With beach season right around the corner, New Yorkers of all ages will be swarming over to Fire Island, located three miles off the shore of Long Island. You will have to ditch the car for the day, and opt for a private boat, ferry, water taxi, bike, or gulf cart to get around the 32-mile-long island; making it that much more unique. Imagine: no honking, no traffic, no cars whizzing by; just a friendly atmosphere and relaxing fun for all. From historic landmarks, to ancient maritime forests and diverse wildlife, there’s so much more to Fire Island than ocean and sand. This island is full of hidden gems for all to discover, and we are revealing a few of Fire Island’s family-friendly treasures below!
32 miles of island may be a lot for the family to try and discover on their own, especially with the little ones. Not to worry, becuase the Fire Island National Seashore’s Fire Island Trek offers families a unique opportunity to explore every aspect of Fire Island on a guided tour! During the ranger-led journey, participants will experience areas of the island that show a mix of the coastal life, animals, and plants unique to the island. The entire family can experience it all, and of course don’t forget to snap pictures a long the journey to create lasting memories. All ages. Please call 631-687-4780 for more information on pricing and days that the trek is offered. Visit the website for general information. nps.gov
Fire Island National Seashore
You can’t go to Fire Island without visiting this famous lighthouse, which offers stunning views of the island from the top and a glimpse of marine life in the ocean below. The Fire Island Lighthouse area features exhibits, a nature trail, interpretive programs, and more. The museum building, which stores the oldest lights from the lighthouse and the remnants of the original lighthouse, is located just outside the museum. Children can learn the history of the lighthouse through children’s programming, and kids over 42 inches tall will enjoy taking the trek up the lighthouse. Tower tours for the entire family are available until one hour before closing. All ages. Adults $7; Seniors, military, and children 12 and under $4. Open daily, 9:30am-5pm, hours subject to change seasonally. fireislandlighthouse.com
Fire Island National Seashore
You don’t have to travel half way across the world to experience a rare and unique forest! Visit the Sunken Forest located in Sailors Haven, which was ranked as “globally rare,” meaning there’s only a hand full off the forest’s assemblage of plants throughout the world. This summer you can visit this rare habitat by Sayville Ferry, private boat, and foot only. Take a family walk along the trails on a ranger-guided tour, or if the kids rather comb the beach for sea shells–that’s always an option, too. Sailors Haven offers a visitor center, snack bar/convenience store/gift shop, picnic tables and grills, life-guarded beach (summer only), a 45-slip public marina with electricity, and more. Experience something completely unforgettable at Sailors Haven. All ages, seasonal dates and hours. Please visit website for more information on pricing and dates. sailorshaven.com
1 William Floyd Pkwy
Looking for a nice place to spend a summer evening? The Smith Point County Park provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities and services for families! The park offers wonderful views of of the oceans and bays, live music, scuba diving, a snack and bar beach hut, a playground for the kiddos, and more! There are plenty of activities for the entire family to enjoy. Whether you want to do a little family fishing or enjoy a picnic and relax with the family, the Smith Point County Park has it all. If you have already enjoyed a day of fun on Fire Island, head over to this park as a last destination to watch a beautiful sunset! All ages, general admission free. Open seven days/week from 8:30am-3:30pm. Please visit the website for more information. suffolkcountyny.gov
Looking for a way to celebrate Independence or Memorial Day? Take a trip to the William Floyd Estate–the National Historic site of the home of William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence for New York. Tours of the home and grounds are available from Memorial Day till Veterans Day. The entire family can walk through 25 rooms and more than 250 years of American history through these tours. Exhibits are available throughout the house, including historical photographs of the William Floyd Estate and the Floyd family. The Old Mastic House is filled with furnishings accumulated by eight generations of Floyd family members. School might be out for the summer, but kids will get an awesome history lesson through interpretive and education programs. All ages, free. Tours offered every half-hour from 10am-4pm Friday through Sunday and holidays from Memorial Day to Veterans Day. Visit the website for more information. nps.gov
Living in world run by technology can be a little overwhelming, and sometimes it’s nice to just disconnect and plug back into nature! Take a staycation at the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, which offers camping opportunities, hiking, fishing, scenic views, abundant wildlife, and much more! This National Park Service facility is open year-round and is accessible by car. Please be sure to check the website for hours of operation. wilderness.net
After a long day in the sun, cool off with a delicious frozen treat from Long Island’s beloved ice cream spot, Scoops! With an assortment of different flavors, including Hershey’s, New Yorkers of all ages will be flocking over to this local shop. Whether you decide to get it before you begin your journey on fire island, save it as a delicious treat before taking the Fire Island Ferry back to Manhattan, or decide to sit near the pier eating your ice cream while watching the sunset, you can never go wrong with homemade cream. Plus, it’s a hit for the kiddos! They do not have a website, so stop by their location for further information.