When planning your ideal beach vacation, figuring out where to stay in the Hamptons is the key to having the best experience. Here are some suggestions for the best towns and hotels to catch a dash of old glamor.
Where to Stay in the Hamptons
The Hamptons are a group of towns clustered along the shore of Long Island’s South Fork, but they are so much more than a geographic entity. For decades, “the Hamptons” is a term that acts as a catch-all for glamor, glitz, and relaxation.
The Hamptons is a region made up of two townships and several small towns. The two main townships are East Hampton, known for its old money reputation, and more laid-back Southampton.
Other famous villages that make up the Hamptons region are Sag Harbor, Montauk, Bridgehampton, and Shinnecock Hills.
Located a short drive away from New York City, the Hamptons have been the summer playground for the city’s elite for years. Even today, celebrities from Ina Garten to the Real Housewives of New York summer here.
We mere mortals can visit the wealthier towns in the Hamptons or stay in some of the more affordable areas that still give off plenty of glamor. This doesn’t mean that the Hamptons are just about glamor and celebrity.
Real people live here, some continuing the centuries-long tradition of fishing and farming that kept these communities alive before wealthy New Yorkers began coming here to escape the heat.
Many historic parts of the Hamptons feel more like parts of New England than New York. Today, there is something for everyone in the Hamptons. Many people come here for the natural beauty, including the beaches and inland hikes.
Others come for the thriving arts scene, which is amazing for such a small region. Still others come to rub elbows with celebrities at elegant restaurants, boutiques, and parties. Whatever you’re looking for in the Hamptons, you’re bound to find it if you’re smart about where you stay.
The 5 Best Parts of Town
Here are some of the best towns in the Hamptons for visitors to stay, depending on what you’re looking for.
- East Hampton: Best for first-time visitors and celebrity-spotting
- Montauk: Best for an active vacation
- Southampton: Best for luxury
- Sag Harbor: Best for art lovers
- Amagansett: Best beach town vibes
These are just a few of the most popular towns in the Hamptons region where most visitors, including swanky celebrities, prefer to stay.
1. East Hampton
When most people think about the Hamptons, East Hampton is the first town that they think about. This town has everything that makes up the quintessential Hamptons experience — a quaint historic-feeling center, gorgeous beaches, and plenty of celebrity sightings.
East Hampton is one of the oldest towns on Long Island, first established in 1640. It started off as a whaling town and for centuries was populated by austere farmers and fishermen.
You can still see traces of this history when you walk down Main Street and check out the quaint architecture, including the windmills. However, fishing was replaced by a much more valuable whale in the 19th century — tourism.
When the railway was extended to nearby Bridgehampton from New York in the late 19th century, the first resorts popped up and the first wealthy summer residents arrived.
You can still gawk at some of these luxury houses if you drive through Eastern Plain. Today, East Hampton has something for everyone, making it the perfect place to stay for first-time visitors.
Check out some of the historic sights, go shopping, and don’t forget to spend plenty of time on sandy, gorgeous Main Beach.
East Hampton also forms the perfect base for exploring some of the other towns of the Hamptons, which all have their distinctive character. However, East Hampton is one of the priciest places to stay in the Hamptons; this is the seat of old money glamor, after all.
It also gets very crowded, particularly in the summer, so stay in one of the smaller towns if you were hoping for a quiet beach vacation.
Things to Do
- Check out historic East Hampton sites such as the Hook Windmill
- Spend some time on sandy Main Beach
- Explore the Hamptons gay scene at Two Mile Hollow, the local gay beach
- Go shopping and people-watching along Main Street
- Learn about the artsy side of Hamptons history at the Pollock-Krasner House, dedicated to artist Jackson Pollock
Where to Eat
- Try some fresh produce at the Round Swamp Farm Stand
- Have country Italian staples in an upscale, celebrity-filled setting at Nick & Toni’s
- Have good old-fashioned Americana at Bostwick’s Chowder House
- Go out of town to crowd-favorite Highway Restaurant & Bar
East Hampton Budget Hotels
- East Hampton House Resort. Although not very affordable compared to accommodations in other towns, the East Hampton House Resort is one of the best moderately priced hotels in this town. Amenities include a tennis court, spacious rooms with kitchenettes, and a great location.
- The Huntting Inn. The Huntting Inn is a gorgeous B&B with pristine rooms, a shared lounge for meeting other guests, and complimentary breakfast.
East Hampton Mid-Range Hotels
- Journey East Hampton. Guests at the Journey East Hampton can enjoy comfortable, well-designed rooms, a garden perfect for relaxing, and even a pool during the summer (although the beach is a short distance away).
- Mill House Inn. Don’t be fooled by the rustic name. Mill House Inn is one of the swankiest hotels in the Hamptons, featuring comfortable rooms, hot tubs, a garden, and excellent service, including a seasonal continental breakfast.
East Hampton Luxury Hotels
- EHP Resort. The EHP Resort is the ultimate beach getaway. Amenities include a waterfront location, fitness center, free toiletries in every room, and a swanky seasonal restaurant.
- East Hampton Art House Bed & Breakfast. Located slightly outside East Hampton proper in the seafront village of Clearwater Beach, the luxurious East Hampton Art House Bed & Breakfast is run by artists, whose design sensibilities inform every room and common area. Amenities include free beach passes, several pools, and art studios open for touring.
Montauk is one of those towns that people forget is technically part of the Hamptons because the vibes are so different from the elegant (and sometimes stuffy) atmosphere in the region’s main beach towns.
This laid-back beach town is a great destination for families, young people in search of a good time, and anyone looking to spend plenty of time outdoors, whether on the water or on dry land.
Montauk’s unofficial slogan, found on bumper stickers and tourist brochures, is “The End” or “The Last Resort.” The hamlet is located on the very tip of Long Island’s South Fork; the only thing further east is the ocean.
The location made this hamlet an important fishing and sailing village back in the day and is why the first lighthouse in New York State, which is still standing, was built here.
Today, visitors to Montauk can enjoy amazing beaches on all sides. Besides swimming, take advantage of windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, and even fishing, all activities that you can do at one of the many beaches or state parks.
There is plenty to do on dry land as well. Montauk is surrounded by six state parks that have plenty of trails for some gentle hiking and exploring. People even come during the off-season to snowshoe or hike.
Montauk also has some attractions in the town itself, such as beautiful waterfront restaurants, its own brewery, and quirky boutiques.
However, the vibe here is more of a quirky surf town than a luxurious getaway for celebrities. If you’re craving a luxurious vacation or want to spot some celebrities, you’re better off staying in East Hampton or Southampton.
Things to Do
- Take photos in front of The Montauk Lighthouse, New York’s oldest lighthouse
- Go hiking in one of six state parks (Camp Hero has one of the best views)
- Go swimming on one of Montauk’s many beaches such as Ditch Plains Beach
- Head over to Lake Montauk for fishing and other watersports
- Go shopping in Montauk and check out quirky boutiques such as Vintage Pink
Where to Eat
- Fuel up for the beach at Goldberg’s Bagels
- Have a stunning lakeside dinner at The Crow’s Nest
- Grab a pint with friends at Montauk Brewing Company
- Have the freshest seafood at Inlet Seafood Restaurant
Montauk Budget Hotels
- Kenny’s Tipperary Inn. Quaint Kenny’s Tipperary Inn has a seasonal pool, free beach passes, and comfy rooms, all in a great location.
- The Montauk Beach House. The Montauk Beach House is the place to stay for young people looking to party, thanks to its cocktail lounge, weekend DJ, and great atmosphere.
Montauk Mid-Range Hotels
- Montauk Manor. If you like to stay in hotels with historic settings, Montauk Manor is the place for you. First built in the 1920s, this stately hotel has condo accommodations, a spa, organized activities, and other amenities.
- Haven Montauk. Haven Montauk is a great, laid-back base to explore all that Montauk has to offer. The hotel even offers free bikes and a fire pit to make the most of the outdoors.
Montauk Luxury Hotels
- Hero Beach Club. Montauk may not have much in the way of luxury beachfront resorts, but what it does have, in the form of Hero Beach Club, truly shines. Amenities include an outdoor pool and massage services. Don’t forget to take a picture by the smiley face sign!
- Beachcomber Resort at Montauk. The Beachcomber Resort at Montauk is another great luxury resort in the laid-back beach town. Amenities include tennis courts, ocean views, and a sauna.
East Hampton may be the epicenter of old money glamor in the Hamptons, but Southampton is where today’s modern luxury is concentrated. This is the town where many celebrities come to see and be seen.
The celebrities didn’t just pick Southampton arbitrarily; the town earned its title as a playground for the rich thanks to its gorgeous, historic town center and beach.
There are a few important historic sites in the town, such as the 17th-century First Presbyterian Church, but the reasons why most people come here are decidedly more modern.
If you want to rub elbows with celebrities or just gawk at unfettered displays of luxury, drive along Meadow Lane to admire the mansions or check out the upscale shops on Jobs Lane and Main Street.
Southampton is also where the city’s It crowd comes to party over the summer, so check out the nightlife if that’s what you’re into.
Of course, you can’t forget the beaches, including Cooper’s Beach (one of the few beaches that isn’t residents-only). Southampton is a great place to stay if you want luxury and comfort, whether you’re traveling with friends, a partner, or a family.
It is not a great place to stay if you’re on a budget; what passes for budget accommodation here would raise eyebrows in other places in terms of prices.
Things to Do
- Go shopping (or window shopping if your wallet can’t take it) on Jobs Lane and Main Street
- Rent a sunbed and spend the whole day at Cooper’s Beach with your family
- Go clubbing at South Pointe (if you can get into the ultra-exclusive lounge)
- Get your dose of culture at the Parrish Art Museum
Where to Eat
- Check out the original Tate’s Bake Shop for delicious cookies
- Have upscale Asian fusion at Bamboo
- Enjoy excellent modern takes on Italian comfort food at Tutto Il Giorno
Southampton Budget Hotels
- The Southampton Inn. The quaint, seashore-themed Southampton Inn features a pool, on-site restaurant, and free transportation to Cooper’s Beach.
- Sea Haven Resort Motel. The no-frills Sea Haven Resort Motel is one of the few budget accommodations in Southampton. Amenities include free parking, WiFi, and a barbecue.
Southampton Mid-Range Hotels
- The Hamlet Inn. A gorgeous property located right on Shinnecock Bay, the Hamlet Inn will help you feel at home in Southampton with excellent rooms that come complete with patios, a large property complete with pool, and service that includes complimentary newspapers.
- 1708 House. True to its name, the historic 1708 House dates back to at least 1708, if not earlier. Stay here for a dose of history with modern accommodations such as air conditioning, free breakfast, and billiards tables.
Southampton Luxury Hotels
- The Quogue Club. Located a bit outside Southampton proper in the hamlet of Quogue, The Quogue Club is a stately manor with modern, luxury rooms. Amenities include free bicycles, a fitness center, a bike, and friendly service willing to arrange activities.
- Southampton Village Motel. Don’t be fooled by the quaint name. The Southampton Village Motel features excellent amenities such as gorgeous rooms, a garden, and free bikes.
4. Sag Harbor
Sag Harbor is one of the smaller towns in the Hamptons region, located on the northern shore of Long Island’s South Fork.
However, this tiny former whaling village has an outsized impact on American arts and culture thanks to the many artists and writers that have lived or vacationed here. Its storied history even earned this town a mention in Moby Dick.
If you like your vacations to have a dose of culture and history, then Sag Harbor is the place for you. Walk in the footsteps of famous artists such as John Steinbeck that called this village home at one point or another.
Check out the historic architecture harking back to the village’s whaling history, such as the Old Whaler’s Church. This doesn’t mean that Sag Harbor is stuck in the past, even if its business district is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The trendy restaurants, vibrant theaters, and modern galleries and boutiques make this place a vibrant small town, all with the kind of laid-back atmosphere that earned this town the nickname of the “un-Hampton.”
While Sag Harbor is on the water and you can enjoy the beach, it’s not one of the best beach destinations in the Hamptons. If you’re looking for bustling nightlife or a touch more excitement, check out one of the bigger towns.
Things to Do
- Get a dose of history at Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum
- Check out the boutiques and art galleries in the historic Sag Harbor business district
- Take a charter boat onto the water for some fishing
- Catch a show at the Bay Street Theatre
Where to Eat
- Have homemade ice cream at Big Olaf, a favorite among kids
- Enjoy fresh seafood at Dock House
- Try local favorites with a Mexican twist at Estia’s Little Kitchen
- Grab a quick bite on your way to the beach at Bagel Buoy
Sag Harbor Budget Hotels
- Baron’s Cove. Baron’s Cove has an unpretentious yet luxurious feel with amenities that include a saltwater pool, free toiletries, and excellent views.
- House on Chase Creek. Budget accommodations are hard to come by in Sag Harbor, but you can always stay at House on Chase Creek in nearby Shelter Island Heights and enjoy gorgeous rooms at the rustic B&B.
Sag Harbor Mid-Range Hotels
- The Parkside Retreat in Noyac. Some of the best places to stay near Sag Harbor are actually private homes such as the Parkside Retreat in Noyac, a gorgeous home with three bedrooms, a massive property, and a great location.
- Villa KeyLime. The Villa KeyLime is another great find for private accommodation. Amenities include five bedrooms, an indoor pool, and a gorgeous patio.
Sag Harbor Luxury Hotels
- Topping Rose House. Located in nearby Bridgehampton, Topping Rose House is a great, luxurious base for exploring Sag Harbor and the surrounding areas. Amenities include an on-site farm and farm-to-table restaurant, free vehicles, luxury robes, a spa, and more.
- Villa Kimaal. For true luxury on your vacation, rent out the entirety of Villa Kimaal, a gorgeous vacation home that has five bedrooms, a modern dining area, and a pool.
Amagansett and the surrounding areas are some of the best places on the Hamptons to experience the laid-back vibes you would expect from a beach town and get away from some of the glitz and glamor (and crowds) of neighboring towns.
Amagansett is nestled between East Hampton and Montauk, close to the eastern tip of Long Island. The main attraction in town is Atlantic Avenue Beach.
All types of beach bums head here, thanks to the many water activities available. Take lessons or rent equipment. Amagansett has plenty of natural beauty to enjoy, making it the perfect destination for nature lovers.
You can even walk to Montauk along the Walking Dunes Trail. There are also plenty of things to do in town such as pop into the boutiques, have coffee, and sit down on Amagansett Square and watch the world go by.
Amagansett is a great location for a laid-back beach vacation, but if you’re looking for a more exciting stay (or more choices in terms of accommodation), stay in Southampton or East Hampton.
Things to Do
- Walk to Montauk along the Hither Hills State Park Walking Dunes trail
- Rent a surfboard or stand-up paddleboard at Atlantic Avenue Beach
- Go golfing at South Fork Country Club
- Go shopping around Amagansett Square
Where to Eat
- Have amazing Indian food, including a range of chutneys, at Hampton Chutney
- Grab coffee and a pastry at Jack’s Stir Brew
- Have an upscale seafood dinner at Wolffer Kitchen Amagansett
Amagansett Budget Hotels
- Ocean Vista Resort. The gorgeous yet reasonably priced Ocean Vista Resort is right on the beach (with private access) and has an indoor pool for guests.
- Montauk Blue. Sadly, budget accommodation is hard to find in Amagansett, but the Montauk Blue is worth the trip to nearby Montauk. Guests can look out at the beach from the massive sun deck, swim in the pool, or walk to the nearby beach.
Amagansett Mid-Range Hotels
- Sea Crest. Sea Crest is another great resort located right on the beach in Amagansett with amenities including free beach umbrellas, a pool, and a tennis court.
- The Roundtree. Amagansett’s The Roundtree Hotel features gorgeous, fully equipped rooms, a spacious garden, and amenities such as barbecues.
Amagansett Luxury Hotels
- Ocean Colony Beach & Tennis Club. Ocean Colony Beach & Tennis Club is one of the best luxury resorts along this shoreline with amenities such as air-conditioned rooms, 24-hour desk service, and tennis courts.
- The Hermitage at Napeague. The massive Hermitage at Napeague is one of Amagansett’s most luxurious resorts. Amenities include private apartments with balconies, several tennis courts, seven acres of grounds, and private beach access.
So, Where Should You Stay in the Hamptons?
The Hamptons are one of the best getaways from New York, thanks to the gorgeous beaches and vibrant resort culture.
You have plenty of luxurious hotels in Southampton and East Hampton, where you rub elbows with celebrities, or you can head over to Montauk for more laid-back vibes.