Fire Island is one of the gems of Long Island. Boasting miles of sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, beautiful sunsets, indigenous plants and vegetation and various types of wildlife, it is a vacation destination for many Long Islanders during the summer months and a great place to visit all year round. It is a fact that if you live on Long Island you know about Fire Island’s stunning and natural beauty, great vacation spots and rich maritime history; but did you know that Fire Island is also a national natural landmark?
Fire Island National Seashore is a national park listed by the United States National Park Service. So what’s so great about this? A national park is defined as a section of land that has been acquired by the United States government as a means of preservation for both land and the animals that are indigenous to the area the park encompasses. National parks are protected land and they cannot be developed. The good news is that the Fire Island seashore will be protected for many generations to come!
The Fire Island National Seashore boasts miles of beautiful beaches and includes many scenic areas to visit. Some of the highlights of this nationally protected area include:
Robert Moses State Park
Attached to the mainland by the Robert Moses Causeway, this state park offers incredible beaches, surfing, fishing, public parks, and facilities. Robert Moses is the perfect escape for day-trippers as it can be reached by car.
Fire Island Lighthouse
The Fire Island lighthouse is located at the western end of the Fire Island National Seashore, just east of Robert Moses State Park. It is a symbol of the rich nautical tradition and history of Long Island. The original lighthouse was built in 1826 and was an important landmark for transatlantic ships coming into New York Harbor at the turn of the century. For many European immigrants, the Fire Island light was their first sight of land upon arrival in America. The light house is open all year round and visitors can climb to the top of the tower and experience the amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean and Fire Island.
Sunken Forest is located in Sailor’s Haven and it is one of the few remaining maritime forests on the eastern seaboard. It features over 40 acres of natural forest and wildlife. The forest features holly, bayberry, blueberry, sassafras, and shadblow trees that are estimated to be well over 200 years old and have been twisted and shaped by the constant salt spray. Sunken Forest earned its name because it appears to be below sea level. Guided tours are available during the summer months.
Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness
The Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness is the only federally designated wilderness in the State of New York. This protected area offers rustic camping opportunities and hiking trails through the wilderness. Fishing is allowed and bluefish, striped bass, and winter flounder are abundant. Many species of wildlife attract bird watchers, wildlife viewers, and nature lovers, alike.
Whether you visit for the day, or spend a week, a month, or the entire summer, the Fire Island National Seashore is a place that you will never forget.