the Fire Island Ferry
Robert Moses State Park on the far West end and Smith Point County Park on the far East are the only places on Fire Island connected by bridge to mainland Long Island. All of the seventeen communities lying between are accessible only by ferry from one of three terminals: Bay Shore, Sayville, and Bellport.
The boat to Little Jumping Dog House departs from the Fire Island Ocean Beach Ferry Main Terminal at 99 Maple Avenue in Bay Shore. Purchase your ticket at the ticket window [ $19 cash round trip; sorry no credit cards, but an app is in the works ] ferry schedule
The Ocean Beach Main Terminal serves the Town of Ocean Beach and points West. There are usually a number of boats with different routes loading and unloading at the same time. With everyone running around trying NOT to miss their boat, it can be very exciting and confusing. Keep calm and repeat the word "Dunewood". Signs above each entrance gate announce the boat's destination; look for "Dunewood". The boat crews will be shouting out boarding announcements; listen for "Dunewood". When in doubt, just say "Dunewood" out loud and someone will jump to help you. If you have large luggage, the ferry's baggage area is aft; give your bag to the crew member and say "Dunewood". There is no charge for luggage. There is a small charge for shopping carts and wagons and sometimes if you have like six coolers. Tipping is always nice.
Then_____get on board. Go up top. And relax for the twenty-five minute ride across the bay.
When you get to the other side, Dunewood is almost never the first stop. More often than not you'll be on a Fair Harbor/Dunewood ferry, Fair Harbor being the first stop. Fair Harbor is a small town with a few large docks, a bay beach swim area and some buildings that are obviously not houses. Dunewood is nothing but two small docks and houses. The crew usually announces "First Stop: Fair Harbor!" If not, just ask out loud "Dunewood"? and someone will help. Please don't get off in Fair Harbor. If somehow you didn't read all of this and ended up on a boat to Ocean Beach, call the water taxi 631.665.8885.
We will be in touch through all of this so we know exactly which boat you're coming on and will be waiting on the Dunewood dock with four dogs and a wagon ready to carry you and your luggage the short walk to the Little Jumping Dog House. Once home, people travel by barefoot or bicycle.
getting to the Fire Island Ocean Beach Ferry Terminal 99 Maple Avenue Bay Shore 11706
There is no secret shortcut to the south shore of Long Island. Traffic can be pretty awful. Leave plenty of time. On a Friday afternoon, two-and-a-half hours from NYC is not unusual. directions
There are a number of parking lots [ $ cash only ]. When the main lot is full, the Maple Avenue Marina next door and the valet lot across the street are your next choices. When they are full, there is parking at Touro College , a ten minute walk away. Taxis also connect Touro with the main ferry terminal. You can call ahead for up-to-date parking recommendations 631.665.3600.
The Long Island Rail Road LIRR Babylon Line connects to Bay Shore one stop beyond Babylon. LIRR schedule
Taxi mini-buses meet arriving trains to shuttle passengers to the ferry terminals. [ $5 cash only ] The drivers shorten the name of the main terminal to "Ocean Beach". According to the Fire Island Ferries website,
"If you should choose to walk from the train station, Fire Island Ferries is located roughly one mile south of the station. Fourth Ave. turns into Maple Ave."
what to do if you find yourself with time in Bay Shore
Main Street Bay Shore, halfway between the train station and the ferry terminal, is in full-blown renaissance. Like many of the small town centers along the South Shore of Long Island, decades of "forgotten downtown" decay have given way to "re-discovery and revitalization" thanks in great part to the foodie revolution. Bay Shore was in notably bad shape, so the transformation is especially thrilling. A substantial number of good restaurants and shops line the two blocks to the East and West of Fourth/Maple Avenue: Salt&Barrel Oyster and Craft Cocktail Bar , Frank & Maria's Italian Pork Store , AJ's Gourmet Grilled Cheese Shop to name just a few. Right at the main terminal, Nicky's Clam Bar is king. Beyond the ferry terminals at the end of Maple Avenue, The Lakehouse Great South Bay is THE go-to for fine dining locally.