The scheduled train time is about 3 hours 15 minutes
You could do a day trip if you leave very early and return after dinner. Depending on the time of year, day of the week and time of day you could also take the Hampton Jitney from Manhattan. https:/… The Jitney runs more often however if you are traveling during peek times the traffic is insane. The train is swift BUT doesn't run frequently. Also once you get to Montalk you will need a car unless you only want to walk around the village close to the train station. If it was me and I was going out for the day I would rent a car, depart NYC at 6am and drive back after 10pm. The drive is about 2.5 - 3 hours, I've done it many many times over the past 20 years, even in the middle of the summer crush
You didn't mention your budget...you can fly out (helicopter or plane) and do a day trip. You can use the Blade app to find a flight (like Uber for flights to the Hamptons). Sunset Beach on Shelter Island was also running midweek specials last year for day trips that included flight and lunch. It's not Montauk, but it is gorgeous there.
If you just want to go to the beach, and don't specifically care about going to Montauk, go to another beach on Long Island or Fire Island. Long Beach is nice and the Allegria Hotel is great. Or take the train to Bayshore or Sayville and take the ferry to Fire Island. I personally think that the beaches on Fire Island are nicer than Montauk, and it is very easy to walk around (no cars allowed).
If you go to Montauk you will need to use either a rental car or taxis to get around out there. And without knowing why you are going (lighthouse, beach, charter boat fishing, whale watching) it's impossible to know what times you need to be there or where to go.
Though it is possible, I wouldn't recommend doing it as a day trip, since it is so far away and you would really have to keep on a tight schedule. Plus, if you're going during a peak time - either going out on a Saturday or returning on a Sunday - you will hit tons of traffic on both the LIE and throughout the Hamptons. To get there it will probably take you about 2 hours out on Long Island, then once you get off the highway in the Hamptons it will take you well over an hour to get all the way out to Montauk. You really won't have much time to enjoy yourself. I would recommend staying for a night so you can really enjoy your trip without being rushed. A car is a must-have, since Montauk itself is a pretty spread-out place.
Enjoy your trip!
The issue is not the distance - it's the time based on traffic - which can be regular city traffic, or suburban beach or local rush hour traffic or holiday traffic once you get near the Hamptons. It's not that far - but you need to figure at least 3 hours travel each way.
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