The Fire Island Lighthouse is an excellent day trip for local Long Islanders and tourists alike. The view from the top is stunning, it is easily accessible by car, and you can tour a little bit of Fire Island at the same time.
The museum and the lighthouse itself are charming structures that vividly bring the past into the present.
The museum is actually the former keeper’s quarters and also houses a gift shop and art gallery.
Wedding ceremonies can be performed here for those so inclined and fund raising events are held here on a regular basis.
Tours of the Fire Island Lighthouse are given daily.
A few times a year “Sunset/Moonrise” tours are given. Yep, you get to watch the sun set and the moon rise from the top of the lighthouse. Spectacular!
The view from the tower top is always amazing even if you’re not there for sunset. Looking east you’ll see the Coast Guard station and the town of Kismet. Further east you can see Saltaire jutting out to the left and the water tower in Ocean Beach.
From the west side of the structure the first thing you’ll notice is the foundation from the original Fire Island Lighthouse. It was built in 1826 and stood only half the height of the present lighthouse.
The small structure south of the foundation is a boathouse that still holds original equipment from the earliest days of the lighthouse. (It’s not open for tours yet, but maybe soon if they can find some volunteers to help out.)
You will also see the water tower in Robert Moses State Park, the Robert Moses Bridge crossing the Great South Bay and, on a clear day you can even see the Manhattan skyline!
The view north overlooks the Great South Bay and Long Island itself (Fire Islanders call that “the mainland”). Looking south is the Atlantic Ocean. You will frequently see cargo ships and when the surf is rough you might see some rip currents.
The Fire Island Lighthouse that stands today is not the original. It replaced a 74 foot tower constructed in 1826 that proved inadequate because it was too short. The stone from that tower was used to build the terrace around the present tower.
The Fire Island Lighthouse served continuously until 1974 when it was turned off and replaced by a small flash tube atop the Robert Moses water tower.
In a state of total disrepair the lighthouse was slated for demolition until a grass roots movement raised enough money for a restoration.
The Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society (FILPS) was formed in 1982 and as a result of their efforts the lighthouse was put back into service in 1986. It has been a valuable aid to navigation ever since.
Once you’re done with your tour of the Fire Island Lighthouse you might want to head over to Kismet for a bite to eat. There are 2 restaurants (The Inn and The Out), a pizza place and a small grocery with ATM machine. Just walk east (left when facing the ocean) on the beach or the “Burma Road” and you’ll be there in about 20 minutes.
From Kismet you can take a water taxi (631-665-8885) over to the Sunken Forest at Sailor's Haven and enjoy a short hike through a beautiful 250+ year old maritime forest. There is also a snack bar, public bathrooms and small marina.
Walking to Kismet, but watch out--The green stuff lining the road is poison ivy!
Take the Robert Moses Causeway south to the end (you’ll see the water tower in the middle of a traffic circle.) Go left out of the traffic circle and follow the signs to field 5. When you get into the parking field turn left and drive as far as you can until you see the sign for the lighthouse. Find a place to park and you’re done. Enjoy the walk through the dunes and watch out for poison ivy.
Walk to the lighthouse from the eastern end of field 5
During the summer there is a small parking fee at Robert Moses state park.
There is no charge to visit the Fire Island Lighthouse museum, but if you want to tour the tower it is $7.00 for adults, $4.00 for children and seniors.
Note: Children must be 42 inches tall to tour the lighthouse tower.
The steps are very steep in places and it would be dangerous for anyone shorter than that to climb them.
Reservations are recommended if you want to tour the tower and have more than one person with you. It is always a good idea to call ahead anyway just to make sure the lighthouse is open...
Fire Island Lighthouse: 631-661-4876
Robert Moses State Park: 631-669-0470