• 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

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Pet Restrictions in Effect March 15 through Labor Day

    Dogs/other pets (except for service animals) are not allowed in the wilderness or on any of Fire Island's federally owned oceanfront beaches from March 15 through Labor Day to help protect threatened and endangered beach-nesting shorebirds. More »

  • Backcountry Camping Permit and Access Procedures

    Reservations for required permits must be obtained through www.recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Watch Hill or points west, and involve a 1½ to 8 mile hike. More »

  • Attention Watch Hill Ferry Passengers

    Due to channel conditions, delay or cancellation of ferry service between Patchogue and Watch Hill may occur. For updated ferry schedule information, please call 631-475-1665.


Late autumn birdwatching along Watch Hill Nature Trail.
While birdwatching can be enjoyed throughout the year, late fall through early spring are the best times to linger along salt marsh trails.

Fire Island's barrier island habitats and location along the Atlantic Flyway make it a great place to find both resident and migratory birds.

The tidal marsh on the Great South Bay, especially at Watch Hill, is a good place to look for waterfowl, herons and egrets, and red-winged blackbirds.

The Sunken Forest, a mature maritime forest at Sailors Haven, provides dense cover for migrating warblers. Other birds, such as the Eastern towhee, can be heard rustling the leaves on the forest floor.

Near the Fire Island Lighthouse, the fall migration of hawks is monitored by the Fire Island Raptor Enumerators from September through mid-November.

Varied habitats of the William Floyd Estate include woods and fields, creeks and salt marsh, providing additional opportunities for bird watching.


Become a Citizen Scientist
Local Audubon Society groups participate in "citizen science" by conducting annual Christmas Bird Count censuses and the Summer Breeding Bird Census in parts of the park.

The National Audubon Society and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology sponsor an annual Great Backyard Bird Count in February. Participants can log on and get the easy-to-follow instructions and checklists needed to submit a report from their own backyard or local park or refuge. If Fire Island National Seashore is a part of your "backyard," join the count and provide your observations.

For the rare bird alert recording for New York City and Long Island Region (New York State Ornithological Association's Kingbird Region 10), phone

Long-legged shorebird walks over dune through beach grass.

Occasionally uncommon birds like the whimbrel are sighted in the park.

For More Information
Learn more about Fire Island National Seashore's birdlife online or join a guided bird walk. Several programs are scheduled during the spring and fall at the Fire Island Lighthouse, Wilderness Visitor Center and at the William Floyd Estate (Old Mastic).

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...