How to Start a Bonfire at the Beach

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Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper

  • Small, dry sticks

  • Firewood

  • Lighter or matches

The wind can make building a beach fire difficult.

Nothing says fun on the beach like a beach bonfire. Beach bonfires often serve as the center of a beach gathering where visitors can crowd around the fire in a companionable group to roast s'mores, hot dogs and other food. More than just a way to cook food, a beach bonfire can also serve warm guests both physically and emotionally as they crowd around to the fire on a breezy night. When building a beach fire, keep safety in mind and carefully clean up trash after you've finished.


Step 1

Visit your the website of your destination beach to research applicable limits on the size of fires permitted, their permitted locations and to assess any other local regulations.

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Step 2

Dig a wide, shallow hole no more than six inches deep to protect your fire from the wind. Plunge your hands into the bottom of the hole and remove any buried rocks you locate: buried rocks may explode when exposed to continuous heat.


Step 3

Place sections of newspaper on the bottom of the pit, and wad up other sections into balls. Place these in the center of the pit.

Step 4

Surround the paper with the small sticks, leaning them against each other to form a tee-pee shape that encompasses the paper. Add dry, native grass from the area near the beach if permitted.


Step 5

Strike a match or use your lighter to set the newspaper on fire. Shield the flame from the wind with your hand for a few moments until the flame grows strong enough to survive direct exposure to the wind.

Step 6

Pile firewood in a tee-pee shape around the fledgling fire. Use smaller logs first, and add larger logs as the fire grows. A true bonfire is large, so don't hesitate to add plenty of logs once your fire has grown.


Inspect firewood to ensure it doesn't contain nails or other objects that might hurt people who walk across the remnants of your fire the next day.

When you've finished with the fire, extinguish it using water rather than sand so that others can see the remaining debris and avoid walking over it and burning or dirtying their feet.


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