The Hamptons, A Little Paradise Away From New York
The Hamptons are a region of New York State, located east of Long Island. This region includes several towns and villages, known throughout the world to be among the favorite places of many wealthy stars, who like to come and spend their holidays there. The entire region has now become a very touristic place, and you can discover magnificent natural landscapes, fine sandy beaches and luxurious neighborhoods by visiting the Hamptons.
For me, it’s only worth visiting the Hamptons once you’ve already toured New York’s main neighborhoods, and of course the big must-sees like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. Let’s just say that the Hamptons are not necessarily to be discovered during a first trip to New York, especially if it only lasts a few days.
Where Are Long Island And The Hamptons Located?
Long Island is an island off the east coast of the United States, in the state of New York. Part of New York City lies on the western edge of Long Island, and the island then stretches nearly 200 km east into the Atlantic Ocean.
Long Island is far from being the largest island in the United States, but it is one of the 20 most populated islands in the world. The vast majority of the island’s population resides in New York itself or its immediate outskirts in Nassau County.
The Hamptons are located all over the eastern part of the island. They largely occupy the South Fork Peninsula, a broad swath of land fifty miles long, stretching east to Montauk. Most of the time, when the Hamptons are referred to, it is to refer to the resort area formed by the towns of East Hampton and Southampton.
To go to the Hamptons, it takes about 2 hours from the center of New York. Some excursions offer to discover the Hamptons in a day from New York. Round-trip transport is generally included in the service, and the proposed program is rather complete, allowing you to have a good overview of this little corner of paradise. You won’t have to take care of anything.
Originally, this region was occupied by the Algonquian Indians, before settlers from Holland, Poland and especially England began to settle there in the mid-17th century. They grew potatoes there. Until the end of the 19th century, the whole of Long Island was a very rural region, except for the western part with Brooklyn and Queens, which were already attached to New York.
Beginning in the early 20th century, the construction of the Long Island Expressway and improved roads allowed this area to become much more accessible and attractive. Over the years, the towns of East Hampton and Southampton were taken over by wealthy families from the area and then from across the country, who made it their favorite vacation spot.
Today, Long Island has become a popular vacation spot for millions of Americans, thanks in part to the island’s green spaces and many highly regarded beaches, such as Long Beach and Atlantic Beach. Tourism, mainly summer, plays an extremely important role in the economy of the region. The Hamptons are the most upscale part of the island, and are very popular with wealthy people. Many stars from all walks of life own a luxurious villa with a view of the sea.
How To Visit The Hamptons?
Several means will be at your disposal to get to the region, but if you go by car and you plan to discover several towns and villages, I advise you to leave as soon as possible, or even to stay two or three days there. For your visit, as the region is very long (50 km long and only 2 or 3 km wide) it is best to simply start at one of the two ends.
If you can, renting a car will be by far the best solution. A car will allow you to have much greater freedom and to visit the region at your own pace. This will be all the more interesting since the Hamptons, and even the whole region of Long Island, are perfect to be discovered during a short road trip. As for the travel time, you will take about 1h30 to reach the Hamptons from the exit of New York.
You can also take the train to reach the region: it is very well served, since about thirty stations are located between Montauk and Manhattan. It is also the solution that will be the most economical, since you can make the trip for around twenty euros at most.
Small negative point: the trains do not necessarily run very regularly and you will have more difficulty getting from one place to another. However, if you mainly want to visit a particular place in the Hamptons, the train will do just fine.
It will take about 2.5 hours to get to Montauk from Manhattan, with a fare of about $22 each way ($44 round trip).
Some companies also offer bus trips to the Hamptons. These routes can be interesting if you want to quickly discover several places in the region. A good number of different formulas are proposed, some of which are real organized tours. For the trip to Montauk, which takes about 2h30, you will have to pay a little less than 30€.
And as mentioned above, there are also day trips from New York. If you are interested in this format, you can learn more by following this link.
Cities And Places To Discover In The Hamptons
Montauk is a small fishing village, which is transformed during the summer period into a very popular seaside resort. It is the easternmost landmark in the Hamptons. If you are driving, you can therefore choose to start or end your visit there. Even during the high season, the atmosphere of this charming village remains calm and soothing.
The city’s main attraction is the Montauk Lighthouse. It is open to visitors all year round, and offers a splendid panoramic view of the coast and the Atlantic Ocean. On the ground floor, the lighthouse also houses a small museum. It brings together a large number of period photographs and historical documents, such as the federal authorization which authorized the construction of this lighthouse, signed by President George Washington in 1796.
The ticket for the visit is offered at $12 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children under 12 years old.
To eat or refresh yourself, you can head to The Surf Lodge, a restaurant bar with a warm and relaxed atmosphere, and sit on the terrace to eat while enjoying a beautiful view of Lake Montauk.
It is largely thanks to this city that the Hamptons owe their reputation as a star paradise. The cost of living is generally very high in the Hamptons, but in Southampton it goes even further. In the streets of the city, you can find luxury boutiques and dream villas, and you might even be lucky enough to spot a celebrity.
If you stray a little from the shopping streets in order to really visit the city, you will find yourself in the more residential areas, with typical wooden houses, but also huge villas and perfectly maintained gardens.
Less famous than Southampton, this small village which is part of East Hampton is also a place very popular with wealthy businessmen and stars. Sag Harbor is a very quiet little town, in which you can admire a large number of very large residences.
You can also find very good restaurants there, offering prices that are certainly high, but more affordable than those in Southampton. In particular, you can go to the Dock House, to enjoy a delicious seafood meal.
This is another very peaceful little town in the Hamptons. In Bridgehampton, in the southeast of the island, you will discover a very charming town centre, with many typical white wooden houses. You will have the opportunity to stop at Candy Kitchen, to taste one of the best ice creams in the country, at an ice cream parlor that recently celebrated its 90th anniversary.
This hamlet is not to be outdone when it comes to luxury homes, and several big stars like Madonna have stayed or still live in Bridgehampton. Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z have also occupied a modest villa of 1,600 square meters on a plot of more than 4.5 hectares, which was sold in 2018 for 50 million dollars.
This tiny village can give you a taste of luxury country living in the Hamptons. In this very rural part of the region, you will be able to discover the vines which are used to produce a very good sparkling wine.
Some of the superb homes and grand estates in this village are owned by some very big names, as actress Drew Barrymore, musician Billy Joel and TV superstar Jimmy Fallon own property in Sagaponack.
Throughout the southern part of Long Island and the Hamptons, you can find many very beautiful sandy beaches. To relax, swim or practice many summer activities, you can for example go to Ponquogue Beach or Cooper’s Beach. This beach in the Southampton area is very popular with surfers and bodyboarders.
Cryder Beach is a beach in Southampton, bordered by luxury villas, and represents quite well all the excess that is possible to find in this city.
Main Beach is often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire Eastern United States, but it often falls victim to its own popularity and is overrun by many New Yorkers. If you want a quieter time at the beach, you can head to Pikes Beach, located on the Dune Road, on the Westhampton side.