Less than an hour on a ferry from Bay Shore, Patchogue, Sayville and Oakdale can take you to a whole different universe; one where the bay breeze is as refreshing as a fruity cocktail. Give the car a day or weekend off–Fire Island is a bike-and-boat kind of place. Pull a wagon to the local shops and stock up for a day spent sprawled out on the beach or out fishing.
Don’t forget to snap a photo of the iconic lighthouse and add one or two or nine of these places to go on Fire Island to your getaway itinerary. For a complete guide to summer living on Long Island, pick up a copy of Pulse’s summer almanac.
Houser’s Hotel, Ocean Beach
A bayside fixture since the bygone era, Houser’s Hotel is the longest running hotel-and-dining establishment on Fire Island. Houser’s has a dozen rooms, a place to dock your boat and fine dining at The Hideaway, where seafood like the pan seared sea bass is as flavorful as it is fresh. Go.
The Palms Hotel Fire Island, Ocean Beach
A 3.3-mile bike ride from the ferry, The Palms Hotel doesn’t just give guests a place to stay, it offers them a private beach with barbecue grills. Kayaks are also for rent in case you prefer being on the water to looking at it. Inside, the brightly decorated rooms add a couple more rays of sunshine to your summer escape and the Rocket Fuel (Piña Coladas infused with vodka, tequila and 151-proof rum) at CJ’s Restaurant and Bar is not to be missed. Go.
Flynn’s, Ocean Bay Park
Since Flynn’s opened its doors in 1938, visitors to Ocean Bay Park have had a very simple itinerary: get off the boat and head to 1 Cayuga Street. It’s a place where time stops, age is nothing but a number and Sundays are the new Saturdays. Come for Sunday Funday, and listen to the reggae tunes of King Wellington as you dip Blazin’ Buffalo Shrimp into bleu cheese. Go.
Rachel’s Bakery & Restaurant, Ocean Beach
Rachel’s Bakery & Restaurant provides a haven for sweetooths for 22 hours a day. Yes, that’s right. 22 hours a day. The shingled little eatery on Bay Walk serves up baked goods, coffee and breakfast daily from 6-4am. The gooey s’mores brownie is everything a midnight snack should be. Go.
Surfs Out, Kismet
Surfs Out, a hopping bayside joint, likes to say that summer solstice doesn’t kick off summer; their opening day does. Raise a glass, summer lovers, because they opened June 25. Dine al fresco under a table shaded by blue umbrellas and listen to live music every Saturday from bands like Rich Mahogany and Soul Patch. Go.
The Pines Bistro and Martini Bar, Fire Island Pines
The eating tends to be easy on Fire Island, but make one night a little extra special. The Pines Bistro and Martini Bar is the only sit-down dinner-only restaurant in the Pines, which is a good thing because you’ll want to be sitting down when you first taste the roast duck a l’Orange, an orange-glazed half roasted duck served with string beans and potatoes. Go.
Top of the Bay, Cherry Grove
From the moment you walk up the plank staircase at the Top of the Bay located in the heart of Cherry Grove, you’ll feel at home. The space is open and airy with large French windows offering gorgeous views of the Great South Bay. The food boasts an all-American flair. Think a 10oz bistro burger served on a brioche bun with seasoned fries and seared scallops with wild mushroom risotto, tomato bruschetta and aged balsamic. Go.
Sunken Forest Preserve, Sailors Haven
Hidden behind sand dunes, Sunken Forest Preserve is one of the few mature maritime holly forests in the state. It makes for a truly unique spot to bird watch or walk arm-in-arm down the boardwalk with that special someone. Go.
The Fire Island Lighthouse
Grab your main squeeze. The Fire Island Lighthouse is getting all dressed up for the 30th Annual Barefoot Black Tie Dinner Dance Aug 13. Enjoy dinner from Tradewinds as you take in a classic Fire Island sunset from the lighthouse terrace. Go.