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Cruising to the Montauk Yacht Club

This past summer we cruised to Montauk for three nights, “The End”.
Keep reading, there’s more! Montauk is literally the end. You will see bumper stickers and T-shirts attesting this. The geographical Long Island starts where Brooklyn and Manhattan are separated by the East River. It ends 118 miles due east in the Atlantic Ocean at Montauk. Montauk also affectionately calls itself “A drinking town with a fishing problem.”
Cruising into Montauk was easy. When you get to the area, find the wide jetty-protected inlet and slow to no wake looking out for fishing and pleasure craft that enter and exit here. To get to the Montauk Yacht Club, simply turn to port, passing the Coast Guard station. At this point hail the club on Channel 9 for instructions. Before arriving at the inlet, I suggest setting a course three miles due east to capture the view of the famous lighthouse from the Atlantic Ocean.

Going Ashore in Montauk
The most famous attraction in the area is the Montauk Lighthouse located 6.5 miles east of the Montauk Yacht Club. This is a 30-minute bike ride or a $30 ride share). The lighthouse was commissioned by President George Washington and is the fourth oldest in the country. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 2012. On a clear day, the lighthouse gives you 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island Sound including Block Island.
It is free to visit the grounds and walk around the lighthouse base. There is a $15 admission fee to see the museum and climb the 137 iron stairs. The tower is 110 feet high. At night it throws a 290,000-candlepower light every five seconds which can be seen for 22 miles. If you like hiking, Montauk State Park has easy-to-follow paths that range from one to three hours.

The center of Montauk is called The Plaza. This is a large traffic circle that is cut across by Route 27 or Montauk Highway. There are shops, restaurants, and boutiques around and near the circle. A good place to start your visit is at the Montauk Visitor’s Center in the middle of the Plaza where a cheerful staff will get you oriented about the town.
Here I learned about a free concert at the Plaza and a jam session nearby afterward. We were handed information on the Deep Hollow Ranch, which is the oldest ranch in America, (established in 1648) that does horseback rides. For kids, there is a mini-golf in town. At the end of town is an IGA where you can purvey your boat.

Since 2012, the reputation of the Montauk Brewery Company has grown. In fact, with its purchase by Tilray, they have gone national. Their simple beer garden is just two blocks north of the Plaza. Here you can enjoy a pint from one of several taps. You can also purchase cans to go.

TW Fine Art Museum
For art with a changing venue, visit the TW Fine Art Museum one block west of the Plaza. During our visit, the building was taken over by artist Lucy Sparrow who turned the entire place into an old-fashioned Lower East Side bagel shop. The difference here was everything was made of felt. This included live-size felt bagels and everything you would want if you lived in the Lower East Side during the day.

Montauk has one of the best reputations for fishing. There are dozens of boats to choose from depending on your budget and time. These can include private or shared charters that go 20 to 40 miles offshore for the large tuna to half-day party boats that stay near shore for fluke, sea bass, or whatever is running locally for $75.

The Beach
The beaches in Montauk rank amongst the best. Here you will find miles of white powdered sand and a surf that can range from boogie boarding to surfing quality waves. There are also a few pebbled beaches on the north side if you don’t like the surf. Information on the different beaches of Montauk can be found at

It was easy to choose the Montauk Yacht Club for our cruise here. The Montauk Yacht Club is owned by Safe Harbor Marina. It is a full-service resort and marina. There are 222 slips with about 80 saved for transients. During our visit, the boats ranged from 28-foot fishing boats to a 206-foot mega yacht. It was fun to walk the docks at night.
Docking is handled by a professional crew who return each season and know what they are doing. There are no floating docks here. The staff comes aboard and ties you down to the fore and aft pilings making sure the boat goes easily up and down with the tide never touching the pilings.
As a Safe Harbor member in Glen Cove, we were lucky to secure a slip during the quieter weekdays. Safe Harbor members get to stay free for up to three days here if there are open slips. For those meeting non-boating friends here, there are 107 rooms and villas.
The Montauk Yacht Club has a bar and restaurant by the docks, a well-equipped gym, one small indoor pool, two small outdoor pools (with bar service), and a petite-sized beach on the bay perfect for children where they can use their kayaks. On summer weekends there are free electric boat rides on Montauk Lake, outdoor movie nights, and free use of bicycles. Boaters have the use of an electric Mini Moke electric car on a first come basis. We used it to drive around the area to see the bay beaches and purvey the boat.
Montauk is known for some of the freshest seafood in the region. There are dozens of good places to eat on all budgets. We tended to stick with the more casual restaurants. All the places listed below can be reached via the Hopper or in some cases a 10 to 15-minute walk from the marina.
The West Lake Fish House is the place for creative sushi rolls stuffed and rolled with local fish. This went perfectly with an authentic Greek side salad. Both the food and service were very good. Outside the restaurant, check out the leaderboards showing the record-size fish caught here.
The Gig Shack was our lunch stop while in town. They specialize in seafood with fish tacos, lobster rolls and sliders, a fluke sandwich, salads, and sides. We found their salad good, their fluke sandwich a little overcooked, and their Peruvian smashed potatoes tasty and creative.
Trails End was a fun night of great music and good food. If you are here on Monday, don’t miss their jam session. The music gets better through the night. For food, a starter of clam chowder needed a little less bacon flavor. Because the seabass were jumping into the fishing boats, I knew it was fresh. Trails End serves it up whole and flash fried having a Chinese sauce and a shredded stir fry to go with it. For the landlubber, the French Dip had the right amount of sliced beef, sautéed onions, and gruyere cheese. Music plays from 7 to 10 PM on most summer nights.
Clam and Chowder House at Salivar’s Dock had attentive service. We liked the crispy but not greasy fluke fish and chips and the chicken piccata that was saucy and flavorful.

Hopping Around
An excellent way to get around Montauk is with the free Hopper. These are small buses that stop at the resort’s entrance twice an hour making nine stops in the Montauk area. We used it each day to stroll the town, purvey the boat (at the IGA), and go to dinner as well as to music venues. If the Atlantic Beach is your destination, the hopper is especially useful because parking is difficult. We found a small tip was very much appreciated after each ride.
Two good sources for information on Montauk can be found at as well as
When cruising to Montauk, consider other ports of call while in the area. Greenport and Sag Harbor are an hour’s cruise away. These stories can be found at Long Island Boating World or you can email

Tab Hauser, when not being captain of in the summer season, does event photography and travel writing. Follow him at #tabhauser.