East Hampton NY vs. South Hampton NY| Which Is the Better Travel Destination?

East Hampton NY vs. South Hampton NY guide

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There are many reasons to consider East Hampton or South Hampton as a travel destination.

Both locations offer beautiful scenery and plenty of activities to keep visitors busy.

But which one is the better destination?

Here is a comparison of East Hampton and South Hampton to help you decide.

Activities and Attractions in East Hampton NY

East Hampton is located in the southeastern part of New York, on the South Fork of Long Island.

This charming town is known for its stunning beaches, world-class shopping, dining, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions.

There are also several activities and attractions that are perfect for visitors of all ages.

Here are some of the best things to do in East Hampton.

1. LongHouse Reserve

There’s no place like LongHouse Reserve.

This world-renowned 16-acre public garden and sculpture park is a must-see for any nature lover or art aficionado.

Longhouse Reserve East Hampton New York
Longhouse Reserve East Hampton NY

Founded in 1991 by Jack Lenor Larsen, LongHouse Reserve is home to an ever-changing collection of over 600 contemporary sculptures by artists worldwide.

The sculptures are spread across the picturesque grounds, featuring manicured gardens, lush woodlands, and a tranquil pond.

In addition to the incredible art on display, it also offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year.

Good to Know – Visitors can participate in workshops, lectures, and tours led by experts in gardening, horticulture, and art.

Whether you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or want to experience some of the best art and nature the world has to offer, LongHouse Reserve is the perfect place for you.

2. Sailacat Boat Charters

This boat rental service offers guests the opportunity to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the East Hampton coastline from the comfort of their own private cabin.

Sailacat provides both private and group charters.

Sailacat boat charters East Hampton
Sailacat boat

Private charters are perfect for a more intimate experience on the water.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic sunset sail or a day of fishing with your loved ones, private charters are perfect for any occasion.

A group charter is a better option if you are visiting with a group and want to hold activities such as birthday parties, corporate events, or any other occasion.

When you’re not relaxing in your private cabin, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained.

They offer a variety of excursions, including:

  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Bareboat charters
  • Sailing
  • Catamaran cruises
  • Sunset cruises

3. Home Sweet Home Museum

The museum is dedicated to the history and preservation of the East End of Long Island.

The Home Sweet Home Museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the Hamptons.

Home Sweet Home Museum East Hampton NY
Home Sweet Home Museum

The museum offers a variety of exhibits and programs that are sure to educate and entertain visitors throughout the year.

The East Hampton History Exhibit is one of the most popular exhibits at the Home Sweet Home Museum.

This exhibit features a variety of artifacts that date back to the early days of the Hamptons.

Visitors can learn about the first settlers of the area, and the role that the Hamptons played in the American Revolution.

4. Stephen Talkhouse

Stephen Talkhouse is a popular music venue in East Hampton.

It has been open since 1970 and is a favorite spot for musicians and music lovers.

The club has hosted everyone from local bands to international stars and has been a gathering place for the community and visitors alike to enjoy live music.

Stephen talkhouse East Hampton NY
Stephen talkhouse

The venue is also known for its intimate setting and its great acoustics.

In Addition to Being a Music Venue – Talkhouse has a restaurant as well. The menu features a variety of American classics, and there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking to grab a bite before the show, consider stopping by.

No night out is complete without a few drinks, and they have a full bar available.

Whether you are looking for a beer, cocktail, or something in between, you’re sure to find something to quench your thirst.

5. Main Beach

There’s nothing like a day at the beach, and Main Beach is one of the best places to spend a day lounging on the sand, swimming in the ocean, or just taking a stroll.

This stunning beach is well-known for its soft, white sand and clear blue waters, making it the perfect spot to relax, soak up the sun, or take in incredible views.

Main beach East Hampton NY
Main beach

The beach faces west, so you will have a front-row seat to the beautiful Hamptons sunsets.

There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby, so you can grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink when you need a break from the sand.

Some of these restaurants include:

  • The Surf Lodge
  • Solé East Resort
  • Gurney’s Montauk Resort
  • Seawater Spa

In addition, Main Beach is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic.

There are several picnic spots throughout the beach, or you can bring your blanket.

6. The Pollock-Krasner House 

The Pollock-Krasner House is a historic house museum that was the home and studio of artists Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner.

The house is a National Historic Landmark and is open for tours. 

The house is on a secluded beach and surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the house and see the studios where Pollock and Krasner worked.

Check out the original collection of their paintings, drawings, and sculpture, along with varying temporary exhibits on display throughout the year.

7. Serafina

In the heart of East Hampton, Serafina is an inviting neighborhood restaurant serving rustic Italian cuisine in a warm and comfortable setting.

The menu features a variety of small plates and entrees that are perfect for sharing, a selection of hand-crafted cocktails, and an extensive wine list.

Serafina restaurant East Hampton NY
Serafina restaurant

The dishes are simple and flavorful, made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

The menu changes frequently, so there is always something new to try.

Some popular dishes include wood-fired pizzas, homemade pasta, and the daily catch.

Even Better – The pizzas are thin and crispy, with a variety of toppings to choose from. The pasta is all made fresh in-house, and the daily catch is always a delicious and healthy option.

Activities and Attractions in South Hampton, NY

This charming town is located on Long Island, Suffolk County, New York, and is known for its beautiful beaches, great restaurants, and unique shops.

Plenty of activities and attractions will keep you busy during your stay.

Whether you are a history lover or an adrenaline-rush adventurer, you will enjoy these seven best places to visit in South Hampton.

1. Southampton History Museum

The museum is a unique historical gem housed in a restored 19-century building that was once the home of the Rogers family, one of the founding families of South Hampton.

It tells the story of the area’s Native American history, the early settlers who arrived in the 1600s, the whaling industry that flourished in the 1800s, and the rise of the Hamptons as a summer resort destination in the early 1900s.

Southampton History museum South Hampton NY
Southampton History museum

Here are some of the highlights of the Southampton History Museum:

  • Roman Gallery has various artifacts from the Roman period, including pottery, coins, and jewelry.
  • Medieval Gallery: This gallery tells the story of Southampton during the Middle Ages, including the city’s role in the Hundred Years’ War.
  • Maritime Gallery: Explores Southampton’s rich maritime history, from the city’s origins as a medieval port to its role in the Titanic disaster.
  • Titanic Gallery: This gallery is dedicated to the Titanic and includes artifacts from the ship itself and personal stories from survivors of the disaster.
  • There are also interactive exhibits where you can dress up in period costumes worn by individuals during the colonial period or try to write with a quill pen.
  • A research library with resources for those interested in learning more about the history of Southampton and the Hamptons.

2. Southampton Arts Center

Founded in 1985, Southampton Arts Center is a hidden gem on the eastern end of Long Island.

This unique cultural hub’s mission is to build a strong and tight-knit unity and enrich the lives of the local community and visitors through arts and entertainment.

Southampton Arts Center NY
Arts Center

This treasured non-profit organization has quickly made its way to the top of many art lovers’ bucket lists.

The Center presents year-round programs in the visual, performing, and literary arts, including 6,000-square-foot galleries that host exhibitions, concerts, dance, theatre, film, lectures, and children’s programs.

The main gallery space features rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, while the smaller galleries showcase works by local artists.

The Center also has a black box theatre, a magnet for cutting-edge theatre companies and emerging playwrights.

There is also an outdoor sculpture garden and stage that host various concerts and performances.

In Addition to its Regular Programs – There are educational opportunities for children and adults to learn from and work alongside established artists.

3. Coopers Beach

Coopers Beach is a great place to visit if you are looking for a more relaxed and secluded experience.

The beach is known for its crystal clear water, soft sand, and stunning views.

Coopers beach South Hampton NY
Coopers beach

It’s the perfect place to busk in the sun, take a dip in the water, fish, and surf. It is also a popular spot for weddings and other special events.

Whether you visit during the summer or the off-season, Coopers Beach is a place you want to return to.

Here are some things to know about Coopers Beach:

  • Access to the beach itself is free
  • The beach has a lifeguard on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
  • You need to pay for the parking ($50 per day).
  • There are public restrooms and showers available.
  • There is a food concession stand that sells snacks and drinks.
  • Umbrella rentals go for $15, and chair rentals for $10 per day.
  • It is handicap accessible.

4. Shinnecock East County Park

When you think of New York, you might not automatically think of beaches and coastlines.

However, the state boasts some beautiful coastlines, and one of the best places to enjoy it is at Shinnecock East County Park.

Shinnecock East County park
Shinnecock East County

Compared to Cooper’s Beach, The geological features of Shinnecock East County Park are rugged, treating you to its unaltered and natural beauty of a variety of cliffs, caves, and rock formations. 

The park is open year-round and offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.

It is a popular destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

It also offers a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and workshops.

5. Plaza Cafe

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to finding a good meal in the South Hamptons.

But if you’re looking for a casual, affordable spot to enjoy local food, then Plaza Cafe is the spot for you.

What to Expect? This popular eatery has been a staple in South Hampton since1997, serving fresh, made-to-order seafood dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

Newsday ranks the restaurant as one of the Top Restaurants in Long Island.

Plaza cafe Southampton NY
Plaza cafe

The restaurant also boldly advertises itself as a three-star New York Times-rated destination for seafood enthusiasts.

The Plaza Cafe is the perfect place to enjoy a casual meal while enjoying the beautiful Hamptons scenery.

House specialties include items like:

  • oysters
  • lobster
  • crab
  • and scallops

Expect an elevated experience, as they ensure that each visitor enjoys genuine hospitality and excellent service.

6. The Hildreth’s Shopping Area

Hildreth’s is one of the oldest and most unique shopping areas on Long Island.

When you enter you will be dazzled by the elegant display of all kinds of products.

Hildreth's shopping South Hampton NY
Hildreth’s shopping area

You can find a shop that fits your budget, from high-end designer labels to locally made affordable fashion.

This charming area is home to a lot of shops that sell a variety of items, including: 

  • Clothes
  • Gift wear 
  • Jewelry
  • Children’s Department
  • Home Decor

There are also several restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, and ice cream shops.

You can also take a stroll and enjoy the sights and sounds of the local community.

7. Duck Walk Vineyard

When most people think of Long Island wine country, they think of the North Fork.

But the South Fork in South Hampton has its burgeoning wine scene, and at the forefront is Duck Walk Vineyard.

The vineyard is situated on a beautiful property that overlooks a duck pond hence the name “Duck Walk”.

Duck walk vineyard South Hampton NY
Duck walk vineyard

Dr. He.rodotus Diamanos founded duck Walk in the 1980s and planted the first vines on the property.

Today, Duck Walk has over 140 acres, producing more than 5,000 cases of excellent wine each year.

It is open to the public for wine tastings, tours, and events and offers vineyard tours.

Duck Walk wines have won numerous awards, including double gold medals at the New York International Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

The vineyard has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wine Spectator.

Comparison between East Hampton and South Hampton

Both East Hampton and South Hampton are excellent choices for a vacation.

However, they each have unique qualities that appeal to different types of travelers. 

EAST HAMPTONSOUTH HAMPTON
More expensiveLess expensive
Beaches are less crowdedBeaches are more crowded
More touristyMore family-oriented
More relaxedMore nightlife
Close to the cityMore rural  

Cost

East Hampton is a more expensive travel destination than South Hampton.

In particular, it has higher hotel prices, and the average meal is costly.

Hotel rates in East Hampton start at around $200 per night, while in South Hampton, you can find rates as low as $100 per night.

A meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in East Hampton will cost you around $60, while the same meal in South Hampton will only set you back $50.

Accommodations

In terms of accommodations, East Hampton and South Hampton are quite different.

East Hampton is home to many luxury hotels, while South Hampton is known for its more affordable options.

However, both destinations offer a wide variety of accommodation options, so it depends on your budget and preferences.

If you’re looking for a luxurious vacation, East Hampton is the better choice. But if you’re on a budget, South Hampton is your best bet.

Beaches

Beaches are a bit different in terms of their atmosphere.

East Hampton is much more secluded and private, while South Hampton is much more lively and crowded.

East Hampton vs South Hampton NY beaches
Beach vacation East Hampton vs South Hampton NY

In terms of facilities, East Hampton has more luxurious and modern facilities compared to South Hampton.

Overall – East Hampton is a better choice for those looking for a relaxing and peaceful beach vacation, while South Hampton is a better choice for those looking for a more exciting and social beach vacation.

Nightlife

East Hampton is a bit more laid-back, with a mix of beach bars, dive bars, and everything in between.

The nightlife here is more about having a good time without all the pretense.

If you’re looking to relax and have a good time, East Hampton is the place for you.

On the other hand, South Hampton is more lively and nightclubs here are usually full.

Therefore, if this is what tickles your fancy, this is where you should go.  

Restaurants

If you are looking for a fine dining experience, East Hampton is the place for you.

The location is known for its upscale restaurants.

Conversely, if you want a more reserved dining experience, South Hampton is the place for you.

You will find many casual restaurants and cafes in the area.

Activities

The fun never stops in the Hamptons!

There’s always something to do in East Hampton or South Hampton. However, depending on your interests, one location may be better suited.

The fun never stops in the Hamptons
East Hampton vs South Hampton NY – Activities

If you want a more laid-back vacation with plenty of opportunities to relax and spend time outdoors, then East Hampton is the place for you.

There are many hiking and biking trails and beaches to enjoy and unwind.

South Hampton is the place for you if you prefer a livelier travel destination.

The town is an excellent place for shopping, dining, partying, and it is home to several amazing museums.

Verdict

There’s no denying that both East Hampton and South Hampton are fantastic travel destinations.

They both offer stunning beaches, great restaurants, and plenty of activities to keep you busy.

So, which is the better travel destination?

The answer depends on what you are looking for in a vacation.

Key Takeaway – If you are looking for a relaxed and quiet atmosphere, East Hampton is the place for you. However, South Hampton is the better choice if you are looking for a livelier and more exciting atmosphere.

Whichever you choose, you are sure to have a great time.

Final Thoughts

When deciding which of these two beautiful destinations to travel to, it comes down to what kind of traveler you are and what you are looking for in a vacation.

Regardless of where you choose you certainly enjoy your stay at either East Hampton or South Hampton.

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