Escape to the End in Montauk, NY


The End.  Those two words for me conjure up salty fishermen, super fun waves, gorgeous stretches of white sand beach, cliffs, miles of empty running trails, and serene bays for paddling and sup yoga.  This slice of paradise at the eastern tip of Long Island, NY, is referred to as ‘the end’ (or sometimes the end of the world) because it can feel that way! It’s the furthest point on the south fork of Long Island, which is indeed a long island-  spanning 118 miles and is in fact the longest island in the United States (it is 23 miles at its widest point).

While most of Long Island is densely populated, if you keep on driving, the island will get narrower and more rural feeling, eventually ‘forking’ into two branches- the north fork (of which Orient Point is the tip), and the South Fork- with Montauk as the last town on the map.  Once a sleepy fishing village, and a place I have visited my entire life, Montauk is no longer sleepy Kirk Park Beach, (except perhaps in the winter months when the summer people leave and many stores close for the season).

Now an extremely popular resort town, it still retains its stunning natural beauty, and it is a place that I hold extremely dear to my heart.

I live several towns over, and have been teaching Yoga, SUP, and Surf retreats for the past 17 or so years, usually away in tropical destinations in the winter months.  Several years back, I decided that it would be amazing to include a retreat much closer to home, and to share my love for this place to those that wanted to discover for themselves why it is so special.

I host this retreat usually twice a year, in June and September, during what is called the ‘shoulder season’-  two of my absolute favorite months.  In June, we celebrate the summer solstice, the longest day of the year with the most amount of light, as we herald in the summer season.  Water temps are rising, Mi Ola bikinis are on, and (especially midweek), there is still a peaceful vibe before the crowds descend in July.  In September, glorious September, the ocean and bays are at their warmest, kids are back in school, and as Montauk begins to empty out again, we who live here can enjoy emptier beaches, more waves, and the abundance that the harvest (corn, tomatoes, squash, kale, arugula and so much more) brings.

Whether or not you join me on retreat, I’ve put together this sweet guide for you to enjoy (as well as respect) this gorgeous part of our country.  One thing to note is Montauk (like the rest of the Hamptons) is far from budget friendly, but if you are looking for pristine beaches, great surf, delicious food, and world class shopping in a beach town, look no further.

Where to Stay: 

The Haven

Located a 1 min walk from the bay, this beautiful spot is pet friendly, offers bike rentals, as well as parking passes for the area’s beaches.

Aqualina Inn-

A short walk from this newly renovated spot brings you to the public beach, called Kirk park Beach, and is also walking distance (very close!) to the village, with tons of places to eat, practice Yoga, shop, and hang out.  Bicycles, BBQ grills, and beach chairs are all available at no extra charge.

Sole East

This beautiful spot, with a large yard, pool, fire pit, and gorgeous quiet yoga platform overlooking Fort Pond Bay also serves as the location for my annual yoga retreats.  They actually have two locations, so check them both out before making a decision.  

Where to Eat:

For an easy, healthy breakfast or lunch, head straight over to one of two spots-  Naturally Good Cafe (an organic foods grocery and cafe has indoor and outdoor seating.  Try their sprouted wheat bagel to refuel after a long surf, paddle, or run!

Joni’s, a hip surfer’s cafe just a block off the beach, serves up a healthy menu (partially organic), with wraps and burritos with fun names like ‘gone fishin’ and ‘the soprano’, soups, smoothies, and a kids menu.

At night, options abound.  A couple of my favorites are The Crow’s Nest Restaurant, where a long time student of mine, John Yashinowsky (call him Yaz!) is the chef.  The Inlet Seafood Restaurant has yummy sushi, straight off the fishing boats.  For one of the best sunset spots (although there are many), head to Duryea’s, which also has its own fish market. Order  the lobster- you won’t be sorry.  Navy Beach, owned and run by another friend Leyla Marchetto, is your go-to spot for casual coastal cuisine served to you right on the beach.  The laid-back waterfront venue offers breathtaking sunsets and one of the largest selections of rosé in the area. Set on Fort Pond Bay, which used to be occupied the US Navy, the restaurant also welcomes boaters to anchor down and swim up for a bite.

What to Do:

For those of you who are water lovers like me, you can not go wrong in Montauk.  From open water swimming in the bays or oceans, to SUP, to surf, you can play in and on the water from sunrise to sunset.  My company, JBYoga, offers stand up paddling excursions throughout this area, with classes and private sessions most days from mid May through mid September.  We specialize in SUP Yoga, which is my my own personal version of heaven on earth, and can be done by everyone from the most novice to the most advanced practitioner, as long as you have the willingness to learn and don’t mind (maybe!!) getting wet.

For surfing or surf lessons, there are some incredible teachers.  The most popular (and most consistent) surf beach is called Ditch Plains, although there are some ‘secret’ spots up and down the coast depending on the size of the swell and the direction of the wind.  Check out either Austins Surf Camp or Corey’s Wave- both amazing instructors who you cannot go wrong with.  

Lastly, Yoga.  My recommendation is, hands down, Yoga Lila- which is locally owned and operates year round (as opposed to a summer pop up)…  I teach there fairly often, and my other favorite teachers include Ashley Dorr and Jessy Nees, and of course the owner, Dominique Garstin.

There is much to be discovered in this special place.  I hope these recommendations are helpful.  Feel free to reach out with any further questions, or look me up if you come to visit.  You can also check out my upcoming ‘welcome summer’ retreat, which takes place June 13-15.  I would be stoked to meet you!  

Jessica Bellofatto