How to travel to the North Fork and Shelter Island

Shelter Island Ferry sign

Over the next few months, city dwellers will be looking to make the great escape from Manhattan to the East End, spending long weekends in the seemingly far off land of the North Fork.

If you dream of sipping local wine at one of the many vineyards, taking lazy afternoon dips in the Long Island Sound, and dining at one of many fabulous restaurants just steps away from the beach in all directions, here’s how to get from concrete to sand this summer.

Car
For those that have a driver’s license and fancy a road trip, grab your favorite snacks, make a fun playlist, and buckle up for the 2.5-hour ride for the entire length of the Long Island Expressway, and then some. It’s a straight (and long) shot from Manhattan. For those that have the patience for summer traffic (are you out there?), this scenic drive offers the best views of the North Fork along Sound Avenue with lush vineyards, open farm fields, and glimpses of the Long Island Sound. Roll down the windows and breathe it all in.

Hampton Jitney
Let someone else do the driving and enjoy the comfort of the Hampton Jitney. One of the more popular forms of transportation to the North Fork, these coach buses provide comfort and a sure seat, with the absence of the transfer shuffle. Pick-ups from Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan will take you to all North Fork towns and hamlets from Riverhead to Orient Point. Be sure to reserve your space ahead of time as these comfy coaches book fast in the summer months. Tickets begin at $19 prepaid one-way. If you plan to make several trips, which we know you are, get a value pack with for $225.

Long Island Rail Road
Anyone who’s ever stood in Penn Station knows the tense feeling in the crowd as you wait for your track number to appear on the screen. Once it does, you better move quickly if you want a decent seat. Take the train to Ronkonkoma from Penn or Atlantic Terminal for Points East. You will have to make at least one transfer, and the last stop here is Greenport — just steps away from the heart of the village. One-way off-peak tickets begin at $20.50, and the trip will take a minimum of two hours. Save a few bucks by purchasing in advance at the station.

Seaplane
What better way to get to the beach than by seaplane? City dwellers take flight out of select Manhattan marinas via charters with companies like StndAIR, which can get you directly from lower Manhattan to Shelter Island for $595 per person, one way. There are other seaplane services such as the popular Fly The Whale, but they cater more to the Hamptons crowd. If you’re feeling fancy, you can charter a seaplane to the North Fork for around $4,200. The good news is there are nine seats available, so if you have a group of friends it could be worth the 45-minute flight with some of the most amazing views you can enjoy from the air.

Helicopter
For those looking for luxury and who have the money to spend, the ultimate way to leave New York City is by helicopter. Charter one of these lavish choppers for an insanely comfortable ride to the East End of Long Island. There are no airports on the North Fork, so you will have to fly to Westhampton or farther east in the Hamptons seating for four to eight companions. These flights begin at $2,450 from companies like New York Helicopter and East End Helicopter, plus landing fees. Once you arrive, we suggest a car service with North Fork Luxury Transporters to get you to your North Fork destination. This will run you another couple hundred dollars, but that’s just pennies now, right?

TRAVELING TO AND FROM SHELTER ISLAND:

The only way to reach Shelter Island is by ferry.

Greenport to Shelter Island

North Ferry
Third Street, Greenport
northferry.com
631-749-0139

Sag Harbor/Hamptons to Shelter Island

South Ferry
135 South Ferry Road
southferry.com
631-749-1200

TRAVELING TO AND FROM CONNECTICUT:

Orient Point, N.Y., to New London, Conn.:

Cross Sound Ferry
longislandferry.com
New England: 860-443-5281
Long Island: 631-323-2525

Port Jefferson, N.Y., to Bridgeport, Conn.:

Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Co.
88844ferry.com
Reservations only: 888-44FERRY
Long Island: 631-473-0286