Best Places to Have a Beach Bonfire in San Diego

What better way to wrap up a day of play under the sun than gathering with family and friends around a glowing beach bonfire? 

There is no shortage of spots on the San Diego coastline to enjoy a cozy evening together on the sand. Grab your firewood, blankets and snacks, and head out to these fire-ring-equipped beaches! 

  • Coronado Beach: If you’re looking for a more upscale beach bonfire experience, the shores of Coronado won’t let you down. In addition to the luxurious Hotel Del as a backdrop for your s’mores-toasting event, Coronado’s wide beach provides ample space between fire rings to afford you a bit of privacy.
  • La Jolla Shores: This gorgeous one-mile-long beach in the center of “the jewel” offers about a half-dozen fire rings along the beach. Take the family during the day to enjoy the gentle waves and glorious blue skies, then stay for an evening of toasty treats and laughter!
  • Mission Bay: There are countless spots along the expansive Mission Bay shoreline for your next bonfire. Choose from places like Mission Point, Pacifica Park, Crown Point, Bonita Cove and, of course, Fiesta Island. All of these locations have fire pits, and because they’re in greater number here, you have a better chance of securing one, even later in the day. It’s worth noting that Fiesta Island is dog-friendly too!
  • Mission Beach: This super popular San Diego beach is loaded with fire rings, spaced out all along Ocean Front Walk. After some family fun at Belmont Park or on the boardwalk, set up your chairs and s’mores sticks at one of the fire pits and watch the stunning sunset pour over the sublime waves.
  • Moonlight Beach: Moonlight Beach earned its name in the early 1900s, due to the fact that local residents used to use the area for midnight picnics! Keep the after-dark-fun tradition alive on this captivating stretch of Encinitas sand by having your own evening picnic and bonfire in one of the fire pits, which can be found near the lifeguard towers.
  • Ocean Beach: For a truly mellow, “beach bum” atmosphere, head to Ocean Beach’s fire rings. They’re centrally located, right near the shops and restaurants on Newport Avenue, the pier and dog beach (however, dogs are not allowed on the regular beach where the fire rings are). O.B.’s beach is usually always crowded, so for your best shot at claiming a fire pit, arrive in the early afternoon.
  • Oceanside Harbor Beach / South of Pier: North County residents are well familiar with the gorgeous Oceanside beaches, especially the popular area south of the pier. Combine your beach day with a bonfire night by arriving early in the afternoon and securing space near one of the provided fire rings for more fun later on.
  • Tourmaline Beach: On the border of Pacific Beach and La Jolla sits Tourmaline Surfing Park – a treasured mecca among surfers. But even if you’ve never set foot on a longboard, you’re still welcome to come check out all the awesome activity here in front of one of the ample fire rings at sunset!

Know Before You Go 

  • To avoid fire hazards, be sure to properly put out your bonfire before you depart. This means that 45 minutes before you plan to leave, you should start putting your fire out by covering it thoroughly with sand, then pouring water over it. Repeat until it’s fully out. 
  • Never dump coals or firewood into the sand, as they can burn well into the next morning. 
  • Use only charcoal or firewood in fire pits; any other material is prohibited from being burned.
  • Barbecues are allowed at all parks and beaches, and many even have special receptacles for hot coals. You may bring your own portable grill to your bonfire, if you’d like!
  • Be aware of the rules. Alcohol, glass and loud music are not permitted on San Diego beaches, and dogs are allowed only in designated areas, or “dog beaches.” 
  • Dispose of all food and waste in trash cans before leaving. If the cans are overly full, don’t try to stuff yours in; take it home with you to throw away. 

For the very best family-friendly ideas and activities this summer, be sure to bookmark Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles

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