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Rings of Fire

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These Santa Cruz beaches have fire rings for campfires, beach bonfires and all your junk food-roasting needs.

by Hilltromper staff

June 24, 2014—When the sun goes down after a long day at the beach and the breeze picks up, it can get pretty chilly here on Monterey Bay, especially on those beaches where the fog rolls in early in the evening and lingers till noon the next day. (And in summertime, that would be most beaches south of the Soquel exit on Highway 1.)

And how do we fight the chill, beachgoers? The old-fashioned way: with a fire thoughtfully confined to a fire pit, in accordance with state law. These state beaches provide fire rings during the summer—perfect for warming up, roasting weenies, making s'mores and having fun.

Manresa Uplands: Seven fire rings lie scattered along the shorefront, and if you choose to stay at the campground, each site includes a fire pit. Rangers drive around selling firewood at $10 a bundle. El Patio Grocery, located at 312 Playa Blvd in nearby La Selva Beach, sells bundles at a lower price and is open till 9pm.

Manresa Beach: There are four fire pits at this beloved locals' beach. El Patio Grocery, located at 312 Playa Blvd in La Selva, sells bundles of wood (in addition to almost everything else you could want, including used paperback novels) and is open till 9pm.

New Brighton: This beach and campground at the northern end of a long line of lovely beaches has 10 fire rings. The camp host (in the campground on the bluff) sells firewood at $10 a bundle.

Rio del Mar Esplanade: There are eight fire rings in the sand in front of the charming hamlet of Rio del Mar. You can buy firewood at the Rio Market, located at 136 Esplanade, although according to Yelp this is a cash-only joint.

Rio del Mar Platform: South of the esplanade, in front of the platform, are three fire rings. Firewood can be purchased at Rio Market, located at 136 Esplanade, but bring cash.

Seabright: There are 10 fire rings at this most popular of Santa Cruz beaches, and unlike fire pits at most of the beaches, they're up all year. Buy firewood at Day's Market, located at 526 Seabright Ave, for $7 a bundle or $17 a box.

Sunset: There are eight fire pits at this secluded beach and campground in southern Santa Cruz County. Firewood is sold on the premises.

Twin Lakes: You'll find 10 fire pits at this popular destination next to the Crow's Nest and the Yacht Harbor. Firewood can be purchased at Day's Market, located at 526 Seabright Ave, for $7 a bundle or $17 a box.

14th Avenue Beach: There are four fire rings at this secluded little scrap of beach south of Twin Lakes.

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