How to Build the Perfect Beach Fire

The Girl Scout leader and beach-fire maven gives us step-by-step instructions

For coastal camaraderie, nothing beats a beach fire. Follow these steps and spark a blaze to create a cozy mood—and cook a few marshmallows, too! For coastal getaway ideas, read our Best of the Northwest Coast story here.

Here's How:
1. Check regulations. Fires are permitted on most beaches in Washington and Oregon, as long as they’re situated well west of the vegetation line and built with small wood only (no large logs). Look for signs posted at beaches for local restrictions.
2. Choose your site with care, at least 15 feet from anything flammable—such as piles of driftwood or vegetation—and from other people, so your smoke and/or noise won’t disturb them. If windy, dig a shallow pit. Circle the fire area with rocks, if available.
3. Pile up plenty of tiny, dry kindling, tinder and mosses in the center, then add dry sticks in a tepee-like formation. Add one or two larger sticks to start. Make sure everything is dry—it’s easier to light and less smoky as it burns. Light the tinder.
4. Roast marshmallows, sing songs, tell stories, etc.
5. Before departing, put the fire completely out with water, then bury it with sand (don’t skip the water; the fire can smolder for hours under the sand).


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