Planning to visit one of the Hamptons’ many historical parks? Here are three excellent suggestions:
Cupsogue Beach County Park
906 Dune Rd,
Westhampton Beach, NY
Cupsogue Beach County Park is an expansive 296-acre park located in the west end of Westhampton Island. The park is surrounded by sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, Moriches Bay, and Moriches Inlet, and is an excellent destination for activities such as fishing, scuba diving, swimming, sunbathing, and other outdoor activities.
In its early days, the park used to be completely part of Fire Island. This changed in 1931, after a Nor’easter started the creation of the Moriches Inlet, which increased in size gradually between 1933 and 1938. In the 1950s, the park was acquired by the Suffolk County Parks Department. A pavilion and a boardwalk were added to the park by the 1970s.
Montauk State Park
2000 Montauk Highway,
Montauk State Park is home to the world-famous Montauk Point Lighthouse, which is located on Long Island’s easternmost tip. It is the oldest lighthouse in New York State – construction for the lighthouse started in June of 1796, and was completed on November of the same year.
When construction for the Montauk Lighthouse was authorized in 1792, it was designed partly to serve as a lookout for British ships moving towards New York or Boston. As the first military installation built in Montauk, the lighthouse was officially recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the US Secretary of the Interior on March 5, 2012. It continues to serve as a navigation aid for vessels.
Visitors of the lighthouse can drop by the Montauk Lighthouse Museum, which is located in the original 1860 keeper’s house. Here, you’ll be able to view an assortment of photographs as well as historical documents, which includes the Congressional Authorization signed by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, and approved by President George Washington in 1792. The museum also features the Gilmartin Galleries, an exhibit containing a wide array of whaling industry artifacts from the 19th century.
Camp Hero State Park
With its remote location midway between two US cities, Montauk was considered a potential invasion point during both World War I and II. With German U-boats threatening the east coast, the US Army decided to upgrade Fort Hero, renaming it to Camp Hero in the process. The US Navy also purchased land in the area, which they used to build seaplane hangars, docks, barracks, a large torpedo testing facility, and other structures. While the entire facility (which included the US Army, Navy, and Coast Guard) was officially called the “US Military Reservation,” locals referred to it as “Camp Hero.”
Today, Camp Hero is known as an exceptional hiking destination. It features a well-marked trail that meanders through wooded areas, where hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of coastal bluffs as well as the Montauk Point Lighthouse.
Montauk County Park
Montauk, NY 11954
Formerly known as Theodore Roosevelt County Park, Montauk County Park is the site of the Third House, which cattle keepers used as a home during the 17th century. It was also used in 1898 as the headquarters for Camp Wikoff, a quarantine used for approximately 28,000 Spanish-American War soldiers with illness and contagious diseases. Among those quarantined included Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.
Today, the park is one of Montauk’s top outdoor destinations, offering beach access, camping, seasonal hunting, fresh and saltwater fishing, and canoeing and kayaking for visitors. Many visitors also enjoy horseback riding, which takes you on a relaxing and scenic journey through Deep Hollow Ranch.
Montauk County Park is also home to Big Reed Pond, which was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1973.