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Your guide to Ocean Beach
All About Ocean Beach
Often considered the capital of Fire Island’s array of coastal micro-towns, Ocean Beach is home to cozy restaurants, laid-back bars, and soft swatches of sand. During the day, stretch your legs with a scenic walk along the beach, or leisurely bike ride around the island, admiring the coastal-style homes painted in all the colors of a candy box, and reveling in the breeze and birdsong.You could easily spend an afternoon perusing independent local shops, or picking up a whimsically-painted seashell from local children who sell them from the red wagons that everybody here seems to use to haul their things around town.
Ocean Beach may be a small town, but it has inherited one important trait from its Manhattan neighbor — nightlife. Local restaurants and bars are open late in the summer, and the town is still lively and buzzing once the sun goes down. Fire Island as a whole has an important place in LGBTQ history, and Pride celebrations here are inclusive events that draw participants and supporters from far and wide.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach (and the rest of Fire Island) are hot summer destinations — both in temperature and in popularity. If you’re coming between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you’ll be joined by other visitors staying at a beach house in New York. During the month of June — and often into July and August — Fire Island goes big to celebrate Pride, with the annual parade and many offshoot events celebrating the LGBTQ community. Outside of high season, many shops, restaurants, bars, and the Fire Island ferry will be closed or have reduced hours. In spring and autumn, enjoy the more tranquil side of the island, and spend your time enjoying coastal walks, cycling, and exploring the beautiful state parks in the area. Come in winter to hunker down in a cozy cottage and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Top things to do in Ocean Beach
Wander the Sunken Forest
Rare 300-year-old American holly and black cherry oaks form a canopy of leaves at this Fire Island spot, which is protected behind a ring of sand dunes. The dunes rise up around the forest, giving it the illusion of being receded into the ground — but don’t worry, it’s not really sinking. Wander through the scenic trails, taking in this unique and wild landscape at the Sunken Forest, which is a quick 20-minute drive from Ocean Beach.
Celebrate LBGTQ History
Fire Island has long been a haven for the LGBTQ community. Pride celebrations here rival those of anywhere else in the world, and you can find events like drag bingo, as well as revolving installations by LGBTQ artists, on any night of the week.
Above all else, Ocean Beach is a beach town. Stretches of soft sand give way to the crisp Atlantic Ocean, and the beach boardwalk offers some of the prettiest coastal sunset views there are. Fire Island boasts 32 miles of beaches — while Ocean Beach tends to be popular with families, Fair Harbour is a quieter option, and Cherry Grove often attracts a younger crowd.