The official arrival of spring on March 19 is always a moment to take a step back and embrace the beauty of the East End that is on display all around—most notably at our Hamptons and North Fork beaches, where scenery and the sounds of the surf offer the perfect setting for serenity. A drive, a stroll or even some quiet time swiping through your photos and videos of these pristine places make for outstanding moments of reflection and rejuvenation.
Montauk Point State Park
2000 Montauk Highway, Montauk
A perfect place to begin is Montauk Point, because it’s hard to feel more at home on the East End than when you’re strolling along the shore below the iconic Montauk Lighthouse. And speaking of those photos—old ones you love and new ones you’re taking—share them with your family and friends…and us, of course!
104 Ocean Avenue, East Hampton
While Main Beach is usually bustling with tourists and locals during the summer, it’s a serene walking destination in the off-season. The jetty to the left of the pavilion makes a perfect marker for a “lap” around the beach and there are often plenty of piping plovers to be seen perched on the rocks and chasing the tide along the way. Be sure not to get to close to the little seabirds, and if you’re walking with a dog, keep them leashed and away from the plovers.
Sagg Main Beach
315 Sagg Main Road, Sagaponack
Home to the annual Dan’s Papers Kite Fly, the largest kite event on the East End, Sagg Main is also a popular spot for drum circles every other summer Monday or so, but this time of year, the sense of calm is palpable. March is actually a great time to scout the land and see if you might want to invest a few hundred dollars in a Southampton Town summer parking pass or stick with a $25 daily parking permit. It’s a tough choice, we know.
121 Gin Lane, Southampton
Aside from stunning beach and ocean views as far as the eye can see, Gin Beach’s claim to fame is its bizarre parking situation. A Southampton Village permit is required for the nicest parking spots, but an Agawam permit from Southampton Town is required for the spaces around the lake, to the north of the median. There are also a few permit-free spots near the Bathing Corporation. These are summer matters though—in March you can park where you want.
280 Dune Road, Hampton Bays
The crown jewel of Hampton Bays, Ponquogue Beach—and the beautiful bridge that leads to it, by car or on foot—is not only the most popular beach in the hamlet but also the only Southampton Town beach with a full concession stand in the summer. Like Sagg Main Beach, Ponquogue also offers a $25 daily parking permit in addition to the summer pass, so keep that in mind as you plan for sunny days ahead.
Cupsogue Beach County Park
975 Dune Road, Westhampton
A Suffolk County park, the 296-acre barrier beach boasts white sands, excellent bass fishing, slack tide scuba diving, a pavilion and great camping spots. The park is located on the Brookhaven-Southampton town line and was originally part of Fire Island until a 1931 nor’easter ripped through the sands and created the Moriches Inlet, separating it. If you’re looking for a pleasantly secluded beach to enjoy a quiet stroll, this is it.
Orient Beach State Park
40000 Main Road, Orient
Located on the easternmost tip of the North Fork, Orient Beach is classified as a New York State park, and as such requires an Empire Pass to gain year-round access. The sharable card is a no-brainer and grants access to Orient Beach’s fishing access, playground, surfing, grills, playing field and more. The park is also a United States House Society Passport Stamp Location where patrons can view Orient Point Lighthouse, Plum Island Lighthouse, Long Beach Bar Lighthouse and the Cedar Island Lighthouse. Visit parks.ny.gov for Empire Pass information.