Getting to Fire Island may seem a bit daunting, and while it is a bit of planes, trains, and automobiles, once you have your bags packed and know what time your train to Sayville departs, it’s all pretty easy.
Coming from NYC
Step 1 – Get on the train! Take the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station (or Atlantic Terminal if you’re in Brooklyn, Jamaica Station if you’re in Queens) to Sayville. Most trains out of Penn Station will require you to switch trains along the way, usually at Babylon or Jamaica Station. The second train will almost always be right across the platform, so don’t stress that you’re going to miss your connection. The train ride usually takes 90 minutes to two hours, and costs $13.75 during off-peak periods or $19 during peak times, each way (prices subject to change!).
Download the MTA e-Tix app on your phone, which lets you buy tickets in advance and activate them when you get on. Train Time is another useful app to keep tabs on the train schedule.
Step 2 – Take the shuttle. During the summer months, Colonial Transportation runs shuttles from Sayville train station to the Ferry terminal. They charge $5 for a one-way ride (make sure to have cash), and their vans/buses are big enough to transport your luggage. The ride takes about 5 minutes to get from the train station to the ferry.
Step 3 – Get on the ferry! Sayville Ferry Service runs boats to the Pines and Cherry Grove, with the frequency of boats changing depending on the time of year. Make sure to look at the schedule in advance, as there are some trains that don’t connect well with the ferry schedule…which means you’ll be hanging out at the bar waiting for the next boat, with a cocktail of course. You can use a credit card to buy tickets, and it’s $18 r/t. The ferry schedule is posted here, and changes throughout the season. Ferry Schedule
Car Service / Driving – You can drive directly to the Ferry and park your car in their paid parking lot. The address is 41 River Road, Sayville NY 11782. Lyft/Uber can get you to Sayville with no issue, but just beware that Long Island traffic on the weekends can be really bad, so taking the train is usually faster than driving, and certainly a lot cheaper.
Coming from Out of NYC
Making a Fire Island trip from outside of the city is not as daunting as it sounds. Once you’ve arrived at LGA, JFK, EWR, or Penn Station, you can basically follow the instructions above.
If you can find a good flight, Macarthur Airport in Islip (ISP) puts you 15 minutes away from Sayville, and the best part is you fly right over Fire Island and get an incredible view of the beach!
La Guardia Airport – the airport has terrible public transport options. Your best bet is to get in a cab/Lyft and get dropped off at Jamaica Station, where you can catch an LIRR train to Sayville.
JFK Airport – JFK is linked to Jamaica Station via the Air Train, after which you can take a train direct to Sayville.
EWR Airport – take the AirTrain into Penn Station, and connect there to an LIRR train heading to Sayville!
Penn Station – If you’re taking Amtrak into Penn Station, all you have to do is walk over to the LIRR tracks and get on a train to Sayville!
Macarthur Islip Airport – As mentioned above, the airport is very close to Sayville. Hop in a taxi or Lyft and you’ll be at the ferry terminal in 15 minutes.
What to Bring
Packing for a trip to the Pines can be as complicated or easy as you want.
Day time at the pool or the beach requires whatever you’re comfortable wearing, or not wearing anything at all (parts of the beach are nude-friendly!). Most guys are in a cute speedo or swimsuit, but there is no official dress code for the beach!
Most people show up to Low Tea (aka the first hours of happy hour) in something a bit more ‘formal’ – think shorts and a tank top or t-shirt, but that’s about as formal as you need to get. That being said, Tea (Low, Middle and High) is your best chance to see and be seen, so if you brought your new heels or mesh crop top, this is your time to wear it.
Throughout the summer, there are a variety of theme parties and events that you’ll want to dress up for, and you’ll almost always catch a house full of boys showing up to tea in coordinated crop tops or a very un-planned drag outfit of clothes and wigs from their house’s drag closet (yes, almost every house has a closet full of drag outfits, even if they won’t admit it!).
And because the weather can go from sunshine to rain in under a minute, bring a hoodie and an umbrella along just in case…
While the Pines Pantry and the Grove Market in Cherry Grove stock basically anything you might need, from groceries to sunscreen, essentials can be much more expensive than on the mainland. Bring your sunscreen, toiletries, and other essentials from home, and bring a decent amount of cash as well. There are ATMs on the island, and all of the venues usually accept credit cards, though on occasion (like the 4th of July, for example) the bars go to cash only. Other services like the Fire Island Water Taxi only take cash (though they have an app now though that you can use for payments!).
Check out our page on restaurants and dining options. If you’re planning to stay in one of the hotels, or just are too lazy to cook, you have a few options for food, with the best option by far being the deli inside the Pines Pantry. If you’re staying in a house and know how to cook, you can buy very good produce and groceries on the island, though at a slight markup from mainland stores (everything is imported!).
You can also get Peapod delivered to the island, which is actually quite easy. You set up an account on Peapod, have the groceries delivered to Coastline Freight, and they’ll bring it across from Sayville to Fire Island on one of their scheduled ferries. You can pick up your groceries yourself at the harbor, or pay extra and have Coastline deliver everything all the way to your house. Just be careful to set up your delivery date as far in advance as possible, to make sure they don’t run out of spots!
The Pines Liquor Shop is right next to the Pantry (everything in the Pines is right next to each other) and the Cherry Grove Liquor store is right in the middle of town. Both are well-stocked, with fair prices on alcohol. The Pines Liquor shop will often give a discount if you purchase a case, and will deliver direct to your house.
Another option is to have liquor delivered from Sayville or one of the neighboring towns. The local stores will often deliver to the ferry directly, and you just have to meet the ferry and pay the transport fee (in cash) to pick up your liquor. This can be a big cost-savings if you’re planning to order a lot of bottles.