If you know me personally or have been following along on the BLOG then you’re probably well aware of my eternal love & adoration for a special place located at the very tip of Long Island known as Montauk. This beach-town stores my earliest & fondest memories… Me as a 5 year old jet-skiing with my dad & uncle on fort pond bay (yes definitely a no-no these days) countless family gatherings with my cousins & extended family, my husband proposing, our wedding ceremony at St. Therese & reception at the Montauk Lake Club, and more recently Rosie’s 1st, 2nd & 3rd summer out here (just to name a few 😉) Needless to say, there’s nothing I love more in this world then spending time by the ocean with my family in this amazing & beautiful town. And while the “New Montauk” is quite different from what I remember as a child there is still a lot of OLD MONTAUK left in the place. Through this GUIDE I hope to share with you some of that Old Montauk charm that I know & love & assist you in planning your next family vacay to MTK! I’ve included my favorite places to sunset, beach, stay, eat, activities/attractions & more! And everything is family friendly!*
NOTE: After hearing from so many of you with questions about the area over the summer… I’m excited to finally share the first installment of the LBMF Montauk Guide & I hope you will share it with your Mom Friends as well! This specific post will cover WHERE TO: STAY, SUNSET & BEACH! PART 2 of the Guide (coming soon) will include: AROUND TOWN (family friendly activities & attractions), WHERE TO EAT, & FAMILY-RELATED FAQS. If there is anything else you want me to add just send me a message or leave a comment below!
*INSIDER TIP*: As summer winds down, don’t shy away from the off season! September & October are two of the most beautiful months out in Montauk. The ocean is at its warmest & the weather is absolutely delightful. Added bonus: the summer crowds & share-house rats have long gone and the hotel/air B&B rates are slashed in half.
WHERE TO STAY
RENTAL IN DITCH PLAINS: Nothing beats Ditch Plains (especially if you have small children and/or like to surf). My numero uno suggestion would be to rent an Air B&B in this area if you can. The houses are small, most of them are old & dated but you will truly get the no-frill, walk to the beach old Montauk vibe that you won’t find much place else. You’re probably an early riser (if you have kids) and one of my favorite things to do with Rosie & Frank on those early mornings is to grab a coffee at the ditch witch and watch the surfers… because lets face it..we (people with babies) and them (those gnarly surfer dudes) are the only ones up at that early hour!
“Historical Routes” Dating back to the Carl Fisher Era, this hotel & resort is where the rich & famous once built their summer playground. It’s expansive property contains 140 condominium apartments, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a private health club and three tennis courts. A top choice to stay with a family. It has plenty of space for the little ones to run around and you also have the option of a 2, 3, or 4 bedroom equipped with kitchenettes and living areas. The room’s have more of a homey feel then your traditional hotel as a lot them are converted convos. The only downside is that you’re a decent drive from the beach. (Take advantage of the hotel operated shuttle bus that will escort you to town, beach & back)
“Two hotels, 1 management” The Yacht Club, a luxury hotel & marina situated on Lake Montauk that caters to boaters, families & celebrities alike. I haven’t been to the yacht club since it’s recent ownership change this season but I’ve found all of Gurney’s properties to be top notch! *Not to be confused with Gurney’s Resort & Seawater Spa (which is located on Old Montauk Hwy). Both locations offer family-friendly services which include babysitters on hand, camp/activities for kids & more. Take note: the resort & seawater spa is one of the most expensive places to stay Out East & I wouldn’t recommend staying here on a weekend with kids in the peak months (as it’s become quite a scene on the beach). The Yacht club is a bit more affordable & more family friendly in the summer..plus if you’re choosing to come all the way out to Montauk I’d suggest staying in the town. Tip: Book a room at either property in the off season when rates are cut in half & the crowds have gone but the weather is still warm
Away from the Fray. This 60 room bungalow style resort is the perfect combo of laid back & upscale. Often described as hip & cool without the attitude or pretension. This spot is also home to some great concert series during the summer weekends. The staff is super friendly & there is a delicious restaurant called “the Backyard” situated on the premises. Other Bonuses: they offer complimentary beach parking passes with your stay and bikes that you can take to ride around town. Note: the hotel is not located on the beach so it’s approximately a 10 minute walk or 3-5 minute drive to the beach/town
“Location Location Location” Only steps away from the beach this resort offers “town-home” style living, top-notch amenities & spacious quarters. Another one of my top choices for families to stay. Bonus: not only a beach-front property but it’s located in the heart of town.. so you’re in walking distance of everything and a stones throw away from some of my favorites, Left Hand Coffee & Joni’s breakfast sandwiches..
“A budget friendly family option” located on Old Montauk Hwy (directly across from the beach). The hotel is clean, easy and a great option for those on a budget but who also want a nice accomodations. A pool, tennis courts & condo-like room set-ups. Note: the beachcomber is located “just outside” of town and most of the rooms have ocean views and are equipped with kitchens.
“The original beach motel”. Another budget friendly & no-frill spot. The Royal Atlantic is located in the center of town & is directly on the beach! If you’re looking to be in the center of town && right on the beach and you don’t necessarily need an “upscale” room and resort then this is your spot. My cousins used to stay at this hotel when we were little & believe me it has come a long long way since then! An overall good option for families that don’t won’t to break the bank and want an ideal location smacked down in the middle of it all.
***Make sure to check with each specific property but all of the above should offer family friendly amenities & activities including cribs, baby-sitters, “camp” for older kids and more***
Note: I’ve tried to narrow down some of my top hotel picks but that said there are tons & tons of hotels & motels in town which are absolutely great! If you are plan on spending the majority of your time outside & are just looking for a basic, clean, convenient & no- frill spot almost all of the hotel & motels in town will be just that. Feel free to DM me or leave a comment for any specific questions about specific hotels that I haven’t covered!
WHERE TO SUNSET
A big part of my Montauk evenings. If you can get a babysitter or not these places are a can’t miss to catch a sunset & some happy hour cocktails & listen to some good tunes!
The ultimate. If you want to experience old Montauk through my eyes make sure to stop by this place just before sunset. You will fall in love with it’s character, the view of fort pond and the live music! A once undiscovered gem, the crowds have caught wind of it over the last few years but if you show up on any night of the week besides Saturday you should be ok. There’s a band playing all weekend long and Rosie loves dancing along to all the old tunes- think Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Jackson Browne (a few of the greats)…..
Arguably another one of the best sunsets in town. This nautical themed indoor/outdoor bar & restaurant boasts family-friendly picnic tables which are great for alfresco dining in addition to sofas & beds directly on the bay beach which offer the perfect setup for sunset watching. Rosie loves to skip rocks with frank as we enjoy a few cocktails, watch the sunset and check out all of the cool boats or should I say yachts in the distance. Note: You often need a dinner reservation in order to park here on a weekend in the peak summer months..
From the water: no place better to watch a sunset then from the sea. Head over to the marina and see if you can set sail on the Montiki Catamaran with a group of friends or the fam. Not only will you see a glorious sunset but you’ll get views of the light-house which is also an incredible site from the water! The picture above is a little bit blurry but this is an image of Frank & I and a group of our friends on one of the early Montiki sunset voyages a few years back. My parents & their friends were at the joint I mention next and took this picture of us while we sailed back to shore 😀
Save this for a date night because spoiler alert, no kids allowed! I had to include this spot (even though its not kid-friendly) because it’s truly one of the best and it’s still relatively undiscovered by the masses. Think more of a quiet, older crowd with an unbeatable view of the harbor! (aka my parents crowd) One of my favorite summer activities is perching up on these high top chairs with an ice cold glass of white wine & watching the boats come in. No beating this view and taking in the sunset from up above.
You will have to turn your head to the left quite a bit to actually see the sunset but that doesn’t mean the color of the sky and the after sunset glow & views are any less appealing! You’ll often find the kiddos rolling down the great big hill while parents are having dinner! .
Situated at the very tip of East Lake (near gin beach) the restaurant/bar is owned by 6 commercial fisherman. Aka some of the best local caught fish & sushi in Montauk. Tip: if it’s just the two of you skip the formal table and grab a spot at the end of the bar! It’s the best seat in the house and gives you a prime time view of the sunset! If you’re bringing the kiddos along there is an outdoor space located downstairs where the kids can play! .
WHERE TO BEACH
One of my favorite places in Montauk & my favorite spot to bring Rosie. DITCH is known as the infamous “SURFER BEACH” but it’s also where you want to be if you have kiddos. The beach is filled with families, kids & surfers. The town will only allow residents at this particular beach (or those who can walk) which means you’re unlikely to find any share house renters or sloppy tuna lovers here. Pack a cooler filled with sandwiches from Herbs or wraps from Jonni’s or set up camp near the Ditch Witch for an afternoon snack.
Gin is another great spot if you have kids because it’s on the sound. You won’t have to worry about any big waves and the water is a lot calmer for the little ones. When my brothers & I were younger, My mom would take us here during the work-week. With my dad back in the city, it was a lot easier for her to manage 3 little ones on the BAY side! Note: You do need a resident parking pass for this beach in the summer season .
If you’re staying in town then you can enter the beach at any of the entrances closest to you! There is also free parking near the IGA supermarket and a few other spots around town. The town beach definitely gets crowded on the weekends in the summer months so I would probably avoid the “sloppy tuna” entrance as it tends to get more rowdy from the overflow of the bar!
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 of the GUIDE! COMING SOON!