Turning south off Sunrise Highway onto Montauk Highway around Sayville or Patchogue will save you time and take you past a number of pretty villages, but one of the prettiest is Quogue, a tiny place filled with big old shingled homes and wide empty streets.
In the center of things reigns the Inn at Quogue (52 Quogue St., 631/653-6560, www.innatquogue.com , $175–450 d in summer, $135–300 d off-season), housed in both a 200-year-old inn and several modern buildings. The inn’s 70 rooms, many of which were renovated by a consultant for Ralph Lauren, vary considerably in style (from historic to upscale motel) and in price.
The Inn at Quogue Restaurant (52 Quogue St., 631/653-6800, $28) serves a New World cuisine, with a less expensive menu available at the bar.
Dockers (94 Dune Rd., 631/653-0653) is a bustling restaurant on the waterfront, serving everything from steak to seafood. Live music is often featured on the weekends.
For accommodations right by the beach,
Hampton Ocean Resort (30 Dune Rd., East Quogue, 631/653-3600, www.hamptonoceanresort.com , $225–600) is a hidden treasure. It offers warm and over-the-top service, including an excellent crew of polite, friendly staff who set up private cabanas and loungers for each room, hand pack personalized coolers filled with snacks and drinks, fire up the barbecue and deliver everything from fresh beachside drinks and frozen treats to veggie burgers and hot dogs, all complimentary, so you never have to take your toes out of the sand or pull out your wallet.
Two bedroom cottages ideal for families or couples traveling together feature a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor covered patio with large dining table. The highlights of the resort are the endless stretch of white sand with nary a hotel in sight and the moonlight bonfires on the beach (s’mores included, naturally).