Fire Island National Seashore
Fire Island is one place with many destinations. Resort communities abound and natural wonders entice, but a major part of the island falls within the U.S. National Park Service’s protection as a national seashore.
Boaters are a common sight in the Great South Bay on summer weekends. Many are flocking to Talisman, Sailors Haven, and Watch Hill. (Motorboats, sailboats, and kayaks are permitted along the seashore, although jet skis are not.)
Located near the center of Fire Island National Seashore, across the Great South Bay from Bayport and Sayville, Talisman is a largely undeveloped area, making it ideal for those seeking a relaxing place to spend the day. There’s a dock for boaters to load and unload only — boats must anchor in the Great South Bay. The only amenities are seasonal restrooms and picnic tables.
Sailors Haven offers not only a beautiful beach, but also a chance to visit the Sunken Forest, a globally rare ecological community. The forest has a trail to hike and a beautiful tree canopy to catch some shade. A 45-slip public marina sits next to the Sunken Forest, with electricity (some slips don’t have electricity), water, a free pumpout station, restrooms, and cold-water showers. Ranger-guided interpretive programs are available and lifeguards are on duty during the summer.
Watch Hill, on the western edge of the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, is directly across the Great South Bay from Patchogue. According to Elizabeth Rogers, public affairs specialist of the Fire Island National Seashore, Watch Hill is under construction and closed through late summer 2017 — they are replacing electrical and lighting systems, and adjacent bulkhead and boardwalk at the marina. “We appreciate your patience while the marina is under construction. Together with the Federal Highways Administration, the National Park Service is replacing marina components damaged by Hurricane Sandy. This project will make the marina more resilient to future storms,” says Rogers.
Plan to visit in 2018, as it’s a great day trip for boaters. There’s a visitor center, a family campground, ranger-led interpretive programs (including free guided canoe trips), a 182-slip transient marina with water, electric, and a pumpout station. There’s also a restaurant, convenience store, snack bar, self-guiding nature trail, picnic area, lifeguards in summer, and restrooms.
May I take my dog? Is camping permitted?
Answers to these questions can be found at: https://www.nps.gov/fiis/planyourvisit/pets.htm