Ditch Plains is our number one choice for enjoying Long Island’s ocean beaches. Located in Montauk, this beach is at the tip of the island where few dare to venture. This beach is well known for its surfing and there are several small businesses that will supply you with equipment and lessons so you can “have a paddle.” The waves are also great for boogie boarding, but steer clear of the surfers. There is a small section of beach that has a lifeguard, but since the beach stretches a great distance you may choose to swim further down. We’ve tried both and enjoy our own area away from the lifeguards and beach entrance. The majority of beach goers here are locals and lifetime surfers that all have strong swimming skills and are very friendly so we have always felt safe. Remember to bring plenty of sunscreen and some fun zinc color nosecoat. After a relaxing siesta, you can take a long stroll down the shoreline to stretch your legs and collect some shells. The ocean breeze is always cooling.
For more adventure, hike up along the cliffs with paths that take you all the way to Shadmoor State Park. The views are phenomenal. You can even find some wild raspberries along the trail.
This is an East Hampton town beach so that limits the crowds (parking is by permit only). Several local hotels offer a free day pass so you can park in town permit lots with your own vehicle. You can also get dropped off, take a cab or Uber, or even walk or bike ride if you’re staying nearby. There is no charge to enter the beach.
There are indoor restrooms and outdoor showers to rinse. There’s also two food trucks that stay there full time with drinks, ice cream, and cooked food.
Family Adventure Rating ♥♥♥♥
♥♥- If you’re already staying in Montauk, this is a great adventure to add to your itinerary.
♥♥♥♥- If you’re coming out just for Ditch Plains, it’s not an easy beach to access, but it’s an amazing adventure.
Cost– If you live in Suffolk County, this trip can be very low cost. You can pack your own food and drinks to minimize expenses. Don’t forget to pack essentials for the day so you don’t incur extra charges (Sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, fishing equipment, picnic blanket, cooler for food, etc.)
Parking & Transportation– Parking is practically impossible at Ditch. The lot is strictly for vehicles with an East Hampton town permit. Don’t even think of trying to get away with sneaking your car there for the day- the fine is pretty steep. If you don’t have your own transportation, the LIRR goes to Montauk. (Public buses run primarily in the summer to Montauk.) There are private taxi, bus and limousine services that will bring you to your destination from as far as NYC or as close as the LIRR. If you’re staying in Montauk, a bicycle is a popular and safe bet to get you into Ditch. (Note: Some hotels offer a town parking permit for guests to use for the day, ask ahead, it’s worth it.)
Location– Montauk is isolated at the tip of Long Island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean so it can be a journey to get there. However, it is its isolation that makes it such a beautiful and relaxing location. You could easily hang at Ditch all day and leave feeling completely refreshed.
Day Trip or Overnight– If you live within Suffolk County, this can be a day trip. Depending on how far you live, you may need to start super early and end late. We have left by 8am and returned home by midnight to make a really full day at Montauk (beach, shopping, food, friends). If you’re coming from further, it’s a good idea to stay overnight. There are many hotels, bungalows, campsites and other types of rentals that you can match with your budget. Places fill up fast in the summer, so plan ahead. Hither Hills State Park is close by and has an amazing camping facility on the beach, but it can fill up a year in advance.
Experience– If you enjoy nature, the ocean, and beaches then this is heaven for you. If you love the outdoors and have a conservation-type attitude, you will return again and again. Ditch Plains is a paradise for ocean-lovers, surfers, and locals looking to beat the tourist crowds.
Combination– There is so much to do in Montauk that you can easily find enough to do to fill an entire day or even week. Exploring Montauk State Park can fill an entire day or weekend on its own. Additionally, there are plenty of beaches on the ocean and bay sides, shopping and food.