The Hamptons are a popular getaway for families. You can spend a few days in NYC and then decamp to The Hamptons and spend a glorious couple of weeks relaxing on the beach and checking out the local sights. Life doesn’t get much better!
In this article, we are going to give you some tips for planning an awesome family vacation to The Hamptons.
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The closest airport is Long Island MacArthur Airport. This is only about 50 minutes by car from Southampton. However, there are only two airlines that fly into this airport, so if you are traveling from overseas, you will have to fly to JFK International Airport in NYC or La Guardia. But don’t panic if this is the case. You can hire a car to make the most of The Hamptons and both airports are within easy driving distance.
The Hamptons is reached via the Long Island Expressway (I-495). For non-drivers, there is also a train service from New York, but this is much slower, as it stops at numerous towns along the way.
Hamptons houses are a popular option with families. Renting a house for a couple of weeks gives you the freedom to come and go as you please. There are hotels, of course, but hotels tend to be less flexible on meal times and spending two weeks living out of a hotel room is often claustrophobic when you have little kids. For starters, mom and dad get no privacy, which can put a strain on things. And for another, smaller children don’t sleep so well when they have to share a room with the whole family.
The Hamptons get incredibly busy during the peak travel season. The best properties are usually rented well in advance, so if you have your heart set on a beach-front house, be prepared to look at least a year ahead. You may come across a last-minute bargain if someone cancels their vacation, but don’t count on it. The larger your party, the more important it is to look for rentals well in advance.
The Best Time to Visit the Hamptons
As you might expect, The Hamptons is incredibly busy during July and August, and also over holiday weekends like Labor Day and Memorial Day. It will be hard to find rentals around these times, although not impossible, but the beaches and amenities will be just as crowded. Bear in mind that everything is more expensive during the peak holiday season. Vendors put their prices up and you will have to pay to park at the beach. This adds a considerable cost to a family vacation. But before you lose heart, remember that there are ways to cut the cost of your vacation.
Early May and mid-September is a better time to visit. The weather is still good, although not as hot as July and August, but warm enough to take the kids to the beach. You can save money on parking and beach access, plus vacation homes and car rentals are usually cheaper outside of the peak travel season.
Rent a Car
As we have already mentioned, renting a car is the best way to explore The Hamptons. Pick up a car from the airport and use to see the best bits of this amazing area. Most of The Hamptons is accessible from the Montauk Highway. Start at Southampton and drive all the way to Montauk, passing through Bridgehampton and East Hampton along the way. If you want to visit Sag Harbour, you will need to take a detour off the Montauk Highway. It’s not a long drive from Southampton to Montauk, so take your time and enjoy the scenic views along the way.
Hit the Beach
The beaches in The Hamptons are the main attraction for families with younger children. When the sun is shining, and all is well with the world, not much beats a day on the beach. Parking is the main problem for families. Most beaches have car parks, but these are not free. The cost of parking at the beach every day can soon add up, which all comes out of pocket.
One way to cut the cost of parking is to rent bicycles when you arrive. Cycling is a popular activity in The Hamptons. You can rent bicycles from a local store and use these to get around during your stay. Request child seats if you have babies or toddlers. Older kids can cycle on their own. Pack a daypack or rent a bike trailer for all your beach gear. Otherwise, jump on the Hampton Jitney, a shuttle that passes through all the main locations in The Hamptons.
There is also the Hampton Hopper. This is an app-based shuttle service that runs between Hamptons Bays and Montauk. It runs from 10 AM to 10 PM.
The best beaches for families are Coopers beach in Southampton, Kirk Park Beach in Montauk, and Hither Hills State Park in Montauk. You can rent beach umbrellas, chairs, games, and more at Coopers Beach. Atlantic Beach, Sag Main Beach, and East Hampton Main Beach are worth checking out too.
Aside from chilling on the beach, the kids will have fun trying out some new water sports (you can rent equipment on many of the larger beaches). Crabbing is also a popular activity.
If the weather takes a downward turn, head over to the Children’s Museum of the East End. There are permanent exhibits and a regular schedule of child-friendly activities.
Eating out with kids is no problem in The Hamptons. There are plenty of food outlets serving American classics, such as hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. The Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen is very popular with kids, who love the quirky ice cream flavors. For a delicious breakfast, head over to a branch of Mary’s Marvelous and pick up some delicious bagels and eggs.
If you want to cook your own meals, pick up some fresh fish and vegetables from one of the local farmers’ markets. You’ll be spoiled for choice!
The Hamptons is perfect for families. Tell us all about your last vacation there!