Southampton is known for its magnificent estate section of grand summer homes, most of which are tucked behind high privet hedges and many of which boast spectacular gardens. Numerous historic homes, some dating back to Southampton’s early days, are still lived in, with restored exteriors and renovated interiors. The classic shingled style still predominates, although huge ultra-contemporary homes are appearing as well, especially along the stretch of oceanfront Meadow Lane known as “billionaires row.”
Southampton has more than seven miles of breathtaking beaches, including beautiful Coopers Beach, which regularly ranks in the top 10 beaches in the U.S. There are quiet bay beaches, too, and the bays are popular for fishing, sailing and boating. Outside of town are farmstands, miles of hiking trails through woodlands, and three golf courses including world-class Shinnecock Hills Golf Club and National Golf Links of America. This area is the ancestral home of the Shinnecock Nation, a federally recognized tribe who have created a Cultural Center and Museum open to the public, and host a variety of programs and a large annual powwow showcasing performers of traditional dances and music from across the country.
The “original” Hampton, Southampton was founded in 1640 and lays claim to the title of oldest English settlement in New York State. Descendants of the original settlers, who were primarily farmers and fishermen, still live in Southampton, along with generations of newer arrivals. It has been a summer resort community since the late 19th century, when the Long Island Railroad made travel from New York City more feasible and wealthy New Yorkers began building large shingled “cottages” on oceanfront land to enjoy the miles of pristine beaches in summer.
Southampton Village is dedicated to its culture and history, and is home to the Southampton Historical Museum, the Southampton Cultural Center, Rogers Memorial Library and the Southampton Arts Center. These venues present a varied mix of cultural events year-round, including concerts, art exhibitions, theatrical productions and educational programs. Summer brings a popular series of free outdoor concerts at Agawam Park and one of the oldest July Fourth parades in the country. The village center is busy in summer, with a lively mix of restaurants ranging from relaxed take-out places to fine dining establishments and nightlife. A round of shopping followed by lunch or dinner at a sidewalk café is a favorite summertime activity.