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The Montauk Beach Scene Is A Surf Paradise Just Outside Of NYC

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Meet me in Montauk…

-Clementine, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

New York City is, almost inarguably, one of the greatest cities on the planet. The food, the culture, the people, and the unmistakable energy all make it a fantastic place to live. It’s electric — from the neon to the megawatt personalities. That being said, it’s also, absolutely essential that you escape the NYC mayhem from time to time. Your mental and physical welfare depend on it.

When you spend too long in the concrete jungle, it’s time to heed the siren song of curling waves, sandy beaches, and large doses of solitude. It’s time for Montauk. There’s no better encapsulation of what harried New Yorkers need when the heat hits as this laidback, cruisy town on the tip of Long Island’s South Fork peninsula. With a lit party scene, awesome food and drinks, and some of the best surfing in the country, Montauk is the perfect summer escape.

Getting there:

Montauk Sky

There are trains that go to Montauk from NYC, but if you’re already spending your weekdays suffering on the rails, we advise against that. Instead, use a car-sharing service to get out of Manhattan. It’s an easy drive, a straight shot on I-495, and this route offers you the luxury of running on your own schedule, rolling down the windows, and blasting your favorite tunes.

If you want to get to paradise as quickly as possible, short flights east of the city are becoming more and more accessible. This is mostly thanks to aviation company Blade, which recently brought back the legendary brand Montauk Sky, operating round-trip flights out of Teterboro Airport.

For your base camp:

Ruschmeyer

Less than a mile from “downtown” Montauk, you’ll find Ruschmeyer’s — a hip-yet-provincial hotel that makes for an ideal place to lay down roots. Set on three sprawling acres, the rich wood aesthetic of the hotel brings warmth to the day’s beginning and end. The rooms are outfitted in a cabin décor given a modern spin, and there’s an outdoor fire pit, perfect for after-adventure conversations.

The restaurant on site is a must visit too. It’s a popular destination, so you’re likely to see some familiar faces there and also, have a long wait. Fear not, it’s much easier to weather the wait for a table when you have a comfy room to chill in.

To start your morning off right:

No chain-made brew for us when we hit Montauk. Not when you have Left Hand Coffee, a locally-owned town hub that uses beans specifically sourced from surf destinations. The space, built out of repurposed driftwood and barn cast offs, has the kind of vibe you could chill in for hours.

Alas… at some point, you’ll have to pack up. There’s too much to do in the area.

To catch the best surf in town:

Not far from your base camp of Ruschmeyer’s is one of the world’s most renowned surf destinations, Ditch Plains Beach. Epic bluffs look down on the iconic white sand. You’re not terribly far from the city but this spot manages to be an undeveloped slice of all-natural bliss. Slow down and savor it.

The break is long and strong, great for everyone from beginners to the professionals who surf there year-round. Just remember to be respectful of the environment and the pecking order. This may be a vacation for you, but it’s home to the locals.

To get the perfect lobster roll:

Lobster rolls taste better when they’re served up with a view of the sea. This is just a fact. Duryea’s Lobster Deck, with its old lobster crates used around the bar area, nautical-style lighting, and killer views, gives the perfect atmosphere to dig into some serious seafood.

Kick off your meal with some oysters paired with the sounds of the waves crashing in from Fort Pond Bay.

To find something strange:

The Netflix hit Stranger Things was originally titled The Montauk Project because it was centered on the secret experiments that allegedly took place at Montauk’s Camp Hero State Park and the nearby Montauk Air Force Station. (Conspiracy theorists have long called this The Montauk Project.) The remote 754-acre park is the perfect mix of stunning and sort of creepy — perfect for some late-afternoon post-adventure chills.

Some areas are still closed to the public, but there’s plenty open to explore. Just make sure to go during the day — unless you have nerves of steel.

To watch the sunset:

See the light fade from the sky while checking out the historic Montauk Lighthouse, located at the very tip of Long Island. From the observation deck, you can take in the Atlantic Ocean, Block Island Sounds, and beyond. On the way, stop at Umbrella Beach to see where one of the more memorable scenes of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was filmed.

To party:

There is no denying that Montauk’s no longer the sleepy beach town it once was. Over the years, a market developed for some nightlife. And Surf Lodge’s outdoor space “The Deck” is the local party mecca. The seaside spot can make for an unforgettable night when you’re in the right mindset, just make sure you get there on the earlier side because the lines can get long.

Don’t let crowds and cool kids scare you off. Montauk isn’t as much about flossing and posturing as Manhattan. Besides, you hopefully earned some downtime with your surfing and exploring and you won’t find a more epic place to let loose at the end of a long, beautiful day.

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