Gay Fire Island: The Pines and Cherry Grove

Unless you've been here before, you've never experienced a place quite like Fire Island.

This small barrier island off the south coast of New York's Long Island is home to two thriving gay resort towns: Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines. Getting here is half the fun: take the Long Island Rail Road to Sayville, a shuttle bus to a 30 minute ferry ride, then walk.

There are no cars here, just wooden boardwalks and people pulling little red wagons full of their groceries. The two communities each have their own vibe: The Pines feels more like New York's Chelsea: pretty party boys and gay professionals; the Grove is more diverse and down to earth (and attracts a younger AND an older crowd).

Between the two towns is a small strip of forest affectionately known as the "meat rack" - just about one of the friskiest places on earth. Be sure to get a feel for the "schedule" when you are there, almost everyone follows the crowd from low tea to high tea, from dinner to dancing. Just ask a friendly passerby (or at least a cute one).

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Restaurants to check out