People may think that the Hamptons is dead during the non-summer offseason, but it’s actually very lovely to visit during the more quiet times. There are enough restaurants, cultural activities and stores that are open to give you something to do, and you don’t have to deal with the horrible traffic driving in from the city. The beach is always open, and while you may not be able to swim in the water, sunsets are beautiful any time of year. It’s a lovely place to bring children since there’s a great infrastructure of museums, restaurants, playgrounds and wide open spaces set up all times of the year. If you’re going to the Hamptons in December, April or an offseason month and are wondering what you can do with your kids, here’s a list of recommended places that will make your offseason vacation awesome.
Things to Do
Children’s Museum East End
376 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, NY 11932
This is so obvious and a no-brainer, but the Children’s Museum East End in Bridgehampton is awesome and is open all year round. I’ve been here during the winter and the spring, and the museum was always open. There are several themed pretend play rooms for the kids to explore–a grocery store, an ice cream parlor, a fire station are some I can remember the kids loving–and there are some magna-tiles and blocks that are available if you want to utilize those STEM skills. There’s also a small indoor playground that greets you at the entrance. If the weather is nice, you can take the kids outside for mini-golfing. I highly recommend that if you’re a family of four and will come to the museum at least 3 times, which is very possible during an extended off-season stay, then you are better off purchasing a Family Membership of $200 for the year.
Parrish Art Museum
279 Montauk Hwy, Water Mill, NY 11976
The Parrish Art Museum is definitely a museum for grownups, but its huge, spacious interior makes it a great place for little kids to roam around. If you’ve ever taken your kids to the Dia Beacon, it’s that sort of an experience. Even though there’s serious art featuring East End artists on display, The Parrish does regularly offer free after-school art programming for children in grades K-5 as well as special art workshops for children and their families.
51 Pond Ln, Southampton, NY 11968
Agawam Park is a huge, wonderful playground that is conveniently situated near downtown Southampton. There are all kinds of structures that will hold your kids’ attention spans for awhile–swings, slides, climbing walls, swirly see saws, it’s got it all. There’s also a pond nearby with lots of ducks that my kids loved watching. You can play here for several hours and then head to a restaurant nearby for some post-playground grub (my personal favorite is Bamboo Restaurant which is right around the corner).
Amber Waves Farm
367 Main St, Amagansett, NY 11930
When the weather gets nicer, a visit to Amber Waves Farm is a must. This picturesque farm in Amagansett not only sells its own produce, it also offers high quality children’s programming in its outdoor classroom. There are Baby Farmer Music Classes, Farmer Classes and Kids Cooking Classes, and they seem to start offering them in the spring. We had a lot of fun in our cooking class, in which the kids made pancake mix from scratch, and the farmers then cooked them on a griddle. Afterwards, we all got to walk to the farm and pick our own baby kale and spinach to take home. I do have to say I was very impressed by how delicious the leafy greens were. The baked goods from the cafe are also good, especially the very excellent blueberry muffin.
215 Main St, Amagansett, NY 11930
Never underestimate the local public libraries! Each part of the Hamptons seems to have its own library, but the Amagansett Library seems to have an especially robust children’s program. And it’s free and open to non-residents! Check online for the events calendar–they have regularly scheduled weekly songs and story times and lego play times, which can help diversify your own Hamptons itinerary.
Where to Eat
Southhampton / Hampton Bays
258 E Montauk Hwy, Hampton Bays, NY 11946
Cowfish is probably hands down the most child friendly restaurant in the Hamptons region. They have a kids’ menu with lots of options, there are crayons and coloring sheets on offer, and the staff is very friendly. It’s technically in Hampton Bays, so you’ll have to drive a little further west of Southampton to get out here, but it’s worth the drive. The food will appeal to a lot of palates and will definitely check the box on “beach vacation menu”. We had a hankering for a lobster roll, clam chowder, pancakes and burgers, and they had it all! Maybe it won’t be the best lobster roll you’ve ever had, but it’ll be good enough.
76C Jobs Ln, Southampton, NY 11968
I have a very soft spot for Bamboo, a pan-Asian restaurant in Southampton. There are several reasons: the outdoor seating area that has a swing and umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, a BYOB policy with no corkage (best to check if this is still the case), and lots of options for great sushi rolls. Sure, the sushi here can’t compete with some Michelin star omakase in New York City, but the fish is surprisingly very high quality. I was consistently pleased with my fatty toro and my yellowtail pieces, and the fried tofu was a sleeper hit for the vegetarians in our group. So don’t be thrown off by the interior, which initially screams college-age “sake bomb” bar, you’ll probably come back several nights.
44-48 NY-27A, Southampton, NY 11968
It was surprisingly hard to find really good pizza in the Hamptons. You would think that having a lot of people in the city visiting would mean there was a market for great pizza, but that wasn’t the case. La Parmigiana in Southampton is an exception. This very unassuming pizza restaurant doesn’t look very fancy, but its Grandma Pie is a winner. We must have ordered this for lunch at least three times during our stay in the winter. We were so sad when they closed post Christmas.
The Lobster Roll aka Lunch
32 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968
(631) 283 3460
The Lobster Roll was our lifeline in the winter months. Winter is definitely the lowest of low season in the Hamptons, and even lower for lobsters, but at The Lobster Roll, it’s lobster season all year long. Basically it serves all the greatest hits in seafood dishes, which is why we loved coming here. Maybe you’re in the mood for clam chowder, fried calamari or just lobster salad, the opportunities are endless. Plus this place is very kid friendly and has the requisite coloring page and crayon set that is essential to entertain the kids for a few minutes before their french fries come. And the kids’ menu selection covers pretty much everything.
30 Main St, Southampton, NY 11968
So I put Sant Ambroeus on the list mainly because of its gelato bar. The kids love ice cream, and this gelato bar is open everyday, 7 days a week. The actual restaurant is extremely fancy and probably more appropriate for grownups, but if you don’t mind paying $40 for a risotto that your kid won’t eat, then you could bring them here.
East Hampton / Sag Harbor / Amagansett
**Clam Bar at Napeague**
2025 Montauk Hwy, Amagansett, NY 11930
Clam Bar is probably my favorite seafood restaurant in all of the Hamptons. Their lobster roll is just obviously superior to the ones at the other restaurants. And wow, the calamari is also something else. The only downside is that it’s not open year round, so when it’s cold and dark, get your lobster elsewhere. But come April, only come to the Clam Bar. It’s a little bit out of the way on the Montauk Highway, but it’s worth the drive east to come here. Make sure to watch your kids, the restaurant is totally uncovered in the sunlight and it’s right next to a highway, so bring suncreen, hats and keep your kids close.
Bostwick’s Chowder House
277 Pantigo Rd, East Hampton, NY 11937
Again, lobster season is usually not year round, but it is at Bostwick’s Chowder House. So if you’re in the Hamptons during the winter or the spring, Bostwick’s has got you covered when the need for a lobster roll strikes, which for me is pretty often. It’s a casual place with a kids’ menu and a friendly staff, making it perfect for a family dinner. It can get crowded during peak meal times, even during the offseason, so I recommend you come here a little earlier to get seated immediately. And leave room at the end of your meal for the vanilla soft serve, which is probably the best thing on the menu.
Estia’s Little Kitchen
1615 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Sag Harbor, NY 11963
I really love Estia’s Little Kitchen because it is physically a very cute place with a lovely garden area in the back. When you think “cute brunch vacation spot” for the Hamptons, Estia’s fits the bill. It is also just around the corner from the Children’s Museum, and the kids will love the delicious and comforting diner-style food here. The breakfast burritos are fantastic, and I would also highly recommend their tortilla soup. If you come in the morning, you can have their delicious pancake platters, but if not, the kids will be amenable to the tasty cheese quesadillas and chicken fingers. They also can just make you a plate of scrambled eggs, which might be even better.
74A Montauk Hwy, Amagansett, NY 11930
I was very impressed by the cooking at Coche Comedor. I was expecting it to be a run-of-the-mill Mexican restaurant that caters to the guac and margarita crowd, but it has much more depth than that. It’s like the difference between going to Dos Caminos and Atla, the latter tastes better and pushes the boundary a bit more in a good way. You know a place is serious when they serve guac with just a few pieces of round chips and not like a whole gigantic bowlful. While Coche Comedor does not have a kids menu, they do offer a grilled chicken breast over rice and beans. My kids actually liked eating it, and I was grateful that they weren’t eating something fried.
Wölffer Kitchen Amagansett
4 Amagansett Square, Amagansett, NY 11930
An upscale restaurant run by the Wölffer Estate Vineyard also might not seem like an obvious place to take the kids, but a lot of them come here, especially in the early evening. While parents drink rose cider, the kids can eat fries and roam around the lovely courtyard that is Amagansett Square. There is no kids’ menu here, but similar to Coche Comedor, they can make a grilled chicken breast with rice. You gotta love them for not dumbing it down. My kids didn’t really eat the chicken but they did love the vanilla ice cream for dessert.