The Puff 'n' Putt mini golf course in downtown Montauk.

The Puff 'n' Putt mini golf course in downtown Montauk. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

The world may see the Hamptons as a summer playground for the famous, but Long Islanders know it’s also a year-round place where nature thrives, there is family fun to be had and mom-and-pop shops galore to explore. If you're on the East End only for a day, here are things to do with your family this summer.


People use the mini golf course outside of the Children's...

People use the mini golf course outside of the Children's Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Families looking for educational, hands-on experiences can check out this museum where kids can dress up and play in a faux-fire engine or board a model, life-size pirate ship. There’s also a large Lite-Brite-inspired wall challenge and a play library where kids can put on a puppet show. There’s a padded jungle gym room and a play kitchen set. Visit the wind station to balance a ball on an invisible jet of air. Outside, there’s mini golf that also serves as a demonstration of physics and a giant chess set to try. Admission is $19; timed tickets need to be reserved in advance.

INFO 76 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., Bridgehampton; 631-537-8250,


The South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton.

The South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Across the street from CMEE, the natural history museum also provides an educational experience, with several interactive exhibits — some featuring live animals, including native creatures that are not easily spotted in the wild. The museum also has a 40-acre preserve known as Vineyard Field, where guests can get a glimpse of some of the flora and fauna. Events planned for summer include a full “Strawberry Super Moon” hike (June 3), a National Dragonfly Day celebration (June 10), a tour of the Town of East Hampton Shellfish Nursery (June 24) and the museum’s 34th annual Summer Gala (July 29). Admission to the museum is $10, $7 for children ages 3-12 (2 and younger are free). Some programs are $15, $10 ages 3-12; some are free.

INFO 377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., Bridgehampton; 631-537-9735, 


Jesse and Maria Rinka, from Sleepy Hollow, with their sons Alessio,and...

Jesse and Maria Rinka, from Sleepy Hollow, with their sons Alessio,and Colton, play miniature golf at Puff ’n’ Putt in Montauk. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

The Southampton Golf Range (668 County Rd. 39, Southampton; 631-283-2158, is a spot where guests can hit golf balls on its TopTracer range, which includes ball-tracking technology. At night, the experience features LED interactive targets glowing across the course. Miniature golf and batting cages also are available. Visitors can look forward to live music on weekends.

Miniature golf is the main event at Puff & Putt (659 Montauk Hwy. Montauk; 631-668-4473, cash only), but should an aquatic adventure be desired, this small course found in the hamlet’s downtown is located on Fort Pond, so golfers can ditch their clubs and switch to paddleboards, canoes and pedal boats that can be rented by the hour or half-hour.


A couple walks on the beach at Hither Hills State...

A couple walks on the beach at Hither Hills State Park in Montauk. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

If you want to soak up the sun, Shadmoor State Park (900 Montauk Hwy.; 631-668-3781, has free parking. Other beaches to spend the day at are Montauk Point State Park ($8 to park, 2000 Montauk Hwy.; 631-668-3781, and Camp Hero State Park ($8 to park, 1898 Montauk Hwy.; 631-668-3781,, with fees collected from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from May 27 through Oct. 9. You’ll need to pay $10 to get on the sand at Hither Hills State Park (164 Old Montauk Hwy.; 631-668-2554,, where daily fees will be collected May 27 through Sept. 17 (from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. through June 23, then until 6 p.m. through Sept. 17). Lifeguards will be on duty every day beginning Memorial Day weekend through the second weekend in September.


Barbara Marotelli-Shapland, co-owner of Pawcasso Art Studio and Pet Boutique...

Barbara Marotelli-Shapland, co-owner of Pawcasso Art Studio and Pet Boutique in Westhampton Beach guides Nicole Tumilowicz and Babycakes during a painting session on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. Credit: Randee Daddona

Those looking to get artsy with their Fido in tow can visit this art studio, where guests can bring their dogs to join them as they paint. Visitors can look forward to summer events including “Bob Ross Fridays”: acrylic versions of the iconic artist’s paintings on Friday afternoons and nights; guests are invited to wear Bob Ross-inspired wigs if they like. There will be “Yappy Hours” most Thursdays (free doggy ice cream and treats plus munchies for humans) and “Paint on the Patio” outdoor sessions that switch with “Paint and Watch” nights (watch a movie, then paint a scene or character from the film) on alternating Tuesdays through July and August. There also will be “Paw Painting” sessions, when you bring your dog to have its paw print painted into a flower. Events are subject to change, so call in advance to confirm what’s scheduled.

INFO 8 Moniebogue Lane, Westhampton Beach; 631-887-6705,


The Four Queens sundae at Sip'N Soda in Southampton comes...

The Four Queens sundae at Sip'N Soda in Southampton comes with four scoops of homemade ice cream with chocolate fudge, Jan. 20, 2023. Credit: Newsday/Andi Berlin

You can find still find small, family-owned shops that have been institutions for decades in the East End. Head to John’s Drive-In (677 Montauk Hwy., Montauk; 631-668-5515,, cash only), a grill-food spot that has been open year-round since 1967 and serves more than 30 flavors of ice cream come the summer.

Farther west, there’s Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen (2391 Montauk Hwy., Bridgehampton; 631-537-9885, cash only). Founded in 1925, it’s an old-fashioned luncheonette that also scoops homemade ice cream from behind its classic white counters, where fountain treats like sundaes, malts, shakes and ice cream sodas are served.

For another classic experience, Sip'n Soda (40 Hampton Rd., Southampton; 631-283-9752,, cash only) is another luncheonette that dates to 1958 and offers homemade ice cream, as well as its signature lime Rickey plus milk shakes and ice cream sodas.


This bustling entertainment complex that has lots to do. The complex features 10 bowling lanes, an arcade equipped with 40 games and an 18-hole outdoor miniature golf course plus a lawn with cornhole. There’s also a restaurant that serves a variety of American and comfort foods and a full bar with a signature cocktail selection, and an event calendar that features live music and other entertainment on weekends and various nights.

INFO 174 Daniels Hole Rd., East Hampton; 631-537-2695;


The Viking Fleet (in conjunction with the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island) has created a family outing where guests might catch some marine mammals in action. The five-hour tours (held July 2 through Sept. 10 from 2 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays) pass by the Montauk Lighthouse with a marine biologist onboard who will narrate the journey and answer questions while all keep an eye out for whales, dolphins, seabirds and turtles. Food and beverages will be available for purchase on the boat. Ages 13 and older: $85, ages 5-12: $55, 4 and younger are free; no charge to park.

INFO 462 W. Lake Dr., Montauk; 631-668-5700,

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