Fire Island National Seashore | PARK AT A GLANCE

Fire Island National Seashore

Fire Island National Seashore


Fire Island National Seashore protects the undeveloped areas of a barrier island located off the coast of Long Island in New York. The very eastern and western ends of the island are home to Robert Moses State Park and Smith Point County Park. The rest of the island is a mix of private residential communities and National Park Service property. When the National Seashore was created in 1964, seventeen beach communities existed on the island, and these were allowed to remain. The National Seashore itself is a mix of undeveloped beaches, dunes, maritime forest, and salt marsh.

The National Seashore is divided into five main units: the Fire Island Lighthouse at the western border, the Otis Pike Wilderness at the eastern border, and Sailors Haven and Watch Hill in the central section of the island. The fifth unit, the William Floyd Estate, is actually on Long Island. The Floyd Estate, Fire Island Lighthouse, and Otis Pike Wilderness are accessible by vehicle, while Sailors Haven and Watch Hill are best reached by ferry or private boat.

The main draw to Fire Island National Seashore is the beaches, but there are also a few short nature trails, two marinas, a tents-only campground, and the lighthouse, which is open for climbing. Backcountry camping is allowed in the Otis Pike Wilderness. Food and beverage service is available at Sailors Haven and Watch Hill, plus many of the private communities are within a mile walk of the National Seashore, and most welcome visitors to their restaurants and bars.


The grounds of Fire Island National Seashore are always open, but reaching Sailors Haven and Watch Hill requires a private boat or a long walk during the off-season because the ferries do not run at this time. The busiest times of the year are from the Fourth of July through Labor Day.

Hours for the Fire Island Lighthouse, Otis Pike Wilderness Visitor Center, William Floyd Estate, Sailors Haven Visitor Center, and the Watch Hill Visitor Center vary per season. For a schedule, see the National Park Service’s Operating Hours and Seasons web page for Fire Island National Seashore.


There is no fee to enter Fire Island National Seashore, but there is a fee for the ferry, camping, and boat slips at the marina. Also, though the Otis Pike Wilderness and the Fire Island Lighthouse can be reached by vehicle, the National Park Service property does not have a parking lot, so you must pay the daily entrance fee at Robert Moses State Park or Smith Point County Park to use their parking lots.


Fire Island Lighthouse and Museum
allow up to 2 hours

All other activities at Fire Island National Seashore are outdoor activities, so time spent depends on the individual.

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Last updated on May 29, 2020
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