East End Long Island  | 🏠🏖️ ULTIMATE Guide to Living on the East End of Long Island
If you’re considering moving to Long Island, you may already be familiar with the typical division of Nassau County and Suffolk County. While Nassau County is known for its affluence and easy access to NYC and Suffolk County is considered the suburbs of New York, the East End of Long Island, the section of Suffolk furthest east, is New York’s backyard.
Eastern Long Island is famous for the Hamptons, historic lighthouses, wineries, farmland, pristine beaches, resorts, and quaint towns. Living on East End Long Island affords you the opportunity to enjoy life at a slower pace with the greatest natural beauty LI has to offer.
Here’s what you can expect ahead of moving to the East End of Long Island.
Table of Contents
Where Is Eastern Long Island?
The Long Island East End is the eastern end of Suffolk County. The East End of Long Island is rural Long Island and made up of five towns:
- East Hampton
- Shelter Island
Additionally, the Shinnecock Reservation is also part of the East End.
The North Fork of Long Island is the northern peninsula of the East End on the Long Island North Shore. It’s comprised of Southampton and Riverhead, even though the peninsula actually begins east of Riverhead.
The South Fork of Long Island is the southern peninsula of the East End on the South Shore of Long Island. It includes most of the Hamptons, or the towns of East Hampton and Southampton.
The very end of Long Island, simply called “the End,” usually refers only to the hamlet of Montauk in the Town of East Hampton.
The East End is bounded by Long Island Sound on the North Shore, Block Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west, and the Town of Brookhaven to the west.
East End Long Island Map
Below, you can see the five Eastern Long Island towns. Towns in red make up the North Fork and towns in green make up the South Fork.
East End Long Island Population & Demographics
The Long Island East End population is 160,308 according to the 2020 census, up from 125,000 in 2000. The East End covers 347 square miles, about 38% of the total area of Suffolk County, yet it has just 10.5% of the county’s population. The population density is 460 people per square mile. By comparison, the population of Suffolk County is 1.525 million with an overall density of 1,674 people per square mile.
Over the past decade, the East End has experienced the largest percentage gains in population in Suffolk County.
Eastern Long Island towns by population:
- Southampton: 69,036
- Riverhead: 35,902
- East Hampton: 28,385
- Southold: 23,732
- Shelter Island: 3,253
The South Fork is the most populous area of the East End of Long Island.
The Hamptons – Southampton and East Hampton – are also the most affluent towns in Eastern Long Island with a median household income of $100,722 and $107,917 respectively.
Towns in Eastern Long Island
Ahead of moving to Eastern Long Island, you’ll need to narrow down your options and decide which East Long Island towns and hamlets are the best fit. Here’s an overview of the four largest Eastern Long Island towns. We’ll skip Shelter Island which has a very small year-round population of mostly retirees.
East Hampton – Prestigious Long Island Community with Large Estates & Famous Beaches
If you’re thinking about moving to the Hamptons, East Hampton is the more affluent of the two towns with an “old money” atmosphere and strict town regulations that really makes you feel like you’re in the Hamptons. More than 50% of homes in East Hampton are second homes with some of the country’s wealthiest people owning vacation property in the town.
East Hampton is home to two villages. East Hampton is one of the most prestigious Long Island villages. With a population of 1,500 people, it’s home to several famous Hamptons resorts and some of the most popular Hamptons beaches with white sand and minimal development.
The Sag Harbor Hamptons village is shared by East Hampton and Southampton. Home to the historic Sag Harbor Village District, a charming and walkable downtown area, it was famously the home of author John Steinbeck.
The two most laidback and affordable places to live in East Hampton are Montauk and Springs where most of the working class live.
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Southampton – Most Affordable Place to Live in the Hamptons
Southampton, Long Island is the more laidback town in the Hamptons. It’s more affordable, particularly in communities west of the canal like Hampton Bays, Flanders, and Westhampton. Most areas are part of the Hamptons with some exceptions including the hamlets of Remsenburg, Speonk, and Eastport. Two of the most expensive places to live in East End Long Island are in Southampton: the villages of Sagaponack and Bridgehampton.
This beautiful South Shore beach town is popular with history buffs and one of the top East Long Island vacation destinations. Residents enjoy miles of shoreline and beaches like Ponquogue Beach, several of the best museums on Long Island, and the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus.
There are seven villages and 16 hamlets in Southampton.
Riverhead – Best Town in East End Long Island for Shopping & Amenities
The Town of Riverhead is part of the North Fork on the North Shore, even though it’s not actually on the North Fork peninsula. If you love the idea of living in Eastern Long Island but don’t want too rural a setting, Riverhead is perfect!
Riverhead is known for not only for the beaches, golf courses, vineyards, and orchards that make the North Fork famous but also major retailers, a water park, an aquarium, and a raceway. Its proximity to Nassau County, Manhattan, and the Hamptons also contributes to the appeal of this suburban town.
You’ll find plenty to do in Riverhead like the Splish Splash Water Park in Calverton, Wildwood State Park on Long Island Sound, and Tanger Outlets Riverhead, one of the largest shopping centers in the region.
Southold – Close-Knit, Rural Community in Long Island’s Wine Country
Southold is rural Long Island with plenty of open space, preserves, and parks to enjoy. Known for its close-knit community and quiet, clean beaches, Southold is also home to many orchards and wineries. Picturesque Orient at the end of the North Fork boasts one of the best beaches on the North Fork, Orient Lighthouse, and the ferry. In Greenport, you’ll find museums, wineries, and country clubs. The Southold hamlet is one of the best places to visit on Long Island’s North Fork thanks to the Horton Point Lighthouse Nautical Museum, an observatory, and the Southold Fish Market, a beloved institution.
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Things to Do: Out East Long Island Attractions
Eastern Long Island boasts some of the best places to visit in Long Island, from gorgeous beaches and state parks to Long Island wineries, lighthouses, and family-friendly attractions. Here are some of the most fun things to do on the East End of Long Island.
Long Island Aquarium (Riverhead Village, Riverhead)
One of the top things to do on Long Island with kids, the Long Island Aquarium boasts a 20,000 SQ FT coral reef display, one of the largest displays of all-living coral.
Long Island Aquarium, 431 E Main St, Riverhead, NY 11901 (631) 208-9200 ext. 426
Splish Splash Water Park (Calverton Village, Riverhead)
Beat the heat at the top Long Island water park with drop slides, a wave pool, lazy river, kiddie areas, thrilling water rides, and 96 acres of family-friendly summer fun.
Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum (Montauk, East Hampton)
The Montauk Point Light is located next to the Montauk Point State Park. Built in 1796, it’s America’s 4th oldest active lighthouse.
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Parrish Art Museum (Water Mill, Southampton)
One of the top Long Island hidden gems for art lovers, the Parrish Art Museum features over 3,000 pieces with a focus on works created at the artist colonies of the North Shore and South Shore.
Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Hwy, Water Mill, NY 11976 (631) 283-2118
East Long Island Beaches
With hundreds of miles of shoreline and a more rural setting, you’ll find some of the best Long Island beaches on the East End. Here are just some of the East End beaches to visit.
- East Hampton Main Beach is one of the best beaches in the Hamptons with lifeguards and concessions. It’s one of just two East Hampton beaches that allows day parking passes; other town beaches require a village permit.
- Ponquogue Beach (Hampton Bays) close to Shinnecock Inlet with concessions
- Cupsogue Beach County Park (Westhampton Beach) on the West Hampton Dunes boasts camping, fishing, and swimming with a lifeguard
- Orient Beach State Park (Orient) is one of the most unique North Fork beaches with kayaking, fishing, swimming, and windsurfing. Explore the bayfront beach, saltwater marsh, and beautiful maritime forest.
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East End Real Estate & Average Rent
Is living on the East End of Long Island expensive? It depends where you hope to settle down.
As a renter, you’ll find somewhat limited options in most towns. Average rent in the Hamptons is $2,400 according to RentCafe with very few options. A luxury apartment complex in Hampton Bays starts at $3,050 for one-bedroom units. RentCafe shows the same $2,400 average rent on the North Fork.
If you’re buying a home on Long Island, you can find communities with a median price under $500,000 and many priced well over $1 million. In general, South Fork real estate is more expensive than North Fork homes for sale, especially homes for sale in the Hamptons. Here’s an overview of the Eastern Long Island real estate market by region and town.
South Fork & Hamptons
The median home price in the Hamptons is $1.595 million. Only about 50 homes sold for under $500,000 in the Hamptons in the first half of 2022 out of 1,400 total sales according to Town & Country. East Hampton homes for sale have a median price of $1.63 million compared to $1.60 million in Southampton.
Living on the End, or Montauk, comes at premium. Most homes for sale in Montauk start at $1 million with a median home price of $2 million.
Here’s what you can expect to pay for South Fork real estate by hamlet.
|South Fork Long Island Homes for Sale: Median Price by Hamlet|
|Amagansett||East Hampton||$5.65 million|
|Shinnecock Hills||Southampton||$3.73 million|
|Water Mill||Southampton||$2.15 million|
|Northwest Harbor||East Hampton||$2.1 million|
|East Hampton North||East Hampton||$1.9 million|
|Springs||East Hampton||$1.73 million|
|Sag Harbor||Southampton & East Hampton||$1.7 million|
|Westhampton Beach||Southampton||$1.54 million|
|North Sea||Southampton||$1.4 million|
|Montauk||East Hampton||$1.35 million|
|Eastport||Southampton & Brookhaven||$775,000|
|East Hampton||East Hampton||$450,000|
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North Fork Real Estate
You’ll find a larger number of communities on the North Fork where you can buy a home for under $500,000 compared to the South Fork. In fact, three of the largest hamlets which have been growing in popularity thanks to their convenient location and amenities, are among the most affordable places to live in the East End.
Overall, North Fork homes for sale have a median price of $822,500 versus almost $1.6 million on the South Fork.
Here’s an overview of what you can expect to pay for homes for sale on North Fork Long Island.
|North Fork Long Island Homes for Sale: Median Price by Hamlet|
|Greenport West||Southold||$1.65 million|
East Long Island Schools
You will definitely want to explore school districts and private school options before moving to East End Long Island. There are 21 Suffolk County school districts across the five towns in Eastern Long Island as well as several private schools. Many of the larger hamlets and villages have their own school districts, although some only serve students through elementary or middle school before kids matriculate to the town’s larger district. Here’s a complete overview plus the best schools in Eastern Long Island.
There are three Southold school districts:
- Southold Union Free School District serves the central portion of the town
- Greenport Union Free School District serves Greenport and Greenport village
- Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District serves the hamlets of Mattituck, Cutchogue, and Laurel
The Mattituck-Cutchogue school district is ranked in the top 100 in New York state and it’s one of the best school districts on the North Fork. Greenport schools have math and reading proficiency scores well above the state average.
There are just two school districts in Riverside, NY:
- Riverhead Central School District serves Riverhead, Brookhaven, and Southampton
- Shoreham-Wading River Central School District serves the hamlet of Wading River and Shoreham, the latter of which is in Brookhaven
Riverhead Central is the primary Riverhead school district. Its seven schools serve over 5,500 students. The only high school is Riverhead High School.
Families can also attend Riverhead Charter School in Calverton, a tuition free public school of choice with students selected via a lottery system.
Southampton has 10 school districts:
- Southampton Union Free School District
- Hampton Bays Union Free School District
- Bridgehampton Union Free School District
- Westhampton Beach Union Free School District
- Tuckahoe Common School District
- Quogue Union Free School District
- East Quogue Union Free School District
- Sagaponack Common School District (the Sagaponack School) or the Little Red Schoolhouse is one of the country’s last single-room public school houses and serves K-3 students
- Eastport-South Manor Central School District serves Southampton and Brookhaven & villages
- Remsenburg-Speonk Union Free School District
Westhampton Beach UFSD is widely considered the best Hampton public schools. It ranks among the top 50 school districts in New York and the second best in East End Long Island.
Southampton UFSD is one of the best school districts on Long Island and ranks among the top 100 in the state. Southampton High School is one of the highest rated Hampton schools with great proficiency scores on the Regents Examinations.
East Hampton Schools
If you settle in East Hampton, you will be served by one of five school districts:
- East Hampton Union Free School District serves East Hampton village and Northwest Harbor hamlet.
- Montauk School District has a single school, Montauk Public School, serving preschool to middle school students
- Amagansett School District
- Wainscott School District or the Wainscott School offers an acclaimed K-3 individualized instruction program. Grades 4-12 attend Sag Harbor or East Hampton schools.
- Springs School District serves K-8 students in the hamlet of Springs
Most students attend East Hampton High School, one of the best high schools in the East End.
Shelter Island Schools
Shelter Island is served by Shelter Island Union Free School District. Shelter Island School serves about 200 PK-12 students.
East End of Long Island Private Schools
While living on the Long Island East End, parents can choose from a number of highly rated private schools. Here are some of the highest rated private schools to consider.
- Ross School (K-12 East Hampton) is an independent day school and boarding school on a 63-acre campus with a mostly international student body.
- Hayground School (PK-8 in Bridgehampton) fosters creative and intellectual growth with an individualized, mentor-based approach to education
- St. John Paul II Regional School (PK-8 Riverhead) with extracurricular programs and an EXCEL program for middle school students.
- Our Lady of Hamptons Regional Catholic School (K-8 in Southampton) is attended by Catholic parishes in Southampton, Hampton Bays, Sag Harbor, East Hampton, Montauk, Bridgehampton, and Shelter Island. The accredited school is a Blue Ribbon of Excellence school with extensive extracurriculars.
- Southampton Montessori School (PK-5) is the only Montessori school in East Long Island.
- Raynor Country Day School (PK-6 in Speonk) is a private elementary school with a 12-acre campus in a park-like setting.
Does East End Long Island living seem like a dream come true? Whether it’s the vineyards and quiet beauty of the North Fork calling to you or the glamour and sunny beaches of the South Fork that has your name on it, Zippboxx is ready to help. Give us a call for a free moving estimate from the best Long Island movers!