• 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 »

Lightscape / Night Sky

Silver moon in dark sky casts a shimmering reflection on the calm evening ocean.

Portions of Fire Island National Seashore provide opportunities to enjoy the night sky with minimal intrusion from artificial lighting. It's amazing how bright the stars can look on a clear moonless night. Or how big the moon can look as it rises over the ocean.

To best experience the night sky, Fire Island National Seashore offers opportunities for overnight stays at its Watch Hill and Sailors Haven marinas. Properly equipped boats may also anchor overnight within park boundaries in the Great South Bay. Camping is permitted at the walk-in Watch Hill Campground and by permit in the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness. Many of the Fire Island communities also provide rental opportunities or other lodging options for non-residents.

Late-night ferries to and from some of the Fire Island communities can provide a small window of opportunity to experience the island's night sky, but you have to carefully watch your time. Logistical details are a major part of life on Fire Island.

You may drive to either end of Fire Island, where parking is available at Smith Point County Park and at Robert Moses State Park. However, these parking lots may close sooner than you would like in order to watch the night sky. Again, paying attention to logistical details can help avoid problems that could put a damper on your enjoyment of the park.

 
Group walks to bayside beach in front of Fire Island Lighthouse, with moon rising in background.

In May and June, evening strolls are scheduled according to the full moon to watch horseshoe crabs as they come ashore to lay their eggs.

Fire Island National Seashore occasionally offers evening programs about astronomy and the night sky. Check program schedules for current opportunities.
 
At Fire Island National Seashore, as new facilities are constructed or as existing lighting is replaced, "Dark-Sky Approved" light fixtures are installed.
 

Learn More

Visit the National Park Service's Nature & Science web site to learn more about Natural Lightscapes.

 

Did You Know?

Hundreds of small, round, pearly-pink eggs lie scattered at water's edge beside horseshoe crab molt..

Horseshoe crabs come near shore on the full moon in May and June to lay thousands of eggs, which are a valuable food source for migrating shorebirds in spring and early summer. Occasionally, a perfectly-formed horseshoe crab molt can be found on the beach, shed as the young animal grows. More...