New Year's Day offers the chance to welcome the new year in a variety of ways. We've selected our top five things to do to welcome 2017 in The Hamptons and on the North Fork. Expect ways to connect with nature, find something fun or discover art outdoors.

1. Montauk New Year's Day Hikes 

The New York State Parks Department is hosting several New Year’s Day hikes all over the state with Montauk Point State Park hosting one on January 1, 2017 at 2 p.m. Starting at the Montauk Point Concession, a State Park naturalist will guide participants on a two-to-three mile hike, stopping at several scenic spots, including Money Pond. Expect to see several species of plants, trees and wildlife. Weather-appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes are encouraged.

Registration is required by calling (631) 668-5000, ex 201. Montauk Point State Park is located at 2000 Montauk Highway, Montauk NY 11954. www.nysparks.com.

Click here for event details and a list of other First Day Hikes across New York State and here for details on Montauk State Park.

Miss the registration? Slip on your hiking boots and head out to the New York State Park to enjoy the expansive of ocean and natural trails on your own. Or, join the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society at 12:15 p.m. for a seven-mile trek through Hither Woods. The group gathers at noon at Hither Hills Overlook. Click here for details.

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Montauk Lighthouse at Montauk State Park. Photo by Cristina Schreil.

Montauk Lighthouse at Montauk State Park. Photo by Cristina Schreil.

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2.  New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunges

Feel like experiencing the frigid temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean for a good cause? There are two Polar Bear Plunges to choose from on New Year's Day in The Hamptons: East Hampton Polar Bear Plunge and Gurney's Polar Bear Plunge.

The East Hampton Polar Bear Plunge takes place at 1:30 p.m. at East Hampton’s Main Beach and benefits the East Hampton Food Pantry. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and costs $35. The plunge is sponsored by the East Hampton Hurricanes Swim Team and the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue. East Hampton Main Beach is located at 101 Ocean Avenue, East Hampton NY 11937. Click here for event details.

Gurney's Polar Bear Plunge takes place at 10:30 a.m. on its private beach in Montauk and benefits The Retreat. Registration begins at 10 a.m. in the Spa lobby and costs $10. Gurney's is located at 290 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954. For questions, call (631) 668-1892 or email spa@gurneysmontauk.com. Click here for event details.

3. Visit the Sculpture Park at Peconic Landing in Greenport on the North Fork

Looking to commune with art outdoors? Then a visit to Greenport may be the ticket. Peconic Landing lifecare community has a curated sculpture park installed throughout its grounds that are open to the public. Easily viewable from a drive around the grounds or from the paved paths, sculptures include works by Nova, Hans Van de Bovenkamp, Rob Lorenson, Robert Strimban, Jack Howard-Poetter and others.

Peconic Landing is located at 1500 Brecknock Road, Greenport, NY 11944. www.peconiclanding.com. Click here to see a catalog of some of the works installed on the grounds.

4. Go Ice Skating

There are several places to go ice skating in The Hamptons. Southampton Ice Rink is a covered rink open for skaters of the serious and recreational kind on New Year's Day. Public skating takes place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The cost is $20 for adults 16 years old and older; $15 for children and $12 for toddlers 5 years old or younger. Skates can be rented for $5. The Southampton Ice Rink is located at 668 County Road 39, Southampton, NY 11968. Click here for details.

Buckskill Winter Club in East Hampton is an open-air rink that's also open on New Year's Day. Public skating takes place in three sessions held from 1:15 to 6:15 p.m. and again from 8 to 9 p.m. All Day Passes cost $27 for adults 16 years old and older, $19 for children, $12 for toddlers 4 years old or younger, and $18 for seniors. Skates can be rented for $9. Discounts available for night skating only. Buckskill Winter Club is located at 178 Buckskill Road, East Hampton, NY 11937. Click here for details.

Mitchell Park in Greenport Village on the North Fork also has outdoor skating for the public that's open as weather permits. Click here for details.

5. Visit the Beach

Hamptons beaches don't have boardwalks for easy oceanside walking like Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County in Western Long Island but walking in the sand is always an option. Ocean beaches accessible by town or county parks can be found from Westhampton Dunes through Montauk Point. Popular destinations include Ponquougue Beach in Hampton Bays, Coopers Beach in Southampton Village, Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett and others. If you live on the East End, it's likely you already have a list of favorite ocean beaches. If you're looking for a new one, visit the websites of any of the local municipalities on the East End for details. For a quick overview, click here to read "Beaches in the Hamptons" published by USA Today.

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Copyright 2017 Hamptons Art Hub LLC.

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