Aerial view of the Montauk Lighthouse and beach in Long Island, New York, USA.

Montauk, New York

Montauk is a small hamlet and a census-designated place in Suffolk County in the US State of New York. Montauk has been used as a Navy, Coast Guard, Army, and Air Force base. It is known by many Long Island residents as “The End” due to its location on the island's easternmost point. The hamlet is home to the largest recreational and commercial fishing fleet in New York.

Geography Of Montauk

Aerial view over Long Island with Montauk Point Lighthouse
Aerial view over Long Island with Montauk Point Lighthouse. 

Montauk is located on the eastern end at the edge of the South Fork peninsula of Long Island, in the town of East Hampton, about 190 km east of Midtown Manhattan. It encompasses an area that spans around 21 km from Napeague, New York, to the easternmost tip of the state of New York at Montauk Point Light. The CDP covers a small area about halfway between the two points. Montauk has a total area of 51 sq. km, of which 45 sq. km is occupied by land, and 6 sq. km is covered by water.

Climate Of Montauk

According to the Köppen Climate Classification, Montauk experiences a marine west coast climate characterized by equable climates with few extreme temperatures and plenty of precipitation throughout the year. Temperatures in the winter tend to be mild, while the summer temperatures are comparatively moderate. The average temperature for the year in Montauk is 11.3°C. July is the warmest month, having an average temperature of 22.4°C, while January is the coldest, having an average temperature of 0.2°C. The average amount of precipitation for the year in Montauk is 1107.4 mm, and most rainfall occurs in March, while May is the month with the least rain.

The Population Of Montauk 

Surfer with a surfboard in a beach in Montauk, New York
Unidentified senior surfer on Ditch Plains surfing beach, Montauk, New York. Editorial credit: rj lerich /

In 2020, Montauk was home to a population of 3,690 people with a median age of 56.8 and a population density of 210 people per square mile. The population of Montauk has increased by 10.79% since the last census in 2010, which recorded a population of 3,326 people. The largest ethnic groups in Montauk are White, most of whom are considered non-Hispanic, representing up to 93% of the hamlet’s population, the Hispanic community at 4.26%, and two or more races at 1.82%. The minor ethnic groups are Native Americans making up to 0.27% of Montauk’s population, followed by Asians at 0.27%, and African Americans at 0.19%. As of 2019, around 10% of Montauk residents were born outside of the country. The most common birthplace for foreign-born residents of New York is the Dominican Republic, followed by China and Jamaica.

The Economy Of Montauk 

Strawberry Fields Flower and gift shop in Montauk, New York
Strawberry Fields Flower and Gift shop on the Main St. Old Montauk Highway in Montauk, New York. Editorial credit: rj lerich /

The median household income of Montauk is $96,389, which is more than the annual income of $65,172 across the entire United States. Only 2.55% of Montauk for whom poverty status is determined to live below the poverty line. The economy of Montauk employs more than 50% of the population in different industries. The largest industries are Construction, Accommodation & Food Services, and Arts & Entertainment & Recreation. Health Care & Social Assistance, Finance & Insurance & Real Estate, and Construction are the highest paying industries.

Brief History Of Montauk 

Radar Tower at Camp Hero in Montauk, New York
Radar Tower at Camp Hero in Montauk, New York. Editorial credit: AlwaysSnappin /

Although Montauk wasn’t settled until the 1920s, it has a history that goes back to pre-colonial days. In 1879, Arthur W. Benson of Brooklyn bought most of Montauk. In 1895, The Long Island Railroad extended its lines to the Montauk and built the old Montauk Inn in 1899. A small fishing community grew around Fort Pond. At that time, the Long Island Rail Road president, Austin Corbin, came up with a project to make Fort Pond Bay a Port of Entry for trans-Atlantic passenger ships. The motivation behind his project was to shorten the crossing and avoid overcrowding in New York Harbor. Corbin’s project was revived in 1900, 1911, 1927, and 1931. In 1933, the railroad inaugurated inexpensive fishing excursions. This brought around 40,000 athletes each year to Montauk until 1953, when the channel into Lake Montauk was dredged, and the fishing boats moved there from Fort Pond Bay. The United States Navy bought most of the eastern end during the Second World War and built a military base in the area. Fort Pond Bay became a seaplane base. The United States Army built Camp Hero with guns to protect New York shipping lanes until 1957, when the Army closed Camp Hero and was taken over by the United States Air Force that built a massive radar in its place. In 1995, Montauk became the birthplace of skishing, a powerful surfcasting technique. The sport involves wearing a wetsuit and flippers and swimming out from shore with a rod and reel to catch fish.

Tourist Attractions In Montauk 

Montauk is a popular weekend getaway from New York City where people can enjoy its magnificent sandy beaches, wine tasting, miles of hiking trails.

Montauk Point Lighthouse

Aerial view of Montauk Lighthouse and beach in Montauk, Long Island, New York
Aerial view of Montauk Lighthouse and beach in Montauk, Long Island, New York. 

Visitors usually go to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, a National Historic Site, which offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. The Lighthouse has 137 iron steps which visitors climb to the top and tour the grounds. It also contains a souvenir shop and a museum that exhibits an extensive collection of maritime artifacts and historical documents about the nation’s fourth oldest active lighthouse.

Lake Montauk

Montauk Lake and marina in Montauk, New York
Montauk Lake and marina in Montauk, New York. Editorial credit: Elzbieta Sekowska /

Lake Montauk is also one of the top attractions in Montauk. Lake Montauk was a lake until 1927, when Carl Fisher, the owner of Montauk at the time, blasted a hole that caused the seawater to get in. The lake became a deep-protected bay and became Montauk’s principal port and home to the state's most significant commercial and sporting fish fleets. 

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