This past June, some friends of ours were kind enough to invite us out to their summer house on Fire Island, NY. For those unfamiliar with Fire
Island, it’s a long narrow island along the south shore of central Long Island, accessible only by ferry boat. Fire Island has a robust singles scene, but also has a side that is very family oriented and quiet. This is the side of the island that we were going to.
Half the fun of Fire Island is the journey there, a ferry! Parking at the dock in Bay Shore, NY can be limited, and on holiday weekends especially, that lot can fill up fast. Fortunately for us, the weekend we went, there were no major events in Fire Island, and it was not a holiday weekend. Once that lot fills, you are pretty much forced to park at the Bay Shore train station or a local college, and then take a cab ride to the dock or walk the 2 miles or so. This can be especially difficult if you have a lot of luggage, or little kids with you. Assuming you do manage to get a spot, and get to the dock with all in tow successfully, it becomes very clear very fast that the fun is about to begin. There are about 5 ferry boats at this location, each one heading to a different part of the Island. We found our ferry to Dunewood, and boarded. The ferry does allow small collapsible wagons, and 1 or 2 pieces of luggage a person. Bikes, large coolers, crates, and boxes are not allowed, due to limited room. These items must travel on a specific freight ferry during the week, which can make things a little tricky for the casual renter, looking to enjoy
just a weekend. The main mode of transportation on the island is bike, so its definitely important to plan in advance if you are hoping to do some biking on your weekend getaway.
We met up with our friends, got our stuff on board, and before long we were asea! The ride to Dunewood is about 30 minutes, and we had sunset timed perfectly! The water was not that rough, and it was a pretty smooth ride. The kids all had a blast, and were super eager to get to the island and hit the beach before dinner. We arrived at the dock, collected our stroller, luggage, and small cooler bag, and began the 5 minute walk to our friend’s house. We had been there a few years ago as well, when the kids were just infants, so we had a pretty good understanding of our surroundings, and our friends of course, made us feel right at home. We unpacked, and with the sunset in full swing, quickly headed over the b
each, maybe 300 feet at most from the house. Shoes and socks are quickly lost, and we were skipping rocks and looking for crabs. The kids were a mess, but were having a blast, and who are we to stop the kids from skipping rocks and playing. This was on the inside bay part of the island, not the ocean facing side, so there were no waves, and the water pretty clear. My wife and I took this moment to get a rare sunset selfie!
After the sun was down, we headed back to the house for some grillin’ and chillin’. The parents enjoyed ribs and chicken, and the kids enjoyed some hot dogs and burgers. We spent the next hour or so watching some family friendly movies, and off to bed we went. The next morning after breakfast, we headed down to the ocean side of the island. My kids are no stranger to the beach, but each time they are on a beach, it’s the same excitement as though they are seeing it for the first time. We shlepped A LOT of stuff. Towels, chairs, food, drinks, kites, pails, shovels, wiffle ball bats and balls, and just about every possible beach toy imaginable.
After a couple hours on the beach, it was time to head back for lunch. Following lunch, the kids decided that they wanted to go fishing. Sadly though, the fish weren’t biting. That, or we just were using bad bait. Either way, they did not seem to mind.
After our non-success at the dock we all took about a 15 min walk into the small town, where we were able to pick up some needed items for dinner, and of course, ICE CREAM! We watched the ferry come and go, and got pretty messy. From there, we made our way to a beautiful playground right on the water, where another hour of time seemed to just melt away.
After a day of beaching, fishing, playgrounding, and ice creaming, we were all ready for dinner, and made a bbq that would some real Memphis bbq’s to shame. The kids passed out pretty early, and after a couple glasses of wine, the parents were not far behind. We woke up the next morning, had breakfast, took another walk on the beach, and then caught an early ferry home. The kids were finishing up their last week of school, and from the time we left, it would take about 3 hours until we got back to our home.
All in all, we had a wonderful weekend. Great friends, great weather, great food, great fun! Fire Island can be a bit of a challenge to
get to, but once there, you’d be hard pressed to find a prettier, more relaxing beach on Long Island, where all the neighbors are friends, everyone is calm and relaxed, and the beaches go on for miles and miles. I never quite made it as a single to Fire Island, but I’m perfectly content enjoying it as a dad with my wife and kid. Until the next adventure……