Most people who haven’t been here consider the Hamptons a playground of the rich and famous. And while the stars do flock to Long Island’s beautiful south shore in the summer, the Hamptons is also a fabulous spot to visit with your family.

The towns of Hampton Bays, Westhampton , Southampton, Easthampton and Montauk may be the best known, but in between are the gems of Sag Harbor, Watermill, Bridgehampton and Amagansett as well.

Whatever body of water you like – be it ponds, bays, harbors or the beautiful deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean – the Hamptons is a sun-soaked water and nature lovers delight. Not to mention a shopper’s paradise, with all the boutiques and  eclectic shops to visit.

And then there’s the dining; fresh seafood on every corner, delectable fresh local produce and outdoor dining with expansive views and beautiful sunsets.

Hiking:

Nature lovers shouldn’t miss the many hiking trails in Montauk, the very tip of Long Island. Known around here simply as “The End”, Montauk offers 500 acres of parkland and wildlife with rolling dunes, horseback riding trails, seal hikes and bike trails.

  • The walking dunes is a 3/4 mile hike through one of the world’s most fascinating dune areas with dunes reaching as high as 80 feet.
  • Shadmoor state park offers freshwater wetlands views, 99 acres of rolling geography and bird watching.
  • The seal haul trail is a place to see seal, offering 5 trills to choose from.
  • Hither Hills is a popular spot with 3000+ acres of dunes, beaches and trails to explore  and unspoiled nature to revel in.
  • Check out Montauk Trails to learn more about  the best hiking spots in Montauk.

Horse Riding:

Looking to ride some horses during your visit?  Consider Deep Hollow Ranch, America’s oldest cattle ranch for trail rides or Rita’s stables and petting zoo, which offers horseback rides for kids ages 5 and up.

Sight Seeing:

The Montauk Lighthouse is one of the most visited spots out on the Island. Commissioned by George Washington himself, kids over 41 inches can climb the winding, 86-step staircase and see the glorious amazing views of the deep blue endless sea.

A few miles away, Gosman’s Dock is a world-famous area offering charter boats, restaurants, shopping and all the fresh sea air you could ever want. Kids love to watch the fishing boats bring in their catch of the day. You can also make reservations and take the family out for a day of fishing.

If you can’t make it to Hawaii or California, how about Main Beach in East Hampton? Named as the #3 top beach in 2012 by “Dr. Beach” on his top 10 list, you can enjoy the pounding surf, soft sand and gorgeous views for a $25 a day parking fee.

Moby Dick lovers may want to visit Sag Harbor, a historic whaling village settled in the early 1700’s. Visit Old Whalers Church and the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historic Museum to learn about the rich seafaring heritage of this beautiful sea port. Sag Harbor also has boutiques for shopping and a wonderful educational toy store, plus many dining choices with delectable seafood and fresh local produce.

In West Hampton, take a ride down the famous Dune Road to check out all the spectacular homes, and then spend the day at Cupsogue Beach. It’s a 296 acre barrier beach offering lifeguard supervised swimming and silky sand.  The fun and funky Beach Hut Raw Bar and Grill serves up some great food for you to dine on table-side or on the beach.

Bridgehampton offers a beautiful town to explore plus 2 fun family stops. The Children’s Museum of the East End is best for ages 1-8 and houses small hands-on exhibits to promote learning through play. Great for a rainy day or a short break from the sun, they also offer special events and performances. Right across the road is the South Fork Nature Center where families can delve into the diverse natural habitats of Long Island and explore how glaciers created Long Island. There are hidden drawers to open, a marine touch tank, live small animals, a panoramic deck and nature walk with views of ponds, woods and wetlands.

Surfing:

In 2009 Montauk was named in the ten best surf towns in America by Surfer Magazine. There are several places to take surfing lessons for the fearless adventurer or try  the calmer sport of paddleboarding  in the crystal shimmering Long Island waters.

Staying:

Montauk, and all of the Hampton towns, offer luxury hotels, motels, B& B’s and resorts of all styles. In-season can be pricey but well worth it, especially if you can drive in from a surrounding state. You won’t be paying airfare and you’ll have a car to get town to town, as the Hamptons are a stretched out area.

A car, a great sense of adventure, and sunscreen are the main things you need in the Hamptons. Less than a 2 hour car ride from Manhattan, it’s a world-class destination that encompasses expansive views, a beach community vibe, amazing freshly caught seafood and all the sun, surf and sand anyone can ask for.