USA, New York state . Fire island. Point O'Woods.Ocean side beach.
Fire Island National Seashore

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Fire Island National Seashore

Long Island

Federally protected, this island offers sand dunes, forests, clean beaches, camping (wilderness permits $25 obtained, hiking trails, inns, restaurants, 15 hamlets and two villages. The scenery ranges from car-free areas of summer mansions and packed nightclubs to stretches of sand where you’ll find nothing but pitched tents and deer.

Most of the island is accessible only by ferry and is free of cars – regulars haul their belongings on little wagons instead. You can drive to either end of the island (the lighthouse or the Wilderness Visitor Center) but there is no road in between. The island is edged with a dozen or so tiny hamlets, mostly residential. Party-center Ocean Beach Village and quieter Ocean Bay Park (take ferries from the Bayshore LIRR stop) have a few hotels; Cherry Grove and the Pines (ferries from Sayville) are gay enclaves, also with hotels.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Long Island attractions

1. Sunken Forest

1.87 MILES

This 300-year-old forest, a surprisingly dense stretch of trees behind the dunes, is easily accessible via a 1.5-mile boardwalk trail looping through it…

2. Fire Island Lighthouse

7.51 MILES

Built in 1858, the lighthouse stands near the west end of Fire Island. It's part of the designated national seashore, but accessible by car from Robert…

3. Robert Moses State Park

8.95 MILES

Robert Moses State Park, one small part of Fire Island accessible by car, lies at the westernmost end and features wide, soft-sand beaches with mellower…

4. Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium

22.54 MILES

See how shipping magnate 'Commodore' Cornelius Vanderbilt lived in his Eagle's Nest 19th-century mansion, or take in a planetarium show (Friday and…

5. Jones Beach State Park

24.45 MILES

Jones Beach is 6.5 miles of clean sand covered with bodies. Its character differs depending on which ‘field’ you choose – for example, 2 is for the…

6. Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

26.91 MILES

This is where president Theodore Roosevelt and his wife raised six children. A nature trail from behind the museum ends at a picturesque beach. The 23…

7. Big Duck

29.43 MILES

Yep, that was a 20ft cement bird you just passed on the highway, crafted in 1931 as a fitting tribute to the island's long-gone waterfowl-breeding…