America's Most Beautiful Coastal Walks
Sunken Forest, Fire Island National Seashore, NY
With no cars and more beaches than sidewalks, Fire Island is a welcome haven just beyond New York City. Take a train to Long Island, then the Sayville ferry to Sailor’s Haven. There you can marvel at a rare holly forest that isn’t actually sunken, but merely appears so on the leeward side of sand dunes towering along the 1.5 mile-boardwalk trail. You’re in a freshwater swamp in the midst of a narrow saltwater barrier island, where the sand ecology soaks up rainwater like a sponge.
Challenge Level: Easy.
Essential Gear: Pack a lunch in this fully compostable picnic set; it won’t affect the fragile ecology of the island. (Urban Picnic Box; $25.)