15 Best Things to Do in East Hampton, NY

East Hampton, NY
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East Hampton in Suffolk County, New York, has a tourist attraction for everyone.

You will not run out of things to do in this enchanting town, from its stunning beaches to quaint shops and restaurants.

At the same time, shoppers can find everything from designer fashion to antiques.

Museums and famous houses draw history buffs as they feature house artifacts dating back to the 1600s.

You can also tour historical sites around town or visit one of the many art galleries.

East Hampton offers many possibilities for nature lovers, as the town is home to several nature preserves, parks, and nature trails.

Of course, no trip to East Hampton would be complete without spending time at the beach.

The town is home to some of the best beaches on Long Island.

No matter your interests, you’re sure to find something to love in East Hampton.

Here are the best things to do in East Hampton, NY:

Bask in the Sun at the East Hampton Main Beach

Bath houses sign at East Hampton Main Beach
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The nearest beach to East Hampton’s downtown is Main Beach, taking only 25 minutes to walk.

One of the best beaches in New York, Main Beach in East Hampton is also one of the busiest.

Visitors will enjoy its long stretches of sand that feel like powder, beautiful dunes, and a food court with a view of the ocean.

Main Beach is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

Daytime view of East Hampton Main Beach
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Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities who might be around.

Visitors can explore several restaurants and clubs within several miles of the beach for more food choices, such as the Surf Lodge, Solé East Resort, Gurney’s Montauk Resort, and Seawater Spa.

Lifeguards are also on duty daily, so you can relax and soak up the sun without worrying about your safety.

Shoppers will love exploring Main Street’s boutiques, art galleries, movie theaters, and small cafes, all less than a mile away.

Lumber Lane, off Main Street, offers free long-term parking.

Seashells on a bath towel at East Hampton Main Beach
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Explore the Cultural Offerings of the Guild Hall

The Guild Hall is a must-see for history buffs and anyone interested in the arts, as it is the cultural center of East Hampton.

One of its attractions, the Guild Hall Museum, houses a permanent collection of American art.

For example, the museum holds a permanent collection of paintings from artists connected to East Hampton, such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Jasper Johns.

The Museum also offers educational programs, films, concerts, and live theater performances.

The John Drew Theater, which opened in 1931 as a movie theater and live entertainment venue, now houses the Museum.

The John Drew Theater hosts live theater performances, ranging from classical to contemporary works.

The Guild Hall is open all year.

Discover the Fascinating Gardens of the LongHouse Reserve

Fall foliage on LongHouse Reserve's water
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Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the LongHouse Reserve, a 16-acre garden that features sculptures, ponds, and native plants.

The Reserve is on Hand’s Creek Road and offers guided tours for groups or independent individual tours.

Discover a spectacular collection of sculptures and artwork while you walk in East Hampton LongHouse Reserve with many acres of gorgeous gardens.

The famous textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen founded the LongHouse Reserve.

It flawlessly integrates art pieces into a lovely garden landscape of ponds, native plants, and walking trails.

Its extensive garden collections vary with the seasons, giving you a different feel depending on the year you visit, even when strolling along with Ray’s Way’s towering conifers or Scree Garden’s lush blooms.

Long House Reserve should be at the top of the things to see in East Hampton.

Snap Pictures at Home Sweet Home Museum

Plants and flowers in front of Home Sweet Home Museum
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The Home Sweet Home Museum in East Hampton is an over 300-year-old salt-box home.

Built in 1648, this house is one of the oldest houses in New York State.

The home features a garden with herbs, vegetables, and flowers.

The Home Sweet Home Museum features a collection of furniture, paintings, and artifacts from the 1600s.

For example, the dining room has the gorgeous “East Hampton Star” wallpaper.

Many different families owned the house throughout its history, even inspiring a popular song, John Howard Payne’s “Home, Sweet Home.”

You can explore the house with a tour guide, who will tell you about the house’s past occupants and history.

Marvel at the Architectural Wonders of Main Street Historic District

Shops along Main Street Historic District
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East Hampton’s Main Street Historic District is lined with exquisite homes and buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The descendants of the original families who built the houses still live in many of them.

The street is also home to the East Hampton Village Green, a popular gathering place for locals and visitors.

The road of Main Street Historic District
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The Main Street Historic District is also the home of Guild Hall and the John Drew Theater.

It is one of the best-preserved historic districts in the country, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

The Main Street Historic District is a great place to walk around and take in the sights of some of the most beautiful homes in East Hampton.

Storefront at Main Street Historic District
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Main Street is also home to several art galleries that feature the work of local and regional artists.

The galleries are in some of the historic homes on Main Street, and they feature various art forms, including painting, sculpture, photography, and pottery.

Some galleries are open all year round, while others are only open during summer.

Eric Firestone Gallery, for instance, is one of the leading contemporary art galleries in East Hampton, featuring the work of established and emerging artists.

Relive the Past in Mulford Farmhouse

Daytime view of Mulford Farmhouse
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Mulford Farm House is in James Lane in East Hampton, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.

Built in 1680, the Mulford Farmhouse is one of the country’s most prominent and well-preserved English colonial farmhouses.

It is also one of the oldest buildings in East Hampton.

The East Hampton Historical Society owns the Mulford Farmhouse.

The field of Mulford Farmhouse
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It runs as a living museum, which is why it is a great place to learn about the history of East Hampton, for it still has the original settlers’ tools and equipment.

The Mulford Farmhouse also features a barn built in 1720, one of the only surviving barns from the 18th century.

The Mulford Farmhouse is open to the public for tours, and it features several different exhibits that tell the story of the people who lived there.

It is also one of the most photographed buildings in East Hampton, and it is a popular spot for different special occasions.

Stroll along the Historic Hook Windmill

Scenic view of the historic Hook Windmill
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The Hook Windmill, also known as the Old Hook Mill, is on North Main Street at Pantigo Road in East Hampton.

The windmill was built in 1806 and is one of the oldest working windmills on Long Island.

It joins ten other surviving wind-powered gristmills from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Closeup view of Hook Windmill
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The windmill is one of three that Nathaniel Dominy V, a notable East Hampton carpenter, built.

Its mechanism is more complex than any other windmill on Long Island.

The windmill is open to the public for tours, and it is a popular venue for weddings and other special occasions.

Photographers have made the Hook Windmill famous, as it offers a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.

Find Your Zen at the Cedar Point County Park

The beach of Cedar Point County Park
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Cedar Point was once a bustling port town, but it is now a serene haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers.

The Cedar Point County Park is on Long Island.

It is known for the famous lighthouse, built in 1839, one of the oldest lighthouses on Long Island.

Exterior of Cedar Point County Park's lighthouse
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Cedar Point County Park is also home to several different bird species, and it is a popular spot for birdwatching.

The 607-acre park boasts the spectacular views of Gardiners Bay and caters to individuals and groups who want to camp, hike, fish, or relax in the great outdoors.

The park also has several different picnic areas, and it is a great place to spend a day with family, friends, and even your leashed dogs.

See Masterpieces at the Lieber Collection

The Lieber Collection in East Hampton is a hidden gem featuring the works of Gerson and Judith Leiber.

It is a private museum that documents the Liebers’ careers, providing a unique overview of their achievement over several decades.

The Leiber Collection is in a Renaissance-style building.

You can see Judith’s curated artistic handbags and her husband Gerson’s fresh abstract garden paintings.

Gerson was a famed modernist artist himself.  

The country’s first ladies have carried Judith Leiber’s handbags since 1953, and her work is in museums worldwide, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Judith created the whimsical designs adorning the arms of members of the royal family, first ladies, and celebrities for decades.

Her style includes bold, vivid-colored, gem-covered desserts, animals, fruits, and vegetables.

Gerson Leiber’s paintings, on the other hand, have appeared in galleries and museums all over the world.

Some of his work is in private and corporate collections.

The Leiber Collection is a must-see for art lovers.

Explore the Iconic Montauk Point Lighthouse

Daytime view of Montauk Point Lighthouse
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On Long Island’s easternmost tip, the Montauk Point Lighthouse is one of East Hampton’s most prominent tourist destinations.

The Montauk Point Lighthouse is the United States’ fourth oldest operational lighthouse and the first lighthouse in New York State.

President George Washington commissioned the lighthouse in 1792. Construction finished in 1796.

Ocean view from inside Montauk Point Lighthouse
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The Montauk Lighthouse is an octagonal sandstone tower that stands 110.5 feet tall, with a 137-step cast-iron stairway leading to the top of the building.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark because of its importance to New York and worldwide shipping in the early Federal era.

The lighthouse offers spectacular views of the Long Island Sound, Block Island, and Montauk Point.

It is a popular spot for fishing, picnicking, and hiking.

Aerial view of Montauk Point Lighthouse
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Bring Your Kids to the EcoDiscovery Experience

The EcoDiscovery Experience is a hands-on educational facility for kids that features several interactive exhibits about the environment.

The goal of the EcoDiscovery Experience is to educate children about the importance of taking care of our planet, and it does so in a fun and engaging way.

EcoDiscovery Experience allows the children to experience the outdoors, albeit supervised, first-hand natural world experience.

Kids can hike, build, climb, and haul a seine net in shallow waters at the EcoDiscovery Experience.

The EcoDiscovery Experience is one of the best things to do in East Hampton with kids.

It is a great way to teach them about the importance of environmental conservation.

Tour the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center

Exterior of Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center
The original uploader was Americasroof at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center is a historic house museum that was the home and studio of Abstract Expressionist painters Jackson Pollock and his wife, Lee Krasner.

The house is in Springs, preserved according to how Krasner left it.

Krasner’s books still stack the shelves; her necklaces still dangle in the bedroom.

When you walk around the house, you must wear specially padded slippers to protect the floors covered in Pollock’s paintings.

Studio floor of Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center
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Several of Krasner’s paintings are on display on the house’s walls.

The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center are among the best things to do in East Hampton.

Take a rare glimpse into the lives and works of two of America’s most influential artists.

The study center offers tours of the house and talks and lectures about the life and work of both artists.

Spend a Chill Afternoon Around Georgica Beach

Water waves at Georgica Beach
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Georgica Beach is one of the most popular beaches in East Hampton, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Georgica Beach stretches for 300 feet in the southern part of East Hampton, and is one of the town’s most amazing beaches.

A sign at Georgica Beach's sand
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You can enjoy everything a Long Island beach offers, including a terrific surfing experience and a long stretch of exquisitely white sand.

Once tired, you can take a relaxing stroll near Lily Pond Lane, breathe in the fresh air, and admire the gorgeous houses.

Then, you can go back to the beach and enjoy a picnic with your family while gazing at the Atlantic Ocean.

Marvel at the Beauty of the Osborn-Jackson House

The Osborn-Jackson House is a historic house located in East Hampton, New York.

Built in 1723, the house is one of the oldest surviving structures in the town.

In 1979, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Osborn-Jackson House is famous for its architectural features, including a gambrel roof, Dutch door, and beaded clapboard siding.

It is now a museum that displays furniture characteristic of a wealthy East End family.

Vintage candle holders, a tall clock, a tall chest, and chairs built in the East Hampton workshop of the Dominy family are among the exhibition’s highlights.

Tour the Magnificent Montauk County Park

Gorgeous sunset at Montauk County Park
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Montauk County Park is a 1,157-acre park located in East Hampton.

It offers different activities with its various attractions.

You can start with the Big Reed Nature Trail, a 3.2-mile loop that will take you through scenic brooks and different ecological sites.

Rocky pier at Montauk County Park
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You can tour the Montaukett Village, a replica of a 17th-century Montaukett Indian village for a closer look at history.

Then, ride the horses at Deep Hollow Ranch, the oldest cattle ranch in America still operating today.

The historic Third House, used by Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, is also in the park.

For a more relaxing activity, enjoy a picnic at one of the beaches or try canoeing or freshwater fishing.

Coin operated binoculars at Montauk County Park
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Other Things to Do Nearby

Discover the Secrets of East Hampton Marine Museum

A canon displayed in East Hampton Marine Museum
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The East Hampton Marine Museum, located on Bluff Road in Amagansett, shows the whaling and fishing heritage on Long Island.

The Museum is in a three-story building used as a whale oil processing plant in the late 1800s, restored to its original condition.

The Museum features many exhibits that showcase the tools and equipment used by whalers and fishers, including a replica of a whaling ship.

It also tells the maritime history of Long Island.

Outside of the Museum, kids can even climb on the trawler’s “jungle gym.”

The Museum aims to preserve East Hampton’s unique marine history and its impact on the community’s economic and social life.

Revisit the Past in Amagansett

Exterior of Miss Amelia Cottage Museum at Amagansett
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The Amagansett, managed by the Amagansett Historical Association, is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the village’s history.

The historical association has a museum that features some exhibits about the history of Amagansett, including its farming and fishing heritage.

The Amagansett Historical Association preserves different historical buildings, such as the Miss Amelia Cottage Museum, which chronicles how the Amagansett people lived during the pre-colonial era.

Daytime view of Amagansett cottages
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The Miss Amelia Cottage Museum allows travelers to see how people lived in Amagansett from the beginning through the turn of the century.

The Association is also in charge of the Richard S. Jackson Carriage House, a barn available for rent for events or other exhibits.

The 1850 Lester Barn, also found in the Amagansett Historical Association, shows the collection of vehicles, wagons, and carriages used in the past.

Final Thoughts

Established in 1648, East Hampton is a beautiful town with a lot to offer.

It became famous for its affluent residents and their extravagant lifestyles.

From its stunning beaches to its rich history, there is something for everyone in East Hampton.

Today, East Hampton remains a popular destination for tourists who want to enjoy its beaches, restaurants, and shops.

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