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Get to know Hampton Bays

For as confusing as the East End gets with its overlapping town, hamlet, and village names, Hampton Bays is self-explanatory. It's a hamlet in the Hamptons, situated on multiple bays — Peconic and Shinnecock, to be exact, along with the Atlantic Ocean and a slew of tidal creeks and coves. It's also home to the Shinnecock Canal, which connects the aforementioned bays via New York's only saltwater lock, and the Shinnecock Inlet, which links Shinnecock Bay to the ocean. Together, they form a popular boater's shortcut between Long Island Sound and the Atlantic's open waters, along with a contiguous corridor of marine-centric businesses. All that adds up to a serious amount of waterfront real estate, which might account for why Hampton Bays is one of the East End's more populous year-round communities. Over the Ponquogue Bridge, Dune Road holds Ponquogue and Tiana beaches, along with several (permit-only) access roads along the hamlet's three-mile stretch of pristine sands. For those who prefer warmer, calmer waters to the Atlantic, county-run Meschutt Beach offers a supervised swim area, kayak rentals, and more.

Nearby Neighborhoods:

Hampton Bays History & Culture

As the welcome sign proclaims, Hampton Bays was originally called “Good Ground," an area comprising 11 smaller hamlets in the Town of Southampton. In 1922, these hamlets merged together, adopting the Hampton Bays name — above other choices like Canoe Place and Rampasture — to benefit from the blossoming “Hamptons” culture in nearby communities. As with many places in the Hamptons, geography dictates — or at least inspires — the lifestyle. Because so many protected bodies of water bless Hampton Bays, the hamlet is a haven for all aquatic-based activities. Shinnecock Inlet is home port for the second-largest commercial fishing fleet in New York State, rivaled only by Montauk's. While the towering Ponquogue Lighthouse toppled in 1948, the Canoe Place Inn, dating to 1697 and one of the oldest inn sites in America, stands as the hamlet's enduring historic landmark, restored to its former glory after stints as a prohibition speakeasy and disco-era nightclub.

Hampton Bays Dining & Shopping

Many of Hampton Bays’ eateries dot the east-west thoroughfare of Montauk Highway, where you'll also find a string of antique stores, clothing boutiques, and longstanding family-owned businesses. A conservative ration of chains — convenient, for when you need them — lies almost entirely constrained in three shopping centers, including what might just be the last Macy's that isn't in a mall. But the real stars of the show are the restaurants savvy enough to take advantage of their coastal surroundings — be they by the bay, the canal, or another bay. After all, what better place to open up your seafood joint than on the water in an area renowned for fishing? Even though seafood is far from a rarity in the Hamptons, it's a certain kind of indulgence to know your dish is as fresh as can be at any time of day — we’re talking seafood in the morning, seafood in the evening, seafood at suppertime. And don’t forget to enjoy some drinks by the aquatic body of your choice, as seaside bars also make their presence known.

Featured Hampton Bays listings

  • New listing | Featured
    Homes for sale in Hampton Bays | View 16 Penny Lane | 19 Baths
    Hampton Bays

    16 Penny Lane, Hampton Bays, NY 11946

    • other
    • 19 BA
    • 7,000 SQ. FT
      COURTESY OF CORCORAN
      $8,750,000
    • New listing | Featured
      Homes for sale in Hampton Bays | View 34 King Street | 4 Beds, 4 Baths
      Hampton Bays

      34 King Street, Hampton Bays, NY 11946

      • single-family
      • 4 BD
      • 4 BA
      • 1 HB
      • 3,500 SQ. FT
        COURTESY OF CORCORAN
        $1,350,000