Keep heading east, past the Hamptons, and you’ll arrive at the beautiful beach town of Montauk, affectionately called “The End” since it’s at the tail end of Long Island’s South Shore. This charming spot, roughly 3 hours from the city, is known for its casual vibe and locals who love fishing, surfing and sailing. From candy stores to pony riding, Montauk has something enjoyable for every kid in your life. Escape from the city and check out the family-friendly places below.
Photo courtesy of Matt via Flickr
1. Water babies. Montauk is fabulous for fishing enthusiasts, and Uihlein’s Marina and hotel (444 W. Lake Dr.) has plenty of rental boats for all-day fishing. Located in Montauk Harbor, Uihlein’s boats are also fabulous for older kids who enjoy water skiing, tubing and wake boarding. Boats rent by the hour; half-day or full day. (Rental poles and equipment available on location.) On staff captains and instructors can answer all of your questions and guide you safely through Lake Montauk.
2. For family theatre fans. Montauk Playhouse (240 Edgemere St.) is hosting FamilyFest this summer, which includes a live performance of Peter and the Wolf on August 7, starring students of the Hamptons Ballet Theatre School; and a Circus Camp performance on August 21. Tickets are available for purchase on the Playhouse’s web site.
3. For playground fun. Looking to burn off energy somewhere other than the beach? You can find an outdoor playground, Alexi’s Place, at the Montauk Playhouse (240 Edgemere St.) which has a small jungle-gym area (no swings), as well as a small playground at the Montauk School (50 S Dorset Dr.). You’ll also find a swingset (with a bucket-shaped baby swing, too), a softball/baseball field, tennis courts, skateboard area, and more at Henry “Hank” Zebrowski Memorial Park (S Erie Ave and Edgemere Sts.) in downtown Montauk.
4. I scream, you scream. John’s Drive-In (695 Montauk Hwy) is the hotspot for delicious ice cream with a plethora of toppings, and comfort food munchies such as fries and burgers. This super kid-friendly restaurant, tends to get a bit crowded on weekends, but who can resist post-dinner soft ice cream in the summertime? Be sure to bring cash, credit cards are not accepted.
5. Swing and sail. Right at the entrance into town is an outdoor mini golf arena called Puff ‘N’ Putt Family Fun Center (659 Montauk Hwy). With 18 holes, this is a wonderful venue for your family to improve their golf swings. Canoes and kayaks are also available for rent. (Life jackets and instruction provided.) Again, this is a cash only spot.
6.Giddy-up. Rita’s Stable (3 W. Lake Dr.) is more than just a scenic farm to ride horses, it’s also home to many animals such as goats, rabbits and chickens. Farm friends call an on-site barn their home, and Rita’s also offers group and private trail rides that overlook the Long Island Sound as well as birthday party options (with crafts!) and a picnic area. Live in town? Rita can bring some animals to you for a party.
7. For the horse lover. Believe it or not, the oldest cattle ranch in the U.S. isn’t in Wyoming. It’s in Montauk! At the family-fun Deep Hollow Ranch (10 Old Montauk Hwy), kids can ride horses along the beautiful shores of the Long Island Sound. Tour groups are small, cater to both new riders and experienced riders, and are led by a professional cowboy or cowgirl. On location wagon rides that educate riders about Native American artifacts are also available.
8. Past life. Also called “Merry Christmas! Montauk” Whoa! Nellie (770 Montauk Hwy) is a retro toy store that’s extremely kid-friendly and also makes Grandma and Grandpa feel uber-nostalgic. Items from the 1940s to 60s found in this kitschy, throwback store include lead-molded soldiers and lunch boxes, baseball cards, vintage toys, and wall displays. (Open daily until Labor Day; weekends only in the fall.)
9. Planes, trains, and automobiles. Captain Kid Toys (484 W. Lake Dr.) is a charming boutique with an awesome collection of wooden trains and automobiles, plus toys (of course) and craft kits, cute t-shirts, puzzles and more, for children of all ages with a variety of interests. The pretend steering wheel (helm) outside the shop is a great photo opp stop.
10. Somethin’ for everyone. A Little Bit of Everything (33 The Plaza) is a two-level store that really does sell what it promises. From boogie boards and frisbees to personalized doodads such as plastic license plates, this local souvenir shop – which has tons of “The End” items such as bumper stickers – is a must-visit before spending a sunny afternoon at the beach.
11. Goin’ to the candy shop. The Candied Anchor (721 Main St.) is a whimsical place to satisfy sweet teeth – and to make you smile even wider after a relaxing day at the beach. Mid-afternoon snacks available include gluten and dairy-free ice pops, locally-made sherbert, and make-your-own ice cream floats. Other goodies include dark chocolate espresso beans, seasalt caramels, and more. Throwing a Hamptons baby shower for a mom-to-be or a festive birthday party? Check out the boutique’s selection of personalized, homemade piñatas.
12. For young history buffs. The Montauk Point Lighthouse (2000 New York 27) is the oldest Lighthouse in New York State and the eastern most point of the state. Older kids will better appreciate its rich history, but the park around the lighthouse offers fun for all ages. August is a special month for this beautiful monument because Lighthouse Weekend’s (August 16th and 17th) celebratory activities include displays of colonial toys, face painting, pottery making, live shows, and more. Children who want to climb the tower must meet the 41″ height requirement. There’s also a playground with swings near the parking lot of the state park.
Have you visited Montauk with your family? What’s your favorite place to take your kids?