Fire Island is a long skinny stick of land stretching 32 miles parallel to Long Island’s south shore . It’s a near-mythic place known for both its party atmosphere and its wilderness. Four distinct visitor areas and 17 resort communities  make up the island, but it’s all part of the National Seashore system. No cars are allowed on most of Fire Island, where park rangers administer a number of the magnificent white sand beaches.
Take note of posters describing precautions to avoid poison ivy and deer ticks. As long as you stick to the beaches and boardwalks, however, or wear long pants when exploring the grasses and woodlands, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Free and excellent maps of Fire Island are available at the various interpretive centers on the island, or from the Fire Island National Seashore Headquarters (120 Laurel St., Patchogue, 631/289-4810, www.nps.gov/fiis , hours seasonal).