the closest thing for those seeking a luxury resort. Right on the beach with stunning ocean views, it’s a great place for couples, families, and those looking for a luxury vacation with beach service and all the bells and whistles.
AIR BNB: If you’re traveling with a group, I definitely recommend opting for the house route. While I loved our relaxing weekend away, the Hamptons is the ideal place to post up for a week, have your own home away from home and be on your own program. There are a ton of great properties, but this one, in particular, stood out with high prices similar to that of the hotels.
A few other properties we passed worth looking into are:
There’s plenty to do and enjoy in the Hamptons whether you’re on an R&R program or looking for more of a scene. During the month of September things had slowed down a bit, but if that’s what you’re after I definitely recommend also going once the summer crowds have gone home.
BEACH: The Hamptons are not short of dunes and Beaches. You can pretty much drive to any beach entry along the coast and take your pick, but some beaches that we went to and were advised to visit were: East Hampton Main Beach, Sagg Main Beach, Ditch Planes for the surf scene, and Kirk Park Beach in Montauk.
BIKE RIDING: On the night of our arrival, we took the bikes from our Hotel and biked across the bridge. Not really on any sort of agenda, this was a great way to get acclimated to our area and enjoy the beautiful Hampton’s scenery.
APPLE PICKING: If you’re visiting the Hamptons in the Fall, be sure to visit one of the local Apple Orchards. We went to Seven Ponds Orchards on the morning of our departure and I have never seen so many apples in my life! They had rows and rows, all labeled according to the Apple, and can confidently say they were the most delicious apples of my life!
FARM STANDS: One of my favorite things about the Hamptons was the abundance of Farm stands. Just drive around and I guarantee you you’ll come across at least 5 in the span of a few miles. If you’re staying here long term or have access to a kitchen, I definitely recommend picking up some fresh ingredients or for a dinner or at least enjoying some farm fresh produce.
WINE TASTING: Wölffer Estate hosts a laid-back wine night every Friday and Saturday starting at 5pm until sundown. We came here during one of our nights in town and loved the casual vibe, live music, and wine. (Through September 30*)
HORSEBACK RIDING: If you’re a horse lover like me, first off, driving through the back roads you’ll see an abundance of beautiful horses. But you can also book a beach or dune ride at Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk.
LIGHTHOUSE: At the most Eastern Point of Montauk lies a beautiful, quaint lighthouse. The fog rolled in so I didn’t get the clearest view but if you’re feeling up for it you can visit the grounds and inside for a fee of $8. (Parking in the lot is also $8).
RELAX: Honestly, coming from Europe I was on such a travel program of “do, do, do”, but the Hamptons is really just a great place to slow down your usual pace of living and relax! If you don’t make it to even half the things on this list that’s beyond ok, if anything encouraged. Above all else I recommend grabbing a great book, finding a cozy spot on the beach or a bench by the harbor and getting lost in the peace and tranquility of this beautiful little town.
SHOPPING & DINING IN EACH UNIQUE AREA
Besides the misty mornings and relaxing beaches, my favorite thing about the Hamptons was exploring the unique areas. Each offering something a little bit different, I definitely recommend setting some time out to explore the shops in each individual town. Additionally, there are too many restaurants to count, so to make planning easier I’ve broken down my recommendations by area.
Walk down Main Street and take in the small town feel. There isn’t one particular shop I necessarily recommend, but there’s a mix of a few names you’ve heard like (NYC perfume & Calypso) mixed with several local gems. *Time permitting and if Home Tours are “your thing” venture up Main Street a bit, and you can tour a beautiful historical Home
Harbor Market and Kitchen: Market meets cafe meets budget friendly, yummy breakfast. Where we grabbed coffee and Brekky on our way out of town. Super delicious and easy, definitely recommend it!
Sagtown Coffee: The Hamptons’ popular local coffee chain. They’ve got your typical mochas, lattes, cappuccinos etc, but also have Coconut Milk for all you dairy-free people!
Grindstone Coffee & Donuts: Much more of a local Donuts & Coffee Type of shop! Reminded me of sidecar but without all the trendy bells and whistles.
Provisions: After craving some greens, we came here for delicious smoothies. They also serve healthy, casual meal options if you’re on the hunt for a more health-conscious bite.
Lulus: We came here for Dinner and the delicious food and great atmosphere made for a really enjoyable night. With a menu consisting of classic American Seafood dishes I recommend getting the Cauliflower and Seafood pasta, both were out of this world!
DOPO La Spiaggia: One of the most beautiful Italian restaurants right on the water in Sag Harbor. I recommend coming here for a nice dinner but call ahead and make a reservation!
The Dock House: Classic option coastal cuisine.
Buddahberry Ice Cream and Yogurt: Delicious fro-yo, open until midnight!
I’d say east Hampton is significantly more upscale and mainstream with shops like Ralph Lauren, Intermix, and J Crew lining the main street. If you’re a bookworm, be sure to pop into “Book Hampton” and give yourself ample time for window shopping.
Citarella Gourmet Market: Craving a little picnic on the beach, we ventured here and got deli sandwiches to go. Mary Marvelous is another Deli Option down the road if you’re on a mission to have an afternoon picnic or indulge in a deli sandwich.
Something about Bridgehampton had a hometown feel. While all the towns were quite small, this one, in particular, had a familiar feel matched with east coast charm.
Gotham Boxing: If you’re up for an extremely intense workout to kick-start your day, I recommend a boxing class at Gotham Boxing. We took the 8:30 am class during our first full day and while it kicked my butt I had so much fun!
Soul Cycle: Another option for the fitness fanatic + there are three more locations in East Hampton, Watermill, and Montauk.
The Golden Pear Cafe: Super casual place to grab a juice, smoothie, or meal on the go right across the street from Gotham Gym. I actually spotted quite a few throughout the various towns, so check your maps to see if there’s a closer one in your area.
Pierre’s: One of the prettiest, quaint spaces I’ve ever stumbled into! I definitely recommend grabbing breakfast or a quaint dinner here if you’re in Bridge Hampton.
This definitely felt the most “Gwyneth Paltrow” out of all the towns if that makes any sense at all. There was the perfect combination of farm stands and up and coming shops, nestled within this modest Hamptons town. Again there isn’t one shop I particularly recommend, but do park, grab a coffee or tea and roam around the square. During our trip in September, most of the Hydrangeas was a bit out of comission, but I’m sure they’d look beautiful in the spring or summer in bloom!
JACKS COFFEE- A quaint little coffee shop right off the main street with delicious coffee, tea, and donuts! The guys that work here are super friendly. Definitely, recommend it for a morning cup o’ jo!
WÖLFFER CAFE- A beautiful dining space tucked behind the main square. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, the Wölffer Family has quite a few properties throughout the Hamptons and so far none of them disappoint!
ICE CREAM- Keep following the square around and you’ll stumble upon another little cafe and an ice cream shop. I didn’t indulge this trip but there were several kids with a cone in hand, all looking quite content!
AMBER WAVES FARM- On your way in or out of town, be sure to stop at Amber Waves Farm. They were hosting a culinary dinner (something to look into if that’s your thing) and the shop is filled with the prettiest kitchen knick-knacks and farm fresh produce.
The most Eastern town in the Hamptons, known for its beaches, summer scene, and classic east coast vibes. I don’t know if I could necessarily pick a favorite area in the Hamptons, but Montauk certainly left a strong impression. It’s about 45 minutes if you’re driving straight from Sag Harbor, but to break it up you can stop along the other beautiful towns like we did on your way!
Navy Beach: We came once the summer crowds had cleared, but I loved this little, not so “hidden” gem, tucked away between Fort Pond Bay and Lake. The Menu is pretty straightforward, the scene quite nautical, with seating inside as well as right on the beach. (Pictured above right)
Flagship: Coastal and Chic offering seafood and cocktails waterside, Flagship is an ideal for those looking for something a little more upscale by the water.
The Lobster: Smack dab on the side of the road is the cutest colorful “shack” that apparently has the best Lobster Roll in town. If you’re craving quintessential East Coast seafood, other than a Lobster Roll I’ve heard the adjacent restaurant directly across the street is your best bet. (Pictured above left)
The Dock: According to a friend this is the place you should go for the best mussels in the world. We didn’t have time to dine here this trip, but all the more reason to come back!
Ditch Witch: If you’re enjoying a beach day at Ditch Plains, be sure to check out this local gem for a little afternoon beach bite! They serve classic favorites like breakfast burritos, cinnamon buns, wraps, and sandwiches.
*Gurney’s Seawater Spa: If you’re heading to Montauk and seeking a little R&R, look into booking an appointment at Gurney’s Seawater Spa. While it isn’t the most luxurious spa facility I have ever visited, I really enjoyed my 30-minute neck, back, and shoulder massage, and snuck down to the beach afterward to soak in the beautiful property views.
I’m sure there are SO many more hidden local gems but I hope this helps with a little travel planning or inspo & enjoy the Hamptons if you’re heading to this beautiful part of the country! For those of you curious about what all you should bring, stay tuned for my Hamptons Packing List!