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Fire Island attracts summer visitors day and night

From the restaurant and tavern row along Bay Walk in Ocean Beach to the LGBT-friendly parties that bring massive crowds to Cherry Grove, Fire Island is a magnet for summer visitors — by day and by night.
Here’s a breakdown of what to do beyond the beaches and sharehouses:

Ocean Beach

The ferry leaves Ocean Beach for Bayshore, Ocean
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

FERRY FROM Bay Shore, with last trip back around 12:50 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, 11 p.m. Sundays THE SCENE Expect packed ferry rides with visitors ranging in age from just-21 to 40s and 50s. Ocean Beach is the hub of Fire Island, offering the most restaurants, shops and sightseeing. Day-trippers come to roam the wide walkways that run through town down to the sand. By night, open-air bars stay busy until the last ferry pulls out.

Ocean Beach

STANDOUT NIGHT Try Thursdays. The Landing, pictured, hosts
Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

STANDOUT NIGHT Try Thursdays. The Landing, pictured, hosts "Dueling Pianos" (pictured) which kicks off at 8:30 (every other Thursday, starting July 5) with drink specials (631-583-5800). Hungry? The most bang for your buck is Maguire's "Lobster Palooza" special of a 1 1/4-pound lobster (or prime rib) with soup, salad, corn on the cob, baked potato and bread; 2018 price yet to be announced. (631-583-8800, maguiresbayfrontrestaurant.com).

Cherry Grove

Empty beach chairs and umbrellas sit on the
Photo Credit: Jason Andrew

FERRY FROM Sayville, with last trip back at 1 a.m. Friday nights, 2 a.m. Saturday nights and 11:30 p.m. Sundays THE SCENE As is true in the neighboring hamlet of The Pines, the LGBT community makes up a significant portion of the population here—and although the night life is targeted to that demographic, it’s an upbeat, inclusive atmosphere that welcomes and receives all.

Cherry Grove

Kari Kerning, a player in the
Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

STANDOUT NIGHT The weekend gets in full swing on Tuesday nights, when celebrity comic Hedda Lettuce takes the corner stage at the Island Breeze (631-597-9111, theislandbreeze.com) at 11 p.m. and the dockside Cherry’s on the Bay will be firing up its popular calendar of drag shows (631-597-7859, cherrysonthebay.com). The drag shows, says Copiague accountant Jim Richardson, are a “great time, a lot of fun. . . . I would absolutely recommend it to anybody.” As for the iconic Ice Palace, it continues to host DJ-driven parties and drag performances, as well as special events that may not launch until after midnight, so you'll need to take a water taxi if you want to get back across the bay before dawn (631-597-6600,

Ocean Bay Park

Jacoby Freeman from Hauppauge, Bobby Reiser from Riverhead,
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

FERRY FROM Bay Shore, with last trip back at 10:50 p.m. Friday, around 11 p.m. Saturdays and 9:50 p.m. Sundays THE SCENE The small, walkable enclave is anchored by Flynn’s, a busy marina and restaurant, but residents and day-trippers can find mellower options, too.

Ocean Bay Park

The Ed Traverse Band, Schooner Inn, Ocean Bay
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

STANDOUT DAY Sunday afternoons at Flynn’s are overwhelmingly popular—a long-standing tradition kept charged by its sunny deck, two large bars, live reggae from outdoors with a disc jockey inside by the dance floor. ”It’s popping,” says Lindsay Liudan, 22, of Babylon, who emerged from the immense crowd to grab a cup of gratis water from the self-service coolers planted around the venue. “And the Rocket Fuels [think pina coladas with high-proof rum] are delicious.”(631-583-5000, flynnsfireislandny.com).

Elsewhere in town, there’s the Schooner Inn, a relaxed nautical-themed restaurant and bar with a courtyard (631-583-8498, schoonerinnfireisland.com). If you want to venture to the Atlantic side of Ocean Bay Park, the Fire Island Hotel has a small but busy bar from which you can people-watch as guests lounge around the deck and pool (631-583-8000, fireislandhotel.com).

Davis Park

Marina, Davis Park, Fire Island.(May 28, 2009)
Photo Credit: Michael E. Ach

FERRY FROM Patchogue, with last trip back at 11 p.m. Fridays, midnight Saturdays and 10:30 p.m. Sundays. THE SCENE Its 200-slip marina is popular with beach-loving day boaters who come to this neighborhood on the eastern side of Fire Island for its long, sandy stretches. There's only one game in town for socializing: the Casino Cafe, a busy oceanfront restaurant and bar open daily in season.

Davis Park

Naked Truth Band is one of the bands
Photo Credit: Naked Truth Band

STANDOUT DAY/NIGHT Sunday afternoons bring fun vibes to the dancefloor and deck of Casino Bar (1 Trustee Walk; 631-597-9414, casinobarfireisland.com), where you can see both the bay and the ocean. There's a live band or DJ that keeps things lively well past dinnertime.

Pictured: The Naked Truth band plays at Casino Bar

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