Okay, if you took the LIRR to get here and it’s a Friday afternoon, it’s safe to say you are in need of a little beach relaxation, stat! Chances are, you just had a rough week in the office and had to pull strings in order to make the early train. You made it, despite delays on a sick-passenger subway ride. You then endured sitting in the aisle while hoards of people stumbled past you, bonking you in the head with their Vera Bradley bags. Well, at least they have a little cushioning. Laptop bags are the worst. For a hopeful moment you thought the gal talking to her friend on speakerphone just might be getting off at one of the Fire Island stops, but no, Montauk. The icing on the cake is when the slight buzz from your tall boy wears off, and you haven’t passed Speonk. Inhale, image of an empty beach, exhale, image of subway platform. The Hampton Jitney and Ambassador Class (the Jitney’s fancier ride) buses do their best for a smooth ride; providing passengers with perks like complimentary newspapers, a movie if you’re on the Luxury Liner, water, lemonade, sometimes even coffee or tea and/or wine, muffins in the morning and chips or granola bars in the afternoon. But let’s face it—Party Mix does not a party make.
Luckily, the beach will cure everything. Dive under a wave into the ice-cold water, dry off on the hot sand, and you’re reborn. The question remains, however, just how are you supposed to get there if you arrived via public transportation?
If you get off the train or Hampton Ambassador in Southampton, it’s about a five-mile walk to the nearest ocean beach. If you’re wearing sneakers and not carrying any luggage it can be done. Or you can do what I do and call Hometown Taxi. If you’re with a large group, let them know and maybe they can send a van. Don’t be surprised if the van is covered in a Bacardi ad and driven by a Rastafarian. These are all good signs that you can take a deep breath and succumb to island time. Hometown Taxi will also pick you up from the Hampton Jitney. Just call them as you pass the Lobster Grille/Inn. Here’s the number: 631-287-5200. You might try one of the other local taxi companies too, like East End Taxi, 631-324-0077, 324 Taxi of the Hamptons (based in East Hampton), 631-324-8294, or Taxi ONE Hamptons, 631-871-9906.
Or, avoid the hassles of transfers altogether by booking a ride with Main Street Drivers. Back for it second summer, Main Street Drivers (formerly Main Beach Drivers) provides the ultimate in professional door-to-door service in the luxury of your own private car. The Hamptons is your oyster—book MSD for a one way or a round trip to and from the city; or for a ride around town once you’re on the East End. Expert qualified drivers are at the ready, available for advance bookings or spur of the moment needs, 24/7. Visit mainstreetdrivers.com or call 631-287-6246 (Hamptons), 888-327-4460 (Manhattan) for additional information.
If you have a bike, you’re in business. There’s no better way to experience the natural beauty of the East End, soak up the fresh ocean air and avoid parking woes. All of the train and bus stops on the South Fork are within biking distance to ocean and bay beaches. If you didn’t bring your bike, you can rent one. Rotations in Southampton rents out brand new road bikes suitable for cruising to the beach as well as for more challenging ventures, like a ride to Sag Harbor, around Shelter Island or out to Montauk. Take a peek at their bikes at rotationsbicyclecenter.com or give them a call at 631-283-2890. Rotations does not reserve bikes so get there early in the morning. They open at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. on Sundays. Located at 32 Windmill Lane in Southampton, they’re barely more than a mile to Cooper’s Beach. If you’re closer to East Hampton, try Amagansett Beach & Bicycle. They rent all types of bikes by the hour, day or week. Check them out on amagansettbeachco.com or ring them up at 631-267-6325.
Another option I’m looking forward to trying is the Hamptons Free Ride Service. Even if you have a car, this could be a great way of getting to the beach without a beach sticker. Back for their third year, the free shuttle service has added routes in Southampton, East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. They run through prime locations in each of these villages, making stops at public, lifeguarded beaches. This eco-friendly shuttle is 100% electric, and runs 7 days a week, from 9ish to 6ish. Like them on Facebook to keep updated or check out their website at hamptonsfreeride.com.
Good luck and Godspeed!
Make your Hampton Jitney and Ambassador Class reservations at hamptonjitney.com or hamptonambassador.com. For the Hampton Luxury Liner, visit hamptonluxuryliner.com.