We’ve been summering in one of America’s premier resort towns – the Hamptons for over 7 years. We’ve enjoyed gorgeous sunsets, pristine beaches and even collected fresh mussels for an evening meal. If you’re heading to the Hamptons – for a day, a week or a month – here is the inside scoop on enjoying the area’s best beaches without a beach pass.
- The various Hamptons towns and villages decide what beaches are open to non-residents (don’t be dismayed there are plenty.) Residents and non-residents can get seasonal beach passes (most of these have to be applied to the vehicle’s side window at the time of payment). Residents have to present proof of ownership/residency. This can be onerous. You may have to present a number of utility bills, quarterly tax statements etc.. Once I even had to give up a mortgage statement and survey of our property. East Hampton sold out of non-resident seasonal passes in February.
- The beach pass is actually a misnomer. What you are actually paying for is PARKING. You can actually visit any beach (except the ones that are “private”) by biking, getting a cab or taking a local bus.
- Know the rules. If you park without a valid permit you risk being towed. Each town and village posts beach permit rules. For example, the Town of Southampton posts on the web a list of all its beaches. It also provides a breakdown of those that allow non-resident parking and applicable fees. For example, if I have guests or renters I always tell them to go to Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack. They can park for $20 a day – but only on weekdays.
- For the Town of East Hampton, to use village beaches, you must display a valid village parking permit on your vehicle from May 15-September 15, 2011. Main Beach (often voted one of the top beaches in the USA) and Two Mile Hollow Beach are the only village beaches where you can pay by the day for parking – $25 per day, weekdays only, not available on weekends or holidays. You pay at the entrance of the parking lot of each beach.
- I’ve also gotten great access to local beaches by being friendly and nice. Talk to the locals. They live there year-round and probably have a vehicle with the required seasonal pass. Being kind has its rewards. One of which can be an invite to a “private” beach which means a more intimate setting and less crowds.
- Last Tip – If you are traveling with kids to the Hamptons look for beaches with lifeguards, concession stands and bathroom facilities and go early – parking is tight in the summer.