Before sparking your campfire, check to see if campfires are even allowed on the beach. Many beaches throughout the United States prohibit campfires, either for safety or environmental purposes. Others, however, have restrictions, such as using an existing fire ring or building the campfire a certain distance away from the water.
Assuming the beach doesn’t require campers to use an existing fire ring, consider building your campfire in a sand pit. One of the hurdles you’ll face when building a campfire on the beach is the wind. Whether you’re on the east coast or west, beaches have little-to-no protection from wind. By digging and using a sand pit, though, you’ll create a natural barrier of protection around your campfire.
Even with a sand pit, you may still struggle to get your campfire lit. If wind is a problem, have your group huddle around the campfire to create a wind-break of sorts. By using your bodies as shields, you’ll block the wind from reaching the fire, making it easier to start.
Of course, you’ll need plenty of firewood to keep your campfire burning. Again, some beaches have restrictions regarding what you can burn (e.g. no local firewood; must bring your own), so check beforehand. Assuming you are allowed to collect local firewood, look for driftwood that’s washed ashore. Driftwood is typically dry and hard, making it an ideal source of fuel for your campfire. Once you’ve lit some tinder and kindling, allow the heat to rise and ignite your driftwood.
It’s a good idea to keep your beach campfire small. There’s no need to create a blazing bonfire on the beach, regardless of how many people with whom you are camping. Keep your campfire small to prevent disturbing the local wildlife and ecosystem. As your fire burns down, add more wood to keep it going. A rule of thumb is to keep your campfire no larger than three feet tall or three feet wide.
These are just a few tips to follow when building a campfire on the beach.
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