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Why: It's elementary. Homo sapiens like sitting on sand, watching water lap the shore while a bonfire crackles in a light breeze.
What: Bolsa Chica State Beach is a prime beach bonfire destination, 3 miles long, with 200 fire rings available nightly (first come, first served) from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. And that's an increasingly rare distinction. Authorities have banned fires in many coastal areas, focusing increased attention on those that remain.
Bolsa Chica, a long, flat beach, is also known for its surf fishing and grunion runs. Just inland you have the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, a 1,300-acre estuary and wetlands area that attracts about 200 species of birds (and almost as many sub-species of birders). There are various beach concessions nearby. (Farther north in Los Angeles County, Dockweiler State Beach is another fire-ring destination.)
Where: Bolsa Chica, north of Huntington Beach's Seapoint Street and and south of Warner Avenue, is 33 miles south of downtown L.A.
How much: Day use is $15 per car.
Info: Bolsa Chica State Beach