The answer is simple: Yeah, you can go to Fire Island. But whether you have to do that is another matter. Cars are not allowed on most of the island – you can enter one of the two national parks, but you are not allowed to leave by car. The best option is to drive to the port of Long Island, take the ferry and walk to Fire Island.
From Long Island to Fire Island you can cross bridges at both ends to Robert Moses State Park and Smith Point County Park. The island cannot be entered or crossed and can only be reached on foot by ferry.
It takes about 2 hours to get from New York to Fire Island, even if you cross one of the bridges or take the ferry. Read on to learn more about how to get to Fire Island, famous for its incredible beaches, nature reserves and tranquil atmosphere.
Can I go to Fire Island?
You can drive to Fire Island National Parks, as well as the provincial parks at both ends of the island. However, vehicles are not allowed on the rest of Fire Island, and there are limited routes between destinations, all of which are reserved for emergencies or public transport. It is much easier to get to one of the three ferry ports that provide a regular and fast service to Fire Island.
Take one of those ferries to Fire Island.
The I-495 takes 90 minutes to reach the ferry ports from Fire Island to Bay Shore, Saville or Patchog in New York. The ferry from the ports of Fire Island takes 30 minutes, so on a good day a total of 2 hours can be transferred from New York to Fire Island.
A trip from New York City or further to Fire Island is usually faster and cheaper than a train or plane. You will need to find a parking space near the ports, but the driver will use public transport when you are not blocked to leave Manhattan.
How to get from New York to Fire Island
From New York City 60 miles or 1.5-2 hours from any of Fire Island’s three ferry destinations. But we’re talking about New York, so it really depends on where you started, how long it takes to get to Fire Island.
From the Brooklyn Bridge, take the I-278 E, I-495 E, Cross Island Parkway, South State Parkway towards Bay Shore, Sayville or Patchogue, depending on your destination, Fire Island.
Les baies, Saville and Patchog serve Fire Island with a 30 minute fast ferry for passengers.
To get to Robert Moses State Park or Smith Point County Park, you can cross one of the two bridges and park in State Park. You can’t leave the park in your car. The Robert Moses State Park is accessible via the Robert Moses Causeway and the Smith Point County Parky Parkway is accessible via the William Floyd Parkway.
The John F. Kennedy International Airport serves those who travel to Fire Island all year round.
If you are from the state or overseas, the nearest airport to Fire Island is John F. Kennedy International Airport. JFK is based in New York City and offers regular domestic and international flights all year round. A useful alternative is the Long Island MacArthur Airport, which is only four miles from the Bay Shore, but offers fewer flight options.
How long does it take to reach Fire Island?
The journey from New York City, the nearest major city to Fire Island, takes between 1.5 and 2 hours by car. It is calculated from the Brooklyn Bridge and does not require any traffic. During the holidays it can take much longer, because day trips and Long Island holidaymakers can cause longer traffic jams.
The ferry takes 30 minutes to travel from Bay Shore, Saville and Patchog to Fire Island.
New York to Fire Island Road
Before you leave for Tierra del Fuego, you should think about where you want to go in Tierra del Fuego. Depending on where you are going on the island, you can take a ferry from a different departure point.
Ferries to Fire Island leave from three cities on Long Island: Bay Shore, Saville and Pachog.
- Bay Shore operates a ferry service on Fire Island and is most suitable for the most western points of Fire Island : Ocean beach, Ocean bay, Saltair, Kismet, Fair Harbour, dune forest and sea view.
- Take the ferry from Sybil to Cherry Grove, Fire Island Pines, Sea Shelter and Wreck Forest.
- From Patchoga the ferry departs from Davis Park to Watch Hill.
From the Brooklyn Bridge in New York at 1-278E and I-495 direction Long Island. Take I-495 from Bay Shore Road (exit 53), take Saville (exit 59) on Lakeland Avenue and take Pachog (exit 63) from Pachog Holbrooke Highway, RD. The road from New York to Fire Island is well marked.
You’ll enjoy the scenic view of the Brooklyn Bridge before you even get to Fire Island.
What you need to know about driving on Fire Island
A trip from New York City to Fire Island takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, but depends on the point of departure, the time of day and whether it is a holiday or not.
On Fire Island itself it is not possible to reach the cities and beaches of Fire Island by car, you have to take one of the three ferries. The ferries depart in 30 minutes from Bay Shore, Saville and Pachog.
You can drive on Fire Island in two parks at each end, but you cannot leave the parks and drive across the island. However, after crossing Long Island, you can park at Robert Moses State Park or Smith Point County Park.
The ferries sail regularly in summer, but less often in winter.
The ferry can only be used with cash. At the time of writing, a one-way ticket costs $9 or a return ticket $17.
The ferries to Fire Island are for passengers only and there is a limit to the amount of luggage you can take on board.
If you’re staying on Fire Island for more than a few days and need to bring more than one weekend bag, you can ship some of your gear on cargo ships.
Fire Island is a seasonal place with warm summers and snowy winters. The island is closed in winter and most local businesses close before late spring. The best time to visit the islands of Fire is in summer, Monday to Friday, to avoid the crowds.
Fire Island is 31 miles long and 2 to 3 blocks wide (excuse us city dwellers, who measure nature in urban areas!) and has 18 very different communities, each with its own unique character.
Stuffed animals can accompany you to many parts of Fire Island, but during peak hours there are restrictions. Check it out before you bring your plush girlfriend.
The Fire Island Beach Walk is a 21 mile walking trail that starts at the Bay Shore and leads to Fire Island and back. The path is considered moderate and is mainly used for walking, hiking, running and birdwatching. Dogs are not allowed.
You can also visit the island from Robert Moses State Park on the west side of Fire Island via Saltaire, Cherry Grove and pine trees.
Bicycles and golf carts are, just like your own legs, the best way to get around Fire Island.