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California – Bonfire on Carmel Beach

During our West Coast trip last summer, we spent one night in the Monterey/Carmel area of California. We stayed at the Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea (more about that next time). Sometimes my job has some really nice perks and this was one of those times. The Hofsas House gave us some complimentary extras: a Beach Bonfire Bundle along with some wine and cheese. What I really love about the Bonfire Beach Bundle is that on our own we would not have come up with the idea to spend the evening sitting around a bonfire on the beach. It was really nice that the hotel supplied almost everything we needed. The package includes a bundle of firewood, kindling, newspapers, vegetable oil fire starter, and a lighter, all placed in a convenient canvas tote. It also includes a separate bag with graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate bars, and roasting sticks. They also provide blankets and a safety flashlight. While ours was complimentary, hotel guests can purchase this add-on package for $60. $10 is refunded when you return the tote bag and roasting sticks.

Before you head to the beach, there are a few things you need to know. First, the city has regulations regarding fires on the beach.

All warming fires must be extinguished by 10:00 PM.

    1. Warming fires are permitted only south of 10th Avenue.
    2. No warming fires larger than 3’ x 3’ x 3’.
    3. All warming fires must be at least 25 feet from the slopes.
    4. Do not burn trash or any wood containing nails or sharp objects.
    5. Extinguish warming fires with water not sand or leave the coals open and visible to pedestrians.

Another thing that’s nice to know is that alcohol is permitted on the beach, so feel free to bring a bottle of wine with you. The other important tip is timing: plan to set up and build your fire before sunset so that you can relax and enjoy the sunset and then the fire after it is dark. My kids created a small pit in the sand before we started the fire.

Preparing to make a fire on Carmel Beach

Then my former-Boy-Scout son and husband got the fire started.

Starting a fire on Carmel Beach

The girls spread out the blanket and got the s’mores ingredients ready.

Preparing for a bonfire on Carmel Beach

I brought along the wine and sparkling cider that the Hofsas Hotel had left for us.

Wine is permitted on Carmel Beach

We enjoyed the fire and the sunset.

Sunset and fire at Carmel Beach

Sunset on Carmel Beach

My husband and kids tossed a Frisbee until they couldn’t see it any longer.

Tossing a frisbee on Carmel Beach at sunset

And, of course, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores.

Roasting marshmallows at Carmel Beach

We enjoyed the fire long after it got dark. At 10 p.m. all the fires must be extinguished. This was where the Bonfire Bundle was lacking something: a container for carrying water. A Frisbee and wine glasses don’t hold much water, so a bucket would have come in handy.

Fire on Carmel Beach

The entire family really enjoyed this outing. There is only one negative that I can think of: there are no restrooms at the beach.

Ready to visit?


To learn more about Carmel Beach and other activities in Carmel-by-the-Sea, visit the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau website. Many thanks to the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau for arranging our stay and to the Hofsas House Hotel for hosting us and providing the Bonfire Bundle for this terrific experience.

This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.

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