• Miles of uncrowded white sandy beaches extend to the horizon, separating the clear blue ocean and undulating grass-covered dunes.

    Fire Island

    National Seashore New York

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  • New Backcountry Camping procedures

    Reservations for required permits must be obtained through Recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Davis Park or access points west, and involve a 2½ to 10 mile hike. More »

History & Culture

Fire Island's maritime history precedes colonization of Long Island. Native Americans hunted and fished in the vicinity long before Colonial settlements were established. The economy and life patterns of residents have centered around the Great South Bay and Fire Island since the area was first settled.

The whaling industry, the era of the U. S. Life Saving Service, shipwrecks, habitation of the island, and the local fishing industry are some of the stories you may learn about at the Fire Island Lighthouse.

Fire Island has a long heritage of waterfowl hunting and the shellfishing industries on the Great South Bay. Hotels and resorts later followed on Fire Island.

Seventeen communities had been developed on Fire Island before the establishment of the park. When Fire Island National Seashore was established in 1964, its enabling legislation stated that these communities and preexisting commercial uses would be allowed to remain, as long as development was consistent with specific zoning standards.

  • History of Fire Island's Communities

Fire Island National Seashore also includes the ancestral home of one of New York's four signers of the Declaration of Independence: the William Floyd Estate. Here you may learn about the Revolutionary period, Long Island's settlement and its early estate and plantation economy.

As the nation reflects on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861-1865), we find there are connections to Fire Island National Seashore. Revolutionary War General William Floyd's great-great-grandson served in the Civil War, and his first-hand accounts are shared through letters back home to Old Mastic.

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Learn More

Many local libraries and museums contain historic photographs and collections about Fire Island and the properties now included within Fire Island National Seashore.

Did You Know?

Close-up view of roots and sand grains beneath golden stems.

Tiny rootlets of the American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata) and mycorrhyzal fungi hold together the grains of sand that make up sand dunes on Fire Island. You can help protect the dunes by not walking or driving over the beach grass. More...