About three miles west of Montauk  is Hither Hills State Park (Old Montauk Hwy., 631/668-2554, dawn–dusk daily, parking $8 May–Sept.). Home to the only official public beach in Montauk where you can park without a permit, Hither Hills has a bathhouse, general store, picnic area, and campground. The park is also laced with hiking trails leading into isolated dunes, far from humankind. The dunes offer wonderful views of the ocean and bay.
An unofficial public beach borders the Montauk village’s center. Just park in Montauk, walk south down South Essex Street at the end of town, and you’re there. Don’t expect any facilities, however.
North of Montauk is Montauk Downs State Park (50 S. Fairview Ave., 631/668-3781, www.montaukdowns.org , daily Apr.–Dec.), offering tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a golf course, all of which are open to the public.
Six miles east of Montauk , at the tip of the South Fork , is Montauk Point State Park (Montauk Hwy., 631/668-3781, , $6–8 parking), a lonely and windy spot overlooking the sea. Throughout the park are hiking and biking trails.