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Top-Rated Attractions of Montauk, NY

By:
Adeel Mallick

Boasting miles of camping opportunities, biking and hiking trails, as well as beautiful Atlantic beaches and top-notch seafood, Montauk, New York, is rich in history you won't want to miss. Featuring the well-known Montauk Point Lighthouse, this vacation spot has year-round activities and attractions for people of all ages. Located on Long Island's South Fork, Montauk is one of the two New York townships comprising the famous Hamptons.

Although many visitors frequenting the area enjoy beach towns including Amagansett, Bridgehampton, and Sag Harbor, Montauk offers a unique, quiet, and pleasant escape while still offering a down-to-earth surf town feel. Whether you are traveling by car, or public transportation, or hope to enjoy a once in a lifetime helicopter ride, Montauk is a short ride away from New York City even though it’s the furthest point of the island. Featuring an iconic lighthouse, Montauk State Park provides beaches, bluffs, and sightings such as dolphins, humpback whales, harbor seals, and seabirds. This beloved town has made a name for itself as a highly sought-after tourist attraction, with pristine beaches and fine dining your family will remember for years to come.

Montauk Point Lighthouse

Prized as the most iconic piece of Montauk, the Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in New York. A trip to Montauk wouldn't be complete without a visit to this piece of national history. Originally, it was commissioned in 1796 by George Washington himself, when the United States was still young.

Positioned in the Montauk Point State Park, at Montauk Point, this historical landmark provides sweeping views. A mere 137 iron steps promises panoramic views of Block Island, and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance, atop Montauk Point Lighthouse. During your visit, a trip to the Keeper's House will not disappoint. Built in 1860, the Keeper's House displays historical photographs, maritime artifacts, and authentic documents signed by the Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, as well as George Washington.

Montauk State Park is rather versatile, and if you are in the mood for some romance, this spot is perfect for catching the sunrise as it peeks over the bluffs, rocky beaches, and Atlantic ocean. Don't forget to stop by the gift shop, located in the visitor's center, to pick up a memento of your stay here. Additionally, should your visit be in May, the Montauk Music Festival offers unique activities not found any other time throughout the year. You should note, however, the winter is the off-season for the lighthouse when it's closed.

Montauk Point State Park

Enjoy unparalleled views of landscapes, often prized by natural photographers, hikers and campers, cross-country skiers, and more. Montauk Point State Park boasts views of the Atlantic ocean, rocky shorelines, wildlife, nature trails, and more. Fishermen come for the ultra coveted striped bass, while surfers stay to enjoy surfing the waves of the North Bar from winter all the way through to March.

A beloved 125-mile long trail, Paumanok Path connects the state park with Rocky Point and stands as one of Montauk's most popular trails. This trail goes all the way to the North Shore of Long Island, featuring a variety of scenery, winding through four beautiful towns. Hikers enjoy scenic rolling hills, beachfront views, and woodlands, dappled with various playgrounds, picnic areas, and restrooms. Up to two leashed pets are permitted within the areas specified for day use.

Lake Montauk

While the name may be a bit misleading to tourists, Lake Montauk is no longer a lake. This is because the former owner of Lake Montauk, Carl Fisher, allowed ocean water to seep up into a dredged hole in 1927. Since then, Lake Montauk has remained a protected bay and serves as the town's main port. Visitors enjoy ferry rides between Block Island, Connecticut, Martha's Vineyard, and New London, especially throughout the summer.

While it may be hard to believe, this bay carries fishing boats and chartered boats out of the harbor on a daily basis year-round. In fact, many restaurants have found themselves nestled along the banks of Lake Montauk, including the Crow's Nest, Gosman's Dock, and the Westlake Fish House. These seafood restaurants provide plenty of outdoor seating, accentuated by lovely bay views. In July and August, tourists may also enjoy free concerts at Gosman's Dock restaurant every Sunday.

Camp Hero State Park

To the south of Montauk Point State Park, you'll find Camp Hero State Park, an area used as a basing during WWII. This protected area is worth the visit if you have planned a trip to the East. This park boasts abundant native wildlife, wetlands, and maritime forests. Whether you are looking to take your dog on a walk, enjoy a hike, or cycle along numerous paths, you won't regret an afternoon spent along the coast. Don't forget to soak up the ocean views by sharing a picnic with friends and family.

This area appeals to a wide variety of tourists, including paranormal and conspiracy theorists. In the 1980s, conspiracy theories began taking root over an allegation that government projects had taken place around Montauk Radar Tower. The theory goes that US government officials developed psychological warfare techniques while also conducting research on time travel, as well as teleportation. History buffs interested in these projects may look into the Montauk Project for further info. The popular Netflix show, Stranger Things, was inspired by Preston Nichols' books, which discussed the Montauk Project.

Ditch Plains Beach

As one of the more popular beaches in the Hamptons, Ditch Plains Beach is backed by gorgeous green cliffs. This windswept stretch of Montauk is a huge hit with wave riders and rather popular during various school breaks. Tourists who aren't interested in surfing may enjoy delicious food and stop to soak up the sun. With a variety of food trucks serving everything from breakfast burritos to Cuban food, you can bet there is a flavor for everyone. Beachgoers, in particular, enjoy the Ditch Witch Food Truck and Ditch Witch Cubano.

This area is great for those looking to enjoy a good walk or cycle down to the beach. Ditch Plains Beach also offers a variety of activities, from surfing to dog walking opportunities and everything in between. Plus, if you forgot to bring or don't own a surfboard or wetsuit, you're in luck! The nearby Air and Speed Surf Shop offers a wide selection of rentals to suit your vacation needs.

Hither Hills State Park

With a large number of public campsites, Hither Hills State Park is the perfect place to go camping in Montauk. Located between the Atlantic ocean and the Napeague walking dunes, visitors enjoy biking, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, and more throughout the year. A two-mile sandy beach, in addition to a 40-acre lake, provides opportunities to enjoy the local wildlife, with numerous fireplaces, handicapped-accessible picnic areas, and playgrounds. Best of all, the beach remains open from Memorial Day up until Labor Day.

Although Hither Hills State Park offers several tents and RV campsites, they tend to fill up fast. It's best to book with enough time in advance to ensure your spot will be reserved, especially for your trip. Lifeguards are also on duty throughout the open season. Another popular attraction is the three-quarter-mile trail, which begins near the dunes, and ends at a full-fledged cranberry bog. From cranberries to orchids and other bog plants, Montauk boasts a wide variety of flora and fauna. Also, for your convenience, visitors may take advantage of the on-site convenience store in order to purchase a variety of items during the summer.

Star Island

Much like the premier Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, Star Island features an assortment of amenities. Serving as a serene wedding setting, Star Island has plenty of room for events requiring indoor and outdoor venues. For example, the Waterfront Ballroom sits directly in front of the lake and offers sweeping views. Positioned on Star Island, in the center of Montauk Lake, Star Island awaits to greet tourists with a striking lighthouse replica. Boasting 107 luxurious waterfront suites, villas, and rooms, Gurney's Resort provides spa facilities, meeting rooms, a private beach, and various restaurants. So park your boat at Gurney's marina, and enjoy your stay at this extremely convenient luxury resort.

Shadmoor State Park

Located just a short distance away from Montauk, Shadmoor State Park boasts a beautiful beach in a 99-acre area. Accessible only by two stairways, this park was named after a shadbush commonly found among the moors. This gorgeous shoreline provides hikers and bird-watchers alike with the gorgeous shoreline and elevated platforms. This is the perfect spot to steal away for afternoon picnics with others, especially friends and fishing. Enjoy a loving hike, relax on the beach, or fish on the beach with those you love, especially two max leashed pets. One lesser-known feature is WWII era bunkers, composed of concrete.

Deep Hollow Ranch

Take a glimpse at the past with a visit to Montauk's Deep Hollow Ranch. Rumored to be the country's oldest working ranch, Deep Hollow Ranch takes visitors back to a simpler time, of cowboys and cowgirls. Nestled within acres of coastland, Deep Hollow offers horseback riding through beautiful countryside and pristine beaches. A historical ranch wouldn't be complete without a child's summer camp, either. Located within just a five-minute drive from Montauk Lighthouse, Deep Hollow also offers child-friendly pony rides and horse time.

Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course

Visitors less interested in outdoor rec will appreciate all that Montauk Downs has to offer. With an 18-hole public golf course, Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course is rich in history, dating back to 1927. Redesigned by Robert Trent Jones in 1968, this course was in the care of his son, Rees Jones, for many years. In 1980, though, the state of New York purchased the golf course for year-round fun. Featuring amenities such as tennis courts and swimming pools, Montauk Downs offers a clubhouse, too. Residents of New York may also enjoy teeing off on the golf course through a two-day advance booking with NY Golf Registration.

Kirk Park Beach

Montauk is the only town that has free, public beaches unlike the rest of the Hamptons. Sunbathers enjoy Kirk Park Beach in particular, located just a few miles west of Ditch Plains Beach. By keeping lifeguards on during the high season, Kirk Park Beach offers a secure way to ensure the safe use of all of Montauk's beaches, especially in high season. Located within a convenient distance of hotels such as The Surf Lodge and Montauk Beach House, the Kirk Park Beach is a big crowd-pleaser. Boasting free parking and close proximity to hotels, this location has a lot to offer. So bring your own coolers, chairs, and umbrellas after a quick stop at IGA supermarket for last-minute items. Taking a break at John's Drive Inn is the solution throughout the season for refreshing ice cream, juicy burgers, and more.

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