Montauk beaches rank among the top in the country. Great rolling breakers move in on miles of white gleaming sand. No boardwalks or development here, it’s all natural In some places low rolling dunes rim the beach, in others high cliffs. Montauk is known for its spectacular 70-foot high bluffs, which stretch all the way to the point. On the north side of Montauk the protected waters of Block Island Sound are much gentler than the ocean. Here the beaches can be rocky or sandy and provide the best beachcombing treasures.
DITCH PAINS BEACH (surfer spot, families, can get crowded, permit parking)
Popular with surfers, this beach is two miles east of the village on the ocean with parking by permit only at two parking areas. The super long break makes surfi ng ideal for newbies or veteran long-boarders. This iconic beach has beautiful cliff s rising at its western end at Shadmoor Park, restrooms, outdoor showers, lifeguards during the summer season, and concession trailers that serve more than just snacks.
GIN BEACH (sound side, calm, families, boat watching, walk to Shagwong point, permit parking)
At the end of East Lake Drive on Block Island Sound; and named for the cattle gins, or pens, that resided here for hundreds of years, Gin Beach is great for Families with children, with gentle water and sandy beaches. You can watch the boats come in and out of Montauk Harbor, or take a walk on the jetty. Parking by permit only. Restrooms, outdoor showers, a concession trailer, lifeguards during the summer season, and a nearby restaurant provide all the family needs for a day at the beach.
HITHER HILLS STATE PARK (public parking, many facilities, sandy, families)
Four miles west of town on Old Montauk Highway. Lifeguards daily from mid June–Labor Day. Non-campers pay a $10 parking fee. Nice playground, picnic tables, outdoor showers, restrooms, a changing area, and a general store.
KIRK BEACH (main town beach with free parking area; wide, sandy, open, families)
West of the Village by the IGA supermarket, this sandy beach stretches over 500 feet. Park for free at Kirk Park parking lot. Public restrooms located next to the parking lot. Lifeguards, restaurants and stores are within walking distance, along with a park and picnic area across the street. The dunes on this beach were recently stabilized and stairways were put in place.
SOUTH EDISON BEACH (sandy, walkable from village hotels, close to everything, limited parking)
At the heart of the Village at the end of South Edison Street, this popular beach has a lifeguard on duty during the summer months, restaurants, restrooms, and stores nearby. Limited public parking. Be mindful of the dunes, which were recently stabilized.
AMSTERDAM BEACH (remote, unspoiled, quiet, hike to access, no facilities, dogs OK)
Walk the trail at Amsterdam Beach State Park and be rewarded by one of the most breathtaking vistas of unspoiled shoreline on the east coast. Meander along the intermittently sandy and rocky shoreline eastward or westward and be humbled. The 50-minute round-trip wooded hike includes a tunnel of American Holly and several exotic large oaks. Bring insect repellant and water as the beach has no facilities, no lifeguards…and probably no other people. Park (free) on the south side of Rt. 27 across from Deep Hollow Ranch en route to Montauk Point. ehtps.org/amsterdam-beach-preserve/
DITCH PLAINS BEACH (surfer spot, families, can get crowded, permit parking)
Popular with surfers, this beach is two miles east of the village on the ocean with parking by permit only at two parking areas. The super long break makes surfing ideal for newbies or veteran long-boarders. This iconic beach has beautiful cliff s rising at its western end at Shadmoor Park, restrooms, outdoor showers, lifeguards during the summer season, and concession trailers that serve more than just snacks. “
Considered more difficult than Ditch Plains, Turtle Cove is just west of the Montauk Lighthouse on the ocean side. You can park at the parking lot at the lighthouse and walk to the cove. This is a spot for experienced surfers, with consistent swells and powerful wave action. Be careful of rocks and rips.
THE OTHER BEACHES (walkable even if not parkable)
Montauk, surrounded by water on three sides, has many more beaches, but most of them are not protected by lifeguards and parking is not straightforward. For those who enjoy walking the beach, there are many options, as all beaches are public up to the high tide mark. A popular walk is from the village to Ditch Plains beach, where you see the cliff s of Shadmoor on the way. At high tide parts of the beach may be impassable.
FORT POND BAY
Montauk’s newest town beach is located right on beautiful Fort Pond Bay and a favorite beach to launch ocean kayaks and other small boats. This is also a popular beach for kids, picnics, and sunsets over the water. The beach is pebbly, so take those swim shoes. Parking by permit only. No restrooms.
NAVY ROAD BEACH (sound side, calm, pebbly, kayak launch, families, no facilities, permit parking)
On beautiful Fort Pond Bay at the end of 2nd House Rd. Great for launching kayaks, paddleboards, and small boats. A favorite spot for locals and families. The beach is pebbly, so take swim shoes. Parking by permit only. Dine waterside at Navy Beach, just down the beach. Boats and small yachts frequently moor in the Bay.
PUBLIC PARKING is free at the Kirk Park Beach, across from 7-11 and IGA Supermarket, and $10 at Hither Hills State Park. Many hotels and motels provide temporary permits for their guests. Other beaches require a permit, free for residents, but $375 per year for non-residents,
for sale at the Town Hall Annex. The Hither Hills Neighborhood beach along Old Montauk Highway has four private parking areas for neighborhood residents only.
Lifeguards are on duty at all public beaches from 10 – 5 weekends starting Memorial Day weekend, then daily from Mid-June – Labor Day, and then on weekends until the end of September, except as noted for certain beaches.
DOGS are not allowed on the beaches 10am – 6pm from May 15 through September 15. No restrictions apply for the remainder of the year.
DRIVING ON THE BEACH
FOUR WHEEL DRIVE permits for the main town beaches can be purchased at the Town Hall Annex in the Montauk Playhouse. Free to town residents, they cost $275 per year for non-residents. No vehicles allowed on the beaches 10am – 6pm, May 21– September 15. Other beaches around Montauk require various state or county driving permits. Read posted signs.
BEACH FIRE REGULATIONS
BEACH FIRES are allowed on main town beaches from 5pm – 12am but must be fully contained in a metal container. Other regulations apply. Go to onmontauk.com/beach-fire-regulations/ for a complete list of all requirements.
The best times to go are after low tide, or right after a storm, to find the shells and sea glass that just washed up. The best places to go are on the sound side of Montauk, where many shells, beach glass, and other treasures can often be found.
PARTIES ON THE BEACH
The Town of East Hampton requires any assembly of over 50 people to submit an assembly permit in advance to the town. Tents and other structures are not allowed on the beach except for food service. Amplified music is also not allowed on the beach. For other regulations go to the town of East Hampton web site: ecode360.com/9230282
OCEAN SWIMMING AND RIPTIDES
OCEAN SWIMMING CAN BE FUN, BUT THE POWER OF THE water can overwhelm even experienced swimmers caught in a strong current, or rip. To be safe, always swim at a beach with a lifeguard and never swim alone. Lifeguards are generally on duty at all public beaches from 10am-5pm through Labor Day.