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With demand for accommodations far outweighing supply, it's decidedly a seller's market. Even tiny, moldy rooms without A/C get away with charging more than $100 a night. An exception: The Palms Hotel, 168 Cottage Walk, Ocean Beach (tel. 631/583-8870; www.palmshotelfireisland.com). Rooms are small, but you get comfy beds, flatscreen TVs, and even outdoor showers. If you have money to burn, consider the boutique-y, gay- (and straight-) friendly Madison Fire Island Pines, 22 Atlantic Walk, Fire Island Pines (tel. 631/597-6061; www.themadisonfi.com).

Campgrounds -- Unless you know someone, camping at Watch Hill is the only way to sleep for free out here, and while it's far removed from any facilities or action, it's super quiet and in the island's most beautiful area. The official campground, which is not free (sites are $20 a night), has 26 tent sites and one group site. It also books up a year in advance; get the rules and tips at www.watchhillfi.com, or call tel. 631/597-6664. Last-minute campers, however, can try for a free backcountry pass from the Watch Hill Visitor Center (tel. 631/597-6455) and walk 1/4 mile east on the beach into the Otis Pike Wilderness Area. Pop your tent anywhere behind the dunes. But be aware that passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rentals -- Most people rent a home for their Fire Island vacations. For a place in Ocean Beach, Seaview, Robbins Rest, or other points on the island's western end, call Red Wagon Realty, 471 Denhoff, Ocean Beach (tel. 631/583-8158). For The Pines, call Pines Harbor Realty (tel. 631/597-7575). In Cherry Grove, call A Summer Place (tel. 631/597-6140).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.