- Kismet - The westernmost village, a haven for singles and partiers that is now becoming more family oriented.
- Saltaire - A family oriented village featuring Clam Cove harbor. The village has many youth sport programs.
- Fair Harbor - Another family oriented community that appeals to creative artists as well.
- Dunewood - A totally planned and residential community. Group houses have been banned in order to preserve the family oriented atmosphere.
- Lonelyville - No longer a lonely place, but with some solitude.
- Atlantique - A very small village with no commercial services.
- Robbins Rest - Another small and relatively isolated place.
- Corneille Estates - A small place to the west of Ocean Beach that hosts the island's school.
- Ocean Beach Village - The main tourist destination and cultural center. Formerly known as "the Land of No" because of many rules to discourage tourism. However, in recent years the local rules have become more visitor friendly, designed to keep the Village as a Quality of Life Destination. The most important rules to obey are No Littering or Eating on the beach.
- Seaview - A beautiful residential area with the tallest trees and great walks. Also known as the suburb of Ocean Beach.
- Ocean Bay Park - One of the livelier villages thanks to Flynn's.
- Point O'Woods - Residents must have children, and have 99 year leases rather than ownership. Visitors not permitted.
- Cherry Grove - Once the gay "capital" of Fire Island, now a haven for lesbians, older gay men and those with an artistic flair.
- Fire Island Pines - For urbane gay men. A retreat from the real world, with "rolling boardwalks" and natural beauty and late night discos.
- Water Island - Small, quiet community on the narrowest part of the island.
- Davis Park - The most remote, most self-sufficient, birthplace of the "sixish". Tourism is allowed, there is a Town of Brookhaven beach in the middle of the community
- Watch Hill - The largest National Seashore complex with 3 mi (4.8 km) of boardwalks and a campsite. Tourists welcome.
- Sunken Forest at Sailor's Haven - A primordial holly forest crisscrossed with wooden walkways administered by the national park service
- Fire Island National Seashore —
There are no paved roads going to most of the island and vehicle traffic is not permitted in summer. A plan to create a paved road across the island resulted in such resistance that it was abandoned. Over the years each of the island's seventeen communities has developed its own unique personality. Several of the villages restrict access by tourists or do all they can to be unwelcoming of tourists. If you are visiting Fire Island, make sure you find the appropriate community to visit. In some cases, visiting the state parks, instead of the towns, might be a better solution. In addition to the state parks at either end of the island, public bathrooms and snack bars are in the National Seashore facilities at Atlantique, Sailor's Haven, and Watch Hill. Restrooms can also be found in Ocean Beach and Fair Harbor but may be hard to find.
Fire Island is home to many vacation communities on the western part of the island (Ocean Beach being the most populous, with the most restaurants and bars that make for an excellent day trip). The eastern part of the island is home to the largely gay communities of Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines.
It is advisable to bring an amount of cash with you on your trip to Fire Island as most businesses will only accept cash payment. (This includes parking, transportation fees to and from the island, on many of the small on island shops)
Note that most of these methods must be used in combination. For example, to reach Fair Harbor from Manhattan, you could take the LIRR, then a taxi from the train to the ferry, and then the ferry to the Island. The car methods mentioned are usually only good for day trips, and there is no way to get from the parking lots to the main parts of the island other than walking.
The island is located about 60 miles from Manhattan (the drive can range anywhere from 1-4hrs based on traffic. It averages about 1.5). You can fly into LaGuardia or Kennedy Airports in New York City or Islip MacArthur Airport on Long Island, then use a rental car, taxi, or train to your destination.
There are only two bridges to Fire Island. The Robert Moses Causeway on the western end of Fire Island leads to parking lots at Robert Moses State Park. The William Floyd Parkway leads to Smith Point County Park on the eastern end of Fire Island, where there are also parking lots (fees charged). Fire Island has no public roads.
- Tommy's Taxis, Phone: 631-665-4800, also goes direct from Manhattan. $18 (or $21 Sundays and holidays)
- Suffolk County Transit, Phone: 631-852-5200, . Operates bus routes to provide access to the island's gateway communities, but you'll have to walk or take a taxi to get to your destination.
- Long Island Rail Road, Phone: 631-231-5477, . Has stations are near three ferry terminals: Patchogue, Sayville, and Bay Shore. All have taxi service to the ferry terminals.
- Ferries to Fire Island depart from the following locations: Sayville and Bay Shore (villages of Islip) and Patchogue (a village of Brookhaven). Water taxis are available if you miss the ferry.
Fire Island Ferries, 99 Maple St, ☎ . Bay Shore. Year round to Ocean Beach, Fair Harbor, Dunewood, Atlantique, Kismet, Saltaire, Ocean Bay Park and Seaview.
- Sayville Ferries, 41 River Road. Year round to Cherry Grove, Fire Island Pines, Sunken Forest and Water Island.
- Patchogue Ferries, Phone: 631-475-1665. Mid March to November from two ferry terminals in Patchogue. Leaves from County Road 83 to Davis Park; and from County Road 19 to Watch Hill in the Fire Island National Seashore park.
- Many Fire Island sites can be reached by private boat from the Great South Bay, with marinas at Watch Hill, Sailors Haven and most island communities. The bay is shallow, and boaters occasionally moor offshore. When on Fire Island, water taxis can shuttle you from point to point.
Western Fire Island is reachable by ferry from Bay Shore on Long Island. Bay Shore is about an hour train ride on the Long Island Railroad from Manhattan, and the ferry ride from Bay Shore is another thirty minutes. Ferries to Ocean Beach from Bay Shore run about once every hour during the summer. Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines are reachable by ferry from Sayville. The easternmost community, Davis Park, is reachable by ferry from Patchogue.
There are three easy ways to get around on Fire Island. The first is to walk. The second is to use a bicycle. It should be noted, however, that not all areas have pavement or boardwalks to ride upon. Boardwalks and sidewalks sometimes end abruptly into sand so beware. The last way to get around on Fire Island is to use a boat. There are various water taxi services (if running) and a lateral ferry that runs during the peak of the vacation season.
Fire Island National Seashore, ☎ . Includes a wilderness area with backcountry camping by permit. Sunken forest on 40 acres. Seasonal campground.
Fire Island Lighthouse, ☎ . East of Robert Moses State Park.
Robert Moses State Park, ☎ . Western end of the island. Swim, surf, fish, picnic. Has an 18 hole pitch and putt golf course.
- Fishing and clamming
Fire Island Water Sports. Offers kiteboarding lessons, standup paddle lessons and tours, as well as a 5 day standup paddle children's clinic.
There are several nude beaches on Fire Island. In addition to the recognized nude beaches, discreet nudity is frequently practiced on isolated stretches of sand in between towns. Topless sunbathing, long legal in NY state, is found just about anywhere, other than in the busiest areas of town beaches.
- Lighthouse Beach. Not easy to get to without a car, it's about a mile walk from Kismet or a short stroll from Robert Moses Beach Field 5. Walk along the beach until you are just west of the lighthouse. From Robert Moses Field 5, walk eastward (towards lighthouse) along beach, or take a longer route by going to east end of the parking lot and look for the boardwalk. Along this nature trail you will intersect a dirt road. Go to the right on the road around a bend and to your right will be another boardwalk. This boardwalk leads directly to the nude beach. This is one of the most popular nude beaches in the U.S. A mix of straight and gay, singles and couples and some families. Like most US nude beaches, single males make up the highest percentage of beach users. Long Island RailRoad (LIRR) to Babylon and bus to Robert Moses Field 3, a long walk to the Lighthouse. By car: Southern State Pkwy to Robert Moses Causeway (Exit 40) south. Go to end, follow Robert Moses State Park signs. Bear left at traffic circle, park in Field 5.
A website with more information about Lighthouse Beach can be found at; http://www.travasuns.org/Travasuns/Home_page_Lighthouse_Beach.html
- Kismet Turn right when you get to the beach at Kismet and walk for 5 minutes towards the lighthouse. This beach is basically Lighthouse Beach East. It is an official nude beach with a big sign "Beyond This Point You May Encounter Nude Sunbathers" It's larger than Lighthouse Beach and not crowded. On the bay side there are two bar/restaurants ( the Inn and the Out) and a general store. Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to Bayshore and ferry to Kismet.
- Cherry Grove Cherry Grove has many shops, a few restaurants and 3 large bars with dancing. It's a very tolerant mix of gay women and men and a few straights and some families. The beach is a recognized nude beach. Probably less than half go nude but no one seems bothered either way. If you turn left at the beach and walk east between CG and the Pines, the beach is mostly nude (gay male). LIRR to Sayville and ferry to Cherry Grove.
- The Grove Hotel, Phone: 631-597-6600, . A popular place to stay.
- The Pines This is about 90% gay male. There is an inlet on the bay side for boats and it has many shops and some bars. The beach is nearly all male, although more and more families and mixed couples are showing up, particularly during the week. No more than 10-15% of the people go nude here except at the very ends, where there are more (see Cherry Grove section above). LIRR to Sayville and ferry to The Pines.
- Other Nude Beaches on Fire Island The 6-mile undeveloped stretch of sand between Smith Point and Watch Hill is virtually deserted and is perfect for nude sunbathing and beachcombing. You can literally walk for miles and not see a single person. Other isolated areas that have seen nude use include the area just west of Davis Park and the area between Cherry Grove and Sailor's Haven.
Maguire's Bayfront Restaurant, 1 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach, ☎ . Lunch and dinner bayside. $$$.
Matthew's Seafood House, 935 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach, ☎ . Lunch and dinner on the Great South Bay. Dockmasters available for boaters. No charge during the week if you spend up to 30$ in the restaurant, weekend rates apply. No water or electrical service. A market in front with fresh fish and groceries everyday. Famous for the Thursday night Margarita Madness where you get large 48oz fishbowls of margarita from 20$-40$ depending on your liquor choice. $$$$.
Island Mermaid, Ocean Beach, ☎ .
The Hideaway, 785 Evergreen Walk, Ocean Beach, ☎ . . Casual waterfront fine dining. Serving lunch & dinner. Dockage available. $$$.
Kismet Inn and Marina, Oak Walk, Kismet, ☎ .
Angelo's Town Pizza (We Deliver), Ocean Beach NY 11770, ☎ . 11AM - 11PM. Excellent pizza, with reasonable choice of toppings. Absolutely no atmosphere (only two small tables) or eat on the bench outside if weather permits. Later hours on weekends. Open only during the beachy season. In the village commercial area, adjacent to the Ocean Beach Post Office. $.
Flynn's, Ocean Bay Park, ☎ .
Rum JAC Rum, 68 Bay View Walk, Ocean Bay Park.
Hotels are seasonal (approx mid May-Oct) unless marked otherwise.
Cherry Grove Beach Hotel, Cherry Grove, ☎ . A gay favorite. Big party property with great pool. $40-$500.
Fire Island Hotel and Resort, 25 Cayuga Walk, Ocean Bay Park, ☎ . Rooms for 2-6 people. Restaurant, bar, pool, gift shop on premises.
The Palms Hotel, 168 Cottage Walk, Ocean Beach, ☎ . Claims to be the only hotel in Ocean Beach with central air conditioning. $150 (weekday, hall bath, off season) to $700 (3 bedroom, kit, liv rm, weekend in season).
SeaShore Condo Motel, Ocean Bay Park, ☎ . On the bay, A/C, private bath, satellite TV, some rooms have kitchenettes. Has suite that can sleep up to 6 with Kitchen.
Houser's Hotel, Ocean Beach, ☎ . Apr-Oct. Bayfront rooms available, A/C.
- Seven Seas Summer Sharehouse, 49 East Lighthouse Walk, Kismet, Fire Island. A share house catering to singles and couples ages 25-35. The house has 8 bedrooms and features a fitness studio, surfboards and gear, a movie screening area, and much more. Full information on the house can be found at http://kismetsevenseas.com.
Dune Point, ☎ . Historic Dune Point is the only oceanfront guest house in Cherry Grove.
The Appalachian Mountain Club Cabin, Atlantique, ☎ . For AMC member and guest only, mid-May to mid-Oct. Two 12-bunk dorms with mattresses, blankets & pillows (bring linens or sleeping bag). Dorms have communal kitchen, screened porch, library, decks, shared bathrooms, hot outdoor showers & outdoor BBQ.
- Fire Island National Seashore has tent sites and backcountry camping.
- Stay on marked trails so as avoid poison ivy and ticks. Deer ticks can be carriers of Lyme Disease. To protect yourself, wear insect repellent, dress in light colored clothing, and check carefully for ticks after exposure.
- Watch out for mosquitos at dusk. Either leave before dusk or make sure to use some powerful insect repellent. Mosquitos on Fire Island probably won't give you an illness, but it's never fun to get bitten up.
- Fire Island is located off the southern coast of Long Island.