The Hamptons refers specifically to the towns of Southampton and East Hampton on the east end of Long Island, New York. These townships occupy the South Fork of Long Island. According to the Census Bureau, the Hamptons have a land area of 552.14 km² (213.18 sq mi). Officially they also have 1,212.99 km² (463.34 sq mi) of water area. Their total population as of the 2000 census was 74,431 inhabitants. By far their most populous community is Hampton Bays. The next most populous are Springs, North Sea, and East Quogue.
The Hamptons form a popular seaside resort, one of the historical Summer Colonies of the American Northeast. The Montauk Branch of the Long Island Railroad, Montauk Highway, and the Hampton Jitney provide connections to the rest of Long Island and to the City, while ferries connect North Haven and Montauk to Shelter Island and Connecticut. The strictest definition of "The Hamptons" refers to the South Fork of Long Island east of the Shinnecock Canal.
The town of East Hampton includes the following hamlets and villages:
In the strictest sense, the Hamptons refers to the South Fork hamlets and villages east of the Shinnecock Canal. These areas constitute the core vacation area of this end of Long Island. It includes Southampton Village, Water Mill, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, Sagaponack, Wainscott, East Hampton Village and Amagansett. Often included in the listing are Shelter Island, North Sea, Noyac, Springs and Northwest Woods. Only Southampton Village, East Hampton Village, Sag Harbor and Sagaponack are incorporated as villages. All the other areas rely on the townships (East Hampton Town and Southampton Town) for government services.
Southampton Village and East Hampton Village are traditionally considered the most prestigious of all the towns of the South Fork. Each town is noted, however, for its unique character and amenities.
|Village/Hamlet||Township||Population (2000 Census)||Total Area||Land Area||Reputation|
|Southampton||Southampton Town||3,965||6.8 sq miles||6.3 sq. miles||Sophisticated; oldest "resort town" in the Hamptons; part of the New York-Palm Beach circuit; summer home to Old Money, captains of industry; commercial center of the Hamptons|
|Water Mill||Southampton Town||1,724||12.5 sq. miles||11.0 sq. miles||Quiet hamlet, "all horse farms and summer homes"; home to the Water Mill Center, several galleries and future home of the Parrish Art Museum|
|Bridgehampton||Southampton Town||1,381||11.2 sq. miles||9.3 sq. miles||Youngish, modern; horsey; third in prestige among the towns; host to elite events such as the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge and Hamptons Classic (horse show)|
|Sagaponack||Southampton Town||582||8.0 sq. miles||6.2 sq. miles||Endless views, open skies; home to the largest house in the Hamptons|
|Sag Harbor||60% Southampton; 40% East Hampton Town||2,313||2.5 sq. miles||1.7 sq. miles||Artistic, diverse, more "New Englandy" than other towns of the Hamptons; historical community of affluent African Americans|
|Wainscott||East Hampton Town||628||7.3 sq. miles||6.2 sq. miles||Quiet hamlet; home to the exclusive Georgica Association|
|East Hampton||East Hampton Town||1,334||4.9 sq. miles||4.8 sq. miles||Tony; summer home to celebrities and the media; once voted as "the most beautiful village in America"|
|Amagansett||East Hampton Town||1,067||8.0 sq. miles||6.2 sq. miles||Open skies, beachy feel; famed for its double dunes|
The Summer Colony's residents include a high portion of affluent New York City residents, as well as a number of affluent people from other nearby states, executives and increasingly, foreigners from Europe and South America. Sag Harbor has historically been a summer retreat for affluent African Americans.
Villages and the hamlets of the Summer Colony are distinguished by their significant population increases during the summers, a large number of retail shops and restaurants and extensive arts community. Residential real estate prices in the Hamptons rank among the highest in the nation. In particular, Water Mill and Bridgehampton were cited by Forbes magazine as being the 14th and 15th most expensive zip codes in the nation respectively (and the third and fourth most expensive zip codes in New York State) based on median 2009 sales price. Overall, Southampton Village and East Hampton Village have the largest pool of luxury real estate, in their respective "estate areas."
Other amenities in the area include prominent golf courses including Sebonack golf club (rumored to be the most expensive golf club in the country), the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, National Golf Links in Southampton and the Maidstone Club in East Hampton. Exclusive private clubs provide additional recreational resources to the very affluent in the area. These clubs include The Bathing Corporation of Southampton, the Southampton Bath and Tennis Club and the Meadow Club in Southampton Village, and the Maidstone Club in East Hampton Village.