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This Summer, Be a Kid Again

Summer, like youth, doesn’t last forever. But if you’ve been grinding away at work (or at
home!) and are ready for a seemingly endless summer escape that will make you feel forever young, look no further than the East End. From playdates to drive-ins, finger food to candy shops, we’ve got just the itinerary to have you feeling like yourself again in no time – but much younger (and more fun).

Don’t Act Your Age: Act Like a Kid

Forget about making par and leave your handicap at home at Hamptons Mini Golf, an 18-hole putt-putt course anchored by miniature versions of historic Hamptons landmarks. A central waterfall fills the course’s ponds and sets a soothing soundtrack while the Montauk Lighthouse and Conscience Point Rock offer playful obstacles among the neatly manicured holes. You can even stay out late: the course is open until 11 PM daily throughout the end of September. After all, the cool kids don’t just go to the Watermill Museum on summer vacation. They putt through it! (631.283.2158; 668 Country Rd. 39, Southampton) 

What’s more child-like than bingeing on a surfeit of your favorite sweets? Once we get older, fears of calories (or worse – sugar, gluten, nuts…) tend to keep our hands out of the candy jar. But you’ll have no such fears at Candied Anchor, where favorites like Mary Janes and candy cigarettes are colorfully displayed right alongside sugar-free, gluten-free and nut-free options. Craving something cold? Check out sister shop Frozen Anchor, new this summer, open from 11 AM to 11 PM daily. (631.668.8038; 721 Main St. and 478 W. Lake Dr., Montauk)

Nothing makes you feel like a kid again quite like getting out on the water at top speed. For that, there’s East End Jet Ski, offering jet ski rentals by the half hour or the hour. When you arrive, check out their private beach (home to beach volleyball and tug-o-war tournaments, so bring your squad!), then get on the ‘ski and onto the bay. The water you’ll be skimming is no more than five feet deep and you’ll be fitted for a lifejacket before you head out. We might be feeling like kids, but the adults in us know that safety comes first. (631.728.8060;91 Foster Ave., Hampton Bays)

Don’t Eat Your Vegetables: Eat Like a Kid

Pizza party! No, really: the pies at Best Pizza & Dive Bar are way too much to eat by yourself, so bring a crowd. Skip the salad (what kid orders salad, anyway?!) and pile on your favorite toppings. Garlic and raw onion, anyone? After all, we’re kids! We don’t need to worry about kissing anyone with garlic breath – just waiting 30 minutes before we jump back into the pool or the ocean. And hey, if you need a way to pass those minutes, there is a full bar – a benefit that the kid in you couldn’t enjoy, but the adult definitely can. (631.668.8378; 2095 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett)

Gooey cheeseburgers. Crisp onion rings. Towering milkshakes crusted with cookie crumbles and topped with whipped cream. This is the stuff that kids’ culinary dreams are made of, and if you ask us, you never really outgrow a great burger. So, Union Burger Bar married our childhood favorites with luxe ingredients like beef from renowned Niman Ranch, plus a thoughtful menu of beer, wine, and cocktails. Pro tip: Shake off the #sundayscaries with their Sunday Shakes Special: half- price classic shakes from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, just in time to grab one for the road on your way back to the city. (631.377.3323; 40 Bowden Sq., Southampton)

Feeling like a kid again is a family affair at John’s Drive-In, the Montauk staple that’s been welcoming travelers with classic American fare at their indoor and outdoor tables since 1967. Today, the business is in the capable hands of David and Maureen Rutkowski and their kids, Alex and John, making them the perfect place to indulge in a kid-approved throwback meal. If you’re not into dining out, they’ll even deliver to your summer share or hotel. And what kid didn’t dream of burgers and fries on demand during TV Time? (631.668.5515; 677 Montauk Hwy., Montauk)

Don’t Be Home for Supper: Stay Out Like a Kid

“Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” Well, then put your money where your mouth is at The Clubhouse…! This multi-purpose entertainment venue is full of reasons to stay out past curfew, from trivia tournaments to mini golf to an all-new-for-2020 menu. Dishes like the Caddy Shack Lobster Roll, with remoulade on a toasted bun with pickles and chips and The Old Italian Flatbread, with Gorgonzola, scallions, figs, prosciutto, arugula, lemon zest and olive oil, will fuel your late-night revelry all summer long. (631.537.2695; 174 Daniels Hole Rd., East Hampton)

They may not look like the dance parties of yore, but DJ nights are back and going strong at Southampton Social Club. With a spacious garden and private cabanas, their weekend DJ dance parties bring the lively spirit of a club to the outdoors, helping you avoid crowded dancefloors while still getting down to this… sick… beat. Bottle service is available, and reservations are required, both because space is limited and to be sure that you and your fellow music lovers have room to socially distance while being sociable. Strap on your best “going out” mask and dance til dawn – just like you did when you were young. (631.287.1400; 256 Elm St., Southampton)