Life Out East

Where Are the Hamptons and Why Are They So Popular?

To those who grew up in the Northeast or are familiar with the New York area, knowledge of the Hamptons might seem to come by default. For many others, the Hamptons are merely a name. So, what are the Hamptons? Where are the Hamptons? Why are the Hamptons so popular? Here, we’ll answer the most basic questions about the popular region of Long Island, New York, known as the Hamptons.

What Are the Hamptons?

The Hamptons are a group of towns, villages, and hamlets scattered along the eastern end of Long Island, New York, about two-and-a-half hours by car from New York City. The Hamptons are known for their beaches, farms, golf clubs, and equestrian events, and are a highly popular seaside resort for residents of the New York region. Much of the area is a magnet for celebrities and the well-to-do, who summer on spacious estates nestled along the Atlantic Ocean or hidden behind tall hedgerows. But while many visitors here are wealthy, not all are. New Yorkers of varying ages and tax brackets come to visit less-tony areas like Montauk, Noyack, and Westhampton, and enjoy the ocean breezes, white sand beaches, excellent seafood, lively parties, and rural atmosphere of the East End.

>> A Complete Guide to Spending Summer in the Hamptons

Are the Hamptons in New York?

The Hamptons lie on the far southeastern end of New York’s Long Island — known as the South Fork — about 80 miles from Manhattan. Starting on the western edge, the Hamptons begin at Westhampton and Westhampton Dunes, and extend east for nearly 50 miles through Southampton, Water Mill, Bridgehampton, Sagaponack, Wainscott, East Hampton, Amagansett, and finally Montauk, at the very eastern end of Long Island.

The North Fork of Long Island, stretching from Riverhead to Greenport to Orient, offers a similarly rural, relaxed environment as the Hamptons, but is usually considered a distinct area. While growing in popularity with vacationers, and offering many unique charms, the North Fork is less developed and less exclusive than much of Long Island’s South Fork. North Fork beaches also front Long Island Sound or Peconic Bay, rather than the Atlantic Ocean.

What Towns Make Up the Hamptons?

The Hamptons are made up of two proper towns, Southampton and East Hampton, each of which administers a smattering of villages and hamlets.

Southampton’s villages include Westhampton Beach, Quogue, the Village of Southampton, Sagaponack, and Sag Harbor (which is shared with the town of East Hampton). Southampton hamlets are Eastport, Speonk, Remsenburg, Westhampton, East Quogue, Hampton Bays, Shinnecock Hills, Water Mill, and Bridgehampton.

>> Escape the Usual Hamptons: 5 Smaller Waterfront Hamlets on the East End

East Hampton‘s villages include Sag Harbor (shared with Southampton) and the Village of East Hampton. Its hamlets are Wainscott, Springs, Nepeague, Amagansett, and Montauk.

Why Are the Hamptons So Popular?

The Hamptons are popular because they offer a mix of oceanside location, rural atmosphere, historic charm, and tony exclusivity, all at a convenient distance from New York City. From New York, the Hamptons are an easy trip via train, private car, bus service like the Hampton Jitney, or, for the most well-heeled, helicopter. But while the people and the atmosphere of the Hamptons bear some similarity to New York, the area feels much more easygoing and personable than the city.

>> Living in the Hamptons Year-Round: Why I Love It

For the many celebrities who have vacation homes in the Hamptons, the relative lack of paparazzi and ease of privacy make the Hamptons a relaxing place to escape. For the non-famous, the region’s mix of world-class beaches, quaint farm stands, five-star cuisine, and a lively social circuit make it an engaging and relaxing respite from city life.

Read more in our complete guide to spending summer in the Hamptons, or see where your favorite celebrities live in the Hamptons.

[This post has been edited and republished.]

There’s an East End home for every style and budget. Search Out East for the widest selection of rental and sale properties in the Hamptons and North Fork.

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