Montauk isn’t designed to be rushed – but if you need to cut your visit down to just one day, it can be done.
Getting there is half the fun. Drive and you’ll pass pretty villages with a lot of eye candy – tidy East Hampton, tiny Amagansett. Take the Long Island rail route and you’ll skip all the traffic and be pleasantly surprised at how far you can get around by walking, renting a bike, or taking a quick cab.
MAKE A PITSTOP Every visit to Montauk should begin with a clam lunch, enjoyed by the side of the road along the way. The Lobster Roll – or LUNCH, as it is called by its sign on Montauk Highway – was a favorite long before it starred in the Showtime drama “The Affair.” (631-267-3740, lobsterroll.com). In town, you can sit on the Duryea Bridge and stock up on clams, oysters, or whole lobsters to fuel up for the day (631-668-2410, duryealobsters.com).
SEE THE BEACH You’ve come all this way – you have to walk in the sand. South Edison Beach is easily accessible from the village (near S. Emerson Ave.) – prepare to be amazed at how close the shore is to the dunes. Kirk Park Beach is popular with day trippers for its free access and washrooms.
EXPLORE THE VILLAGE It’s only a few blocks away, but it has its share of kitschy souvenir shops for t-shirts and beach bags. You can play a round of minigolf or rent a pedal boat to navigate Fort Pond in Puff and Putt (cash only, 631-668-4473, puffnputt.com). Refill with a pint at the popular Montauk Brewery Company – the outdoor courtyard is normally a popular hangout destination, as the brewery sails on reopening you’ll need to take your cans. (631-668-8471, montaukbrewingco.com).
GO TO THE TOWER You should not miss the opportunity to see one of Long Island’s iconic lighthouses. Take the 6.5 mile drive east to Montauk Point State Park ($ 8 parking 8 am-4pm). While you can’t climb the tower at this time due to coronavirus restrictions, there’s no shame in just taking a seat in one of the seesaws perched near the cliffs for a great view (631 -668-2544, montauklighthouse.com).
STAGE VIEWS Sunsets in Montauk are universally spectacular. Enjoy it at Montauk Point Park with a drink and nibbles at George’s Lighthouse Cafe, where the lawn-lined patio often features live music on weekends and lawn games to entertain all ages (631-663 -2076, georgeslighthousecafe.com). More upscale – Navy Beach, a restaurant that coveted white lounge chairs and picnic tables perched on the sand overlooking Ford Pond Bay (631-668-6868, navybeach.com).