Summer days in New York City can be miserable, with the high temperatures and the stifling humidity. Fortunately, summer days on the coast are absolutely perfect, which is why so many New Yorkers flock to the Hamptons on the weekends. The Hamptons are known for their pristine beaches, ritzy social scene and beautiful summer weather, and you have probably seen them featured in at least a few movies and TV shows. The Hamptons refers to a string of towns in Long Island, and these seaside towns are coveted summer destinations for East Coast residents. So after years of living in New York City, I finally made my way out to the coast to experience the famed Hamptons for myself.
Since my friends and I decided to visit the Hamptons at the very last minute, we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to find accommodations in this popular resort area. Fortunately, we were able to book a great last-minute hotel in the Hamptons thanks to HotelTonight. Within minutes of checking out HotelTonight’s website, we had booked a room at a seaside hotel in the heart of the Hamptons, so we set out to explore this iconic coastal destination.
Main Beach, located in East Hampton, is regularly ranked as one of the top beaches in the country, and it’s easy to see why when you visit – Main Beach boasts a wide, white sandy beach and a great stretch of ocean. This is definitely a popular beach, though, and parking at Main Beach is not cheap. However, we found that the steep parking price was well worth the clean beach and the beautiful scenery, so we enjoyed every minute of our laid-back morning at Main Beach. For New Yorkers who don’t get to soak in the sunshine and breathe in fresh ocean air (rather than our typical smoky, polluted city air), just lounging on Main Beach was a huge treat. Even though we were just 90 minutes outside of the city, it felt like we were a world away.
After spending the morning on a busy, popular Hamptons beach, we decided to make the short trek to a more remote, more secluded beach town, Shelter Island. While Shelter Island is not considered part of the Hamptons – in fact, locals prefer to call it the “un-Hamptons” – this idyllic island was too beautiful and unique to skip during our time on the coast. Unlike in the city, or even in the other towns in the Hamptons, you won’t find traffic or congestion on Shelter Island. Rather, this beach town features quiet lanes, rolling hills and a charming small-town vibe. We spent the entire afternoon exploring the mellow island, which offers visitors plenty to do and see. Most notably, though, Shelter Island has plenty of great food spots, and if you like fresh seafood, you’re sure to love the selection of restaurants in this quaint island town.
The next morning, we decided to check out another popular beach in the Hamptons. This time, though, we headed to Southampton to see what Cooper’s Beach was all about. This beach, while beautiful and clean, has a very ritzy feel to it. Just laying on this beach will make you feel elite, possibly because the beach is lined with opulent, historic mansions and its fine, white sand feels like it belongs in a tropical locale, not on an East Coast beach. Despite the hefty parking price at Cooper’s Beach, we quickly fell in love with this picture-perfect beach, which just might make you feel as if you’re in a movie.
Sag Harbor is a small village in between Southampton and East Hampton, and it is home to a popular downtown area that offers great dining and shopping options. Sag Harbor is the quintessential East Coast beach town, filled with Colonial-style and red brick buildings. We spent the afternoon wandering down the charming Main Street and walking along the peaceful harbor, and we ended our short beach getaway with a delicious dinner at one of the harbor’s best restaurants. After a relaxing, rejuvenating weekend at the beach, we were ready to head back into the city. We knew that we could always escape the hustle and the bustle of the city at a moment’s notice since HotelTonight makes it so easy to book last-minute hotels.
I have to admit it – the Hamptons live up to the hype. For years, I listened to friends and colleagues rave about the beautiful seaside towns in the Hamptons, but I never fully bought into the dreamy picture they painted. However, after spending a weekend at this coastal paradise, I understand why so many city dwellers hurry out to the Hamptons as soon as the weather warms up. Now that I know just how magical and beautiful the Hamptons are, I’m sure that I’ll be booking last-minute Hamptons hotels on HotelTonight for future beach getaways.