Bonus: Westhampton Beach

The village of Westhampton Beach, technically not considered the Hamptons despite its name, is a village in the Town of Southampton. The Hamptons are often viewed as a very touristy, expensive area, but Westhampton Beach maintains a rather close-knit, small community feel. English colonizers first settled around present day town of Southampton in 1640, which at the time was Shinnecock land; the Shinnecock Reservation exists today by Shinnecock Bay with a population of 662 per the 2010 census. In what became known as the Quogue Purchase, colonists were awarded a large plot of Shinnecock land after ownership disputes, and this land at the time was called Catchaponack, or “place where large roots grow.” In 1727, Hezekiah Howell built Westhampton Beach’s oldest home, the Howell Homestead, which was owned and maintained by the Howell family for the next 200 years. Westhampton built its first school in 1795, and for 150 years the village relied heavily on fishing and farming. When the LIRR arrived in the 1860s, hotels like the Howell House, financially backed by P.T. Barnum, and many upscale homes began popping up, although many were destroyed by the 1938 New England Hurricane. Westhampton Beach suffered substantial erosion in the 1960s, and it wasn’t until 1992 that the Army Corps of Engineers began repair efforts in the community.

Westhampton Beach is home to three structures listed on the NRHP: the U.S. Post Office, the Crowther House built in 1910, and the Foster-Meeker House built around 1750. Other notable historic structures around the village include the 1896 Wilcox House and the 1903 “Kemah” Estate in nearby Westhampton. The area is home to a number of local farms, including duck farms, as well as parks like Westhampton Beach Village Green, The Great Lawn, and Rogers Beach. The area is also home to the village of West Hampton Dunes on a barrier island, named one of America’s top restored beaches. Westhampton Beach is only a short drive from the Hamptons as well, including East Hampton and Southampton, which offer more upscale eateries and stores in their downtowns.

Although not the most diverse community in terms of food, Westhampton Beach offers a selection of American, Italian, and bakery options as well as a handful of Asian eateries along Main Street. The very small Brunetti Pizza offers a variety of pizzas from artichoke to soppressata to San Gennaro, while Boom Burger on Montauk Highway serves rather casual fast food options like burgers, chili, and even fried Oreos. For more upscale eateries, Starr Boggs and The Mill Roadhouse both serve American meat and seafood classics like swordfish and duck breast. Sushi 1 Restaurant is one of the only Asian eateries in the area, serving up authentic sushi and sashimi. Other notable eateries include Beach Bakery, Mambo Kitchen, and Margarita Grille.

Next, check out 10 beautiful places to discover in Nassau County.