exploring montauk, ny

Since we were on Long Island for (my) first time, I wanted to take full advantage of it! I know Long Island isn’t necessarily viewed as a hot destination but there are some spots on the island that are really popular like the Hamptons and Montauk. Montauk has been on my bucket list for years now so the trip for the PGA was the perfect opportunity to experience it.

On Saturday we had a free day and took the 2-hour drive from Farmingdale, NY out to Montauk. If you’re not familiar, Montauk is at the very tip of New York State and borders the Atlantic ocean. The drive itself was mostly traffic free and easy. As you get closer to Montauk you’ll drive through the East Hamptons which was beautiful. If we had more time we would have loved to stop here!

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Once making it to Montauk, our first stop was visiting the infamous lighthouse. Tip if you’re going here – bring cash! You have to pay for parking and pay for entry into the lighthouse (if you want to go into the museum portion) and we only had cards. Luckily there was an ATM nearby but it was a hassle nonetheless. We grabbed drinks at George’s Lighthouse Café which had a cute outside seating area with amazing views of the ocean.

After sipping on our drinks we walked down to the pebbly beach and did some exploring. The vast ocean and crashing waves set against the backdrop of land with the lighthouse perched high was breathtaking. Before visiting the lighthouse I knew it would be pretty but was also kind of like “so what?” After walking along the beach, and large rocks in front though we immediately understood why it’s such a desirable attraction. Not only is it beautiful, but the history of the lighthouse was incredible. We learned that it is the oldest lighthouse in New York State and that the lighthouse was authorized to be built by President George Washington in 1792! With salty wind-whipped hair and sand between our toes, we were glad we had taken the drive out to Montauk.

We have quite a few friends that have been to Montauk many times so we were armed with good food recommendations. After exploring the lighthouse, we decided on Gigshack for lunch which had a beachy,  energetic vibe and a short wait. We both got lobster rolls (because that’s what you do when you’re in Montauk) and they were INCREDIBLE. Expensive, but worth every lobstery delicious bite. We definitely recommend making this restaurant a stop on your list if you’re in town!

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To me, Montauk had small, beach-town vibes and felt like it should be the setting for a rom-com movie or show like Gilmore Girls. We popped in and out of shops, walked along the beach and passed friendly locals and tourists. We visited Balsam Farms, a local market, purchasing homemade jams and hot sauces while having a great chat with the owner. We also stopped at the Montauk General Store for some candles and goodies.

It’s also worth noting that we were told to visit Montauk Brewery however when we went to visit people were packed in like sardines which is an immediate pass from us. We also stopped by Navy Beach and although the view was pretty and they had big comfy outdoor seating, the food menu was small so we ultimately left.

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Overall, it was a beautiful beach town and we have a really great time. I will note however that looking at the Air BnB prices shocked me! I can certainly understand the magic and appeal of a cozy town like this however given the cost of accommodations and relatively small nature of the town, I would pass on taking an extended trip here. In my opinion, it felt slightly over-hyped and definitely over-priced but made for a lovely day trip. I’m curious – have you been to Montauk before and if so, did you love it? Leave me a comment below!

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