Fire Island is considered a gay mecca of sorts. Located off the southern shore of Long Island, New York, this Atlantic Ocean barrier island is home to a thriving seasonal resort-like gay community. Every summer, this island’s population explodes with LGBT people and their allies from the New York City metro area and all around the world.
Most LGBT people stay either in Pines or Cherry Grove, both of which have no roads. Instead, each town has boardwalks which can be used to get from point A to point B and so on. There are no cars in either town except for municipal vehicles and only one dirt road. This makes for quiet days and nights…and great star viewing as well.
It’s a special place because of its acceptance of the LGBT Community and it seems time has stood still in regard to the small-town ambiance. As a result, the environment is different than other gay towns such as PTown (my personal favorite).
Here are 6 tips/things you should know about Fire Island.
1) Stay in Pines or Cherry Grove
Fire Island is home to a few towns but as an LGBT person, Pines and Cherry Grove will be your best. These towns have no roads, as previously mentioned, so you’ll need to walk your luggage etc. to your house. Pines seems to be the town where most the younger LGBT crowd prefers to stay while Cherry Grove seems to appeal more to an older crowd (and lesbians). However, there are practically no bars in Pines. Most people head to Cherry Grove…via walking…to party the night away.
3) Bring All Food and Other Items You’ll Need
Remember, the “island” part of Fire Island is very applicable here. If you are staying in Pines, your options for groceries, alcohol, and other items become very slim. What you will find are pretty exorbitant prices for things you would never pay a lot for on the mainland. Whatever you can’t find, you can place an order for and have it delivered to the mainland dock. Then the ferry will bring it across for you. Just remember…this will cost ya.
4) Explore Nature
Fire Island is known for its party scene and gay boys and girls love to party. But it’s also home to some pretty unique natural wonders you can explore. Robert Moses State Park is located at the westernmost tip of Fire Island and home to a historic lighthouse. Smith Point Park is the largest oceanfront park on the island and is filled with activities for exploring the great outdoors. No matter where you are, be sure not to disturb the deer. They aren’t afraid of humans because hunting is not permitted on the island. This doesn’t mean you should pet them…they are wild animals after all. Not to mention, they’re covered in fleas and ticks…gross!
There will be party after party while you visit Fire Island. If you go for Pines Party, the level of partying could increase exponentially. Whether it’s at a house or at a bar…partying is inevitable. But make sure to sleep. Take time to relax. The island is great for that and you’ll enjoy the wild times even more if you take care of yourself.
6) Approach the Meat Rack…Cautiously
The Meat Rack, as it is referred to colloquially, is the forest between Pines and Cherry Grove. If you plan to go from one town to the other, you have to walk through this forest. The forest has no real paths and is not lit so you just have to figure your way out through it. Not only that, it is a place where raves are sometimes held (which can be loads of fun) and serves as a cruising area for gay men (which I guess could be fun too if you are looking for that). It is so dark that sometimes you can’t help but walk into cruising situations. So be cautious as you make your way through the Meat Rack.