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The Perfect Day Trip to Montauk [2024]

Planning the perfect day trip to Montauk? Read on to find out how to get there, what to do, and where to find the most delicious food in town. You’ll have a day to remember!

Montauk is a small village in the easternmost part of Long Island, and it features gorgeous beaches, great seafood, and mind-blowing landscapes that make it a worthy day-trip destination.

Here you’ll find plenty of hiking trails, lots of history, and dramatic bluffs with postcard-picture scenery, so make sure to bring your camera and trekking shoes, and be ready for adventure!

A few years ago I visited my friend Tianna who lives on Long Island and she suggested we go on a mini road trip to visit the vineyards of Long Island, the Hamptons, and Montauk. It was such an incredible long weekend!

Read on to find even more attractions that will make your day trip to Montauk memorable.

Image of a small cliff with a red and white lighthouse and small buildings on top, overlooking the sea, inserted on a post about taking a day trip to Montauk

How to Get to Montauk from New York City 

Montauk is about 120 miles (193 km) from NYC, and you have several options to get there. 

▶️ If you plan on taking your car, the drive to Montauk won’t take you more than 3 hours. You can either take the longer but very scenic route of Old Montauk Highway, or else stick to State Route 27 all the way to the end. 

▶️ You can also travel to Montauk in the Hampton Jitney, a bus covering the NYC-Montauk route. It costs around $50, but there are discounts if you buy your tickets in advance. The bus to Montauk doesn’t take longer than 3 hours and departs from 85th St, & Lexington Ave. 

▶️ Another alternative is taking the Long Island Rail Road, which leaves from Penn Station. It also takes around 3 hours to arrive, and the one-way ticket costs around $30.

▶️ If you’re traveling with friends or your family group, it may make sense to book this private New York City to the Hamptons day trip. It covers transportation and includes a professional guide to keep you informed and entertained during the trip. 

You’ll explore the massive mansions, get to shop in the stylish boutiques, and also visit the seaport town of Sag Harbor, the fantastic Wolffer Estate Vineyard, and the beaches of East Hampton before heading to Montauk. Here you’ll have some time to explore, and also get to see the famous lighthouse. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

How to Get around Montauk 

The best option to get around during your day trip to Montauk, NY is by car.

▶️ If you didn’t drive from the city, you can rent one in East Hampton. If you opt for this, it’s probably best to travel there, and once you have the car make your way to Montauk. This way you’ll get to the attractions faster, and enjoy more time at each stop. 

▶️ An alternative is getting around by taxi, although this one could be really expensive. While it’s more comfortable than the following options, it’s not advisable for those traveling on a budget. 

▶️ A fun way to explore Montauk is renting a bike, so you get to exercise your legs as you make your way around town. There are several rental shops, so you won’t have trouble getting yourself a vehicle. 

▶️ Finally, if you’re keen on walking, you could use your legs to take you everywhere. Bear in mind, though, that most attractions are distanced from each other and you’ll have to walk quite a lot. 

Best Things to do in Montauk

Now that you’ve made it to the destination, and already know how you’ll be getting around, it’s time to know what to do in Montauk, NY during this day trip. 

Visit the Lighthouse and Montauk Point State Park 

No Montauk day trip itinerary is complete without a visit to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, which is probably the area’s most popular landmark. It’s the oldest lighthouse in New York State, and due to its location in the easternmost area of Long Island, it is often referred to as The End. 

The view of the lighthouse, with the bluffs and the sea behind it, is postcard-picture perfect, but standing in awe is not all you’ll get to do! You can go up the lighthouse’s tower, which still functions, and also visit the gift shop and the museum right by it. 

Adjacent to the lighthouse, Montauk Point State Park is also worth the visit, featuring nature trails with beautiful hiking opportunities that will delight outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll get to meet the seals from the easy 1.6-mile Seal Haul Out hike, or complete a great 3-mile loop hike if you’re feeling adventurous. 

During the winter you can enjoy cross-country skiing…although you may be caught up there all day and miss the rest of the attractions!

➤ A great way to head to Montauk Lighthouse is with an Electric Bike Tour. You’ll ride it (without getting tired!) through the gorgeous Camp Hero State Park and past the stable horses at Deep Hollow Ranch, marveling at the landscape and oceanfront cliffs as you make your way to the lighthouse. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Explore Downtown Montauk

Image of a woman smiling, seated on a pink bench with a pink boutique behind her and holding a shopping bag while on a day trip to Montauk

If you’re planning a day trip to Montauk you have to spend some time in its downtown! This cute town is the perfect setting for taking a stroll around the pretty streets and window-shopping at the boutiques.

You’ll find many cute shops that will tempt you along the way, and while most are rather expensive, you can come across some good deals or more affordable stores where to get a little souvenir. 

You shouldn’t miss a visit to the Montauk Indian Museum to learn about the natives who inhabited this area before the first European settlers arrived, and discover the rich history through displays, films, and lectures. 

The Second House Museum also makes for a very interesting visit (it’s currently closed for construction, but you can check here for updates on its reopening), and make sure you stop for coffee at Joni’s after your stroll.

Head to the Harbor 

After you’ve recharged your energy with a cup of coffee or some lunch, make your way to the Montauk Harbor to watch the fishermen at work.

You’ll also admire incredible yachts, and seagulls flying around. At the harbor, there’s activity pretty much all day, with boats coming in and out and offering a pretty spectacle

It makes for a lovely walk and is a very enjoyable destination for those interested in boats. If that’s not you in the least, then move on to the next activity; you’ll have more time to spend on it!

Relax at the Beaches in Montauk

The beaches in Montauk are gorgeous, so if you have time make sure to spend part of your afternoon tanning at Ditch Plains Beach, catching some waves, or going for a swim.  

The beach boasts a long stretch of sand backed with impressive green cliffs, and it’s a favorite spot among surfers for its fantastic waves. If you’re one of them or would like to learn, there’s a surf shop very close to the beach where you can rent equipment or book a lesson! 

Otherwise, just lay back and enjoy the view of the surfers doing their thing, read a book, or walk around with your camera in hand. Ditch Plains Beach is also pet-friendly! 

Eat at these restaurants

To end your day trip to Montauk from NYC on a good note, enjoy some of its fantastic cuisine at one of the best restaurants in Montauk

▶️ Lobster Roll: Also known as LUNCH, Lobster Roll has been serving its famous dish since the 1950s. Be sure to enjoy their staple Lobster Roll, either cold or hot, with a drink by the beach, or scan the menu to find your favorite seafood meal. 

Note that Lobster Roll only opens during the summer season. 

Address: 1980 Montauk Highway
Opening Hours: Friday to Sunday from 11.45 AM to 8 PM. Monday closes at 4.45 PM. 

▶️ Harvest on Fort Pond: Harvest on Fort Pond serves Italian cuisine and family-style meals, also offering great freshly caught seafood. Situated on Fort Pond, you’ll enjoy beautiful views from their alfresco dining area, or get cozy with a craft beer at the lounge. 

All food is made with homegrown produce and there are vegetarian options available.

Address: 11 S Emery St
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 5 PM to 9 PM

▶️ Ditch Witch: This food truck is located in Ditch Plains Beach, and while they specialize in street food, you’ll find delicious poke bowls, healthy salads, wraps and burritos, warm cinnamon buns, and hearty breakfasts to start your day. 

Ditch Witch only opens during the summer season. 

Address: Ditch Plains Beach, 2nd Parking Lot
Opening Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 4 PM

Day Trip to Montauk FAQ

Is Montauk worth visiting?

Yes! Montauk is a little village in the easternmost part of Long Island, and it features gorgeous beaches, dramatic landscapes, tons of hiking trails, and delicious food. A Montauk one day trip is totally worth it. 

Can you do a day trip to Montauk from NYC?

You can definitely enjoy a day in Montauk as there are enough things to do to keep you busy! The cute town is small enough, though, and you’ll get to see its main attractions in a day without having to rush. 

Can you go to Montauk without a car? 

Yes, visiting Montauk without a car is perfectly doable. You have various transportation options to get there from NYC, and to explore the town you can either walk around or rent a bike!

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.