Beach vacation guide

From all-to-yourself islands to hidden beach towns to iconic coastal experiences, the West has the beach vacation of a lifetime in store for you

30 iconic beach experiences

Ignite your love for the shore with these classic beach icons. From boardwalks to bonfires, here are our favorite ways to dive in

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The bonfire
Kevin J. MiyazakI

The bonfire

Stick around after sunset—here’s where to light a fire on the sand.

Most artistic firepits. Eight fanciful fire rings dot the quarter-mile of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach where bonfires are still legal. First come, first served; nps.gov/goga   

Best views of tall rocks. Build your pit on northern Oregon’s Cannon Beach (pictured) and your backdrop is Haystack Rock, a 235-foot basalt sea stack. cannonbeach.org 

200+ fire rings to choose from. Chances are good you’ll score a fireside spot at Bolsa Chica State Beach, halfway between L.A. and San Diego. Bonus: Numbered lifeguard stations make for good GPS, so friends can locate you. First come, first served; parks.ca.gov

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