Skip to content

Fire Island Gay Travel

Looking for an underwear party? A tea dance? Drag shows? Fire Island has it all. The best Fire Island gay travel and party tips are right here on wolfyy. Plus, how to find a place to stay in the Pines.

FAVICON_2

The Gay Travel Experience: Fire Island Pines & Cherry Grove

The Fire Island Pines hold significant history for the LGBT community. Once a safe haven for gay men to express themselves freely, Fire Island is held close to the hearts of many.

fire island gay beach
Stoic faces of New Yorkers relax into smiles on this wonderful barrier island. The community becomes one and cheerful activities under the sun never stop. A destination only reachable by boat, the neighborhoods of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove are global gay travel must-sees!
fire island gay beach
where to stay cherry grove
where to stay cherry grove
Before we get into the meat of this Fire Island Pines gay travel guide, you must read the below brief segment on the precious history of these towns.

Is Fire Island A Gay Community? History Explains.

The LGBT history of Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines dates back to the 1940’s. Back when gay and lesbian members of society had no protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, these Fire Island hamlets were a literal escape from mainstream life.

tea dance fire island
New Yorkers would leave behind their responsibilities for the weekend, bound for a place where they could be themselves and show affection in public without repercussion. It was a place without rules, where queer folk of all types could feel at ease.
house share in fire island pines
Over the years, the communities of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove have continued to blossom, despite several destructive hurricanes and building fires. The LGBT community has proved resilient in maintaining this gay paradise.
Join wolfyy!

Special travel invites,

new guide alerts & more.

Gay Fire Island: Where to Stay

Fire Island is a barrier island off the southern coast of Long Island, New York. Fire Island Pines (“The Pines”) and Cherry Grove are two separate neighborhoods inhabited by an almost entirely-LGBT community.
house share in fire island pines
where to stay FIP
where to stay FIP

The Pines is where most of the action is, but Cherry Grove is not without its own flavor! They both are just about 100% gay neighborhoods.

If you are someone who absolutely must be in the center of the fun, then FI Pines is a better bet for you. Cherry Grove is occupied by a slightly older population, but truthfully is just as popular. All in all, don’t worry too much about where to stay on Fire Island. There is no inferior area of this gay wonderland!

Finding a Place to Stay in Fire Island Pines

If you have never booked a place to stay in Fire Island Pines, there are several things you should know. Firstly, you will almost definitely reserve a single room in a shared house. Often, even individual rooms are shared, usually with friends.
fire island gay travel
Step one is to join the Facebook group for reserving Fire Island Pines rentals. Make a post stating what you are looking for and your budget. Then message some people. Locals purchase what are essentially timeshares where rotating groups of gay guys occupy a house each week of each summer month.
fire island gay travel
gay fire island
gay fire island

These shares are often listed for re-rental in the Facebook groups, and these are the accommodation vacancies you are seeking to reserve. It is a bit complicated, but given such high demand this is how it’s done!

fire island pines gay
Lastly, I advise that you do not stay in the Fire Island Pines hotel located in the harbor. Concrete sandy floors, shared bathrooms and frequent power outages in your room are not what you want to experience while visiting such a beautiful place. I did it once. Never again!

How to Get To Fire Island Pines

There is only one way to get to both The Pines and Cherry Grove, and it can definitely be confusing for a newcomer. So, read the following very carefully. I encourage you to bookmark this section for future use!

how tp get to Fire Island Pines
You will likely be departing from Penn Station in New York City on the Long Island Rail Road. Choose the special option of “getaways” at the ticket machine. Proceed to the option of Fire Island Pines or Cherry Grove. The tickets are about $40 per person round trip. A ticket for the train, shuttle bus and ferry will print, for both outbound and return journeys.
how tp get to Fire Island Pines
ferry to fire island
ferry to fire island

Sayville will be your train stop. Some trains require a transfer, so listen to the conductor when he checks your ticket on the train. If you are unsure which train, just ask someone near you. Most likely you’ll be following the crows.

Upon arrival at the Sayville train station, follow everyone toward the white mini-busses. These will shuttle you to the ferry in about seven minutes.
fire island gay party
fire island gay party
fire island pines gay

Upon arrival at the ferry, look for signs for either The Pines or Cherry Grove. There is a separate ferry for each neighborhood. The boat ride is about 20 minutes or so and is quite enjoyable! There boats have open-air top seating decks.

It’s best to know your ferry departure time beforehand, so you can make sure your LIRR train arrival synchronizes well with your ferry departure. Here is the official Fire Island Sayville Ferry Service Schedule for Fire Island Pines. Note that Cherry Grove service is a separate schedule.

fire island ferry service
fire island ferry service

During busy times, especially in summer, ferries will always follow shortly after a train arrival, but during off-season, you should definitely check ahead.

Voila! You’ve made it to Fire Island! From the ferry drop-off point you will walk to your rental. Also, surprise! There are no cars on the island, making it even more majestic.

Fire Island Pines: Things to Do

Stroll the wide-open beaches and go for a swim! If your house does not have a pool, take advantage of the communal pool right in the harbor, completely free to use. Also grab a drink at the pool bar and relax!
gay pool parties fire island
One of my favorite things to do is stroll the winding pathways and gaze at the wonderful architecture. Fire Island boasts such beautiful vacation homes nestled in the woods.

Low Tea and High Tea in the harbor are a mainstay of gay social life in The Pines. Every day, and especially Friday and Saturday, gay men will fill the harbor to drink and socialize. Arrive anytime between 5pm and 7pm and watch the men take over, rain or shine!

gay beach fire island pines
gay pool parties fire island
gay beach fire island pines

As Low Tea winds down a few hours later, the party continues near the pool area and on the upper level of the Pavilion.

The Pavilion is a newly-built nightclub and event space on the harbor in The Pines, replacing an old structure that sadly burned down in a fire. This is where most nightlife takes place, starting with High Tea.

Hungry during your time at the harbor? A small pizza shop on the back side of the Pavilion is a go-to spot for some post-boozing pizza.

Fire Island Gay Clubs

The Pavilion hosts all the gay parties in Fire Island Pines. “Sip and Twirl” is the name of the gay party that slowly gets going in the upstairs club space. Most people interested in the nightlife will stop home for their dinner after Low Tea and come back a few hours later. Sip and Twirl goes all night and has an outdoor deck.
gay club fire island pines
pool parties fire island pines
gay club fire island pines

Later on in the night, the other club will open up on the Pavilion first level. There are some nights where there is no party, but you will be able to see when one is happening. You can also check advertisements around the island since there are always different parties happening.

pool parties fire island pines
There is a cover charge to enter, usually cash only. This party has more of an electronic “circuit” type of music. There are some weekends where there is no party on the lower level, so be sure to check or ask some local visitors.
tea dance fire island
high tea FIP time
high tea FIP time

Every Friday night there is an underwear party at a Cherry Grove gay club called Ice Palace. There is an enormous dance floor area and a rear deck space. If you’re staying in the Pines, plan to catch one of the final shuttle ferries back, or stroll through the dunes passing the “Meat Rack” on your way home. I’ll leave this part of the adventure to you—go ask a local what it is!

Each year, there is a special event called Pines Party. Dance the night away on the warm sand at this extravagant beach festival. Tickets go on sale well in advance.

Fire Island Gay Travel Tips

Day trips to Fire Island Pines are also popular. Most local gay day trip travelers arrive late morning and catch one of the last few ferries that night. Keep in mind the ferry does not run overnight, so don’t miss the last one.
Ferry shuttle boats operate between Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines frequently for about 5$ a ride per person. They operate until about 3:00 in the morning, but check the exact schedule online. Walking between the neighborhoods takes about half an hour and is partially through sand pathways.

The island only has a few casual restaurants and one deli/grocery store. Note that the grocery store is very expensive, so anything you want to buy beforehand will help you save some cash. Since everything has to come over by boat, prices are inflated.

There are no lights along the boardwalk pathways at night, so be sure your phone has enough battery to power its flashlight. Otherwise you will be stuck in complete darkness!
FAVICON_2

Are you exploring New York City on your journey? Read the wolfyy New York City Gay Travel Guide.

Hey, I'm Louis!
Welcome to wolfyy

In 2018, I quit my job to travel the world. My mission is to provide authentic, local gay travel information to gay travelers everywhere.

wolfyy is here to be the best gay travel resource you can find.

Like wolfyy on Facebook

JOIN ME.

Stay Up to Date.