hoodoos at shadmoor state park

A Perfect Day Trip to Montauk, NY (2024)

Montauk is such a beautiful and unique place that is worth visiting for the day anytime of year! There is honestly so much to do and see in Montauk so I have cut out all of the research for you and narrowed it down to the best things to do in Montauk if you only have one day to experience it all!

I’m Ariana and I am a Montauk local (yes, I even went to Montauk Public School!) and I’m here to help you have a memorable day trip to Montauk, New York. Below you will find a full day Itinerary packed with different options of things to do and places to eat in Montauk.

Pro Tip: if you are visiting Montauk, New York in the Winter, Spring or Fall make sure to read my Off Season Guide to Montauk here!

A memorable day trip to Montauk New York

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Montauk Day Trip FAQ:

How long does it take to get to Montauk from NYC?

This really depends on the day, time of day and time of year. Roughly it takes about three hours to get to Montauk from NYC but it can take much longer in the summer during high season.

I recommend bringing a car so you can easily see and do things in Montauk but the Long Island Railroad is a great reliable option from NYC.

Can you do a day trip to Montauk from NYC?

Absolutely! It is going to be a long day but you can definitely do it. I’ve included a full day itinerary but you can pick and choose what to do and see if you can’t do it all.

Make sure you factor travel times into your day!

Is Montauk worth visiting?

Yes, yes, yes! Montauk is so unique and cool and different than the rest of Long Island. It is definitely worth visiting Montauk even if just for one day.

Montauk has so many great hiking trails and nature preserves, beautiful beaches, lots of fishing and a lively town with so much to do (and great food)!

Can you get around Montauk without a car?

You can get around Montauk without a car. However, you might limit what you are able to do and see. There are plenty of things to do in and around the downtown area of Montauk but to get to the lighthouse and the docks you will need a car or hire a taxi.

Must Read: The Ultimate Montauk Travel Guide

Day Trip to Montauk Itinerary

Visit the Montauk Point Lighthouse or Walk Shadmoor State Park

If this is your first time visiting Montauk I highly suggest visiting the Montauk Point Lighthouse. Located at Montauk Point, the lighthouse was commissioned by President George Washington in 1792 and was the first lighthouse in New York State!

You can pay to walk up the lighthouse (the views are incredible!) and visit the Montauk Lighthouse Museum. Days of operation and hours change seasonally. Check hours and ticket prices here.

If you don’t want to walk up the lighthouse and visit the museum – I suggest you pull into the Camp Hero State Park entrance right before the Montauk lighthouse on the right. From there you can walk around the State Park (which was a US Military Base in operation until the 1980’s) and see the stunning bluffs and view of the Montauk Point Lighthouse.

If you’ve been to the lighthouse before, I suggest doing my favorite hike: Shadmoor State Park. Shadmoor is a pretty short hike at about two miles there and back. The trail snakes along the edge of the bluffs and hoodoos along the Atlantic Ocean. The views are just fantastic and can’t be beat.

Must Read: Best Things to do in Montauk in the Summer

Montauk Lighthouse with holiday lights and wreath

Breakfast at Bird on the Roof, Johns Pancake House or Goldberg’s Bagels

After a trip to the Montauk Point Lighthouse or Shadmoor State Park you might want some breakfast to fuel you for the day. My favorite breakfast in Montauk is at Bird on the Roof. Order the pancakes and soft scramble toast!

If an old school diner is what you are craving for breakfast grab a table at John’s Pancake House right on Main Street. And if you just want a quick bite before heading to the beach grab a bagel to go from Goldberg’s Bagels.

Go to one of Montauk’s Beautiful Beaches or go for a Hike in Montauk

You can not visit Montauk without seeing the beaches! Montauk has beautiful white sand beaches that are beautiful to visit any time of year. However, if you want to sunbathe in a bathing suit I definitely recommend coming June through September for the best weather.

Must Read: 10 Best Beaches in Montauk, NY

If you are visiting Montauk in the off season I would suggest hiking one of Montauk’s many awesome hiking trails. Some of them even lead you to the beach or run just parallel to the beach. You can read more about the best hikes in Montauk and choose which hike is best for you here.

Grab lunch at Inlet Seafood, 668 Gig Shack or Joni’s

For a beautiful lunch on the water I would suggest Inlet Seafood. The seafood is fresh, the sushi incredible and the drinks declicious. They also have the best view of the Inlet in Montauk. Watch the boats come and go as you dine on their second story deck.

If you want to stay in Montauk town for lunch I would suggest 668 The Gig Shack for a great lunch on Main Street. Gig Shack is a cool cafe with amazing food and drinks. Vibes are always fun in here!

If you’re after a quick take out lunch, head to Joni’s for a wrap, sandwich or salad of your choice.

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Try Local Beer from Montauk Brewing Company and Shop in Montauk Town

For the afternoon I would suggest trying local craft beer from Montauk Brewing Company or walking around downtown Montauk and popping into all the small shops and boutiques.

Some Favorite shops:

  • Air & Speed
  • The 8th Drifter
  • Below the Blue
  • Beachtaun
  • Montauk T-shirts
  • Homeport

Watch the Sunset at Montauket or one the Beaches in Montauk

Yay! You’ve made it to sunset! Montauk has some of the best sunsets in the world (my opinion) so enjoy! The Montauket is a famous dive bar perched on a cliff overlooking Fort Pond Bay. They really do have the best sunset view in Montauk plus it’s a fun bar!

If you are with kids or want to skip the bar there are so many other great places to watch the sunset in Montauk. Read my guide to The Best Places to Catch the Sunset in Montauk here.

End Your Day Trip to Montauk with Dinner at The Dock or Harvest on Fort Pond

Two of my favorite restaurants in Montauk!

The Dock is great for a more casual dinner and pub feel. It is a dark restaurant with eclectic decorations and a true Montauk feel. The food is always great! Some of my favorites are: fresh tuna melt, clams casino, mussels, jalapeño poppers and the nachos to share.

The Harvest is a lovely family style restaurant on Fort Pond with a large menu to choose from. If it is warm enough try to grab a table on their outside patio. Some of my favorite dishes are the calamari salad, bacon jalapeño pizza, farfalle pasta and skirt steak.

Best Places to Stay in Montauk for the Night

You’ve made it this far! Maybe you’ve decide to stay the night in Montauk after all and you are trying to decide where to book a room for the night. Below are my top choices of hotels in Montauk.

Must Read: The Best Places to Stay in Montauk for Every Budget
Top Hotels on the Beach in Montauk.

Daunts Albatross Motel

Did you know: when you book a stay from any of the links on TRVL Collective, I earn a small commission which helps keep this blog running and at no additional cost to you! 
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Tips for Visiting Montauk

  1. Montauk is spread out so having a car is ideal but there are taxis and ubers available.
  2. If visiting in the off season be mindful that 80% of the restaurants and shops will be closed – but there are still businesses open year round so come visit!
  3. If visiting in July or August I highly suggest avoiding weekends and coming on a weekday to avoid weekend crowds.

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