Lighthouse Beach – Robert Moses Fire Island Long Island Nude Beach
Long Island Nude Beach New York: Lighthouse Beach ( Robert Moses Field 5 )
***UPDATE*** As of February 12, 2013 Lighthouse Beach is no longer a clothing-optional beach. National Park Service has announced that they will now be enforcing New York state law, forbidding nudity. Click here to read the Superintendent’s notice about this policy change. There have previously been issues on Lighthouse Beach, but Hurricane Sandy (fall of 2012) was really the last nail in the coffin. The hurricane totally destroyed the dunes along the beach, which is one of the reasons cited by NPS for the nudity ban. (The dunes previously served as a visual block to the nude sunbathers.) The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) is currently working on solutions to the issues cited and looking for a way to save this beautiful nude beach for naturist and nudist use. However, it’s a very complicated situation and will take some time and work to try and resolve it. To further understand the situation, read an interview with Chief Ranger Lena Koschmann. (Please note: Ms. Koschmann has been quoted in several places giving misleading information on the legality of women going topfree on the beach. The legality here is not “tricky” or unclear whatsoever as she has claimed it to be. It is completely legal for women to go topfree on public beaches in NY state, regardless of what nonsense you hear from NPS.)
Robert Moses Nude Beach or Lighthouse Beach, on the Fire Island National Seashore off of Long Island, NY has been ranked as one of the top 10 nude beaches in the U.S. Its rank is well-deserved as the beach is pristine, beautiful, and the water is clean. The nudist beach is located just next to Robert Moses State Park, where the dunes are thick with vegetation and home to a fair amount of wildlife. Its name originates from the prominent lighthouse situated between the clothing optional sections.
No one is sure when nude sunbathing began on this part of the shore. The first reports of this activity date back to the 1950s. The Robert Moses Causeway vastly improved access to the park in 1964, and its popularity seems to have taken off from there.
Since the 1980s, use of the Lighthouse as a historical landmark attraction has sparked controversy over the presence of nudists on the beach. It is open to visitors, which included teachers with groups of schoolchildren. Some teachers complained about the visible nudists and some simply didn’t want to have explain to kids that we are all, in fact, naked under our clothes. There was also concern from parents who parked at field 5 for its handicap access, or who entered at field 5 after taking the ferry with their kids, and would see the nude sunbathers. Members of the Lighthouse Preservation Society had differing opinions, but did not want to “ban” anyone. Negotiations resulted in a small section in front of the lighthouse becoming textile. Thus the once long stretch of clothing optional beach was split into two big sections, with a textile part in between. The western c/o section is sometimes referred to as “Kismet West” to distinguish it from the eastern c/o part. The sections are all clearly marked by signs, so you’ll know where nudity is permitted and where it’s not. Of course, it is legal to go topfree on all public beaches in NY state since 1992.
General Information and Tips
Lighthouse Beach is fairly narrow and can get a bit crowded when the weather is right, though the western section is reportedly less congested. Overall it has a very pleasant atmosphere, and the majority of sunbathers are nude. Visitors represent a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and ages. Some of them are families, as it is a very family-friendly environment. Park Rangers periodically drive through several times a day to check up. There are no lifeguards. There is a store carrying beach necessities at the Field 5 parking lot, but no concession stands on the beach. The closest bathrooms are located on the rocky road off the boardwalk or at the parking lot. There are no trash bins on the beach, so “carry in, carry out.”
Cost & How To Get There
The beach is about 1 hour to 1.5 hour drive from New York City. Once you arrive at Robert Moses State Park, it’s a quick drive down to Field 5 to get to the clothing optional sections. The cost is $10 per car or a season pass is available for $65. The beach is a 5-10 minute walk from the parking lot.
Though it is a much less convenient way to go, it is accessible by public transportation. Directions: Take the LIRR train to Babylon. From there, take the S-47 Suffolk bus, which will get you to Robert Moses Field 3 in about 20 minutes. From there it’s approximately a 30 minute walk to Field 5. LIRR offers a round-trip train + bus package for $19. (Then entrance to the beach is free.)
As an alternative, take the LIRR to Bay Shore station, then walk to the Fire Island Ferries and take the ferry to Kismet. Once on Fire Island, walk south to the beach. Visit the ferry website for more information: http://www.fireislandferries.com/
Beach Etiquette and Politics
“Whaa? I just want to enjoy the beach!”
Well lucky for us, Lighthouse is an established clothing optional beach located on Federal land. While NY state law would forbid nude sunbathing, National Park Service chooses to honor the traditional nude use and not enforce the law. However, the unavoidable truth is that the NPS could choose to end this tradition at a moment’s notice and begin enforcing state law. Thus it is very important for visitors to conduct themselves in a respectful manner and obey all laws and regulations. Inappropriate sexual activity is often seen as the biggest problem facing nude beaches, as it can be sufficient reason to close a nude beach like Lighthouse. Please behave responsibly and read over the etiquette outlined here before your visit.
There are two naturist organizations of notable presence on the beach: SaveLighthouseBeach.org Beach Ambassadors and the Long Island Travasuns. These organizations work to inform visitors of proper etiquette and help patrol the beach to stop unwelcome behavior. (The beach ambassadors usually set up an info table next to the boardwalk and can also be spotted by their distinguishable hats.)
“OUR TOWNS; Lighthouse Signals a Storm at the Beach” http://www.nytimes.com/1994/08/30/nyregion/our-towns-lighthouse-signals-a-storm-at-the-beach.html
“Nudity Ban Sought at Fire I. Light” http://www.nytimes.com/1987/08/23/nyregion/nudity-ban-sought-at-fire-i-light.html
Long Island Travasuns http://travasuns.org
Save Lighthouse Beach http://www.savelighthousebeach.org/v1/index.php
About the Author (Author Profile)I'm Felicity Jones, author of Felicity's Blog and co-founder of Young Naturists America. I write about nudism and naturism in today's world along with issues like top-freedom and body acceptance, and various naked topics. Enjoy, and please leave a comment when you've got something to say! :)
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YNA didn't protest the unpopular nudity ban at nearby Lighthouse Beach. On the other hand, YNA did protest the recent San Francisco ban, which is 3,000 miles away and had local popular support. Any reason for that?
I made my first 2 visits to the awesome beach this year. YNA will have a more meets up here in 2013!
i would like to add that if you are going to this beach, the field 5 parking lot fills up QUICKLY on the weekends. you may be able to get a sport until about 10.30am, but it will occasionally be full by then