When summertime arrives in New York City, the heat hits hard. Living in a concrete jungle when the air is heavy, sticky and hot can easily make summer one of your least favorite seasons, which is why so many New Yorkers escape to the beach during summer weekends. While I have spent many summer weekends in the Hamptons, I had never made it to the Hamptons’ lesser-known sister, Montauk… until recently, that is.
After a particularly hot and humid week in the city, my significant other and I were at our wits’ end. We decided to flee the city and find refuge at the coast, but we didn’t want to have another typical weekend in the Hamptons. So instead, we decided to venture a bit farther and visit Montauk, a charming Long Island beach town with a remote, relaxed atmosphere. Since our Montauk getaway was a spur-of-the-moment decision, we were worried we wouldn’t be able to find a great last-minute hotel in Montauk. Fortunately, we checked out HotelTonight’s app, and within minutes we had booked a hotel right on the beach in Montauk. Once we had a hotel room waiting for us in Montauk, we hopped in the car and hit the road, ready to escape the muggy city weather.
At the east end of Long Island is the beautiful, rugged Camp Hero State Park. While this land used to be a military base, it is now a state park that preserves the freshwater wetlands, maritime forests and local wildlife. We made Camp Hero our first stop during our Montauk vacation, since we had heard it was a quiet, serene place to hike and enjoy the beautiful natural scenery. After living in the city for so long, it’s almost hard to imagine a place as quiet and as peaceful as Camp Hero, and we spent the morning walking along deserted beaches and wandering through picturesque trails with ocean views. After a few hours at Camp Hero, we felt recharged, relaxed and ready to explore the rest of this breathtaking coastal town.
Next, we headed to the Hither Hills State Park, where we rolled out our towels on the warm sand and soaked up some of that summer sunshine. This expansive state park is home to a long stretch of beach, so it’s the perfect spot for enjoying the sand, the sea and the sun during summer. Hither Hills is also a great place to fish, hike and bike, and there’s even a large playground at the Hither Hills park, which is why this is an ideal destination for families.
After a long, relaxing day in the sun, we made our way to the village center. This small, seaside town has a charming, welcoming downtown area that offers plenty of great restaurants and shops. Since Montauk is situated right on the Atlantic, many of the restaurants in the village center serve fresh, delicious seafood dishes, and we knew we couldn’t pass up some fresh seafood on our first night in Montauk. We quickly noticed that the vibe in Montauk is noticeably different from the vibe in the Hamptons – it’s friendlier and more casual, because the people in Montauk are looking for fun and relaxation rather than elegance and pomp.
The next morning, we woke up at the crack of dawn – literally – and made our way to the Montauk Point Lighthouse. It had been a while since I was motivated enough to wake up for a sunrise, but we had heard that the sunrise at the Montauk Point Lighthouse was breathtaking, so we definitely didn’t want to miss it. We headed to the lighthouse while it was still dark outside, and we were able to catch one of the most mesmerizing sunrises I’ve ever seen. At the Montauk Point Lighthouse, you can catch sweeping views of the Atlantic, so it’s a great spot to visit at any time of day.
After witnessing that inspiring summer sunrise, we grabbed breakfast and headed to Ditch Plains, where we headed out into the cool water to test out our surfing skills. We were definitely a bit rusty, but the waves were gentle and the endless views of the Atlantic Ocean were well worth sitting in the cold water for an hour. This beach is a popular spot for surfers as well as beach goers looking for a bit of fun in the waves, and our afternoon at Ditch Plains was the perfect cap on a relaxing, fun-filled weekend getaway.
While most New Yorkers flock to the Hamptons for their summer weekend getaways, I think it’s safe to say that my new favorite weekend destination is Montauk. The laidback, welcoming vibes and stunning natural beauty of Montauk won me over, and you can bet that I’ll be planning more impromptu Montauk getaways in the future now that I know I can book a great last-minute Montauk hotel through HotelTonight.