Going to the Hamptons means more than partying and going to the beach. Of course it means those things, too, and Curbed’s editors have included where to dance and drink, as well as where to soak up the waves and sand, in our guide to the 26 things to do in the Hamptons this summer. But we’ve also added in more unexpected activities to enjoy during your Long Island sojourn, such as gorgeous nature preserves to explore, antique shops worth sniffing around in, and where to go if you want to spot a windmill—or a winged creature. Check them all out below.Read More
The best things to do in the Hamptons this summer
26 places to visit now that it’s officially Hamptons season, from kid-friendly beaches to exquisite gardens to awe-inspiring windmills
1. See a show at the Suffolk Theater
Built in 1933, the 350-seat Art Deco theater was hailed as “the Radio City Music Hall of Long Island,” but fell into disrepair in the late 1980s. It was renovated in 2013, with a new LED marquee that lights up Main Street in Riverhead and a performance space that can be set up cabaret-style or more traditionally, and now hosts the most popular touring acts that come to the area.
2. Drive Dune Road
Westhampton Beach, NY
The speed limit on Dune Road is 30 mph, which is all the better for taking in the views of the ocean, sand, and massive beach houses on the two-lane strip. Those homes are often occupied by celebrities; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, soap opera star Susan Lucci, and magazine editor Tina Brown have all resided there.
3. Go wine tasting on the North Fork
Northville, NY 11901
Take a ferry over the bay to the North Fork of Long Island, a more rustic area that’s been called the “un-Hamptons,” and tour its dozens of vineyards, wineries, and tasting rooms. At many of them, you can work your way through a flight of wines while taking in prime views of the Long Island Sound. Two we like are Croteaux and Corey Creek, or check out our map for more. (Or, if you want to limit your wine-tasting to the South Fork, try Duck Walk or Channing Daughters.)
4. Visit the Big Duck
In 1931, a duck farmer built this 20-foot-tall, 30-foot-long duck in Flanders, New York, at the edge of where the North and South forks of Long Island split. He created it by pouring concrete over a wooden frame, then sold ducks and duck eggs out of an opening in its belly. Today, it’s a gift shop, a tourist information center, and an excellent photo op.
5. Hike in the Quogue Wildlife Refuge
Seven miles of trails run through this network of forests, ponds, and a pine grove of rare short-and-squat dwarf pines. The refuge also houses native New York animals that can no longer be outdoors due to injury, including a bobcat, a bald eagle, owls, falcons, and hawks.
6. Guzzle beer at Boardy Barn
Revelers wait in line for hours to get into this tent-draped bar that’s open only on Sundays from around 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and has been called “the happiest place on earth.” Inside, bartenders hand out smiley-face stickers, patrons sing along to golden oldies-heavy playlists, and beer ends up sprayed or spilled on just about everything and everyone.
7. Tour the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum
This American Indian-owned and -operated nonprofit center, built from Adirondack white pine, educates visitors about the 10,000-year history the Shinnecock tribe has in the area—and the hunting-and-fishing culture its people created.
8. Hang out at Cooper’s Beach
Southampton, NY 11968
Cooper’s Beach has great waves, immaculate white quartz sand, and grass-covered dunes—all reasons why Florida International University coastal science professor Stephen Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach) continually puts it on his annual list of best public beaches, which he ranks by sand and water quality. Plus, it’s one of the few beaches in the Hamptons that allows visitors to park for a day (albeit for a steep fee).
9. Attend a cultural event at Southampton Arts Center
The community center, which was constructed in 1897 out of wood—and had no heating system until it was updated in 1954—hosts art exhibitions, films, literary readings, and workshops for children. Plus, there’s a courtyard with a stage for concerts, outdoor movies, and occasional yoga classes.
10. Marvel at the Parrish Art Museum
The museum was originally built in 1987 in Southampton as a home for prominent Quaker Samuel Parrish’s growing collection of Italian Renaissance art and reproductions of classical Greek and Roman statuary. But its holdings expanded so much—in part thanks to a local resident’s gift of her extensive collection of American art—that in 2012, the museum moved to 14 acres in Water Mill, into a Herzog & de Meuron-designed building with a stunning white corrugated metal roof.
11. Take a day trip to Greenport
Greenport, a centuries-old fishing village, is the most bustling town in the North Fork, the more low-key area across the bay from the Hamptons. There you can eat local oysters at Claudio’s Clambar, stroll or bike along the country roads, ride the village’s 100-year-old carousel, or browse the antiques at Beale & Bell or the model ships and other nautical gear at Preston’s.
12. Watch the sunset at Foster Memorial Beach
Sagaponack farmer Clifford Foster left this mile along Noyac Bay to the town when he died (locals call it “Long Beach” instead of “Foster Memorial”). There are sunset-facing benches all along the stretch, plus a grassy area for lounging and picnicking. And it’s a great spot to take kids swimming since it’s flat and shallow throughout. After the sunset, wander to one of the dozens of dinner spots nearby on Sag Harbor’s Main Street.
13. Tour the many windmills on the East End
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
The eastern end of Long Island may have the largest concentration of windmills in the U.S.—most were built between 1795 and 1820 and used by early residents to help grind their grain into flour. Plot out a windmill tour using our map here.
14. Go antiquing in Sag Harbor
The must-hit cluster of antique shops in Sag Harbor includes Black Swan (26 Main Street) for nautical wares such as ship paintings and wooden mermaids; Sage Street Antiques (114 Division Street), which is open only on weekends, but worth the wait; La Maisonette (34 Bay Street) for its stock of French and Belgian antiques; and Ruby Beets (25 Washington Street), which is set up in a former silent movie theater.
15. Tour the Wölffer Estate Vineyards
In total, the Wölffer Estate includes 470 acres, but only 52 of them are in the Hamptons (the rest is spread around Mendoza, Argentina; Mallorca, Spain; and Long Island’s North Fork). In Sagaponack, New York, you can reserve a tour of the vineyard and the wine cellar, which includes a four-wine tasting. Plus, Wölffer also makes dry cider and gin. On Fridays and Saturdays in the summer, the estate’s Wine Stand is open, and it’s become a popular post-beach spot for drinking wine and watching the sun sink behind the vineyard.
16. Walk around the LongHouse Reserve
This 16-acre, immaculately landscaped garden includes a pond teeming with water lilies, lotus plants, and bullfrogs; a house inspired by a seventh-century Shinto shrine in Ise, Japan; and a sculpture garden that’s anchored by large pieces, like Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, Yoko Ono’s Play It By Trust, and Willem de Kooning’s Reclining Figure.
17. Take in the surroundings at the Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge
The 36-acre refuge has a unique double-dunes, which have become rare in the Hamptons due to development, and several rare plants, including a few kinds of orchids. The birds in the refuge change with the season, but in the summer, you’ll see protected shorebirds, such as piping plovers and least terns.
18. Hike the Walking Dunes
Come upon the dunes and you’ll wonder how it’s possible the Hamptons just turned into the Sahara. The sand hills here were formed 100 years ago and are constantly shifting (which is why they’re called “walking” dunes). They’re massive—they can get up to 80 feet tall—but worth the climb so you can get a better view of nearby Napeague Harbor.
19. Relax at Gurney's Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa
Getting into Gurney’s Spa requires booking an $85 treatment (at minimum) and a $30 facility fee, but doing so will also get you access to all of its European amenities, including a Roman bath, Finnish rock sauna, Russian steam room, Swiss shower, and—the best part—an indoor, ocean-fed seawater pool with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, the only one of its kind in North America.
20. Spend the day in Montauk
The town at the easternmost end of the island has become one of the trendiest in the area, but there are still low-key spots there. John’s Pancake House serves a no-frills breakfast, but does have some fancy customers, like comedian Jerry Seinfeld—or grab a pastry at the Bake Shoppe. Many of the beaches don’t offer parking for visitors (like beloved surf spot Ditch Plains), but Hither Hills State Park has beach access and day parking for $10 a car per day, or try the area by the seafood restaurant Gosman’s Dock. Finish the day at Montauket, a dive bar with great views of the sunset over Fort Pond.
21. Snoop around Camp Hero State Park
The mysterious former military base, which inspired Netflix’s Stranger Things, is marked by an enormous, fenced-off 126-foot radar dish built in 1958. As a working base, it featured concrete bunkers that hid coastal defense artillery and was rumored to be involved in several secret government experiments. Today it’s a heavily wooded state park, with a long expanse of beachfront, that leads to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in New York. Climb the 137 steps to the top to get 360-degree views of Block Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.
22. Go birding at Conscience Point National Wildlife Refuge
These 60 acres of woodlands, grasslands, and salt march are home to the few blue-winged and prairie warblers on Long Island, who make their nests in the bluestem and switchgrass found here. In the spring and summer, you’ll also see wading birds and osprey.
23. See a show at Stephen Talkhouse
This bar on Main Street in Amagansett, in an old house with an American flag draped over the entrance, is also a tiny music venue that has hosted big names, such as Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel, and Bon Jovi, as well as beloved hometown acts. All styles of music are welcome, from reggae to electronica to pop, and the party goes until 3:30 a.m.
24. Tour the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center
East Hampton, NY 11937
In 1945, artists Jackson Pollock and Judith Krasner moved to this 19th-century fisherman’s cottage in Springs, New York, and the house is still furnished as it was when Krasner died in 1984 (Pollack died in 1956), with Pollack’s hi-fi phonograph, his jazz record collection, and the artists’ personal library. Work by both artists is also on display, including Pollock’s late-1930s painting “Composition with Red Arc and Horses.”
25. Stroll the grounds at the Madoo Conservancy Botanical Gardens
Sagaponack, NY 11962
In 1976, artist Robert Dash created this garden on almost two acres in Sagaponack so he could paint in peace—madoo means “my dove” in Scottish—and opened it to the public in 1994, with painting classes, storytelling hours for children, and free admission.
26. Hike the Mashomack Preserve
There are five trails throughout these 2,039 acres of interlacing tidal creeks, woodlands, fields and coastline, in distances ranging from one mile to 12. In the summer, look for birds like towhees, scarlet tanagers, Baltimore orioles, and red-tailed hawks. Plus, smaller creatures abound, such as monarch and swallowtail butterflies, and, in the water, clams, blue claw crabs, and a variety of fishes.