This Hidden Gem New York Island Is A Car-Free Getaway Known For Its Beautiful Beaches

New York, home to the most-filmed location in the world, is the city that never sleeps. Although there's plenty to love about New York City in particular, the hustle and bustle can be overwhelming sometimes. Luckily, there's an island close to home that provides relaxation and respite for those in need of a brief getaway: Fire Island. This island is only a 30-minute ferry ride from Bay Shore, Long Island. For reference, it takes about an hour to reach Bay Shore from New York Penn Station via the Long Island Rail Road. 


That said, there's a reason why reaching Fire Island by ferry is recommended. With some exceptions for residents, driving is mostly prohibited on the island. There are also no roads. That's because 26 miles of Fire Island — the island is only 32 miles long — encompass the Fire Island National Seashore. Simply put, the land is maintained by the United States National Park Service. Perhaps because of this protection, Fire Island — which you may have seen in the 2022 Hulu film of the same name — is renowned for its pristine beaches that offer the best of the best of the Atlantic Ocean. 

This includes Kismet Beach and Ocean Beach, both of which are praised on Tripadvisor for their beauty. Speaking about the former, one Tripadvisor reviewer wrote, "The beach is a beautiful long stretch of white sand with ocean waves. It's one of my favorite spots to enjoy the Long Island season." However, this is only the beginning of the laidback leisure one can experience on Fire Island.


Mellow attractions on Fire Island

In addition to Kismet Beach and Ocean Beach, Sailors Haven is a must-visit on Fire Island. This picturesque swimming spot is surrounded by greenery and is part of the Fire Island National Seashore. As such, there's a lifeguard on duty in the summer, so you can swim peacefully. It also features amenities like restrooms, picnic tables, a snack bar, and more. At Sailors Haven, visitors can even stroll a nature preserve known as the Sunken Forest via a wooden boardwalk. Reviewers on Tripadvisor highly recommend this activity, with one person writing, "We live to walk the sunken forest on our visits to Sailors Haven. The boardwalk paths take you on a tour of the lush green forest and lead you to the ocean. You will encounter animals in their habitat-deer, fox, coyote, birds." 


Want to explore Fire Island? While you might not be able to drive, you can bike with some restrictions, depending on the neighborhood. Just keep in mind that you'll need to rent a bike on Fire Island from Ocean Beach Hardware or another provider, as ferries heading to the island don't allow bikes. 

According to Tripadvisor, the top-rated attraction on Fire Island is the Fire Island Lighthouse (pictured), which dates back to the 1800s. Visitors can tour the historic structure's tower, perfect for taking Insta-worthy photos of the coastline's awe-inspiring views. Hours for the tours vary, with admission ranging from $5 to $10. There's even a free museum on-site.

Where to stay on Fire Island

A day trip to Fire Island from New York City is doable. However, if you want to reap the full benefits of the salty air and shining sun, consider staying for a few days. Fire Island has several lodging options, including the Palms Hotel Fire Island in Ocean Beach. Top-rated on Tripadvisor, it features a private beach, complimentary breakfast and bike rentals, pet-friendly rooms, and more. Uniquely, the Palms Hotel Fire Island features six different accommodations in Ocean Beach in the form of bungalows, cottages, apartment suites, and more. At the time of writing, visitors can expect to pay, on average, between $300 and $600 per night. 


Visitors can also book an Airbnb if they want to stay somewhere cozier. One guest favorite is the two-bedroom Charming Beach Cottage located in the Ocean Bay Park Beach neighborhood. The quaint property is minutes away from the shore and can accommodate up to four guests. Keep in mind that different ferries offer service to Fire Island from Long Island, including Fire Island Ferries and the Sayville Ferry Service. The former can take you to Ocean Beach or Kismet Beach, and the latter to Sailors Haven. Once you arrive, don't be afraid to explore; Ocean Beach is a village, so you can find several businesses to peruse, including gift shops and a grocery store for anything you need during your stay.


Want to discover even more little-known destinations? Check out the Georgia island that boasts endless trails and pristine beaches