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  • Shivani Vora

Wellness: Off-Season Hamptons

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

The storied Hamptons summer season may get all the attention, but we love it as a destination in the winter. The crowds are gone, the weather rarely gets uncomfortably cold, and it’s an opportunity to appreciate the area’s authentic setting and scenic landscapes.

From our perspective, one of the best ways to experience the Hamptons during the off-season is through hiking. It’s too hot to do in the summer and far more enjoyable when temperatures drop. With the new year here, hiking is also a way to stick to those resolutions of being healthier in 2021.

There are literally dozens of hikes to choose from for people of all ages and fitness levels. We’d like to start by sharing our favorite three spots:

Elizabeth A Morton National Wildlife Refuge: Located in Sag Harbor, this 187-acre peninsula is full of sandy and rocky beaches, ponds, forest, marshes and a lagoon. As the name suggests, the wildlife is a major draw: white-tailed deer, painted turtles, long-tailed ducks and chipmunks are only the start.

You can do several hikes here spanning from one mile to eight. The shorter ones are a hit with younger children who get a thrill out of spotting the various animals: try the 1.2 mile long Wild Birds Nature Trail. which goes through woodland areas and along the beach, and the 1.4 mile long Morton National Wildlife Trail where you’ll traverse through marshes. You can download a complete list online.

Montauk Point State Park:It’s worth coming to this overlooked state park for the views alone: you’ll get to see where the Atlantic Ocean meets Block Island and can also visit the historic Montauk Lighthouse. Hiking wise, you’ll find six trails, ranging from 1.5 to more than six miles long. They’re all relatively flat and easy and offer absolutely stunning views. Kids can easily handle them. All Trails has a complete list. The highlight for us is the 6.2 mile long Montauk Point Loop, which traverses around the entire park and is set along the water most of the way. You might even see a seal or two while you walk.

Quogue Wildlife Refuge: This 300-acre nature preserve and non-profit boasts an abundance of wildlife from owls and falcons to foxes and waterfowls. There are 7 miles of trails here where you can take in a diverse habitat that includes pine oak forests, swamps, animals and ponds. The Red 3.1 mile long one is the most scenic and relatively easy with its flat terrain. The website has detailed information.

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