Times to Visit: Winter
Although at times extremely cold, if you're properly prepared you can experience a different beauty on Fire Island. The landscape can sometimes be covered in a blanket of white snow with barren branches encased in ice and glistening in the sun. Keep in mind, however, that very few public facilities are open on Fire Island during the winter, and those that are open usually keep shorter winter hours.
Most seals on the beach are merely resting. For their welfare and for your safety, never get too close or disturb them.
White-tailed deer sport their dull winter coats. Snowy owls are occasionally spotted near the beach. Sightings of seals and even the occasional whale have been reported. Seals occasionally bask on the winter beach.
Newly-finished Barrett Beach dock in November 2003.
Occasionally, the bays on the south shore of Long Island freeze over.
Already limited winter ferry service to Fire Island communities may then be suspended.
When winds blow hard from the north, ice can pile high and wreak havoc on bayside structures and facilities like piers and docks.
Barrett Beach dock after severe ice-over in February 2004.
For your safety, most Fire Island National Seashore island-based facilities are closed during the winter.
Open year-round the Fire Island Lighthouse offers many indoor exhibits that explore the topic of maritime history. Educational programs may be scheduled year-round.
Did You Know?
The Patchogue-Watch Hill Ferry Terminal is a short, 2-block walk from the Long Island Railroad Station in Patchogue, New York. From there, you can enjoy a delightful 25-minute passenger ferry trip across the Great South Bay to the facilties at Watch Hill. (Open mid-May to mid-October only.) More...