Bonfires by the beach are legendary and an essential part of the Southland’s laid-back lifestyle. After all, LA and environs enjoy sunny days that typically cool off at night. So, getting cozy next to an outdoor blaze (contained, of course), is the ideal way to warm up while spending good times with good friends and close family. That said, Los Angeles County has stiff requirements for allowing fire rings to be lit in the metro area so besides Dockweiler Beach, area places boasting fire pits are found outside the county limits but close enough to enjoy if you’re an Angeleno who is ready and eager to drive a little while to get there. Following are five of the best places regulated to offer bonfire action to you and yours in Los Angeles and environs.
12501 Vista Del Mar
Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
A hallmark of beach culture, 75 fire pits dot the large expanse of sand known as Dockweiler Beach, a favorite spot during the day for volleyball games, hang gliding off the bluff, surf fishing and even nature walks. After the sun sinks into the Pacific, this beach — which begins at Ballona Creek and runs south until it reaches neighboring El Segundo Beach — becomes the best place to tell ghost stories and cook s’mores over an open fire
3720 Stephen M White Drive
San Pedro, CA 90731
Situated below a cliff and facing the Newport Beach jetty, this time-honored beach once was the prime sport for surfers. Now those who are skilled with hanging ten take on The Wedge across the channel while less daring athletes conquer the volleyball nets at Cabrillo Beach. Beyond an abundance of fire rings available to use at this tranquil spot, expect picnic areas sitting under shady trees, swimming and diving opportunities galore and plenty of hills to climb. To be sure, this is a family beach where everyone has fun in one way or another, capped off by the bonfire of their dreams.
Huntington State Beach
21601 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Fire wood is conveniently sold at concessions right on this beloved Orange County beach, situated between Newport Beach and Huntington City Beach. So, you’ll be all set once the sun goes down and the sea air cools to ready your bonfire. That said, it is not unusual to spot other groups of beach lovers with their faces lit by the evening fire, singing songs and roasting marshmallows at that point in the day when their ring of fire is anything but a negative space courtesy Mother Nature
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Bolsa Chica State Beach
17851 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
This popular three-mile stretch of sand fondly called Tin Can Beach back in the day was designated as a state beach at the beginning of the 1960s. The surf fishing here is stellar, with all kinds of catches like California corbina, croaker, shovelnose guitarfish and perch looking for bait. This is also the spot where California grunion run, now a tradition when locals head out to catch these unique fish in their bare hands. After all that activity, many like to stay the night so it’s great that Bolsa Chica has a number of campsite hook-ups for RVs (tent camping is not allowed). So what about the fire pits? They’re there and they’re ready for the perfect bonfire every day of the year as long as you start and finish yours between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m
Doheny State Beach
25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
Some 254 acres of protected beach that was California’s first designated state beach back in 1931, Doheny State Beach (or DoHo) is a wonderland edging the mighty Pacific and offering everything you could ever want from this kind of venue, up to and including sensational surfing at Boneyard for the tough and the toned. However, it’s the Doheny sunsets that strike everyone’s fancy, definitely a highlight when you spend a day at this particular beach that offers plenty of opportunities for the perfect bonfire. Beware that this beach is rocky, especially at low tide, so it is best to bring along beach shoes to avoid cuts on the feet. Fire pits can be reserved and it’s a good idea to do so.
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