Fire Island National Seashore has long been revered as the ultimate Long Island getaway. It’s pristine beaches and walkability make this car-free oasis a dream escape. With 22 distinguished Fire Island communities, your adventure to this barrier island is a quick, easy commute via the Long Island Railroad and ferry services from NYC and beyond. Check out our full guide, with links for more info below.
Health & Safety Update: Fire Island is welcoming visitors, in accordance with New York State guidance, be sure to wear a mask when entering restaurants, the ferry and public spaces. For more information on Fire Island’s regions, attractions and transportation: click here.
Fire Island: The Car-Free Destination
How to get there
Take the Long Island Railroad from NYC on the Bay Shore line to Sayville, Patchogue or Bayshore which are each endowed with their own quaint downtowns and marinas that offer ferry service to Fire Island.
Healthy & Safety Update: On the ferries, masks are required and social distancing of 6-feet is encouraged whenever possible. As a mass transit service, the ferries are not required to enforce social distancing. Knowing this, please be responsible when considering your own safety and make the decision that is best for you and your family. Private water taxis to Fire Island are available for hire. For more information, click here. To view ferry health & safety procedures, click here.
For a contactless experience, download mobile tickets using the Fire Island MTickets App available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
**Fun fact: Ferry service has given safe passage to adventurers since 1948 with an average trip time of thirty minutes. Properly leashed dogs are welcome in designated areas. Make sure to check the town specific policies here before going.
Water taxis are available for transport parallel to the beaches of Fire Island. In addition, Fire Island is accessible via Robert Moses State Park Field 5, where you can park and walk along Burma Road until you hit the very first community: Kismet.
Where to Stay
Clegg’s Hotel in Ocean Beach is a quaint, family-owned hotel that offers bayfront views and is a short five-minute walk to the Atlantic Ocean. Also in Ocean Beach, The Palms Hotel is another luxurious option with amenities like a fleet of bicycles, wagons, beach chairs and umbrellas that allow you to live like a local for as long as you’d like. The Fire Island Hotel and Resort in Ocean Bay Park offers three ways to enjoy the water: the bay, the ocean and an inground pool exclusively for guests. With their own restaurant, coffee bar and private cedar planked path to the Atlantic, The Fire Island Hotel and Resort has all the essentials and more.
If you’re looking for a completely unique experience, consider planning your stay at one of the 26 family campsites at Watch Hill. The National Park Service runs the visitor center as well as ranger-led canoe trips to give you the true lay of the land. In addition, a small convenience store, a picnic area, restrooms, a bathhouse and pay phones are all available for public use.
Where to Drink & Dine
Davis Park is another town that is always a worthy stop on your tour of this sandy strip. The Casino, falsely named but just as fun, is a restaurant and bar that offers drinks with a beautiful, unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Ocean Beach is the larger of the two incorporated villages on Fire Island and as such they have amenities such as bars, a dozen restaurants and a cinema, making this slice of heaven the perfect destination for adventurers looking to spend the week. Matthew’s Seafood House, Maguire’s Bayfront Restaurant or the Island Mermaid are just a few of the phenomenal restaurants you should check out during your travels. Bush Farms offers fresh produce, flowers and herbs from mid-May to end of September, so be sure to stop by and grab the goods.
Tip for visiting: Reservations are highly encouraged as restaurants and bars are operating at limited occupancies to ensure social distancing.
Where to Shop
Shop name brands like Vineyard Vines, Vans and Salty Crew and the entire 2019 Fire Island Collection at Bambootique in Ocean Beach. These brands blend perfectly with this iconic Long Island landmark. Check out some of their goodies online here.
Forgot something at home? Kline’s general store in Ocean Beach is packed with all the beach essentials and classic general store supplies like locally made candy, towels and sunscreen. Kline’s is the go-to spot for souvenirs too, with things like that mug for grandma or the beach hat you wish you’d had before the sun burn.
Fire Island Light House Originally built in 1826, this barrier island beacon serves as an iconic landmark that overlooks the Great South Bay. It was featured in soap operas, tv shows and movies like The Guiding Light, The Following and Men in Black II. A small fee that supports the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society will grant you access to the very top of the lighthouse. Out on the balcony, on a clear day, you can catch a stunning view of the New York City skyline. The gift shop at the Fire Island Lighthouse has seashell bracelets and picturesque post cards that make the perfect souvenir.
Healthy & Safety Update: Currently the operation of tours to the tower and museum entry has been paused. Check the website for the latest information. The gift shop is open, masks are required.
Discover Long Island on Instagram: “The historic Fire Island Lighthouse dates back to 1858, guiding ships for over a century to safe harbor. Today you can visit this shining…”
535 Likes, 2 Comments – Discover Long Island (@discoverlongisland) on Instagram: “The historic Fire Island Lighthouse dates back to 1858, guiding ships for over a century to safe…”
Sunken Forest The Sunken Forest, located in Sailor’s Haven, is a three-century year old holly forest with a pristine ocean beach. Ranger led walks are available five days a week throughout the summer, with barbeque pits and picnic tables that make for an epic day trip or an adventurous extended-stay.
LGBTQ+ Bohemian Haven The Fire Island Pines is one of two primarily gay communities that exuberates a bohemian lifestyle. Members of the world of fashion and design bring their upscale way of life to our sandy shores, making this particular town one of the most expensive real estate ventures. Don’t let that scare you away! Even if you take a trip in for the day and stay until the last ferry, the restaurants and bars in this haven are like no other. The latter of the two predominately gay communities on Fire Island, Cherry Grove was named after the grove of (you guessed it) wild cherry trees that were destroyed in a hurricane back in 1938. They are the first and only community to host an all-male “Miss Fire Island” beauty pageant, and they have sumptuous restaurants and hotels.