Spring and summer nights are for bonfires on the beach with some of our favorite stretches of local sand opening for burn season in March, April, and May.
Here are a few of our favorite spots to have a legal bonfire on the beach in the Bay Area.
Just make sure to check that it's not a Spare the Air day, and visit park sites for updated regulations, available dates, and group permits. Don't forget the s'mores!
Ocean Beach, San Francisco
Bonfires at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.
(Tyler Drake, courtesy of The Outbound)
Warm up around a bonfire with friends and family at San Francisco's favorite beach, which is open for fires March through October. There are 16 fire rings located between stairwells 15 and 20. This is an ideal spot for a group outing as there's ample space and lots of convenient parking—just note that groups of 25 people or more are required a special use permit. Fires must be extinguished (with water only) by 9:30pm. For more details and regulations, visit nps.gov.
Inside Tip: For those of you without a car, or who prefer public transportation, you can take the N Judah all the way to the beach. Learn more.
Muir Beach, Marin County
(Courtesy of The Outbound)
Muir Beach is a little further away, but that usually translates to smaller crowds. If you're looking for an isolated spot to take in the sunset, build a bonfire, and hang out with some good friends, then this is the ticket. Just know that groups larger than 25 people are required a special permit. Muir Beach has six fire rings available May through November. Fires must be extinguished with one hour after sunset. For more information, visit nps.gov.
Inside Tip: The beach closes one hour after sunset. From December through April, there are only three fire pits on the beach, located toward the south end of the parking lot.
Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore
Named after the famed explorer, Sir Francis Drake, Drakes Beach is part of the scenic Point Reyes National Seashore and is an absolute stunner. If you're looking to spend an entire day in this neck of the woods, grab some snacks and firewood from a West Marin store (this is to prevent outside pests and diseases) and head out to the beach.
Inside Tip: You'll need to pick up a free fire permit for the day of your outing. You can find the details by visiting nps.gov or by calling the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415.464.5100 x2 x5.
Twin Lakes State Beach, Santa Cruz
This one-mile stretch of beach is the perfect option for those seeking a peaceful Santa Cruz experience without the crowds. The beach features soft sand, playful surf, an awesome view of Walton Lighthouse, and a handful of fire pits to choose from.
Inside Tip: Get there early, as fire pits go quickly. Parking during the summer months can be difficult and often requires a permit, which can be purchased at one of four nearby pay stations.
Seabright State Beach, Santa Cruz
This wide, beautiful beach is an amazing spot to spend the day and enjoy a bonfire at night. Seabright is probably the most popular spot in Santa Cruz for a bonfire due to its convenient proximity to the Beach Boardwalk. There are 10 fire pits to choose from.
Inside Tip: It's a popular spot, so plan on spending the day at the beach to ensure you get a fire pit. The beach closes at 10pm.