Whether you're a longtime resident of the city or you're just in town for the summer and looking for a luxurious way to beat the heat, planning a beach getaway to the Hamptons from New York City is surprisingly easy. This stretch of beach towns is located approximately 100 miles east of Manhattan on the eastern end of Long Island and refers to the villages and towns of Southampton, Westhampton, Quogue, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Amagansett, Montauk, and others.
In the summer, the Hamptons are popular with New Yorkers, particularly the upper crust, so there are many ways to get there from the city besides driving. Most people choose to take the train or the bus, but if you're willing to pay anything to beat the traffic, you could always take a helicopter. You don't need a car to get there, but having a vehicle of your own will be helpful for getting from place to place quickly, so it could be nice to drive there too.
If you've got the disposable income, there's nothing better than soaring over the traffic below, but that option is not affordable for the average traveler. Luckily, the train is another way you can avoid traffic on your way to the Hamptons and it happens to be one of the cheapest options. However, if there's no station near your final destination, you might be better off looking into some of the many bus services that shuttle beachgoers between the city and the Hamptons. It's just as affordable as the train and could be more comfortable if you want to upgrade to something more luxurious with free snacks.
How to Get from NYC to the Hamptons
- Train: 3 hours, 30 minutes, $22+
- Bus: 3 hours, 15 minutes, $21+
- Car: 2 hours, 30 minutes, 100 miles
- Helicopter: 40 minutes, $595+
The cheapest and fastest option for getting to the Hamptons is to take a train, but first you need to know which town you want to visit. Because Long Island's geography splinters into the North Fork and the South Fork, there are two train lines that service each prong.
To get to the North Fork by train, you'll need to take the Ronkonkoma Branch of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) from Penn Station, which eventually turns into the Greenport Branch when you pass Ronkonkoma. It makes stops in the Hamptons towns of Riverhead, Mattituck, Southold, and Greenport. To get to the South Fork by train, you'll take the Montauk Branch, which stops Westhampton, Hampton Bays, Southampton, and Montauk.
Referred to as simply "the jitney" by many New Yorkers, the bus to the Hamptons is one of the most common ways people travel there. These are not public buses, but privately owned companies that offer different experiences from the basic Hampton Jitney to the more deluxe Hampton Luxury Liner or Hampton Ambassador. The luxury-style buses are more expensive, but the leather seats are spacious and more comfortable. A complimentary snack and beverage service is also offered.
Every bus company makes different stops and runs on different schedules, so make sure you look up each online before you purchase your tickets. Since they are private buses, you will meet the bus on the street instead of at a bus station.
If you already have a vehicle, it's relatively simple to get to the Hamptons and it takes just under three hours. Once you leave Manhattan, take the Long Island Expressway (I-495) toward Long Island until you reach Exit 70. Then, take Exit 70 toward New York Highway 27 (NY-27), which is also known as Sunrise or Montauk Highway. This route goes through all of the Hamptons towns and villages and is basically the only way to navigate around the area. Realistically, the amount of time you'll spend on the road depends on traffic. On a normal day, you can try your best to avoid typical rush hour traffic to avoid major delays, but holiday weekends on Long Island are particularly notorious for bumper-to-bumper traffic, so take that into account when planning your trip.
If you opt to drive, keep in mind that parking permits are required for parking at many beaches in the Hamptons. Where applicable, you must display a valid village parking permit on your vehicle during the height of beach season. If you're looking to take a cheap day trip from the city, Ocean Road Beach has relatively inexpensive parking and a diverse crowd.
It's expensive, but with less than an hour of travel time, there's no faster way to get to the Hamptons than hopping on the chopper. Blade, a company that has been referred to many times as "the Uber for helicopters" schedules a couple of flights per week to Easthampton, for $595 per seat one-way—although it's also possible to charter a helicopter to leave at your convenience if you're traveling with a group. Keep in mind, any luggage you bring will be limited to 25 pounds.
What to See in the Hamptons
The beaches of the Hamptons are popular destinations for locals and tourists of all ages and levels of wealth and class, so finding the right beach for you comes down to what crowd you're looking to be around—or if you'd rather not be around a crowd at all.
Sagg Main Beach, Flying Point, and East Hampton Main Beach are popular among the college and young adult crowd, while Gibson Beach is a small and intimate stretch of coastline with rolling dunes and pristine sand frequented by far fewer visitors. If you're looking to explore one of the wealthier neighborhoods after a day at the beach, you can bring your bike to Wainscott Beach and ride through the nearby mansions of the rich and famous.