How to Build a Beach Fire Pit

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Hot summer days and soft summer nights make it hard to leave the beach at dark. It takes just a little bit of effort and planning to build a fire pit. Cook for the hungry crowd, or to use it after kicking out the crowd as a place to cuddle up for summer romance!

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Barbecue or grill grate (if you plan to cook)
  • Stones/rocks or light cement blocks
  • Dry wood (hardwood burns best)
  • Plan ahead, if at all possible. Even if a beach firepit is only just a possibility, pack a few items from home. Bring along wood, perhaps some flat cement blocks and a form of kindling such as newspaper or small pieces of wood. And, uh, the lighter too!

  • Check on beach firepit rules. Some beaches do not allow firepits, while others have specific guidelines to follow.

  • Trace the size of the firepit with the tip of a shovel or with your toe. If the plan is to put a grill over the firepit for cooking, the size should fit the grill.

  • Dig! You will want to go down in the sand about 2 feet. Place the sand from the hole over to one side, if the rules require that firepits be filled in after use. The sand is also useful for putting out the fire once you are finished on the beach, or if there is a flare-up.

  • Line the pit with rocks or cement blocks, at least near its top. Position rocks so that they create a secure rim on which to place the grill, and secure them by wedging edges firmly into the sand around the rim.

  • Gather wood from the beach or from nearby wooded areas (if you have not brought wood from home). Then prepare for the fire by placing the wood in a tent-shape. Some convenience stores will sell firewood, and you can pick it up along the way too.

  • Start the fire by lighting newspaper or kindling. If you are cooking, wait for the fire to burn down to hotly glowing coals. Then put on the grill and get the food going!

Tips & Warnings

  • Follow beach firepit rules to the letter. There is nothing worse than settling down for some summer romance and getting busted!
  • Some beaches have firepits already, and it is simply a matter of claiming or renting one. Remember, though, that busy beach days or holidays may require a reservation.
  • Try to use a portable butane firelighter instead of matches or cigarette lighters. These are often for sale right at the gas station or convenience store counters.
  • Make sure the wood you burn has not been treated with chemicals. Burning treated wood can release toxins into the air that are not good for you or the environment.
  • Always locate the firepit away from traffic areas, parking lots and above the tide line. Safety first!

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