If you’ve ever visited the East End of Long Island, you know there is lodging to meet just about every need. There are hotels near fishing resorts, country inns near golf courses and bed-and-breakfasts within walking distance of the North Fork’s celebrated wineries. Families visiting the Hamptons and North Fork have options, too, from chain hotels near kid-favorite attractions to mom-and-pop guesthouses with private beaches and pools. Some of these even have their own mini-golf courses and sports facilities for those who prefer more all-inclusive family entertainment. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Hamptons and North Fork hotels, motels and guesthouses for families. Most are easily accessible from the region’s major roads or via the Long Island Rail Road.
Be advised, however: Lodging on the East End is at a premium during peak months, which are July and August in the Hamptons and August and September on the North Fork. Book early for best prices and monitor lodging websites for last-minute specials. And for ideas on what to do in the area, check out our Hamptons & North Fork Guide.
Hyatt Place Long Island East End
451 E. Main Street
Ideally situated in downtown Riverhead at the branch of the East End’s two forks, the Hyatt boasts an indoor and outdoor pool and spacious rooms. Most importantly for kids, it is next door to the Long Island Aquarium, whose sea lion and penguin shows, shark tank and butterfly exhibits thrill thousands annually. There is an adjacent marina for those who prefer to boat to the hotel, a lengthy walk along the Peconic River where kids can fish for snappers (juvenile bluefish) in the summer and easy access to Tanger Outlet Center for those in need of retail therapy. Stay and explore packages for the Aquarium are available. Don’t miss its Atlantis Explorer tour boat, which offers seasonal exploration of East End waterways. Room rates average $300 per night in season, but are considerably cheaper after Labor Day.
Hilton Garden Inn
2038 Old Country Road
More a business hotel than family resort, the main attraction for kids at the Hilton is access to Splish Splash water park in Calverton, one of Long Island’s most popular summer destinations. The Hilton boasts two pools, but would it surprise any parent if the kids made an immediate beeline to the multi-attraction water playground less than a mile and a half away? Summer rates average $225 per night with discounts for frequent Hilton visitors.
The Greenporter Hotel
326 Front Street
Greenport’s renaissance as a family destination is one of the great North Fork stories. The Greenporter offers a heated pool, beach access and nicely adorned rooms. The village carousel is across the street at Mitchell Park, the unofficial village square, and is open daily during school summer vacation. Overheated children can cool down in Mitchell’s sprinkler park, which transforms into an ice rink in the wintertime. The Greenport skateboard park is just a walk away for kids eager to pull down some big air. Enjoy boat charters from Greenport’s harbor, or take the Shelter Island ferry to experience life on the Island for a mere $2. In-season room rates average about $200 per night.
Sound View Inn
58855 Route 48
As the name says, the hotel offers breathtaking views of Long Island Sound, but unlike the Greenporter is located a healthy distance from the downtown. Kids can enjoy a guests-only beach, lovely pool, tennis and basketball courts, a putting and chipping area and a surprisingly good and affordable restaurant. Prime-time rates begin at about $235 per night.
The Hampton Maid
259 E Montauk Highway
Kids who love breakfast will find no peer on the East End to the Hampton Maid. In fact, locals even have been known to make the post-church run on Sundays for the inn’s top-shelf biscuits, muffins, fresh fruit and, of course, pancakes. The inn sits on a bluff on Montauk Highway, just beyond the Hampton Bays downtown and a few minutes from the village of Southampton, whose history (it’s LI’s oldest English settlement) and culture provide year-round infotainment. There’s a lovely pool, a gentle bay beach across the street (careful crossing Montauk Highway), and, of course, the trademark windmill, an ideal meeting point for large groups. In-season room rates begin at $205 per night.
290 Old Montauk Highway
Sun, sand and everything Montauk. That’s more or less what to expect from Gurney’s, the only four-season beachfront resort in the Hamptons. Families can enjoy the indoor, saltwater pool year round with dedicated hours for children. There’s also a summertime kids’ club with activities for toddlers through teens and baby sitting. Montauk’s celebrated attractions include several state and county parks, public tennis and golf, horseback riding at Deep Hollow Ranch, boating and fishing charters and, of course, the lighthouse. Montauk Point Lighthouse, commissioned by President George Washington, is the fourth-oldest lighthouse in the country. Gurney’s is costly and probably not the best choice for families on a budget.
Hartman's Briney Breezes Motel
693 Old Montauk Highway
A more affordable option than Gurney’s, Briney Breezes is a Montauk institution especially popular with cost-conscious families. The motel is footsteps from the beach and a short walk to the downtown. Each room has a balcony or patio and the property’s expansive lawn is perfect for an impromptu game of Wiffle ball or touch football. Then, of course, there is the pool, open from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Expect to pay about $400 per night in-season, halt that off-season.
The Pridwin Hotel and Cottages
81 Shore Road
Shelter Island marches to its own beat. Locals are proud of being neither Hamptonites nor North Forkers. The Island is, in fact, its own township isolated from both regions by water and accessible only by ferry. The Pridwin, along Crescent Beach, is perhaps the best family resort on the island, offering a pool, tennis courts, boat rentals, pool tables and more. In season it offers regular children’s movie nights and a Wednesday night outdoor barbecue. Other family activities include kayaking, bicycling and hiking at nearby Mashomack Preserve, a must-see for nature lovers. In-season rates start at about $350 per room but, again, are cheaper after Labor Day.
Photo: The Greenporter Hotel