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No matter the season, there’s something special about enjoying a California beach bonfire under the stars with the ones you hold dear. But every beach is different, and the last thing anyone wants while on vacation is to play a guessing game.

When it comes to Orange County beach bonfires, your options are pretty encouraging. Plenty of beaches here allow them, and they’re all beautiful. Here’s where to head for an evening of S’mores and storytelling.

San Clemente State Beach

San Clemente State Beach was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1934-1937. It has a little bit of everything: Campgrounds, day use areas, picnic tables, restrooms, lifeguards, and of course, fire pits. Fires must be contained to the fire pits.

Aliso Beach

Located in South Laguna Beach, Aliso Beach County Park is a popular, family-friendly place for locals and tourists alike. The beach has a large off-street parking area next to Coast Highway (Hwy 1), which is not the case for most beaches in this area. Since this is the only place in Laguna Beach with fire pits, come early if you hope to save one for your party – there are only seven, and they go fast. Bonfires are allowed until 10 PM nightly when the beach closes.

Corona Del Mar State Beach

You’ll find Corona Del Mar State Beach on the east side of the Newport Harbor channel in the charming Newport Beach. It’s a state-owned beach, so it’s very well-maintained, and the amenities include BBQ pits, volleyball courts, lifeguards, restrooms, and fire rings. The fire rings are available on a first come, first served basis, and they can be used during normal beach hours of 6 AM – 10 PM.

Bolsa Chica State Beach

Bolsa Chica State Beach is part of the Huntington Beach community. You can camp here, play plenty of beach sports, BBQ your dinner and build a big fire in the numerous fire rings. They are available for campers and beach dwellers from 6 AM – 10 PM.

Huntington City Beach

Who wouldn’t want to catch a sunset like this over a cozy fire with friends? Huntington City Beach is the center of a long stretch of sandy waterfront for the city, and it borders Bolsa Chica State Beach. You’re free to use the fire rings daily from 6 AM – 10 PM.

Huntington State Beach

If every other fire ring in the area is spoken for, you might have some good luck at Huntington State Beach. They have more of them than any other beach in the city, and just like the others in the area, they’re available from 6 AM – 10 PM. Huntington State Beach starts at Beach Boulevard and runs south to the Santa Ana River Channel.

Balboa Pier Beach

Balboa Pier Beach is one of the most popular spots in Newport Beach, mostly due to its numerous amenities and beautiful pier, which people us for both fishing and sunset strolls. Two good reasons to get here early (not including the fact that there are plenty of beach activities you’ll want to try): Parking is limited, and the fire rings are also limited and go quickly. But if you manage to find a parking spot and secure a fire ring, you’ll have an amazing time.

For a more complete list of California beach bonfire spots, check out our beach bonfire map.