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Hamptons travel: How to get to Montauk and the East End from NYC

As soon as the thermometer hits the 70s, the pristine beaches and glitzy villages of the Hamptons call to New Yorkers.

Just about 100 miles from New York City, East Hampton and Southampton's small hamlets act as a much needed respite from the business and craziness of the city.

Of course, it's no secret. New Yorkers have been flocking to the East End for the past century. So if you're planning on heading east for some fun in the sun, you'll want to consider your travel methods wisely.

Here's a breakdown of travel options.


Whether you have one, are borrowing a friend's
Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Whether you have one, are borrowing a friend's or are renting one, a car is one of the more convenient and cheaper ways to get out to the East End. Getting there is a straight shot from the city -- just take the LIE or Southern State Parkway to Sunrise Highway and you'll be free to stop in any of the Hamptons villages and hamlets.

Cost: If you can avoid tolls and aren't renting a car, you'll just have to pony up for gas.

Departs: Wherever you are.

Travel time: one-and-a-half hours to Westhampton and a little over two hours to Montauk.

Pros: Without any pick up or drop-off stops, driving is one of the most direct ways out to the East End. But if you want to, you can make some pit stops along the way and do some sightseeing, or take a trip to the North Fork to see one of its wineries while you're out that way.

Cons: Those travel times are for ideal driving conditions, and Hamptons traffic is notorious. If you leave for the Hamptons on a Friday after work, forget about a smooth ride. Make sure to leave at a low-traffic time or prepare to sit in traffic for awhile.

Take the LIRR

If you don't mind a long train ride,
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

If you don't mind a long train ride, hop on the Long Island Rail Road. The Ronkonkoma Branch makes stops on the North Fork, all the way out to Greenport, while the Montauk Branch hits stops along the South Fork, including East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. During the summer, to deal with the sheer amount of people going to the Hamptons, the LIRR initiates its "cannonball" service, which does not stop between the Hamptons and NYC and visa versa every Friday at 4:06 p.m. from Penn Station and every Sunday from Montauk at 6:37 p.m.

Cost: $22 to $30 each way when it's off-peak and $28 to $37 when it's peak time, which depends on the day and time. The cannonball service costs $53.50 for eastbound travel and $45.25 for westbound travel in advance. Make sure to buy your tickets before boarding for the cheapest rate and reserve your seat for the cannonball as soon as possible.

Departs: Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and from Jamaica station.

Travel time: 2 hours to Westhampton but 95 minutes on the cannonball.

Pros: No LIE traffic to worry about here, so you'll know exactly when the train will arrive and how long it will take. You can also drink on the train if you so desire.

Cons: The train is popular, and if you can't snag a seat from the start you may be standing all the way out there. The Cannonball is especially popular, and many rides sell out fast.

Take a Hampton Jitney

This bus line serves the tristate area and
Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

This bus line serves the tristate area and locales as far away as Florida, but, thanks in part to its name, it's synonymous with Hamptons travel. Since starting out 40 years ago as a van service that brought city dwellers out to eastern Long Island, the Hampton Jitney now offers a fleet of motor coaches, as well as limousines, that take passengers along three routes to the East End: Montauk and Westhampton on the South Fork, and the North Fork.

Cost: $26 to $35 each way depending on destination. Order online to save a few bucks. The Jitney also offers a more comfortable bus line called the Ambassador, which costs $55 each way.

Departs: Multiple locations in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens

Travel time: 2.5 hours to Westhampton

Pros: Buses run frequently enough that you're bound to be able to get a seat. You can also catch up on those work emails after leaving work early on your way out there, as buses come equipped with free Wi-Fi and power outlets. You'll also get free snacks!

Cons: The buses make multiple pickups and drop-offs, which can add time to the ride. You're also at the whims of New York and Long Island traffic, which can greatly affect travel times. If you get stuck on a packed bus, it can be untenable, especially if you're seated next to someone who's on their cellphone, which is technically prohibited.


For what may be the quickest way (but
Photo Credit: John Roca

For what may be the quickest way (but not the cheapest) to the Hamptons, consider a seaplane. A few companies offer charters to East Hampton from Manhattan on Thursday and Friday on planes that seat up to nine, including Fly the Whale and Shoreline Aviation. It takes only 35 minutes, and if you have some cash, it might be worth it to skip all the weekend traffic.

Cost: Around $750 one way per person if you go for the "commuter" option, rather then renting an entire plane for yourself.

Departs: East 23rd Street and the East River

Travel time: 35 minutes to Westhampton

Pros: You can't beat the travel time. Plus, you get to avoid any potential traffic mishaps while enjoying a beautiful view.

Cons: Bad weather or maintenance issues? Your flight might end up being canceled, leaving you with a refund but then scrambling for a way out to the Hamptons. It's also not the cheapest way to get there.

Helicopter it

Hey, 1 percenters. For the ultimate luxury trip
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Hey, 1 percenters. For the ultimate luxury trip out to the East End, consider reserving your own helicopter charter. New York Helicopter provides such a service from Manhattan, and can carry four to six passengers out to Westhampton, Southampton, East Hampton and Montauk for a pretty penny. You can also check out Blade, which has been offering single seats like a ride-share service.

Cost: Starting at $2,600 one way, depending on destination and number of passengers, with Zip Aviation; Blade offers seats starting at $795 each.

Departs: Zip Aviation departs from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport on Pier 6, the heliports at West 30th and at East 34th streets. Blade picks up at its lounges at 12th Avenue and West 30th St.; 6 E. River Bikeway near Wall St.; and 2430 FDR Drive Road East.

Travel time: 38 minutes to Westhampton

Pros: Get out to the Hamptons faster than by rail or wheels, without dealing with traffic or crowds. You'll also get to enjoy the scenic view and get a VIP experience.

Cons: Of course, the sheer cost of the excursion makes it prohibitively expensive for most. We'll save you a seat on the Jitney.


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