hamptons alternatives feature

You know the drill: lobster rolls, swan-shaped pool floats and bottomless champagne, all enjoyed in your go-to Hamptons house share, summer after summer, year after year. With your streak of summer Fridays coming to an end, however, it might be time to shake things up and break out of The Hamptons rut. If you’re looking for a last-ditch beach weekend that’s a little less predictable, consider these nearby excursions. And yes, you can still bring your swan float.

Watch Hill, Rhode Island

If this place sounds familiar, it’s because it’s where Taylor Swift celebrated the Fourth of July weekend with Tom Hiddleston and every other celebrity on the planet. Swift is one of the many celebrities who own property in this affluent community nestled at the southwestern tip of Rhode Island. The Watch Hill Inn and Ocean House offer chic accommodation — not to mention a sprawling white-sand beach — close to the bay, with antique shops, art galleries, a carousel and charming boutiques making for a nice daytime diversion. In contrast to the throbbing nightclubs and bottle service you’ll find on The Hamptons, Watch Hill’s nightlife is distinctly more mellow, with locals opting for The Malted Barley pub or martinis and live entertainment at Perks & Corks in Westerly.

Truro, Massachusetts 

Painter Edward Hopper not only spent his summers in this beach-lined community perched just outside Cape Cod; he also relied on it as an artistic muse for his landscapes. The scenic area is best enjoyed from the comfort of a waterfront holiday cottage, though the local Sandbars Inn comes with a fire pit, access to a private beach, and guest rooms decked out in cozy beach-chic style. Whale-watching tours take off from nearby Provincetown, but if you prefer your seafood on a plate, stop in for dinner at foodie favourite Blackfish. The restaurant also has a food truck at Truro Vineyards, which hosts wine tastings daily and has a rum and gin distillery on-site. Don’t worry — you’ll still have plenty of time to lounge in a hammock.

Fort Tilden/Rockaway Beach, New York

Down for a day out with little fuss? Keep it in Queens. This hurricane-ravaged former military base has unexpectedly become an Instagrammer’s paradise thanks to MoMA PS1’s ‘Rockaway’ art installation. Artist Katharina Grosse’s spray paint makeover of the dilapidated aquatics buildings has been this summer’s selfie backdrop du jour. While the Fort Tilden beach is heavily enforced and is better for sunbathing than swimming, nearby Rockaway Beach is a solid back-up. Pencil in a pit stop for BBQ, booze and margarita-flavoured ice pops at Rockaway Beach Club.

Cape May, New Jersey

This resort town is regarded for its quaint Victorian architecture and one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Rent a gingerbread-style house for your crew or settle into The Southern Mansion’s opulent surroundings; the popular B&B was built in 1860 and is just one of the area’s nods to grand Southern living up north. 410 Bank Street is the place to fuel up on Creole cuisine after a day of tanning and swimming. The restaurant at the stunning Peter Shields Inn serves up wines from local vineyards along with its seafood creations. By day, you can book your own tour, peruse art galleries, or participate in countless maritime activities.

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