Your luxurious getaway to the Hamptons this Memorial Day weekend starts with planes, trains, and automobiles (and buses)—and all the chaos that goes into getting to this glorious destination. Halfway en route, you might start questioning whether the beaches, vineyards, restaurants, and prospect of rubbing elbows with the rich and richer are worth all the hassle of getting to these popular Long Island beach towns.
But with a bit of planning and foresight, you can take the sting out of traveling to Long Island’s most famous destination, and spend more time enjoying the weekend.
The best times to leave and return to avoid Hamptons traffic
You want to avoid heading east on Friday afternoon. This also holds true for your trip back west. If you want to avoid all those bumpers, consider heading out Wednesday or Thursday and coming back on Tuesday or Wednesday.
To help you pinpoint the best times for your traveling schedule, consider this traffic accident data we have compiled for you from Memorial Day 2016-2019.
In general, the annual number of crashes around Memorial Day are not showing an increasing or decreasing trend.
Crashes leading into Memorial Day weekend (Friday – Monday) are higher, then they decrease during the weekend and increase again as the holiday weekend ends.
The frequency of crashes for the five boroughs is listed in descending order here:
- Queens (highest)
- Staten Island (lowest)
To some degree, it could be interpreted that as traffic flows towards Long Island, the number of accidents increases. The number increases through each borough as cars from the Bronx flow into existing traffic in Manhattan. That traffic then flows into existing Brooklyn traffic and so on, creating the trend of more crashes in Queens as traffic gets closer to Long Island.
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Taking the most popular routes to the Hamptons
The most popular route to take is I-495 E (the Long Island Expressway, or LIE).
Alternatively, New York State Route 27 (the Sunrise Highway) spans the length of Long Island and will take you all the way to Montauk Point State Park, which is the farthest east you can travel. This route offers plenty of beautiful scenery, but take note that the highway consists of two lanes, and can quickly turn into a parking lot during peak travel times.
Where to fuel up on Long Island
GasBuddy shows you the price of gasoline at nearby fuel stations. You can also use the GasBuddy Trip Cost Calculator to determine how much you will spend getting to and from the Hamptons based on your point of origin, final destination, vehicle year and make, and other factors.
Where to charge your Tesla on Long Island
Don’t worry about making your trip on one charge. There are several Tesla charging stations on the way to the Hamptons. Find one on Tesla’s list of superchargers.
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How to prepare for a safe road trip
Knowledge and preparation can help you prevent a crash from ruining your Hamptons vacation.
- Eliminate potential mishaps by taking your car in for a tune-up/maintenance before your trip. Make sure to check tire pressure, fluid levels, wipers, and lights.
- Research your route, so you need not rely on a GPS. If you are using a GPS, set it before you start driving.
- Start your drive well-rested. Plan to take rest stops—and take them if you are tired. If you are traveling with another adult, take turns driving. The Long Island Welcome Center and other spots along the LIE or Sunrise Highway offer opportunities to take a break.
- If you are traveling with children, bring activities to keep them occupied, so they do not distract you.
- Resist other distractions, including texting or talking on your phone as you drive.
Alternative modes of transportation on Long Island
Maybe you prefer not to drive to the Hamptons. Why endure the stress of traffic (and the Hamptons’ parking fees) when you could let someone else take the wheel? If “not driving” is your preferred means of travel, you can choose from multiple options that will get you to the Hamptons.
If you are renting a house in the Hamptons and sharing the space with a few other people, carpooling to the area makes perfect sense. This allows you to split driving duties and ensure you always have a well-rested driver.
The Hampton Jitney is a popular motorcoach service that will pick you up from several Manhattan locations, from East 37th Street to East 96th Street, or at the Macarthur (ISP) Airport Connection. The coach can drop you off at Southampton, East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk, as well as other popular Hamptons destinations.
And for those of you who want to fit in with the fashion elite of the Hamptons, you should know that Jitney has partnered with Rent the Runway (RTR), the massive designer wardrobe rental company. Rent your designer dresses, suits, and gowns, so you infiltrate the world of the local fashion gods undetected. When you’re done mingling with the rich and famous, simply drop the rented wardrobe pieces off in an RTR drop-off box at the Hampton Jitney Terminal—or just hand it over to your Jitney driver, and they’ll return it for you.
Fares on the Hampton Jitney start at $31 if you pay on board or $24 if you prepay on the internet. These are one-way fares, and you will pay a little more during peak seasons. It’s hard to do wrong with the Jitney option.
Hampton Luxury Liner
The name “Hampton Luxury Liner” pretty much says it all. If luxury plays an essential role in your Hamptons weekend getaway, you can start by traveling on this bus service. The Hampton Luxury Liner fleet boasts reclining leather seats with extra legroom in the Luxury and Diplomat Class. Every seat offers travelers a tray table and cup table, as well as outlets, USB ports, Wi-Fi, and an onboard restroom.
The Hampton Luxury Liner picks passengers up in Manhattan on 39th Street, 47th Street, 59th Street, 70th Street, and 86th Street. You can also catch the coach at JFK Airport and LaGuardia Airport. The trip will cost you between $34 and $60, with additional charges for pets, bicycles, and other items that require special handling.
Long Island Railroad
In terms of accessibility, the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) can’t be beat. You can get to any part of the Hamptons using either the LIRR regular or express service. Leaving from Manhattan on the regular service will get you to Westhampton in approximately two hours and to Montauk in around three hours. The regular service involves a transfer at Jamaica station.
If that’s a little too much train time for you, schedule your trip to leave Friday afternoon on The Cannonball service. This will get you to Westhampton in one hour and 40 minutes and to Montauk in just over two and a half hours. The Cannonball service runs only once each Friday over the summer but could be well worth the extra planning.
LIRR allows you to reserve your seating car and enjoy beverages and snacks served at your seat. LIRR trains leave from Hunters point Avenue Station (in Queens), Penn Station in midtown Manhattan, and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal.
The LIRR operates seven days a week with stations peppered from Manhattan to Montauk. You can buy your ticket in advance using the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)’s eTix app, use an automated ticket machine to buy your ticket before you ride, or just hop aboard and buy your ticket from a train conductor. A round-trip ticket from Manhattan will set you back $5.50.
Air travel to the Hamptons
As long as you are considering alternative ways of getting to the Hamptons, it doesn’t hurt to look into the most efficient means of travel: by plane. You will shave substantial time off the commute so you can make the most of your precious long weekend, and there’s no better way to arrive in style.
If you happen to have access to a private plane or helicopter, landing at East Hampton airport puts you right where you want to be. For those traveling from Manhattan, you can take a seaplane charter. Fly the Whale land and sea-based charters depart from the 23rd Street Seaplane Base. This group also offers private jet and helicopter services.
Getting around the Hamptons without a car
If you’ve made up your mind to travel to the Hamptons by train, bus, or plane, you still must consider how you will get from point A to point B once you reach your destination. No need to stress about this. You have plenty of options.
Electric Shuttle Service
In East Hampton, Southampton, and Montauk, you can use Circuit (formerly known as Free Ride), an electric shuttle service, to move along the beach—and it’s completely free. The service runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Just download the app to see the areas that Circuit services in the Hamptons and to request a ride.
As you might expect, the Hamptons area is replete with taxi cabs and rideshare drivers from Uber and Lyft. We have all grown accustomed to the convenience of these services, so it’s good to know they are available for getting around on your Memorial Day Weekend.
If you grab a cab from the train station, prepare for pricey fares, especially if you ride during prime hours. Ask how much they will charge you before you accept the ride—and feel free to negotiate for a better price.
By renting a car in the Hamptons, you enjoy all the convenience of having driven to the destination without the hassle of actually having driven. You will find all the usual suspects, including Hertz, Enterprise, and Budget.
Alternatively, you can boost your vacation swagger by splurging on an exotic, luxury car rental. Check out Veluxity Exotic Car Rental Hamptons, Signature Car Collection, and Exotic Car Collection by Enterprise to see what they have in store for you.
The Hampton Hopper is a premium transportation service that will take you to all the Hamptons villages, enabling you to hit local restaurants, bars, and shopping with ease. The service, which runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., ties to a transportation network that you can access using a smartphone app. The app will show you the nearest stop, the location of the closest Hopper, and how long it will take for it to arrive.
These vehicles are new and clean, with some even offering complimentary refreshments. You won’t pay a dime for most routes on the Hampton Hopper. For others, you can purchase your ticket using your Hampton Hopper app.
Five things to remember if you experience an accident on your travels
Hopefully, this guide has helped you plan a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend trip to the Hamptons.
As a personal injury law firm, we would be remiss if we did not give you guidance on what to do if you experience a collision during your trip. We won’t inundate you with mood-dampening details, but we hope you will remember these five crucial steps in the event of an accident:
- Call 911.
- Seek medical attention.
- Gather contact information from witnesses and anyone involved.
- Document as much as possible (jot down the details, take photos or videos).
- Call a lawyer.
Above all else, we hope you prepare, take care, and enjoy your weekend at the Hamptons!