Weekends in Montauk: Your Ultimate Guide to the End of the World
Once a sleepy fisherman’s village, Montauk has been transformed in recent years to the party capital of the Hamptons. But there’s more to see in this seaside town than the inside of a bar and more to do than just tear up the dance floor. From fishing to surfing to sunset cocktails, here’s your ultimate guide to Montauk in the summer.
Whether you’re doing a relaxing spa weekend or a hedonistic getaway with friends, these are the best spots to experience this famous town on the East End of Long Island. Nicknamed “the end of the world” for its remoteness, you will feel light-years away from New York City during your weekend in Montauk — though, conveniently, you’re only a quick train or bus ride away. The LIRR and Hampton Jitney provide easy access back and forth from Manhattan, so what are you waiting for? Read on to plan your next trip to Montauk.
Where to Stay
Chances are you’ve already heard of The Surf Lodge; this uber trendy waterfront hotspot is the ultimate Montauk experience under one (extremely Instagrammable) roof. Check out their live music concert series during the summer, and if you’re not staying at the hotel, be sure to book a table for brunch or dinner in advance. This is the place to see and be seen out East. Between the luxe hotel rooms and live music on the deck, The Surf Lodge is where to stay, what to do, and where to eat and drink all in one spot.
The same goes for the hotel at Gurney’s Montauk, which offers spa treatments for the wellness-seeking traveler and a fun beachside vibe if you’re looking for a day party. Stretch out on one of the yellow cushions on the daybeds and pretend you’re in the South of France. To complete the Saint-Tropez feel, order an outrageously large bottle of rosé. You’re worth it.
The Montauk Beach House is another dynamic hotspot in Montauk, with beach-chic hotel rooms and a happening pool party playing ambient house music day and night. Pretend you’re at Coachella, sans crowds and flower crowns. (Photo via The Surf Lodge / @garruppo)
What to Do
Start your day right with breakfast to go at Goldberg’s or Ditch Witch before heading to Ditch Plains Beach for the ultimate people watching. Walk down the dunes and check out the surfers riding the waves, or opt for your own surf lessons if you want to fit in with the locals.
If you’re looking to recline on a beanbag with a drink in hand, go to Navy Beach for brunch and spend the day on the water in the ultimate luxury. On the other hand, if you want to get out on the water rather than just look at it from the shore, then sign up for some Montauk sport fishing aboard the Lazy Bones. Montauk used to be a fisherman’s village, and one trip out on the Lazy Bones will show you why this town was renowned as a fishing capital: It’s nearly impossible to come home without a fresh catch for dinner.
At sunset, head to The Montauket for a drink with a view. This family-owned restaurant is a local favorite and absolutely perfect for sunset cocktails. Watch the sun go down on the water and post up at a picnic table with friends to recap your day. (Photo via Getty)
Where to Eat and Drink
Speaking of sunsets, the waterfront dining at Swallow East and The Crow’s Nest is made for sundowners and seafood. For a more laid-back (but equally romantic) experience, there’s always the deck at Duryea’s. Who says you can only find lobster shacks up in Maine? The idyllic setting (and casual fare) on display at Duryea’s Lobster Deck will prove even the snobbiest New Englanders wrong in that assumption.
For an authentic local experience, head to The Hideaway for Mexican food; it’s a very low-key (and tasty) way to end your day at the beach. The Dock on Montauk Harbor is another favorite — check out the whimsical, outrageous signage (especially in the bathroom). But be warned: The restaurant and bar is cash only. The tiki bar at Lynn’s Hula Hut is another local fave, perfect for pretending you’re in Margaritaville. It’s always five o’clock somewhere!
The outdoor seating at Ruschmeyers is ideal for large parties (make sure to book a reservation in advance) and provides easy access for your night out on the town. Ruschmeyers boasts an indoor/outdoor ambiance, complete with a darkened dance floor and sets of swings hanging from the trees outside.
Speaking of going out, you don’t need to recreate Summer House, but you should certainly hit the town while in Montauk. The two most classic options are, conveniently, right across the street from one another at The Point Bar and Grill and the Memory Motel (or, should we say: lack-of-memory motel). The motel and late-night bar even inspired a ballad by The Rolling Stones on their 1976 album Black and Blue. Get there early to buy wristbands at both bars so you can bop back and forth (and remember to bring cash).
The Point plays more classic rock (think Van Morrison), while the Memory Motel is your go-to for the latest hits (think Cardi B). We recommend starting at The Point then descending on the Memory Motel when you’re ready to hit the dance floor. Just be prepared to do it all over again the next morning — sleep is for the weak when you’re out East. (Photo via Duryea’s / Jason Penney)