Montauk isn't designed to be rushed — but if you have to squeeze your visit into a single day, it can be done.
Getting there is half the fun. Drive and you'll wind through pretty villages with lots of eye candy — tidy East Hampton, tiny Amagansett. Take the Long Island Rail Road and you'll skip all the traffic and be pleasantly surprised how well you can get around by walking, renting a bike or taking a quick cab ride.
MAKE A PITSTOP Every visit to Montauk should start with a clam bar lunch, enjoyed roadside en route. The Lobster Roll — or LUNCH, as it's known by its sign on Montauk Highway — was a favorite long before it starred in Showtime's drama "The Affair." (631-267-3740, lobsterroll.com). In town, you can sit on the deck at Duryea's and have your fill of clams, oysters or whole lobsters to power up for the day (631-668-2410, duryealobsters.com).
SEE THE BEACH You've come all this way — you have to step foot in the sand. South Edison Beach is easily accessible from the village (off S. Emerson Ave.)-- prepare to be startled by just how close the shoreline is to the dunes. Kirk Park Beach is popular with day-trippers for its free access and restrooms.
EXPLORE THE VILLAGE It's merely a few blocks long, but it's got its share of kitschy souvenir shops for t-shirts and beach totes. You can play a round of mini golf or rent a pedal boat to cruise on Fort Pond at Puff and Putt (cash only, 631-668-4473, puffnputt.com). Recharge with a pint at the popular Montauk Brewery Company--the outdoor courtyard is normally a popular destination to hang, as the brewery navigates reopening you'll have to get your cans to-go. (631-668-8471, montaukbrewingco.com).
GO TO THE TOWER You shouldn't miss the chance to see one of Long Island's iconic lighthouses. Take the 6.5 mile ride east to Montauk Point State Park ($8 parking 8 a.m.-4 p.m.). While you can't climb the tower right now due to coronavirus restrictions, there's no shame in just taking a seat in one of the rocking swings perched by the cliffs for a great view (631-668-2544, montauklighthouse.com).
SCENIC VIEWS Sunsets in Montauk are universally spectacular. Enjoy it right at Montauk Point park with a drink and appetizers at George's Lighthouse Cafe, where the turf-lined deck often has live music on weekends and lawn games for entertaining all ages (631-663-2076, georgeslighthousecafe.com). More upscale — Navy Beach, a restaurant that has coveted daybeds and white picnic tables perched right on the sand overlooking Ford Pond Bay (631-668-6868, navybeach.com).