If you’re looking to spend a technology-free day with the family and have some good old-fashioned fun, take a swing at mini-golf. You don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars to play at the revered golf courses throughout the East End when spending just a couple of bucks on mini-golf can bring out that same friendly competitive spirit.
If you’ve driven out to the Hamptons, then you’ve probably seen the tiger named “Tony” waving at you on the highway from the Southampton Golf Range. This 18-hole course features a different animal on each hole and is both kid-friendly and difficult. The course is illuminated until 10 p.m. Besides mini-golf, the family owned golf range offers batting cages, a 300-yard driving range and a junior golf camp. Golf lessons are available. 668 County Road 39, Southampton, 631-283-2158.
Puff ’n’ Putt Family Fun Center is located in the heart of Montauk Village and has been operated by the Cucci family since 1977. The mini-golf course has 18 holes that range from simple to challenging, making the course fun for the entire family. Puff ’n’ Putt is located on the waterfront of Fort Pond, a 300-acre, enclosed fresh water lake, so you have a beautiful view while playing. You aren’t limited to the view, though. If you want to explore Fort Pond for yourself, try renting a boat from Puff ’n’ Putt. Fort Pond is a safe and comfortable place to learn to sail, kayak or paddleboard. 659 Montauk Highway, Montauk, 631-668-4473, puffnputt.com.
Shelter Island Whale’s Tale is a perfect place to bring the whole family. The only mini-golf course on Shelter Island is an 18-hole lighted course, allowing you to play past sunset. There are also tennis courts available for rental. Whale’s Tale has a delicious ice cream shop featuring 32 flavors of Hershey ice cream and eight soft–serve and yogurt flavors, as well as their extra thick “Dream Shakes.” They also offer made-to-order Italian specialties, including homemade cannoli and authentic cappuccinos. Enjoy your ice cream indoors with air-conditioned seating or on scenic tables on an outdoor patio. After the kids finish mini-golf, they can head to the arcade, go on kiddie rides or browse the gift shop. Whale’s Tale is perfect for birthday parties as well. 3 Ram Island Road, Shelter Island, 631-749-1839.
The Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE) in Bridgehampton is one of the East End’s best educational resources for young children, and it’s also a place where kids can be kids, as their official motto is “where learning begins with play.” Aside from the various activities at the museum on any given day, there’s a 9-hole wheelchair accessible mini-golf course. The game of mini-golf keeps kids engaged and allows them to explore basic concepts in physics and math via informational (and bilingual) signage at each hole and on the scorecards. Whether or not your kid is going to be an engineer, he or she will surely love playing this course. You can pay to become a Friend of the Museum to help CMEE make a difference in the lives of families on the East End, a membership package that happens to include unlimited mini-golf. 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, 631-537-8250, CMEE.org.
Slo Jack’s Drive-In, just down the road from Tiana Bay in Hampton Bays, offers a free round if you manage to get a hole-in-one on the 18th hole. Get a group of friends together to take over the course and arrange for a golf party. Slo Jack’s isn’t just known for its mini-golf—the restaurant boasts a menu that includes their famous chili, grilled favorites and a variety of Mexican foods like burritos and fajitas, that are sure to make your mouth sizzle. 212 West Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays, 631-728-7184, slojacksdrivein.com.
Drossos Motel is just a few miles west of Greenport Village on Route 25, where its Tick Tock Miniature Golf has been a destination for families for decades. The 18-hole course has all of your traditional mini-golf obstacles and is complemented by a game room for maximum entertainment. Drossos sports a snack bar and ice cream stand with tasty burgers, fries, shakes and buckets of chicken. If you’re on the North Fork, Drossos is the place to go for a fun-filled day with the family. 69125 Main Road, Greenport, 631-477-1334, drossosmotel.com.