For fans of outdoor activities, the pandemic has offered a pretty clear silver lining – the opportunity to spend more time outside. Now that things are looking a bit better post-omicron, we can all still appreciate the little gift that was. While biking to Sag Harbor from East Hampton, I found myself especially grateful for the natural beauty and miles-long roads out here that offer some respite from the daily stress of life and work.
One could argue that there’s no place like the East End for outdoor enthusiasts. So in no particular order, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite outdoor activities to do in the Hamptons:
- Enjoy a Nature Walk
You don’t have to go far to find preserved areas with great hiking trails in the Hamptons. In East Hampton, Cedar Point County Park, and Northwest Woods offer easy trails, a beautiful setting, and will even welcome your four-legged friends. Out in Montauk, Shadmoor State Park is one of our favorite spots for a shorter loop, with some great views. And depending on where you’re coming from, Mashomack Preserve on picturesque Shelter Island is a must-visit for nature lovers. You’ll find trails of varying lengths, and it’s a great place to spot ospreys and other wildlife.
- Go Surfing in Montauk
With some of the best breaks on the East Coast, Montauk has become a surfer’s paradise. Ditch Plains has become a favorite spot in the Hamptons for locals and visitors alike. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful beach and grabbing food afterward at the Ditch Witch couldn’t be easier. If surfing’s not your thing (yet), but you’re willing to try, definitely reach out to us – we’ll put you in touch with the best people and places to get surfing lessons from the pros.
- An Equestrian’s Dream
It’s no secret that the Hamptons is home to many equestrian traditions dating back to the turn of the century. But if you’re not quite ready to debut at the Grand Prix, there are plenty of places to try horseback riding for the day. East End Stables in East Hampton, Grey Horse Farm in Bridgehampton, and Stony Hill Stables in Amagansett are both beautiful settings that offer instruction for riding at all abilities and short-term leases for more experienced riders.
- Experience the Hamptons’ Wildlife Refuges
If you’re looking for a nature sanctuary in the Hamptons, look no further. The Quogue Wildlife Refuge is an amazingly well-run nature preserve, with tons to learn and observe. A favorite for many is the animal sanctuary on the preserve where they keep several animals that are either being rehabilitated or are unable to be released back into the wild. A peaceful visit here will certainly not leave you, or your kids, disappointed. The Elizabeth Alexandra Morton Wildlife Refuge is another great option and one that protects 187 acres on the north shore of our Long Island south fork. The refuge itself is in close proximity to Sag Harbor, with a mile and a half long peninsula locally known as Jessup’s Neck. A day trip to these wildlife sanctuaries is a great reset, weekday or weekend activity.
- Experience the Walking Dunes Trail
A charming, beautiful hike along the Montauk dunes might be just what you need to take a breather between all of your other planned activities. This 2.7 mile loop is fairly easy and with Montauk’s beautiful vistas, you won’t want to miss. Avid bird watchers should be on the lookout, as this trail is one of the best for spotting coastal birds.
- Enjoy a Round of Golf
We’re not golfers ourselves, but this question comes up a lot, and we’re happy to point golfers out there in the right direction. Of course, the East End is home to some of the most elite, private, golf clubs in the country, but there are also plenty of options for those looking for public courses and non-equity clubs too. Montauk Downs is a public course and favorite of many. A little further west, The Woods at Cherry Creek in Riverhead, offers long, lush fairways – and it’s a bit easier to get a tee time.
- Spend Time On the Water
If laying out on our beautiful beaches isn’t cutting it, consider the activities that get you out on the water. There are plenty of fishing charters available across the Hamptons for half-day or full-day trips, and also beautiful sailboat charters that make for an amazing day on the water. If you’re planning for the summer, consider investing, borrowing, or renting a kayak, or standup paddleboard for one of our favorite and meditative forms of exercise.
- Mountain Bike Local Trails
To any cyclers out there: you are not alone on the East End! The trail system that runs throughout the Northwest Woods all the way to Montauk (Paumanok Path, Fosters Path) is one of the best to get all of your mileage in. In our free time, we love to spend time on these scenic trails, and enjoy making some stops along the way, including Amaganett’s village for coffee or a bite to eat!
- Walk the Dogs at Animal Rescue of the Hamptons
Need we say more? ARF Hamptons is an incredible rescue shelter in East Hampton and home to some of the sweetest dogs looking for a permanent home. We love volunteering, and spending time walking or socializing with the dogs here, and encourage you to spend some time at this well-run, compassionate animal rescue shelter.
And the list doesn’t stop there. Biking, running, outdoor fitness classes. whatever your preferences are, there’s a place for it out east. Don’t hesitate to call us as you’re thinking about your Summer plans. We’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.