Having a bonfire at the beach is one of my favorite summertime activities in California. Of course, we don’t have to wait for summer to enjoy the bonfires since we can access the fire pits at the beach year-round. I typically use the fire pits throughout the year but it is a tradition for me to have at least one during summertime. While beach bonfires in Los Angeles are limited to Dockweiler Beach near LAX, the OC has several options to choose from. I hope both this blog post & accompanying podcast episode help you discover which of the beach bonfires in Orange County is the right fit for you.

You can listen to us talk about Beach Bonfires in Orange County with Heather from thatocgirl.com on the newest episode of the LA Dreaming Podcast. You can listen to the podcast through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or Podbean.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on a link and buy something, I will earn a small commission from the advertiser at no additional cost to you.

Locations For Beach Bonfires in Orange County

beach bonfires in orange county

There are a lot of factors to consider for your bonfire at the beach in Orange County. How long do you want to be at the beach? Parking, do you want to bring your supplies, etc. What’s great about bonfires at the beach is you can make your experience as economical or extravagant as you’d like. If you don’t want to have to spend all day guarding your fire pit, booking a bonfire experience might be a better option for you.

Tips for an Enjoyable Beach Bonfire

  • Arrive early if you are going on the weekend. If you are going on a weekday, even in summer, you may not need to be at the beach too early in order to claim one. However, if you can be there early and your goal is to get a fire pit I would encourage you to come as early as you can. Since I always love having my fire start close to sunset I don’t love getting to the beach bright & early. The later you go the better chance you will have at one of the beaches with a large number of pits. Summer is really the only season where the fire pits are difficult to come by, I’ve gone to small beaches like Corona Del Mar in October in the afternoon and easily got a pit.
  • Have someone in your group be at the fire pit at all times. I had a really unfortunate experience when my family and I found a fire pit that had no one sitting near it and had no chairs or anything close to the pit. So we set our stuff up only to be yelled at ten minutes later by a group claiming it was their pit. When we said we didn’t want to leave since they had not properly claimed it they caused a huge scene, claimed they were friends with the lifeguards, and would call them. It turned so ugly that we just left. So please do the proper thing of having your items at the pit and trying to keep someone there if you can. I’ve read online that sometimes even if your stuff is there but you are not people will move it and claim it for themselves.
  • Bring your food with you if you can. There are some places at the beach that will sell items for you to use with the fire pit but if you have the time and transportation you will save money by bringing your own food & drinks with you. Most of our grocery stores in the area will also have firewood so it’s all pretty easy to get on your own. That way you don’t risk going to a beach that doesn’t have it for sale on-site.
  • I love bringing socks for when it gets cold. I also put blankets and sweats in my beach bag for when the sun goes down. It gets really cold out here at night by the beach and really windy as well.

Rules for Beach Bonfires

  • alcohol is not permitted
  • coal or wood can be used at most of the fire pits but look at the actual ring itself to see if it says if it is designated for one or the other

Bolsa Chica State Beach

bolsa chica state beach

Address: 17851 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA

Hours: 6 am to 10 pm

There are 200 fire rings available, coal or wood can be used for your fire, and dogs are not allowed. *Please note that dogs are allowed on the bike trail that goes along the beach but they are not allowed on the sand.

If you have a large group you might consider reserving a picnic area that includes a fire pit. However, keep in mind that the picnic areas are further from the water so it might not be quite what you want.

Nearby points of interest: The Bolsa Chica Wetlands are directly across from the beach. You can park for free at the wetlands while you are enjoying that area. Please do not park at the wetlands and then go across to the beach. The wetlands are such a cool area to see birds and other wildlife. They have great walking trails.

Huntington City Beach

huntington city beach

Address: 103 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA

Hours: 6 am to 10 pm

If you want to be close to the Huntington Beach Pier this would be the most ideal bonfire location. There are around 100 fire pits at this beach. For surfing and other water activities, this is one of the best beaches to be at. You can rent a bike if you’d like to enjoy the bike path as well. This area is jam-packed with ways to enjoy your day.

I always have good luck with finding street parking when I visit both Huntington City & State Beach.

Nearby Points of Interest: if you want fantastic ice cream near the pier Handels is one of my favorite spots to go to. For surfing fans, be sure to walk across the street to see the Surfing Walk of Fame.

Huntington State Beach

huntington beach fire pits

Address: 21601 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Hours: 6 am to 9:30 pm

Just like at Bolsa Chica State Beach, at Huntington State Beach you can also reserve a fire ring with a picnic area. The state beach is next to the city beach but is a long walk down to the pier. I typically try for a pit at city beach first since it’s closer to the pier and then go to state beach if I can’t find a closer spot. State beach is perfectly fine and a great choice, I just prefer to be closer to the pier.

Corona Del Mar State Beach

corona del mar beach bonfires

Address: 3001 Ocean Blvd, Corona Del Mar 92625

Hours: 6 am to 10 pm

beach bonfires in newport beach

There are 16 wood-burning fire rings at this beach and 8 that are specifically for coal. The rings that are painted green are the charcoal-only rings.  They also have 4 wood-burning rings that are ADA accessible. This is one of my favorite beaches to enjoy a beach bonfire at. It is a much smaller beach than any of the Huntington ones which means you don’t have to walk too far on the sand. I love seeing all of the sailboats passing by and getting gorgeous photos by the rocks. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 10 am to 4:30 pm.

Balboa Pier

balboa pier fire pits

Address: 1 Balboa Pier, Newport Beach 92661

Hours: 6 am to 10 pm

There are fire pits on both the west and east side of the pier. 15 of them can be used with wood or charcoal, there are 16 that can only be used with charcoal. 8 of the fire pits are ADA accessible. This is one of the most popular beaches in the OC so expect it to fill up super quick. There are a lot of cute places to eat and explore beyond the beach in this area.

Crystal Cove State Park

ruby's shake shack crystal cove
view from Ruby’s Shake Shack above Crystal Cove State Beach

Address: Parking for Crystal Cove State Beach is at the Los Trancos parking lot.

Hours: 6 am to sunset

At Crystal Cove State Beach you can bring your own propane fire pit to this beach. If you don’t have your own but want that experience at this beach you can rent one from The Beachcomber.

This is one of my favorite beaches in Orange County. There are such good places to eat at this like the Ruby’s Shake Shack which gives you stunning views of the beach, and the Beachcomber which is on the sand and absolutely delicious, though a little pricey. I love that you can walk down and visit the cottage used in the movie Beaches. Be prepared to do some walking to get to this beach or pay to take the trolley from the parking lot.

If you are interested in getting your own you can find some on Amazon.

From the parking lot, you can either take the trolley for $1.50 per person for a one-way trip or walk there via the trail located to the south. I opted to walk and it was a relatively easy walk that took about ten minutes. I did eat at The Beachcomber Cafe during my visit which gave me three hours of validated parking for free. If you do not eat at the Beachcomber parking is $5 an hour with a $15 max rate.

Aliso Beach

Address: 31131 Coast Hwy in South Laguna

Hours: 6 am to 10 pm

Not only is Aliso Beach a beautiful one, but parking is only $1 an hour! The beach has 7 wood-burning fire pits. I cannot even imagine how quickly those must get taken. However, if you still want to have a beach bonfire here you can rent a fire pit from the Lost Pier Cafe.

San Clemente

beach bonfires in san clemente
one of the fire pits near the pier is visible to near the palm tree on the right

Hours: 4 am to Midnight

There are only 8 fire pits in San Clemente. There are a few by the pier, T Street Beach, and North Beach. If you don’t get a pit in this area and don’t have to necessarily stay on the beach all day I highly recommend checking out the Sea Summit Trail.


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A post shared by Michelle Ares (@la.dreaming)

This trail gives you the most beautiful views of the ocean. The water in San Clemente is the most stunning of any other beach city in Orange County, with Laguna coming in at a very close second.

Items We Love Using For Our Beach Bonfires

We got a foldable table that we love taking to parks for picnics as well as the beach for bonfires. I also bring food nets and reusable marshmallow roasting sticks.

About The Author

Michelle Ares is the founder and creative director of LA Dreaming. I have a passion for Southern California and love sharing my adventures and experiences with you. I love to travel, find new places to check out, and watch movies. You can follow me on Instagram @la.dreaming

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