We decided to take an impromptu trip to Long Island's Montauk for the Martin Luther King's Day long weekend. We've always talked about taking a day trip out there but procrastinated until now and we're so glad we spent 3 days out there!
Generally speaking, the weeks between Memorial Day through Labor Day are considered peak season for beach location getaways and the months surrounding that time are cheaper with the winter months being the cheapest. We find that this time is the best for us to get away with dogs as most of the people in town during these months are friendly locals and there is less traffic and crowds at this time. The drawback is that many restaurants and hotels are closed during the off peaks period and searching for a place to stay or eat can be laborious. For us, the reward of not having to deal with overcrowding outweighs the hassle of finding open establishments so off we went!
Most of the hotels and resorts that I called were closed in Montauk this month but I managed to find one that was open and dog friendly! Searching through dog-friendly recommended vacation websites led us to calling Oceanside Beach Resort and lucky for us, they had one dog-friendly room left for the long weekend to rent. This resort is actually considered a motel and I was skeptical at the prospect of staying at a motel but this was nothing like seedy motels in movies and turned out to be a lovely and quaint beach motel. At the time the photos in the website did not ease my fears but the woman at the front desk was friendly and assured us that the room was clean despite being a doggy designated room so we took the chance.
I love that the rates were listed upfront on their website so there was no ambiguity in pricing. If you take a look at the price chart, the time that we stayed (January 18-20) falls in the cheapest price bracket of $125/weekend night plus an added $25 per dog and per day. This means that we paid an extra $100 for two nights at the motel with two dogs. When I checked another website, Brokelyn's post on Destination Montauk from February 2013, and it looks like the prices may have gone up 30% since last year's weekday off-peak rates so be sure so check their site for pricing prior to booking. There was no extra cost for parking at the motel. Many restaurants and shopping is within a short walking distance (.25 miles) from the motel making it all the more convenient.
Our room was the first floor Queen bed room (resort's photos) without balcony or views. We didn't mind that we didn't have private outdoor space or views since Kirk Park Beach was almost literally the motel's backyard, true to the motel's namesake. Our room was a good size, about 325 sq ft, and very clean, as promised by the motel desk clerk. The heat was turned on prior to our arrival and we were appreciative of the warm room after a long ride to Montauk. I was impressed that there was only a very slight hint of doggy smell to the room (mostly due to the heater raising the scent) and the medium sized refrigerator for food storage and Keurig coffee maker. Upon entering, we felt like we were transported back to the 1970s. The furniture was dated and the painted pale yellow wooden slab walls but everything was preserved well and did not need to be replaced. Our two gripes were that the walls were thin so we could hear the television next door or our neighbors sneezing and that the hot water in the shower was inconsistent. Otherwise a wonderful and tidy room to stay in.
In the back of the motel, there's a small grass courtyard for dogs to relieve themselves. I loved going to the courtyard during our night walk with the dogs because you had a perfect view of all the stars during the crispy winter nights. It's a small luxury that went unnoticed when I lived in the suburbs but fully appreciate now after living in urban areas filled with too much night lights to see stars. Across the front of the motel was Kirk Park, a small stretch of open fenced grass where deer seem to enjoy hanging out in. As mentioned, Kirk Park Beach was a 2 minute walk over the dune - more about the beach below the photos.
From Brooklyn, the travel by car was approximately 2.5 hours without stops or traffic. Most of the traffic that you will hit will be in the highway leaving Brooklyn/Queens and when you arrive into the one lane highway going through the strict speed limit enforced Hamptons into Montauk on Route 27 (Montauk Highway).
By public transport, you can take the Long Island Rail Road to Montauk and call for a cab to Oceanside Beach Resort.
Day 1 - Saturday, January 18:
We started our drive from Brooklyn to Montauk at 12:30pm and arrived at 3:30pm with one stop for lunch. We had a smooth drive over but upon our late arrival, we checked in with the friendly desk person and dropped off our bags in a hurry so that we could spend some time at the beach prior to the early wintertime sunset.
Kirk Park Beach (actual address 20 Main Street, Montauk) is a popular Atlantic Ocean facing beach. Parking was not an issue for us since we stayed at the motel. This website states that the beach is 500 ft long with a $10/day parking fee and no overnight parking. You can also obtain a year long permit for $125. The dunes at the beach shields the motel from ocean winds but reviews on TripAdvisor reviewers advise visitors to exercise caution if going into the waters as the waves can be fierce. Lifeguards available during the season from 9am-6pm and it is only advisable to wade in the waters during those times.
On the dog friendly front, we loved the Kirk Park Beach. The motel desk clerk told us that Montauk does not have any leashed dog laws and as long as your dog is friendly and under your control, you can let them run free year-round on the beach. This is a pleasant surprise! We bundled up in our down coats and winter hats and walked with the dogs on the beach for 45 minutes as they ran free chasing the wind and climbing the dunes. Both dogs were happy to run after being cramped in the car for 3 hours. Emi spent most of her time doing what she normally does, chasing squeaky balls, and Shio had a blast climbing up and down the dunes. Ticks are normally a big problem in Montauk but we were less wary as it isn't as much of a problem during wintertime so we let Shio run through the grassy dunes. They collectively had a great time digging a big hole in the sand (Emi in action on Instagram). There were only a handful of people walking the beach and most of them had dogs with them. Afterwards, the dogs were tuckered out and rested in the motel room while J and I went out to dinner at Harvest on Fort Pond (make reservations in advance and ask about portion sizes prior to ordering) the movies in East Hampton (go at least 20 min early to find street parking and buy tickets).
Photos taken with Sony A7 + Summicron-M 35mm f/2.