What is Fire Island National Seashore like in winter?
Winter offers visitors the opportunity to experience a side of the Seashore most summer beachgoers miss. Nature lovers enjoy birding and botanizing behind the dunes this time of year without pesky ticks and mosquitoes. Many waterfowl come just for the winter months, dabbling and diving in the Great South Bay, while Snowy Owls can be seen searching tall grasses for their small mammal prey. Powerful winter storm waves leave behind tiny treasures on the beach, like shells and sea glass, drawing beach combers from near and far. And, when the snow is sufficient, some folks will even cross-country ski by the sea!
Hardy hikers delight in the three-mile round-trip hike to the breach, an opening in the barrier island created by Hurricane Sandy. This ranger-guided walk through undulating back dune habitat and across the windswept beach explores New York's only federally designated wilderness.
Are there entrance fees at Fire Island National Seashore?
There are no entrance fees on Fire Island. However, you should plan to pay for parking and/or transportation fees for most places on Fire Island.
How do I get to Fire Island?
You can drive to the Fire Island Lighthouse or to the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness on either end of Fire Island National Seashore, but you can't drive the length of the island. Mid-island attractions like Watch Hill, Sailors Haven, and Fire Island communities may be accessed by passenger ferry or private boat. Water taxis run during the season and are a means to get from one place to another on Fire Island.
Learn more about getting to Fire Island
How do I get to the Fire Island Lighthouse?
Please note that some mapping services mistakenly direct visitors to the opposite end of Fire Island to access the lighthouse. The Fire Island Lighthouse is located on the west end of Fire Island, adjacent to Robert Moses State Park and may be accessed year-round by vehicle.
- From 495 take exit 53S to Sagtikos Parkway to Southern State Parkway (2 exits)
- From Southern Parkway take exit 40S
- From Sunrise Highway take exit 41S Robert Moses Causeway
At the Robert Moses water tower proceed east to Parking field #5. There is a parking fee at certain times of the year. Please note that on busy summer days there can be a delay getting to the park due to the high volume of traffic. Park on the east side of the parking field and follow the boardwalk right to the lighthouse.
GPS Coordinates: Latitude, 40° 37' 53" North Longitude, 73° 12' 51" West
Where can I camp on Fire Island?
There are a variety of camping options on Fire Island.
You may carry your gear into the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness from Watch Hill for a "backcountry" or "wilderness" camping experience either on the beach or behind the dunes, depending on the time of year. Most backcountry campers take a passenger ferry from Patchogue on Long Island to access the wilderness. Reservations are required
and a small fee is charged to process the permit.
There are also campgrounds with restroom facilities and campground stores nearby. There is a family campground at Watch Hill, accessed by passenger ferry or private boat; and a campground at the Smith Point County Park that can accommodate tents or trailers and is accessible by vehicle.
Learn more about camping
on Fire Island.
What can I do for fun on Fire Island?
Fire Island is yours to explore! In season, you may swim, surf, sunbathe, fish, hike, and much, much more
. From mid-October through mid-May, visitors enjoy a hiking, beach combing, photography, and indoor and outdoor ranger-guided programs.
Are dogs allowed on Fire Island?
Pets are permitted on Fire Island in many places. However, from May 15 through Labor Day, pets are not permitted on ocean beaches and in wilderness.
Can I drive on the beach?
Motorized off-road vehicle (ORV) use is permitted in limited National Park Service areas on Fire Island. Recreational ORV driving is permitted by the Seashore seasonally from the Wilderness Visitor Center, with a current valid Fire Island National Seashore Sportsman's Vehicle Permit.