Getting to Fire Island is a breeze. Less than an hour ferry ride from Bay Shore, Patchogue, Sayville and Oakdale, the commute feels like a hop, skip and a jump to paradise. Once there, guests feel like they’re a world away. Fire Island treats visitors to ocean views, bay breezes, fruity cocktails and car-free weekends (it’s a bike-and-boat kind of place). The vacation vibes, epitomized at these nine places, make going much more difficult than coming back.
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Fire Island Hotel, Ocean Beach
This laid-back hotel epitomizes Fire Island chill. The rooms at the hotel, which served a lifeboat station in the 1900s, are basic but comfy—not that guests spend much time in them. Each has a private outdoor terrace (most boast ocean views), direct beach access, surfboard rentals, pools and a tiki bar and grill. Phone: 631-583-8000 | Address: 25 Cayuga Walk Click to Stay
The Palms Hotel Fire Island, Ocean Beach
A mere 3.3-mile ride from the ferry, The Palms Hotel embodies the word “vacation.” Rooms are painted in cheery colors like green or serene neutrals. But the chic hideaway is more than linens and paint. It’s a private beach with barbecue grills and a place to rent kayaks. Leaving without trying CJ’s Restaurant and Bar’s Rocket Fuel (Piña Coladas infused with vodka, tequila and 151-proof rum) is something of a faux pas. Phone: 631-583-8870 | Address: 168 Cottage Walk Click to Stay
Flynn’s, Ocean Bay Park
Flynn’s opened its doors in 1938 and has gone on to become as iconic as the Fire Island Lighthouse to those who frequent Ocean Bay Park. Walk through the doors of the waterfront eatery and enter a place where kids from 21 to 92 can dance like no one’s watching. Reggae band King Wellington will be back once again to put on a legendary Sunday Funday set. Phone: 631-585-5000 | Address: 1 Cayuga St. Click to Taste
Top of the Bay, Cherry Grove
Top of the Bay is known for serving up heaping portions of comfort foods and its gorgeous views. The boom boom shrimp are tender, creamy and spicy and the chicken Hawaiian, made with pineapples, is a vacation on a plate. The white table cloths provide a touch of elegance, while the blue napkins and gobblers keep the vibe laid-back and nautical. Click to Taste
The Pines Bistro and Martini Bar, Fire Island Pines
Laid-back fare on paper plates is the norm on Fire Island, but consider making one night out extra special. This restaurant is the Pines’ lone sit-down, dinner-only establishment, which is a good thing because the espresso martini tends to make patrons weak at the knees. Phone: 631-597-3598 | Address: 36 Fire Island Blvd. Click to Taste
Rachel’s Bakery, Ocean Beach
Sweet tooth cravings can come at any time, and when one is on vacation, satisfying them ASAP is a-OK (calories don’t count). Rachel’s, a shingled eatery along Bay Walk, is open 22/7, a God-send in an area known for dancing the night away. Speaking of God-sends, the gooey s’mores brownie is arguably more intoxicating than a Rocket Fuel. Phone: 631-583-9552 | Address: 325 Bay Walk Click to Taste
The Lighthouse, a short walk from Robert Moses State Park (Field 5)
I don’t have any real data on this, but I’d venture to say this lighthouse gives Montauk Point a run for its money when it comes to “Most Instagrammed Long Island Landmark.” Grab your SO and best buds for an elegant evening at the iconic building Saturday, Aug. 13. The 31st Annual Barefoot Black Tie Dinner Dance will include music by Tradewinds (and the Great South Bay) and a catered meal with a side of sunset. Phone: 631-321-7026 Click to Party
Sunken Forest Preserve, Sailor’s Haven
Saunter behind sand dunes for a peek at one of New York’s few mature maritime holly forests. The setting makes for a truly unique morning walk. Click to Explore
Cherry Grove Community House & Theater, Cherry Grove
The oldest continually operating gay summer theater in the United States, Cherry Grove Community House & Theatre is hailed as helping the town evolve into America’s first Gay and Lesbian Town. The theatre provided a creative and social haven for LGBT members in the 1940s and continues to provide impactful and colorful entertainment today. Address: 180 Bayview Walk Click to Explore
For more on Fire Island, be sure to check out Pulse’s Summer Guide, out this month.