We hit the Montauk Highway to bring you the ultimate roadmap to the best of the Hamptons and North Fork for families this summer! From the best beaches to the hippest hotels and tastiest local food spots, our East End guide has you covered for the best summer ever!
Westhampton & Quogue
Your kids will love Westhampton for its sparkling beaches and they’ll get a kick out of the historic village of Quogue, which consists of a few restaurants and one block of shops. Both towns also offer endless activities, from boating and kayaking to swimming and fishing.
Culture: Locals love the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (76 Main Street, 631-288-1500, whbpac.org) for its family-friendly shows and, for parents of kids who can’t stop singing show tunes, the Center offers weeklong boot camps run by Broadway professionals throughout the summer.
Nature: An all-in-the-family stroll through the 305-acre Quogue Wildlife Refuge (3 Old Country Road, Quogue, 631-653-4771, quoguewildliferefuge.org) is a must this summer. Founded in 1934, the Refuge is home to diverse wildlife and over 70 species of wildflowers, as well as seven miles of trails. Along the way, you’ll explore diverse habitats, including forests and ponds.
Eats: You know you’ve arrived in the Hamptons as soon as you see a sign for Goldberg’s Famous Bagels (65 Main Street, Westhampton, 631-998-3878, goldbergsfamouswhb.com). With locations throughout the Hamptons, this bagel-maker is known for tasty bagels, flagels, salads, and bagel and lox treats that are perfect for the beach. At the super-cute Beth’s Café (48 Quogue Street, 631-653-0222, bethscafequogue.com), an egg sandwich is a must-try, and at Tony’s Asian Fusion (337 Montauk Highway, East Quogue, 631-728-8850, tonysasianfusion.com) your kids can opt for sushi, Chinese, and Thai, as well as a hibachi!
Southampton & Water Mill
For some, Southampton is the epicenter of the Hamptons and, no doubt, the tiny town is a hub for bistros, beaches, and high-end boutiques—with everything you need for your little ones—while neighboring Watermill is a 300-year-old artsy beach town that boasts a world-renowned museum.
Culture: With an incredible collection of over 2,600 works from famed masters and contemporary artists, including Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, who lived on Eastern Long Island, the Parrish Art Museum (279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, 631-283-2118, parrishart.org) is a favorite for older kids.
Stay: Located within walking distance from Southampton Village, the Southampton Inn (91 Hill Street, 631-283-6500, southamptoninn.com) is ideal for families seeking an overnight stay: It boasts 90 guestrooms, a massive playroom, and a pool; plus, it’s just a mile from the world-famous Cooper’s Beach (268 Meadow Lane, 631-283-0247), considered by some to be one of the nicest in the world.
Eats: At Union Cantina (40 Bowden Square, 631-377-3500, unioncantina.net), located in a historic building right in iconic Bowden Square, every meal is a treat. With a kids’ menu that has something for everyone, including veggie tacos, kids’ nachos, and churros for dessert, Union Cantina will quickly become a family favorite. La Parmigiana (44-48 Hampton Road, 631-283-8030, laparmigianaitalianrestaurant.com) offers mouth-watering Italian food at reasonable prices, and Friday night is sundae night at Sip n Soda (40 Hampton Road, 631-283-9752, sipnsoda.com), which means unlimited toppings from 5:30-10pm, at a family-owned luncheonette that has dished out tasty meals since 1958. Before you head home, be sure to stop for some sweets at the Fudge Company (67 Main Street, 631-283-8108, southamptonfudgecompany.com), where you’ll find several fudge flavors and 30 varieties of ice cream. From there, pop over to the now-famous Tate’s Bake Shop (43 North Sea Road, 631-283-9830, tatesbakeshop.com) to pick up cakes, pies, or a bag of crunchy cookies to go.
This quaint Hamptons beach town offers plenty of history—the two windmills are must-sees—and lots of kid-friendly restaurants, shopping, and Main Beach, considered one of the most pristine anywhere.
Historical Spots: Founded in 1648, East Hampton has a fascinating history and the two town windmills are a great place to learn more about it. Built in 1806, Old Hook Windmill (North Main Street) is open to visitors daily. The Hayground Windmill (Windmill Lane) was built in 1801 and is open to families who will delight in spotting its internal machinery, which looks the same as it did when it was a working windmill.
Culture: Founded more than 80 years ago, Guild Hall (158 Main Street, 631-324-0806, guildhall.org) is the Hamptons’ year-round visual and performing arts center and offers loads of summer events for kids of all ages. At Bookhampton (41 Main Street, 631-324-4939, bookhampton.com), Sundays at 10:30am are prime time for story time. Head to LongHouse Reserve (133 Hands Creek Road, 631-329-3568, longhouse.org) for a family stroll through this 16-acre garden and sculpture park. Older kids might just want to visit Yoko Ono’s “Play It By Trust” sculpture, actually a giant chess set made of marble and concrete.
Eats: The adventurous eaters in your family will most definitely go for made-for-summer lobster rolls at Bostwicks Chowder House (277 Pantigo Road, 631-324-1111, bostwickschowderhouse.com) and the restaurant boasts a fun “guppy” kids’ menu, too. If burgers are the thing your kids love most, visit Rowdy Hall (10 Main Street (in the Parrish Mews), 631-324-8555, rowdyhall.com), a yummy English pub/French bistro that has been dishing out delicious fare since 1996.
Sag Harbor is as quaint as it is bustling. There’s something for everyone in this historic town, from gorgeous shops to a delightfully walkable downtown.
Culture: The Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre (4 Hampton Street, 631-725-9500, goatonaboat.org) is fun for both parents and kids. Puppeteer Liz Joyce’s camp is one of the best treasures in the Hamptons. At the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum (200 Main Street, 631-725-0770, sagharborwhalingmuseum.org), your kids will love learning a little history and spotting the whale bones and harpoons on display.
Eats: No stop in Sag Harbor is complete without a meal at LT Burger (62 Main Street, 631-899-4646, ltburger.com), Laurent Tourondel’s casual burger joint featuring 10 burgers, from the “LT Backyard” (grilled hickory smoked bacon, NY State cheddar, and LT sauce) to the “No Buns.” Little kids will go nuts for the LT Kids’ Box, which includes a choice of grilled cheese, chicken fingers, mini burger, and a choice of waffle fries, sweet potato fries, broccoli, or skinny fries, plus a soft drink, fruit, and a special surprise. And, whatever you do, save room for one of eight shakes made from scratch (the French Toast was a 2015 shake competition winner). If you’re still seeking something sweet, walk up Main Street to Buddha Berry (125 Main Street, 631-808-3888, buddhaberry.com), a massive yogurt shop with a dazzling number of daily flavors and over 250 toppings to choose from.
Shop: For 50 years, the Wharf Shop (69A Main Street, 631-725-0420, wharfshop.com) has been a family-owned Sag Harbor mainstay known for its specialty toys and gifts. At Stella & Ruby (144 Main Street, 631-919-5222, stellaandrubyhamptons.com), chic party supplies are stocked up front and the rest of the boutique is filled with stylish kids’ collections from Appaman, Anais & I, Misha and Puff, and Oeuf.
Deemed a bit more laid-back than the rest of the Hamptons, Amagansett boasts low-key restaurants, shops, bay and ocean views, and lots of fun things for kids to do.
Culture: The Amagansett Library (215 Main Street, 631-267-3810, amaglibrary.org) offers programs for babies and toddlers all summer long and at the Art Barge (Napeague Meadow Road, 631-267-3172, theartbarge.org), the Children’s Studio holds kids’ classes focused on painting, collage, and sculpture. Visit Amber Waves Farm (375 Main Street, 631-267-5664, amberwavesfarm.org) and your kids can learn all about farm chores, organic foods, and experience a few cooking lessons, too.
Sports: For the 2018 season, 27Tennis (2145 Montauk Highway, 631-260-1480, 27tennis.com), a new tennis club, will feature kids’ lessons, summer camp, junior leagues, and more. Horseback riders will love attending pony camp at Stony Hill Stables (268 Town Lane, 631-267-3203 stonyhillstables.com) and bikers in the family can rent bikes (surfboards, kayaks, boogie boards, skateboards, and more are available, too) or sign up for instruction at Amagansett Beach & Bicycle Company (624 Montauk Highway, 631-267-6325, amagansettbeachco.com).
Eats: At the Clam Bar (2025 Montauk Highway, 631-267-6348, clambarhamptons.com), you’ll eat at one of the oldest clam shacks in the Hamptons. At Indian Wells Tavern (117 Main Street, 631-267-0400, indianwellstavern.com) pub fare is the dish of the day, along with a kids’ menu that veers from the usual with offerings like hummus with pita and fish and chips.
A fishing village and surfer’s favorite located all the way out at the end of Long Island, Montauk is beloved by families thanks to its low-key vibe and gorgeous beaches.
Culture: A must-do: Climb 137 iron steps to the top of the Montauk Point Lighthouse (2000 Montauk Highway, 631-668-2544, montauklighthouse.com), which just so happens to be the oldest lighthouse in New York State and was authorized under President George Washington in 1792. Tip: Your kids have to be 41 inches or taller to do the climb, but the trek is worth it— you’ll get 360-degree views from Block Island to the Atlantic Ocean.
Stay: Situated on Montauk’s most pristine stretch of oceanfront real estate, Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa (290 Old Montauk Highway, 631-668-2345, gurneysmontauk.com) is a Hamptons institution and is the only four-season resort on Montauk. Kids can enrich their minds with the resort’s new kids’ meditation program, which takes place on the property’s 2,000-ft private sand beach (or inside if the weather is inclement). In addition, at the new, 2,000-square-ft Kids Club, little ones get to enjoy beach time, arts and crafts, lunch, and swimming in the indoor, ocean-fed seawater pool. Best of all, kids can head to the pool for “Swim-In Movies.”
Eats: One of Montauk’s oldest and most famous spots, Duryea’s Lobster Deck (65 Tuthill Road, 631-668-2410, duryealobsters.com) offers tasty waterfront dining and a kids’ menu that features cheeseburgers, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, and, of course, a lobster roll. The restaurant at the perennially hip, camp-chic Ruschmeyer’s Hotel (161 2nd House Road, 631-668-2877, ruschmeyers.com) offers a seasonally changing menu and a fun kids’ menu featuring fish sticks and wood-fired cheese pizza; John’s Pancake House (721 Montauk Highway, 631-668-2383), now known as the place Jerry Seinfeld stopped in with Jimmy Fallon while filming “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” offers reasonably priced diner food. Before you leave town, pop into Candied Anchor (721 Main Street, 631-668-8038, candiedanchor.com), a 1950s-era sweet shop that stocks everything from classic candy to goat’s milk caramels.
The North Fork
Known for its wineries and seaside villages, visitors to the East End say the North Fork is the ultimate place to find serenity, get lost in nature, and hit the beach.
Seaside Sights: The minute you drive into Greenport, you feel immediately that this is one fun town. And it is—thanks to its lively cafes and restaurants and its historic spots, such as a one room Kindergarten schoolhouse on Main Street and the Jess Owen Carousel House, a 100-year-old carousel in Mitchell Park.
Take a Drive: While you’re on the North Fork, drive to the town’s outskirts and you’ll pass Sep’s Farm (7395 Main Road, East Marion, 631-477-1583, sepsfarm.com), a family run farm stand that has brought the freshest produce to the local community for over 60 years and features a Junior’s Kids Club with fun farm activities, including water play, exploratory learning, and special arts and crafts projects. Before you leave the area, drive into Orient, a teensy town featuring the Candyman (22350 Main Road, 631-323-2675, OrientCandyman.com), an old-school shop selling a wide variety of homemade chocolates.
Stay: The Sound View Greenport (58775 Route 48, Greenport, 631-477-1910, soundviewgreenport.com) is an old side-of-the-road motel that’s recently been given a new, super hip life. You can swim here in season, stroll the quarter-mile private beach, or rent a bike, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. The 55 waterfront rooms have been completely redone in rich cedarwood and natural materials and all have decks facing the Sound and a private beach.
This 40-square-mile town is also New York’s busiest fishing port and offers plenty of beaches, family-friendly restaurants, and quick access to the Big Duck (1008 Route 24 Flanders), a 10-ft-tall roadside duck.
Get Active: Take a dip at Meschutt Beach County Park (Canal Road and Old North Highway, 631-852-8205), tucked right along the Great Peconic Bay. It’s an ideal spot for families, thanks to its peaceful waters, concession stand, and bathrooms. Always wanted to try stand-up paddleboarding? Head right to Adventure Paddleboards (32 Lighthouse Road, 631-377-0162, adventurepaddleboards.com), located on Shinnecock Bay, to get suited up for fun.
Eats: While in town, be sure to stop by Slo Jack’s (212 West Montauk Highway, 631-728-9601, slojacksdrivein.com), a drive-in open year-round that’s a blast from the past serving tasty soft-serve and juicy burgers. Locals will urge you to head right over to the Hampton Maid (259 East Montauk Highway, 631-728-4166, hamptonmaid.com) for French toast or a stack of pancakes. The restaurant has been serving tasty meals since 1959.
Nestled between the North and South Forks of Long Island, the peaceful Shelter Island is surrounded on three sides by the Shelter Island Sound and, on the fourth side, by Gardiners Bay. It’s just a quick ride via ferry from either Greenport to the north or North Haven to the south.
Nature: With one-third of Shelter Island taken up by Mashomack Preserve (79 South Ferry Road, 631-749-1001, nature.org), which belongs to the Nature Conservancy, your kids will love the nature center focused on life at the seashore. There’s also a walking trail here, too. At the 243-acre Sylvester Manor (80 North Ferry Road, 631-749-0626, sylvestermanor.org), established in 1652 as a plantation for the Barbadian sugar trade, kids can learn all about life at the farm with programs geared to kids ages three to 12. Aspiring golfers in the family? Head right over to Whale’s Tale (3 Ram Island Road, 631-749-1839, shelterislandwhalestale.com) for an 18-hole round of mini-golf.
Eats: This is one place where things just feel a bit slower. Locals say no trip to the island is complete without a scoop of gelato at Marie Eiffel’s (8 Grand Avenue, 631-749-0707, marieeiffelmarket.com), a slice (or an order of garlic knots) at Bella Vita (53 North Ferry Road, 631-749-5462), or a taco at Star’s Café (17 Grand Avenue, 631-749-5345, starscafeshelterisland.com).
Stay: The Ram’s Head Inn on Shelter Island (108 Ram Island Drive, 631-749-0811, theramsheadinn.com) is a 17-room classic waterfront Inn perched on 800 feet of private beach. Stay here and you can take a complimentary sailboat, paddleboard, or kayak ride. Or just stake out a chaise lounge and order fresh seasonal fare from the restaurant’s acclaimed children’s menu. (The “Evy Plate,” for example, is named for the owner’s 2-year-old granddaughter’s favorite dish.) There’s also a bocce court, swing set, tree swings, horseshoes, and a sandbox all located within sight of the terrace for maximum relaxation for parents.