East End Getaway has curated a guide to the towns across the North and South Forks, highlighting some of the best of what to see, do, and what the insiders know. This information will help you map and plan your next getaway to the East End of Long Island. Today, we take you inside the town of Southampton.
Brief Overview of Southampton
The town of Southampton, located predominantly on the South Fork of Long Island, is in the southeastern part of Suffolk County. The town includes the following hamlets and villages: Bridgehampton, East Quogue, Flanders, Hampton Bays, North Haven, North Sea, Noyack, Quogue, Remsenburg, Sag Harbor (partially in the town of East Hampton), Sagaponack, Shinnecock Hills, Water Mill and Westhampton Beach. Southampton is located just under two hours away or about 90 miles from New York City.
Southampton is a great destination for families and couples of all ages looking to tour and visit the restaurants, shops, beaches, nature trails and preserves. Plus there are an array of events held all year long.
Southampton was founded in 1640 when settlers from Massachusetts established residence on land obtained from the Shinnecock Indian nation. Some of the first settlers were Thomas Halsey (the namesake for Thomas Halsey Homestead in Southampton Village), Edward Howell, Edmund Needhan, Abraham Pierson the Elder, and George Welbe, to name a few.
The colonists established an organized whale fishery, significant in the region’s history of whaling, particularly later on in Sag Harbor. The town’s oldest existing house is the Halsey House in Southampton by Thomas Halsey.
Southampton Village has approximately seven miles of extraordinary oceanfront with eleven individual beaches. Beaches include Cryder Beach, Coopers Beach (considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world), Little Plains, and Old Town.
Beaches in surrounding villages and hamlets include Pikes Beach in Westhampton Dunes, Cupsogue Beach County Park, Meschutt Beach County Park, Ponquogue Beach in Hampton Bays, Sagg Main Beach in Hampton Bays, and Foster Memorial (Long) Beach in Noyack.
How to Travel to Southampton
There are several convenient ways to travel to Southampton. From Manhattan, the most direct and fastest route is by train from Penn Station with several direct trains throughout the day. There is a train station in Southampton as well as in Bridgehampton, Hampton Bays, and Westhampton. There are also bus routes from Manhattan with the Hampton Jitney and their luxury line, the Hampton Ambassador. The Hampton Jitney has both a North and South Fork line, with a preliminary stop in Manorville. The Hampton Jitney and Ambassador buses stop in Westhampton, Quogue, East Quogue, Hampton Bays, Southampton, Water Mill, and Bridgehampton.
Traveling from Connecticut? The Cross Sound Ferry travels between New London and Orient Point and offers a full, daily timetable schedule. Orient Point is approximately one hour from Southampton via the Shelter Island North and South Ferries.
Places to Go
The town of Southampton on the South Fork has several notable places of interest for individuals and families of all ages. For those who wish to discover more about local history and culture, visit such sites and attractions as the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, Thomas Halsey Homestead, Southampton Cultural Center, the Southampton African American Museum, and the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum.
For regular shows, art exhibits, and programming for adults and children respectively, visit the Southampton Arts Center, Parrish Art Museum, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, Children’s Museum of the East End, and the Watermill Center.
A must is stopping at one of the many farm stands across the town of Southampton. Top picks include Fairview Farm at Mecox, Seven Ponds Orchard, The Milk Pail, Round Swamp Farm in Bridgehampton, Pike Farms, and Green Thumb. Also the Southampton Farmers Market is typically held at Agawam Park on Sundays throughout the late spring, summer and early fall (Note that most of these farm stands and markets are open seasonally, or through the holiday season).
Specifically for families with young children, places in the town of Southampton to visit include the Children’s Museum of the East End, South Fork Natural History Museum, Agawam Park, Pow Wow Grounds, and the Parrish Art Museum.
Where to Dine in Southampton
The town of Southampton on the South Fork has an abundance of casual and fine dining establishments. Many of these restaurants are family owned and operated, and have been in business for decades.
We divided the following recommended restaurants by hamlet:
Almond is a French American bistro in the heart of Bridgehampton village. Almond serves dinner with notable seasonal dishes including Smoked Celery Root Ravioli, Roasted Montauk Fluke, and Steamed Black Mussels as well as a full raw bar. Plats Du Jour include Thursday Ramen, Saturday Heritage Pork, and Tuesday Tacos.
Bobby Van’s Steakhouse is a popular destination for lunch and dinner for locals and visitors alike year round. Their elegant restaurant menu offers a strong selection of steaks, seafood dishes, salads, and other entrees. They are also well known for their outstanding bar and award-winning wine list.
Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen is a nostalgic ice cream shop and restaurant in the heart of Bridgehampton Village just opposite the Hampton Jitney bus stop. They serve breakfast, lunch, and an early dinner year round seven days a week.
Canal Cafe is considered to be one of the best kept secrets in Southampton, located inside the Hampton Watercraft Marina. Their deck overlooks the marina and the Shinnecock Canal. Live music featured in the evenings during the summer. Serving lunch and dinner, some of the favorite dishes at Canal Cafe include the Grilled Steak Sandwich, the Lobster Roll, and the Oyster Poboy.
RUMBA is open for lunch and dinner as well as brunch on the weekends year round. RUMBA serves up island inspired cuisine with daily specials including Happy Hour on the weekdays from 3-6pm, all-day Mojito + Margarita Monday, and Taco Thursdays. Popular dishes include the Dominican Ribs, Caribbean Mahi, and the Jerk Chicken Tacos.
Sunday’s On The Bay is located on Dune Road in Hampton Bays and is open Thursday-Monday beginning at 12pm for lunch and dinner. Happy Hour is served Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 4-6pm at the bar only.
The American Hotel is a historic hotel and upscale American restaurant in the heart of Sag Harbor. Their restaurant has a beautiful outdoor verandah that is most popular for guests to sit year round. The restaurant also has a beautiful side atrium or known as “The Alley”, a cheerful glass covered area with palms and ficus and ivy. The American Hotel serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner year round.
Page at 63 Main is located on Main Street in Sag Harbor Village opposite the iconic Sag Harbor Cinema. They are most known for their aquaponic garden in the back dining room and they serve a menu of upscale and modern American cuisine. Page at 63 Main serves lunch and dinner seven days a week as well as brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Lulu Kitchen & Bar is located on Main Street in Sag Harbor and serves lunch and dinner year round. Brunch is served on Sundays. The focal point of the restaurant is the woodfire oven adjacent to the bar. Signature dishes include Big-Eye Tuna Tartare, Signature Heirloom Cauliflower, and Whole Grilled Branzino in addition to their pizzas like the Trufata or Margarita. They also offer a full raw bar.
Cucina Family Style Ristorante is a family style restaurant and pizzeria on Montauk Highway open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Their menu includes a wide selection of antipasto, insalata, zuppe, pasta, frutti di mare, pollo, and much more as well as a full pizza menu.
Docker’s Waterside Marina & Restaurant is a seasonal and lively waterside restaurant located on Dune Road. This restaurant has been a staple in Southampton town for almost 30 years and is open for lunch and dinner as well as brunch on the weekends. They also offer a full wine, beer, and signature cocktail menu all in addition to a full raw bar and a selection of appetizers, salads, and entrees.
Sakura House is located on Montauk Highway and is open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner. Their menu includes a wide selection of sushi including signature rolls, teriyaki, sashimi, bento boxes, and much more.
Lobster Roll Southampton is located on Montauk Highway in Southampton right before you enter Water Mill. Lobster Roll, which has a sister restaurant on the Napeague Stretch as you approach Montauk, is famous for their hot and cold lobster rolls as well as their clam strips, New England Clam Chowder, crab cakes, baked stuffed flounder, and so much more. Lobster Roll is also famous for their desserts, including their homemade pies and cupcakes. They also have a dedicated gluten free menu.
75 Main is located in the village of Southampton and is open everyday for brunch, lunch, and dinner year round. 75 Main serves modern Italian fare and offers both indoor and outdoor seating along the sidewalk. Dishes to try include the Super Bowl Salad, Balsamic, Honey & Mustard Roasted North Atlantic Salmon, and Black Truffle Fettuccine Alfredo.
Sip N’ Soda has been a fun hangout spot in Southampton since 1958. Their ice cream flavors span from timeless and traditional from Coffee Chip to Black Raspberry and seasonal flavors like Peach and Lemon Custard. They are open for breakfast and lunch year round.
Baby Moon is an Italian restaurant and pizzeria on Montauk Highway that is open for lunch and dinner. Their menu includes a wide selection of salads, seafood dishes, pasta, pizza, chicken, and steak dishes. They also serve a wide selection of sandwiches and specialty entrees like Roasted Balsamic Salmon and Brown Rice Penne with Turkey Meatballs.
Flora is located on Main Street in the heart of Westhampton Village. Flora serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Notable dishes include Edamame Hummus, the Flora Burger with Havarti cheese, Braised Short Rib, and a Flower Pot with French Vanilla ice cream and Tate’s cookies for dessert.
The Patio is located on Main Street in Westhampton Beach and is open seven days a week for dinner. Their menu includes rotating seasonal favorites such as a Multi Colored Carrot Salad, Pumpkin Ravioli, and a Fuji Apple Salad to start. Their pasta menu includes Cacio e Pepe and Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi Con Sugo Toscano, and main dishes include Yellow Fin Tuna and Roasted Long Island Duck.
Annual Activities in Southampton
Southampton is known for hosting a wide selection of annual events that are perfect for everyone to enjoy. Events are held year-round.
Southampton hosts a number of holiday fairs during the months of November and December. The village of Southampton is always beautifully decorated and lit during the festive season. Holiday events include the annual tree lighting ceremonies throughout the villages, the Annual Parade of Lights, Light Up the Harbor, Lighting of the Vines at Wolffer Estate Vineyard, It’s A Wonderful Village in Southampton Village, and many more.
Lodging in Southampton
The town of Southampton on the South Fork has a wide variety of hotel accommodations and lodging options.
Baron’s Cove by Cape Resorts is located on West Water Street and boasts sweeping views of the Sag Harbor Marina. The hotel offers wellness classes, bicycles for guests, and there is an outdoor pool open during the warmer months. Their restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on the weekends, their coastal American restaurant offers an elevated approach to local Long Island fare. Happy Hour is served in the lounge Monday-Friday from 3-6pm. The hotel is within an easy five minutes’ walking distance to the shops and restaurants in the village of Sag Harbor.
Canoe Place Inn & Cottages is located in Hampton Bays off of East Montauk Highway. Canoe Place is a treasured Long Island landmark founded in the 17th century as the Canoe Place Inn, it’s the oldest inn established in America. Canoe Place is home to 20 guest rooms, five rebuilt guest cottages. Onsite amenities will include a heated pool, fitness center, private boat slips, exclusive beach shuttle, and a full-service spa by ONDA Beauty. The Inn also has an onsite restaurant called Good Ground Tavern. Their menu is sectioned into snacks, small plates, mains, pasta, pizza and sides. Signature dishes include CP Clams Casino, Wood-Fired Montauk Bass, Sausage and Pepperoncini Pizza and Herb Olive Oil Meadow Cake with fennel, pistachio and blood orange curd.
Shou Sugi Ban House is a destination spa retreat located off of Montauk Highway down a ‘hidden’ driveaway. Shou Sugi Ban House is home to an outdoor swimming pool, spa, culinary program and restaurant, seasonal programming, and more. The retreat center also owns the Shou Sugi Ban Inn located next door. It is a historic five room bed and breakfast with amenities like complimentary transportation to and from the hotel within a five mile radius, Organic Japanese in-room amenities and nightly seasonal soak, access to movement and meditation classes, and more.
Southampton Inn is a pet friendly hotel located in Southampton Village. The Inn includes 90 guest rooms, each with a slightly different décor. Individual temperature control, sparkling tiled bathrooms, refrigerators, coffee makers, and complimentary Wi-Fi are available in each room. Shops, theaters, art galleries, historical sites, and hiking trails are all nearby. In addition, Southampton Inn has an onsite restaurant called Claude’s that offers both indoor and outdoor dining (in season) and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner year round.
The 1708 House is an historic bed and breakfast located on Main Street. The house was known to exist in 1708 and has a museum-like cellar dating to approximately 1648 which is open to its guests as a cozy getaway for a game of chess or cards, in front of a roaring fire. In addition, the property has two-bedroom cottages which are perfect for families. Its central location in the Village is perfect for walking to shops, galleries, restaurants, the renowned ocean beaches, which are only a mile away, and many points of interest in the area. Stays include a sumptuous daily breakfast and afternoon tea to be enjoyed in the formal living room, or inviting library.
The Hampton Maid is a country style hotel with an onsite restaurant located on East Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays close to the bay. The Hampton Maid exudes casual luxury in a serene natural setting with resort-style rooms and a gourmet restaurant named R.AIRE that serves global cuisine for breakfast and dinner with local ingredients. Cooking classes are also held at the restaurant throughout the year. Amenities at the hotel include an outdoor pool, a balcony or deck, down bedding, refrigerator, heated floors in the Suites, and more.
The Quogue Club at Hallock House is a luxury boutique hotel featuring five-star accommodations, an onsite restaurant, rooms and cottages, and easy access to nearby Atlantic beaches. Amenities for guests at The Quogue Club include complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, fitness classes, bicycles, a childrens’ lounge, discount tennis rates, and more.
Topping Rose House is located in the heart of Bridgehampton Village on the corner of the Bridgehampton Sag Harbor Turnpike. There is also a Jean-Georges restaurant on the property that is open year round for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Signature amenities include a complimentary BMW shuttle service within a 5-mile radius of the hotel, a wellness center, outdoor pool, twice daily housekeeping, bikes for local exploration, beach equipment, and so much more.