Fire Island

view from the tent

For all Americans, the 4th of July signifies freedom in all its kinds - including freedom from stress. Which means, besides remembering this nation's independence from the shackles of British rule, stressed-out citizens of the urban jungle are just too eager to go anywhere on this long weekend in order to be free from it all. For us, this meant traveling by car for more than an hour on an already congested Long Island Expressway to go to - hmmm, not the Hamptons - but Sayville where we took a half-hour ferry to Cherry Grove on Fire Island. We settled on one of the quiet stretch of beach and erected our tent in lieu of a beach umbrella. This is the best I and my friends Al, Rene, Jenny & Minnette could do to really say we're away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.

Fire Island sounds so hot having heard so much about it from friends but no, it's not an island on fire (unless one thinks of a hot summer month on a shadeless stretch of sand where bodies of all shapes and sizes are literally at the mercy of an almighty SPF). It's a sliver of a barrier island off the southern side of Long Island, approximately 32 miles in length and less than a mile wide. As expected, this super-slim piece of real estate comes out alive during summer, when visitors swell up to more than 800,000. But fear not, those number of people do not really come out elbow to elbow in any of the various communities within the island. One plus is that no private cars are allowed, saving one's nostrils from exhaust fumes and definitely adding to that more laid-back vibe.

Of all the communities on Fire Island, Cherry Grove is the most popular among the LGBT crowd. Even the flag on Cherry Grove's pier fluttered in welcoming rainbow colors as our ferry arrived. There are only several hotels but these fill up quickly during the busy summer months and rates definitely skyrocket to high heavens. Those who ran out of luck do try instead the more affordable beach house sharing which oftentimes lead to impromptu parties. There are enough bars and restaurants for most visitors to indulge in but thankfully, they're not right on the beach to mar one's quest for some quiet time.

Close to Cherry Grove is Sailor's Haven which is even more peaceful as no private homes or hotels are built. Giving it a more natural appeal and quite a contrast from the nearby sand and sea is the Sunken Forest. Maintained by the Fire Island National Seashore, this piece of greenery has a mile and a half of boardwalk trail snaking through a forest of blueberry, holly, sassafras, and shadblow trees. Plenty of birds and the occasional white-tailed deer made our wildlife experience more complete. For someone who loves both the beach and the forest, this was surely a double treat for me, allowing me some quality time to be free from stress and to be away from it all, this on Independence Day.


  1. Nakakainggit naman yung first photo. As in peacefully relaxed. :) We are avoiding the beach these days because it's summer here. We might at least try a night swimming.

  2. how lovely! the cloudscapes are to die for.

    i'm currently sunburned from the days at the beach, and i'm not eager to go back to the beach anytime soon :)

    enjoy, this is the first time i've heard of this place.

  3. i like the 4th pic! picnic day lang! may fire island din pala diyan. dba yung siquijor satin eh fire island din ang tawag?

  4. palipad saranggola...:)
    namiss ko yun... lalo na ang maligo sa dagat...kaya lang gaya ng kay witsandnuts, mainit talga sobra ngayon dito sa lupang buhangin.

  5. how lovely. so serene. it is always nice to experience this once in a while.

  6. Great scenery! I've only heard of Fire Island in the context of LGBT affairs, and I haven't been there for a visit. I thought that it's a gay enclave, but judging from your pictures, it seems that other folk and their families also come to visit.

  7. Very beautiful island, I can see from your pictures that was a nice day , blue sky with a white clouds!

  8. the blue skies and white clouds over that island are so inviting! too pleasant for words! what a way to enjoy a break with friends.
    did the place remind you of some similar spots in PI?

  9. Wow man! Your photos are amazing! Parang nakatingin ako sa bintana... so clear...

  10. I always had the impression Fire Island was a nudist beach. Perhaps I'm confusing it with some other beach. Thanks for sharing these places I wanted to visit (when I was still living in NY) but never had the chance to.

  11. at dahil jan holiday din kami. US based kasi ang work ko.

    this is sad.. reminds me of the last long weekend (memorial day). my officemates in Portland had a tour. Nakagat ng spidr yung counterpart ko. 5days after, pinutulan sya ng legs. Saklap no?

  12. Witsandnuts,
    Night swimming is a good alternative. No need for sunblock LOL!

    Will be waiting for your beach post. Mexico, right?

    Princess Dyanie,
    Hmmm, di pa kasi ako nakakarating ng Siquijor kaya di ko alam.

    Galing din ako dyan noong araw kaya alam ko gaano kainit. Gawin mo na lang night swimming.

    Never thought I'd experience this so serenely knowing how popular this is for New Yorkers.

    yes, Fire Island isn't exclusively LGBT. Everyone who loves the beach without wanting to go so far goes there.

    We were lucky the weather was just gorgeous.

    Doc Gelo,
    what it lacked - coconut trees and warm waters - is what made me miss the beaches of the Philippines.

    thanks for the visit. Will check your blog soon.

    there were some secluded spots where I did see a topless woman and a totally naked man sunbathing. but they're really the exception than the rule.

    OMG, that's terrible. Pero di ko alam you work for a US-based company pala!

  13. lovely legs,err i mean, lovely blue skies and white sand. sarap mag beach.

  14. What a beautiful beach, sky, and white clouds! Indeed I can't connect the name with this "cool" beach! :) This is definitely a great place to enjoy the sun!

  15. damn i so wanna go to the beach now... >< but having final now... and heading to brazil soon, it will be winter there...oh...i dont have summer this year...arghhhhhhhhhhh

  16. such a lovely beach only an hour and a half from manhattan?? the sky is sooo clear on that day.... n the clouds... wow! u get this every summer day?

  17. lawstude,
    sarap sana kung di lang malamig ang tubig dito (about 60 degrees Fahrenheit).

    oh yes, there's definitely plenty of sun exposure here - unless you bring your own beach umbrella.

    i'm envious of you going to brazil even if it will be winter by the time you get there - still, it's hot!

    not all the time, no hahaha! we were just lucky the weather was gorgeous!


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