Shore-Fire Ways to Responsibly Light & Extinguish a Beach Bonfire

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How to light a beach bonfire 

Spark that flame

Talk back to Billy Joel on this one, because we actually did start the fire in this instance (or at least, you’re going to, with these fire🔥 tips). Lighting a beach bonfire is an artful experience all its own. Many of us have memories around the fire, but typically not many of us are familiar with how to step up to do the actual lighting. Which is what brings us together for campfire songs today—beach edition. So we can ignite your excitement for how to light a bonfire at the beach, and keep that flame alive. To arm you with the very best ways to light a beach bonfire. Oh, and put it out as well. 

…It was always burnin’ since the world’s been turnin’...

Psst, pair this with Beach Bonfire Must-Haves in order to be fully prepped for a heated, flickering flame.
lighting a beach bonfire

What you need for a beach bonfire

School supplies, for the fire, if you will. 

  • Long reach lighter
  • Matches
  • Firewood
  • Fire starter
  • Bucket or cooler (to put out hot ashes)
  • Lump charcoals (if using a fire ring)

Prepping for the bonfire

The groundwork. With the sand as your foundation.

  • Background: Research your local beaches’ rules and regulations regarding bonfires beforehand.
  • ~CA/FL Regulations: Most beaches in CA have charcoal use-only fire rings to use for cooking. Glass bottles and glass objects are prohibited at the majority of beaches in both states.
  • Organize: Pack all of your bonfire supplies in a bag separate from your personal belongings to keep things organized and smelling fresh.
  • Early bird: Get to the beach early to choose the perfect spot to set up.
what do you need to build a fire

How to set up your bonfire

Those days as a scout are finally coming in useful.

1. Dig

Shovel out a pit for your bonfire a thoughtful distance away from the water. Your hole should be two feet deep with raised edges to help block from the wind.

2. Rock on

Use rocks to form a border around the edge of your pit for extra precaution.

3. Teepee

Form your firewood logs into a teepee shape in the gorgeous pit you have now created.

4. Gather

Collect plenty of small twigs, kindling, and paper from the area (or bring old newspaper along) to keep your fire ablaze. 

5. Pile up

Stack, bundle, and cram twigs, kindling, and paper in a tight pile underneath the teepee you built.

How to light a beach bonfire

This is where we tell Billy Joel that we actually play a part.

how to light a fire on the beach
1. #Lit

Light the pile of kindling with your lighter or matches, allowing your lighter to make contact with the teepee of firewood logs.

2. Ignite

Gently blow on the fire while it’s starting—this encourages it to burn. 

3. (Fire) responsibly

Do not leave the fire unattended. Be sure to keep a responsible person of age monitoring the bonfire throughout the evening.

How to put out a bonfire on the beach

“And we’re gonna let it burn, burn, burn…” Ellie Goulding sang. But no, in this case, we won’t be doing that. 

1. Cool

Your cooler gets to multi-task tonight. Fill it with ice to keep your drinks chilled throughout the get-together. When it’s time for light’s out (er, the fire out), fill said cooler up with ocean water.

2. Water

Pour the ocean water over the bonfire to extinguish at the end of the night.

3. Do NOT...

Never smother the bonfire with sand.

4. Do your part

Always clean up after yourself and your group and ensure that the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the beach. Pick up your extinguished firewood once it is cooled off, so people don’t trip over it the next day.

With that, we think you’re fully prepped and ready to light and extinguish your beach bonfire. In fact, we hope you’re pretty fired up to do so. 

what do i need to light a beach bonfire

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