The East End is calling. The clam shacks are opening back up, miles of pristine sand are ready for lounging and your beach bag is packed. But where to spread out your blanket? The Hamptons season is short and sweet, which means you don’t have time to waste worrying about the best place to dig your toes into the sand. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape, a place to see and be seen, or simply a patch of sand where your kid can throw a tantrum, we found the best Hamptons beach for you.

Editor’s note: Please remember to follow all social distancing guidelines, as well as local health and safety rules.

RELATED: The 15 Best Beaches in New Jersey, Hands Down

1. COOPER’S BEACH IN SOUTHAMPTON

Best for that quintessential Hamptons feel

White sand, high dunes, rolling waves—whether or not you realize it when you think about Hamptons beaches, chances are you’re thinking of Cooper’s Beach in Southampton. This is quintessential Hamptons and a must-visit for anyone new to the area or returning for a much-needed break Out East.

Know before you go: The beach has $40 a day parking fee, plus many highly appreciated facilities including concession stands, well-kept bathrooms with freshwater showers, and chair and umbrella rentals.

best beaches in the hamptons atlantic avenue beach
sue/flickr

2. ATLANTIC AVENUE BEACH IN AMAGANSETT

Best beach to see and be seen

Yes, you will probably run into your ex-partner’s college roommate and also bump into that guy that you saw picking up a loaf of salty soured pickled rye at Carrissa’s, but that’s what makes this hot spot so fun. A 20-minute walk from the Amagansett train, Atlantic Avenue Beach is known for its young (and OK, slightly rowdier) crowd. Go ahead; flaunt that swimsuit and enjoy the people watching.

Know before you go: Parking will set you back $25 a day and there is a concession stand and restrooms available.

best beaches in the hamptons hither hills state park
John Weiss/Flickr

3. HITHER HILLS STATE PARK

Best for hiking

Dry off after a dip in the ocean with a nearly three-mile trek through the constantly shifting dunes of Hither Hills State Park. Keep an eye out for red-tailed hawks and ospreys.

Know before you go: Parking is $10 per day and in addition to the beach, you’ll find picnic tables, a playground, a nature trail, a food concession and a campground with tent and trailer sites.

best beaches in the hamptons mecox beach
j-No/Flickr

4. MECOX BEACH IN BRIDGEHAMPTON

Best for families

Lifeguard? Check. Snack stand? Check. Bathrooms and showers? Double check. These helpful amenities explain why this golden shore typically has enough screaming kids that no one will blink an eye when yours throws a 30-minute tantrum. OK, Mecox might not exactly be the most relaxing beach but if you’re a parent of young kids looking for a sandy spot to spend the day then this is the beach for you.

Know before you go: Parking is $25 per car, per day and there are bathrooms and showers as well as ice cream, snacks, drinks and souvenirs available.

5. KIRK PARK BEACH IN MONTAUK

Best for foodies

Along with the beach, dining is a major draw in the Hamptons. You’ll find the best of both at Kirk Park Beach in Montauk. Not only is the laid-back beach located across the street from a 7-Eleven (hello, giant iced coffee), but its parking lot is also next to the IGA supermarket where you can stock up on beach snacks before hitting the sand. Plus, you’re within walking distance of Balsam Farms Montauk Market, Joni’s Kitchen, MTK Lobster House and so much.

Know before you go: The East Hampton Star reports that daily parking permits have gone up to $50 at Kirk Park Beach.

best beaches in the hamptons ditch plains
John Peabody/Getty Images

6. DITCH PLAINS IN MONTAUK

Best for surfing

Arguably the most well-known surf beach on Long Island (and for good reason), Ditch Plains is famous for its long, peeling waves. It can get crowded, particularly on good surfing days, so make sure you get there early, but this is still a good spot for those figuring out which way their boards go.

Know before you go: Ditch Plains Beach has no parking, so it is free if you manage to find a spot on the side of the road.

7. GIBSON LANE BEACH IN SAGAPONACK

Best for dog lovers

Calling your dog your best friend is an understatement, so of course you want to take her on every beach outing. But dog-friendly beaches are in short supply in the Hamptons. Luckily, there’s Gibson’s Lane Beach. The unofficial dog beach has gotten a bit stricter in recent years: dogs have to be leashed and are only permitted on the beach before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. from May 15 to September 15, but this is still the spot you’ll find locals strolling on the beach with their dog besties (even sneaking in a game of fetch).

Know before you go: Sadly, this one is a parking-by-permit-only area so unless you happen to befriend a local, your best bet is to take an Uber or a Lyft down here.

8. LOUSE POINT BEACH IN EAST HAMPTON

Best for escaping the crowds

This gorgeous, relaxed beach on the bay side of East Hampton is the ultimate hideaway. Louse Point Beach is known for its calm waters, minimal crowds, and poor cell reception. Make sure to pick up some snacks on your way to the beach though since you won’t find a snack bar anywhere in sight.

Know before you go: Louse Point Beach also requires a town permit to park here so again, you’ll want to get a ride to and from this gorgeous stretch of sand.

RELATED: 10 Underrated Beaches Near NYC (as in, Within 2 Hours of the City)

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