|Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge|
Witness the annual mating ritual of hundreds of primitive horseshoe crabs, or photograph one of the more than 330 species of birds seen in this beach, bay and islands wilderness.
Fire Island National Seashore
|Description: Fire Island National Seashore’s 22 miles of barrier beach annually provides millions of visitors quality recreational experiences. Besides the more easily accessed sites described here, private boats or passenger ferries enable visits to Sailors Haven from Sayville and Watch Hill from Patchogue. At Smith Point, a visitor center with exhibits and interpretive programs is open weekends during the summer. A self-guided, boardwalk nature-trail loop provides access from the parking lot to the ocean beach. At the William Floyd Estate, the grounds are open daily for hiking and wildlife viewing experiences.|
Wildlife to Watch: Off shore, watch for dolphins and pilot whales. On the beach, the sanderling is the most common of the sandpipers. Visitors can easily identify all four of the common gull species here: ring-billed, herring, laughing, and great black-backed. The piping plover, federally listed as threatened, can occasionally be seen. Whelks, clams, blue crabs, and jellyfish occur on the beach and bayshore. Red foxes, gray catbirds, rufous-sided towhees, and Fowler’s toads inhabit the swales and thickets. White-tailed deer and cottontail rabbits are here, too. Not located on Fire Island, the William Floyd Estate is quite different from the Barrier Island. Fields, woods, and ponds attract a variety of wildlife. A salt marsh bordering Moriches Bay is especially interesting.
Special Tips: The booklet that interprets Smith Point’s self-guided trail provides an interesting description of the characteristic features of a barrier beach and the plants and animals that make their home here.
Other Activities: In addition to the interpretive visitor centers and wildlife viewing, swimming, camping, food service, and marinas for boaters are available.
Ownership: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Size: 22 miles of barrier beach
Closest Town: Mastic and Shirley
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: