Ari Chasin, of Brooklyn, plays on the playground with his...

Ari Chasin, of Brooklyn, plays on the playground with his son Ryder, near the beach at Hither Hills Beach State Park in 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.


Family fun is waiting to be had at Children's Museum...

Family fun is waiting to be had at 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 recommended to be reserved in advance.

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


A turtle and a striped Burrfish can be spotted at...

A turtle and a striped Burrfish can be spotted at 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 the museum's Dragonfly Day (June 8), Meet the Purple Martins birding event (June 29) and the 35th annual Summer Gala (July 13). Admission to the museum is $10, $7 for children ages 3-12 (2 and younger are free). Program prices vary; some are free.

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


A couple walks by a boat at Hither Hills State...

A couple walks by a boat at Hither Hills State Park in Montauk, June 2021. At right, a man participating in a weekly sand castle contest held at the park. 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 25 through Oct. 13. 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 25 through Sept. 15 (from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. through June 23, then until 6 p.m. through Sept. 15). Lifeguards will be on duty every day beginning Memorial Day weekend through the second weekend in September.


Owner Barbara Martorelli makes dog paw art with Alli Carpenter...

Owner Barbara Martorelli makes dog paw art with Alli Carpenter and Ethan Treto, of Center Moriches, with their dog, Blue, at Pawcasso Art Studio in Westhampton Beach in December. Credit: Morgan Campbell

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 select 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 planned “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 3 Sunset Ave., Westhampton Beach; 631-887-6705,


  • Bowling lanes are easy to come by in spring at...

    Bowling lanes are easy to come by in spring at the Clubhouse in East Hampton.  Credit: Newsday/Scott Vogel

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

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


A humpback whale breaches off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts....

A humpback whale breaches off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts. The whale was spotted during a whale-watching cruise on Viking Fleet's Viking Starship. Credit: Richard Slattery

The Viking Fleet (in conjunction on with the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island) offers a family outing where guests might catch some marine mammals in action. The tours will be held June 30 through Sept. 4; Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays and Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m. 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, check website for parking fee.

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


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