Fire Island is a haven for everyone and a special place for the author - she met her husband here 35 years ago. A pencil-thin barrier beach 32 miles long, Fire Island extends from Robert Moses State Park in the west to Moriches Inlet in the east. The island runs parallel to the South Shore of Long Island and protects it from the forces of nature. Fire Island is no more than a half-mile wide from ocean to bay, so its 17 communities are side by side. The island is home to roughly 200 families year-round; most live in Ocean Beach or Kismet, where there is a year-round water supply. In the summer, thousands of sun-worshipers descend upon Fire Island; where they land depends on proclivity. Families, singles and gays (in Cherry Grove and the Pines) each have their own patch of heaven. Fire Island has no roads (with the exception of those in Ocean Beach, Robert Moses State Park and Smith Point County Park). Years ago, they would crowd onto the ferry on Friday nights, leaving their cars and cares behind. Their friends would be waiting at the dock with wagons to haul the weekend's worth of groceries they'd brought from the mainland. Thankfully, little has changed since then. Flynn's restaurant - then the only hangout in Ocean Bay Park - is still there! Once you step off the ferry, the modern world melts away. You are in a beachfront community with no traffic or tall buildings, where the only mode of transport is bicycles or water taxis. Among the parks and preserves here, the Sunken Forest is a wonderful place to visit in the summer and in early autumn when it's cool. This guide tells all about the parks, the places to stay, the restaurants, boating, biking, tennis, shopping - everything you need to know.
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