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Guide to Beach Campfires

Beach Campfires: A Helpful Guide on Everything for Fires on the Beach

A guide to fires on the beachHaving a fire on the beach can be a fun and relaxing way to spend time with family and friends on a summer evening. However, it is crucial to do your research before starting a fire if you have never created one on the beach before. 

It can be difficult enough to start a fire for beginners, let alone start one on the beach. Read this article to learn all about safely starting a fire on the beach. 

We will cover whether you can even have a fire on the beach, where you can NOT have a fire, standard beach fire regulations, and helpful tips when making a fire on the beach.

The short answer is yes. You can have a fire on the beach, but it is not legal everywhere.

Make sure you check the local area regulations for where you are trying to have your beach fire. 

Some locations ban beach fires altogether, while others might require you to obtain a permit before starting your fire. Nothing will ruin your delightful evening with family and friends like having to pay an expensive fine for creating a beach fire where it is not permitted.

Where Can You Not Have a Fire on the Beach?

There are several beaches in North Carolina where you can not have a bonfire. Bonfires are not permitted on the following beaches:

  • Corolla Beach
  • Duck Beach
  • Southern Shores Beach
  • Kitty Hawk Beach
  • Kill Devil Hills Beach

Furthermore, the following beaches in North Carolina require visitors to have a permit. Beach permits are usually granted based on current fire danger and wind conditions in the local area.

  • Nags Head Beach
  • Rodanthe Beach
  • Waves beach
  • Salvo Beach
  • Avon Beach
  • Buxton Beach
  • Frisco Beach
  • Hatteras Beach
  • Ocracoke Beach

Each state has its own set of rules of where bonfires are allowed or not allowed. Make sure you look up the regulations of the specific beach you are trying to visit not to waste your time.

Helpful Tips When Making a Fire on the Beach:

Beach CampfiresNext, we will dive deeper into the Dos and Don’ts of starting a beach fire. You might find the following tips very helpful if you do not have much experience in making bonfires. 

  1. Bring a flashlight with you – It will be beneficial for the first few minutes of starting a fire if it is nighttime. A flashlight can also come in handy if people from the group want to venture off into the beach to look for small pieces of wood or load up on water.
  2. Bring your own firewood – The Environmental Protection Agency recommends you bring your own firewood. Driftwood can be harmful to the environment because it has been soaked with ocean water and can emit toxic chemicals when burned. You will also want to bring more firewood than you think you will need. It is better to be prepared than running back and wasting time because you didn’t bring enough wood. Furthermore, it is best to purchase your firewood within a 20-mile radius of your beach fire area. Transporting firewood from any farther can negatively harm the environment by spreading tree disease and invasive species. 
  3. Carefully select your location – There are various factors to consider when deciding where to host your beach fire. First of all, you will want to make sure beach fires are even permitted on that beach or if you need a permit. Also, certain things can make your nighttime bonfire more enjoyable. For example, choosing a night with a full moon can be extremely pleasant for an evening with your loved ones. A clear night where there are stars visible over the shoreline can also be a beautiful experience. Indeed, adding natural attractions to your already pleasant evening can make your experience even better. 
  4. Check the weather conditions – You will want to avoid an area that has intense winds that day. Too much wind can cause you to get out of control. Windy conditions can also put nearby animals, people, or property at risk. It is best to select a location at least 100 years from any vehicles, buildings, roads, or sea turtle nests. 
  5. Never leave the fire unattended – This may seem like an obvious tip, but it is ignored more often than you might think. Leaving a fire unattended can pose a significant danger for you and your loved ones. One strategy you can use is to appoint a beach fire “caretaker” for the night or have people switch duties. That way, even if you want to run to get a snack or go for a swim on the beach, someone will be there to monitor the bonfire safely. 
  6. Avoid burning anything other than firewood – You might be tempted to throw food wrappers or other things into the fire hoping for it to burn. Burning anything other than firewood can be harmful to the environment. It can also be harmful to the wildlife that may try to eat any burnt trash. 
  7. Extinguish your fire at the end of the night – This is another important safety measure. If you do not put your fire out at night, you are risking starting a wildfire. To ensure that you have completely extinguished your fire, you will need plenty of water (either in buckets from the beach or pre-packed water bottles). Pour all of the water over the fire and mix with embers using a stick. Make sure the embers are cool enough for you to touch.

How to Build A Fire on the Beach


Making a beach fire with your family and friends can be an extremely fun way to let loose with your loved ones and enjoy the summer. You will want to make sure that beach fires are allowed on the location that you are trying to start a bonfire at. If a permit is required, make sure that you know what factors are required to obtain a permit. Truly, you will want to make sure that you follow the tips suggested above for an enjoyable, environmentally friendly, and safe experience. 



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