Collect some wood, grab a few blankets and buddies, and get to secluded, bonfire-friendly Muir Beach. Redwood Creek spills into the Pacific here and rugged bluffs to the north and south protect the beach from any serious buffeting. Wide-open sands stretching past gentle breakers provide a dramatic seaside locale. Arrive early—at least a couple of hours before sunset—to snag one of the designated bonfire pits, and then take your time roasting marshmallows and howlin’ at the moon (if it howls back, that’s the coyotes singing along). The beach closes about an hour past sunset (see details below), so you’ll have to put out your fire by then. Not to worry, though. You can keep the theme glowing by scooting a minute down the road to the Pelican Inn. Warm up with a pint by the fire in the classic Tudor-style pub. Muirfect.
Directions: From Hwy. 101, take the Hwy. 1 exit and head north. Continue up the highway for 6 miles, and look for a sign marking the left turn to Muir Beach. Three fire rings are available on the beach near the south end of the parking lot. Fires must be cleared and groups must vacate the beach by the end of the day-use hours (one hour after sunset). Call (415) 388-2595 for more information. The Pelican Inn is located at 10 Pacific Way, Muir Beach; (415) 383-6000. Muir Beach is dog-friendly!