With the temperature dropping, you may already be feeling nostalgic for the sun, sand, and surf. While most people think of Montauk as a summer destination, you might be surprised to learn that there is plenty of fun to be had at the end of Long Island’s South Fork in the colder months, as well. In fact, Montauk reveals its true colors when the summer visitors head for home. It’s then that you can truly revel in the stunning seaside setting and take advantage of cozy restaurants and uncrowded wellness offerings. Once a sleepy surf and fishing town, Montauk recaptures much of its small-town charm in the off season. Here are some highlights you won’t want to miss.
Grab breakfast or lunch to go at Joni’s Kitchen, a casual yet quaint joint within walking distance of the beach and Montauk Village. With an extensive menu of healthy offerings that is tweaked with the seasons, you can enjoy a host of pressed sandwiches, healthy salads, fresh juices and smoothies, and more. A local favorite, it’s even more appealing in the cooler months when you don’t have to queue up with hordes of summer tourists.
Shadmoor State Park
Hit the trails with a visit to Shadmoor State Park, which is named for its rolling hills and the shadbush that grows there. The 99-acre park sports more than 2,400-square-feet of ocean beach, freshwater wetlands, hiking trails, and elevated platforms for birdwatching and enjoying epic ocean views. History buffs will want to check out the two concrete bunkers erected during World War II.
Montauk Salt Cave
Want to breathe a bit easier? Consider a visit to Montauk Salt Cave. There, you can relax in a zero-gravity chair surrounded by pink Himalayan salt, breathing in the salty air, which is made up of negatively charged ionized salt particles and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and more. An alternative treatment for a range of conditions, such as asthma, allergies, anxiety, and inflammation, halotherapy is reputed to detox the lungs and boost the immune system. You can also take advantage of guided meditation, sound healing, reiki, tarot card readings, and more.
No stay in Montauk is complete without some time spent exploring Montauk Lighthouse and Montauk Point State Park. Providing stunning 360-degree views of Block Island Sound, the Atlantic, and beyond, the lighthouse is the oldest in New York State, having been completed in 1796. A National Historic Landmark, it has more than 137 iron steps that lead to the top of the tower. The light, which flashes every five seconds, can be seen from 19 nautical miles away. The surrounding park is ideal for walks along the rocky shoreline. Those undeterred by the cold can surf from December 15 through March 31.
Left Hand Coffee
To warm up with a steaming cup of joe, stop off at Left Hand Coffee. Another local favorite, it features a variety of coffees, teas, hot cocoa, and hot apple cider. Try the turmeric latte. It’s delish.
Camp Hero state Park
Fans of the Netflix hit, Stranger Things, may want to plan a visit to Camp Hero State Park, which served as inspiration for the show. Encompassing 415 acres of maritime forests, freshwater wetlands, expansive beachfront, and an extensive network of trails, the park, home to a decommissioned military base, is rumored to be the former site of secret government experiments and other various conspiracy theories. Nature lovers will find it to be a great destination for snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing.
Gurney's Montauk Resort
Treat yourself to a stay at Gurney’s Montauk Resort. As the only luxury beachside hotel in the Hamptons, it’s hopping in the summer months. However, you’ll find it equally enticing in the off season with its panoramic ocean views and laid-back vibe. Although the spa is under renovation until 2021, you can still enjoy Scarpetta Beach, the resort’s Italian restaurant.
Inlet Seafood Restaurant
Just because cooler temperatures prevail doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy Montauk’s famed seafood. Enjoy fresh sushi or a host of seafood entrees, such as Pan-Seared Sea Scallops or Classic Fish & Chips at Inlet Seafood Restaurant, which is owned by six local commercial fishermen. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Another dining option is The Gigshack. The family-owned restaurant on Main Street stays true to its Montauk roots with a seasonal menu of what they call “global surf cuisine.” Think fish tacos, baby back ribs, and wings.
Start or finish your day with a yoga sesh at ONEYOGAHOUSE. There, you’ll find community, connection, and inspiration on the mat. Whether you want to sweat in an open-level Vinyasa flow class or opt for a slower pace with a restorative experience incorporating props, you’ll find the perfect practice to suit your mood. There is even Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation practice, that they may offer in the winter months and an Iyengar-inspired Vinyasa flow by candlelight for when you need the perfect setting to unwind.