Sag Harbor Highlights
The Best Way To Get To Sag Harbor NY
To get to this historic whaling village (where you’re sure to have a whale of a good time) we suggest renting your own private boat charter to kick off your trip, just like the early English who settled in Sag Harbor centuries before Sag Harbor became a vacation destination.
As early as 1770, the village of Sag Harbor was the place where this area’s first goods were shipped to a number of locations in the world, and whaling ships docked throughout the 19th century after long voyages at sea.
Start in the Heart of Main Street
Whether you have a few hours off the boat or an entire weekend to visit Sag Harbor NY, a walk down Main Street will give you a visual story of this village located at the edge of the most important seaport and whaling port (next to New York City) in American history. If you’re a history buff or just want to feel what it was like in the United States when it was new, the small town of Sag Harbor NY fits the bill.
Sag Harbor Historical Buildings and Museums
In Sag Harbor, you’ll find all kinds of shops, art, and food establishments rich in history. A number in the community are only open in summer so if there’s something specific you want to include in your travel plans, we suggest you check online for a calendar of events, open shops, hotels and landmarks.
The Hamptons starts to open up sometime in March or later as the weather warms, but some remain open all year round, including most museums.
Custom House Museum
This home office is the first official customs office where people entered the United States. A short tour shows what life was like for the Deerings, who ran the business while raising their family of nine kids.
Sag Harbor Whaler’s and Historical Museum
Originally another authentic home built in 1845, this museum has everything related to the history of whaling and features a collection of period boat and water related objects. Follow the area news for the latest series of visiting exhibits and Sag Harbor or national events as this Sag Harbor museum is open to host guest exhibitors.
Hit the Beaches
Now that you’ve paid a visit to the old buildings and seen a historic church or two around town, it’s time to spend a few hours around nature—beaches with blue skies, turquoise water and sparkling white sand that prompted you to take a boat to Sag Harbor in the first place. Sag Harbor has some of the best beaches to land on in the Hamptons, most lifeguarded to give you peace-of-mind whether traveling alone or with the family.
Foster Memorial Bay
Also known as Long Beach in Long Island, Foster Memorial Bay’s relatively small stretch of sand is often referred to as the Mediterranean Beach of The Hamptons. This outdoor spot’s got more of a paddle boarding-than-surfing vibe as it doesn’t have the big waves and is always warmer than the open water of the ocean. Bring a picnic or follow the sign to Foster’s food stand.
Loved by locals and vacationers, Foster Memorial Bay has an amazing sunset view, but be careful of the rocks you’ll find all along here. Hint: stay close to the middle.
A long stretch of white sand in East Hampton, this beautiful place has room for everyone to enjoy a day of play, picnicking, swimming or just taking time with nature to breathe in the open air and soak up some Southampton sun.
North Haven Village Park – A Place To Take the Kids
This park is a beautiful place to let the kids play all day on a big playground. And they can start to learn how to hit tennis balls with you or shoot hoops on the park’s large court. This is a great place to enjoy some outdoor recreation.
Take the Ferry to Shelter Island
Take your private boat or yacht charter or hop on The South Ferry for about 15 minutes travel time and arrive across the bay in Shelter Island that offers its own special ambience and activities. Optimum months here are May thru June, September and October, and July and August, so reserve local restaurants or hotels you want to visit way before you head over to the island.
Shelter Island Hotel
If you plan on an overnight or more, Shelter Island Hotel is a great choice where hotel, restaurant and resort combine in a 19th century house. There are just six luxurious suites and topnotch amenities including bike rentals, a beautiful outdoor pool, and morning pastries with fresh coffee. The compound is pet friendly, so feel free to pack everyone in the car, including the hound.
Biking and Birdwatching in Shelter Island
Shelter Island is known for birdwatching and bicycling. Grab a bike and head to Mashomack Preserve to catch a glimpse at a Goldfinch, Mourning Dove, American Robin and even a House Hairy Woodpecker. Before you hit the open trail, we suggest you practice balancing your binoculars on your handlebars. Seriously, you will enjoy this national treasure trove of birds where you can learn all about our winged friends that inhabit this part of the country.
Hotels That Must Be Mentioned
There are plenty of fine hotels in Sag Harbor, but this 4-star waterfront hotel has it all; 67 rooms with private garden terraces, heated saltwater pool, gym, tennis court, spa services, beach transportation, and phenomenal amenities. Baron’s throws BBQs and lobster bakes and is the only local place in Sag Harbor with live entertainment every night during summer.
The American Hotel
This hotel, built as a house in 1846, is the quaintest place to stay in Sag Harbor. The American has just eight guest rooms decorated with antiques and a gourmet restaurant that features an award-winning wine list. Understated, The American is hugely popular so book your stay long before making your way over.
Sag Harbor Marine Park
This prime spot for watching the sunset (preferably from your Yacht Hampton boat rental), is a fun place to see the other yachts and boats coming and going. Check out the rustic boardwalk in Marine Park that makes a perfect picturesque spot for your photo op.
This East Hampton reserve was built to inspire artists and the artistic spirit in us all, with its lush gardens and sculptures surrounding a home that exemplifies contemporary life. Designed by well-known textile designer and author jack Lenor Larsena, Longhouse is filled with an eclectic collection of textiles and other art forms you will want to check out for a different kind of cultural experience.
You Can Stay in Sag Harbor All Summer…
And never get bored. We haven’t even mentioned Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts (Bay Street Theater is a popular non-profit regional theater worth a visit) Old Whaler’s Church, Long Island Aquarium, or the fact that Richard Gere lives next door to Jimmy Buffet—either of which might be seen driving their car or strolling into town for a cup of Joe. And we should tell you there is one local 9-hole state golf course in East Hampton for those die-hard golfers who never travel without throwing their clubs in the back of the car, just in case.
Consider Bridgehampton For A Round
If you’re really looking for a golf day like no other, take a car or bus (or walk if 4 miles is a no-brainer for you) to Bridgehampton to tee off at the Bridge, one of The Hamptons more unique clubs, with its casual unstuffy style. With great views of Sag Harbor, this course that used to be Bridgehampton Motor Racing Circuit gives golfers a few hours of heaven in the middle of a heavenly trip, but it’s not an easy tee time to get as this is a private club, so try to make a new friend in town! Can’t get a tee time? Bridgehampton is also known as a horse town with a choice of stables where you can ride through the beautiful countryside and along the shore.
A Final Note About This Historic Town
Sag Harbor NY is known for the first whaling boats in these parts, but it has also been home to famous writers over the years (besides Melville). If you get really lucky, you might get a peek at the home John Steinbeck referred to as his “Little Fishing Place” where he wrote “The Winter of our Discontent” and “Travels with Charlie” in his cozy octagonal writing hut. The village has also been home to E.L. Doctorow and playwright Lanford Wilson to name just a few.