The best things for families and kids to do in the Hamptons


There’s a reason the Hamptons is known as the ultimate party zone: booze-filled weekends, raucous house shares, event-hopping along Montauk Highway.

But for many parents, the East End is more of a peaceful paradise — a place to wind down and connect with their kids.

From water parks to nature museums, theater camps to family-friendly beaches, here’s our guide to the best spots for your whole crew.

Sure, the Hamptons has miles of beaches, but what kid (or grown-up!) can resist a water slide

Set in Calverton, New York (close to Riverhead, just before Hampton Bays), Splish Splash is the largest water park in New York state, tricked out with some half-dozen slides and attractions. Its latest, the Hyperlight (an updated version of the park’s iconic Abyss slide), surrounds riders with pulsating sound, light and color elements as they swoosh through winding tubes. Rad — very rad!

Slide-wise, it doesn’t get any bigger than Splish Splash (at least in New York).
Splish Splash

You’ll find another family favorite on the other side of Long Island: Hamptons Mini Golf in Southampton. As they traverse the course’s 18 holes, golfers putt past re-creations of Hamptons landmarks, like Dune Road (Hole 3), the Watermill Museum (Hole 7), the Montauk Point Lighthouse (Hole 14) and East Hampton’s Hook Windmill (Hole 17). There are burgers for the kids and beers for the adults — along with a driving range, batting cages and indoor golf simulators.

Nearby in Amagansett, kids of all ages swoon for the four-legged creatures at Stony Hill Stables, a state-of-the art horse-riding facility with five indoor and outdoor arenas.

The sprawling stable has operated for more than 45 years and is best known for its weekly equestrian camps, which focus on everything from fancy-dress dressage to jumping, galloping and horsemanship.

Private and semiprivate lessons are also available.

Kids by a horse at Stony Hill Stables.
Kids flock to Stony Hill Stables’ mane attraction.
Stony Hill Stables

Also in Amagansett is Amber Waves farm, a nonprofit active farm and education facility with an endless array of kiddie-themed fun.

The center of the action is the farm’s “outdoor classroom,” which (literally) connects kids with the soil, plants, insects and animals that help provide the food they eat.

Along with a range of “junior farmer” classes for youngsters (from toddlers to 12 years old), Amber Waves offers cooking classes and al fresco story sessions — the goal is to keep kids outside and away from their tablets. There’s also a great market and cafe, so families can bring farm goodies back home.

Kids feeding the ducks at Duck Pond.
Pack something bready to feed the quacky denizens of Duck Pond.

Nothing competes for a kid’s attention quite like a duck pond, and no duck pond can compete with The Duck Pond, a 24-acre nature trail in the heart of the Village of East Hampton.

Overseen by a dedicated 12-person committee, the pond — technically part of the bass-and-perch-filled Hook Pond — is active year-round with birds, ducks and geese eager for a tasty handout from fowl-friendly visitors.

These birds are picky, however, and prefer proper poultry feed or cracked corn, rather than the more typical bread or bagels. Either way, the pond is a great place for an easy stroll on a hot Hamptons afternoon.

A child playing at the Children’s Museum of the East End.
Plenty of edutainment awaits your brood at the Children’s Museum of the East End.
Children’s Museum of the East End

Nature is also always in season at the Children’s Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton.

The learning-focused institution features a brain-building array of challenging exhibitions, including a windmill, seafaring ship, cozy farm stand and small diner and food truck. (There’s also mini golf.) Like Amber Waves, there are drop-off classes and minicamps for kids of all ages.

Finally, aspiring theater buffs can take the stage at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, famous for bringing big-name talent to the East End. Between performances by folks like Tracy Morgan and Kenny G, the center will once again offer drama classes and summer camps for precocious kids of all ages.

Kids performing at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center.
All the world’s a stage at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center.

For the littlest tykes, there’s a musical theater camp focused on “Rumpelstiltskin” and other classic stories, while tweens and teens can test their skills with a “Broadway Bound” dance intensive or a vocal master class.

It all makes for easygoing fun and major family memories — no VIP wristband required.



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