Meet the wild side of Fire Island by pitching tent among the sandy dunes and salt marches.
Located across the Great South Bay from the south shore of Long Island, Fire Island stretches for 32 miles and is home to a diverse barrier island ecosystem, including numerous beaches, high dunes, and plenty of wildlife. The car-free island is home to 17 distinct resort communities, a lively party scene, and attractions such as the rare Sunken Forest and Fire Island Lighthouse, with most of the island protected by the Fire Island National Seashore. There are several camping options on the island itself, and plenty across the bay on the rest of Long Island—from beach camping and glamping to camping in forests and woodlands.
On the Island
You can camp on Fire Island. Enjoy tent camping and glamping sites at the Watch Hill Family Campground. Or head out to the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dunes Wilderness and pitch your tent in the backcountry. Those with an RV or trailer should head to Smith Point County Park, the only camping spot on the otherwise car-free island you can drive to.
Head across the bay to the Hamptons to see and be seen. Stay at the Cedar Point County Park in East Hampton for easy access to the glitz and glamour. For a more relaxed option, head to the eastern end of Montauk, where you can surf the waves or surf cast for striped bass and stay at the Hither Hills State Park Campground. For outer beach camping, head to Montauk County Park, Cupsogue County Park, or Shinnecock East County Park.
Explore the terroir of northeastern Long Island through its many wineries and farms, including one of the largest lavender farms in the country. Explore the many charming seaside towns, or play in the sand and surf before filling up on sea-to-farm-to-table cuisine. Stay year-round at the Indian Island County Park.
North and South Shore
If you can’t get enough of beaches, the south shore has you covered, with a 50-mile stretch of sandy options. For a change of pace, combine history and nature at Battle Row Campground in Old Bethpage. Other inland camping options include Blydenburgh County Park and Cathedral Pines County Park. Or head to the north shore to explore the opulent mansions of the Gold Coast and camp on the bluffs of Wildwood State Park.
Summer is the most popular time on Fire Island. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, ferries run regularly from the Bay Shore to the West End, Patchogue to Davis Park and Watch Hill, and Sayville to the East End. Late spring and early fall are great times to escape the crowds, though ferries and amenities are more limited. Many campgrounds on Long Island are only open seasonally, from April or May to September, October, or November. Winter is a good time for wildlife spotting, especially seals.