If you’re in the Big Apple and looking for an extra-urban outdoor adventure, there’s an all-season option just a short drive away. Head to the end of Long Island, where Shadmoor State Park (just east of Montauk) and nearby Ditch Plains Beach offer an idyllic spot to get out and enjoy the sunshine (or snow). Whether in the heat of summer, or the depths of dark winter, Shadmoor’s 99 acres provide more than 2,400 feet of rugged ocean coastline that invite adventure via two separate stairways down to the water, plus plenty of overlook platforms to take in the bluff-top views of waves and ocean birds. Ditch Plains is less than a mile east of the state park and opens up beautiful beaches for swimming and some of the best waves for East Coast surfing. Here’s how to enjoy the fresh air and favored activities of this dual outlet in both the popular, sunny season as well as the oft-overlooked off-season.
SUMMER ACTIVITIES (IN-SEASON)
Shadmoor State Park is an ideal target for picturesque runs through coastal greenery and along steep, oceanside cliffs. Of course, if you want to hike or run along the water, the beach provides a perfect low-impact alternative. And if you’re looking for something a bit different, try the 1.2-mile Roosevelt’s Run Trail. Park in the visitor parking lot off of the Montauk Highway and start the route heading south down the trail. When you reach the cliffside, turn east and run alongside the cliffs, heading north for over a half-mile and then back inland to complete the loop. (For added exploration, veer off on the Shad Lane trail, just after the loop’s turn back inland, to view a WWII observation bunker.)
Ditch Plains Beach sets up some of the most consistent waves on Long Island. While you can surf year-round (bring a supremely warm, full wetsuit in the winter months) summer surfing brings consistent waves, good weather, and welcome sunshine. If you have an East Hamptons Parking pass, park at Ditch Plains; if not, walk, bike, or e-bike into the beach area. Enter the water where the cliffs start and wade out for a consistent beach break. On days with low swell, you can also launch kayaks or paddleboards off the beach next to the jetty.