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Robert Moses State Park. A 5-mi stretch of ocean beach is the highlight of this 1,000-acre park. Facilities include four bathhouses, a fishing pier, a picnic area, and miniature golf; a boat basin with pump-out and bait stations is nearby. The park, one of only two parts of Fire Island accessible by car, is open year-round (Fields 2 and 5 only). Special summer events include fishing contests. To get here, take the Sagtikos Parkway south to Robert Moses Causeway and follow the latter to the end. Off southern end of Robert Moses Causeway, Fire Island, NY, 11702. 631/669–0470. nysparks.state.ny.us. Parking $8 (late May–mid-Sept.). Daily dawn–dusk.
Smith Point County Park. The 2,295-acre park at the southern end of William Floyd Parkway includes a visitor center, hiking trails, barbecue facilities, and a long stretch of ocean beach (lifeguards are on duty from late June through Labor Day). A campground is adjacent to the park. Off southern end of William Floyd Parkway, Fire Island, NY, 11967. 631/852–1313. www.co.suffolk.ny.us. Parking $10 (mid–May–mid-Sept.). Daily 7am–10pm.
Sunken Forest. Protected by big dunes and stunted by the wind and the salt air, the Sunken Forest actually does look like it's sunken. Some of the trees here, which include sassafras and pine, are thought to be more than 200 years old. A 1½-mi boardwalk winds through flora, marsh, and swamp, offering viewing spots and benches at various points. Twisted trees form a canopy overhead. The area is protected, so you must stick to the marked trails. (Doing so also decreases your chances of encountering poison ivy and ticks.) Guided tours are an option in summer; call for tour times. Free. Visitor centermid-May–mid-Oct., weekdays 10–5, weekends 9:30–6. The Sunken Forest is part of Sailors Haven, which is near the middle of Fire Island and has a beach with lifeguards, on duty from late June through Labor Day; picnic areas; a snack bar; a marina; changing rooms; and a visitor center. Sailors Haven doesn't have lodgings, however, so you can't overnight here. 631/597–6183 visitor center. www.nps.gov/fiis.
Watch Hill. This area in the eastern section of the national seashore, across the bay from Patchogue, has a marina with a pump-out station, wilderness camping, a visitor center, nature trails, and changing rooms. Lifeguards patrol the beach from late June through Labor Day. 631/597–6455 visitor center. www.nps.gov/fiis. Free. Visitor center mid-May–late Sept., daily 9–5.