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Summer Starts Early as Fire Island Pines Opens for the 2021 Season

2 gay men in swimsuits in front of pink beach house

The summer playground for queer men embraces new safety protocols as it begins opening April 2nd.

With travel restrictions beginning to lift, the LGBTQ+ community is looking forward to returning to traditional summer haunts like New York’s Fire Island. Most houses have already been rented for the season and available shares are at a record low. A limited number of accommodations are still available in the island’s boutique hotel.

The surge in interest is a welcome relief to PJ McAteer, managing director of Fire Island Pines. But, he says, it was not a total surprise as even in the height of last summer’s pandemic, the season was not a total wipe-out.

“Fire Island Pines is a quick train and ferry ride for everyone in the tri-state area,” Kenneth Sullivan, resort director of the Pines explains. “It quickly became a haven last summer for city dwellers looking to work from home. After their Zoom meeting, they could switch into shorts and flip flops and find themselves with a cocktail in hand on the beach or dancing outside at Low Tea with their friends.” 

Of course, safety was a top concern last summer and remains so this season. McAteer and his team have revamped many of the island’s offerings, upgraded protocols, and created new entertainment options such as changing Low Tea to Table Tea with tables socially distanced. “We want everyone to feel safe and secure when visiting Fire Island Pines,” McAteer says.

Fire Island mask notice

Posted notice about Fire Island policy on wearing masks.

Fire Island Pines has just announced some opening dates for Summer 2021, beginning in early April with Pines Pizza opening on April 2nd with breakfast beginning at 7 A.M. Sip N Twirl will officially open that evening, with cocktails starting at 4 P.M.  On Friday, April 9th, The Gym will open with expanded cardio space offered inside of The Pavilion and the retail store, CAMP, will open, offering hardware supplies and cut flowers. “Our restaurants will open next,” McAteer says. “Currently, we are allowed indoor dining at 75 percent, and so we plan to resume dining as soon and as safely as possible.” 

Fire Island masksWith vacinnes, distancing, and masks, more queer travelers are ready to return to Fire Island Pines.

Located 90 minutes from New York City, Fire Island Pines first became a destination for gay and bi men in 1952. At a time when it was illegal for two men to dance together in public and when many in the world viewed queer men as sexual deviants, the island provided an important refuge for young men to take each other’s hands and explore their natural inclinations. 

With its lush foliage, white sandy beaches, and beautiful modern architecture, the Pines was a paradisiacal Mecca for gay and bi men. It also attracted celebrities like Liza Minelli, Luciano Pavarotti and Yoko Ono. Calvin Klein, David Geffen, Perry Ellis and Michael Bennet.


Fire Island sunset

Today’s Fire Island Pines is a staple destination for sophisticated gay and bi men who enjoy the beach, music, and fun-in-the sun; all within an arms-reach of New York, Miami, and other major cities on the eastern seaboard. 

“There is something for everyone who visits Fire Island Pines,” McAteer says. “We have four excellent restaurants serving everything from tapas to Mediterranean faire and fabulous weekend brunches. We have some of the best nightlife on the planet featuring world class DJs and celebrity performers. And we have a hotel that is right smack in the center of all the action.”

Fire Island Drag Queen with black dog


Fire Island Pines also boasts one of the world’s best beaches. 850,000 cubic yards of additional sand was recently added, along with new boardwalks, fencing, and sea grass.

The trip from NYC to Sayville is less than two-hours on the Long Island Railroad. From there, travelers board busses to the Fire Island Pines ferry. For those outside of NYC, the Fire Island Pines ferry is a ten-minute cab ride from MacArthur airport.

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