There isn't a much more quintessential California experience than having a bonfire on the beach while watching the sunset and dreaming you're in an episode of "The OC" (don't act like Mischa Barton and Adam Brody aren't alive in your memory bank). While lighting a bonfire is outlawed on several LA beaches, these five span from north to south along the coast and all offer unique experiences beyond marshmallow roasting and reenacting popular high school TV shows.
1. Dockweiler. Dockweiler has tons of volleyball courts, hang gliding and surf fishing. Get here early because the 75 fire pits go quickly. Also, don't bring your pup (there are signs everywhere and they patrol it pretty hard). Parking fees can cost up to $12.50 in the summer, so bring a little cash. This is a great place to catch a sunset, as long as you can deal with the airplanes flying directly over your head. (Playa del Rey)
2. Huntington City Beach. 200 pits that are on a first-come, first-served basis. If you're a surfer or bird-watcher, this is the place to go. Also, you can buy firewood right there on the sand, parking is $15 and dogs are not allowed. (Huntington Beach)
3. Point Mugu State Park. If you're looking to have a Mother Nature-oriented staycation, Point Mugu is where you need to be. Unlike other beaches, you can reserve a camp site and stay overnight. Dogs are allowed and if you're a runner or hiker, Point Mugu has over 70 miles worth of trails. Prices will vary based on your dates. (Malibu)
4. Leo Carrillo Beach. Leo Carrillo is the perfect place to make your Facebook friends back east jealous. Make sure to take selfies of you and the surrounding cliffs, caves, hiking trails and deep blue ocean. This is a popular dog-friendly destination where you can go for the day or light a bonfire and pass out at your campsite from one too many beverages. Prices will vary based on your dates. (Malibu)
5. Cabrillo Beach. Cabrillo is actually two beaches: one facing the LA Harbor and the other facing the ocean. This is a prime spot for windsurfing, family picnics and yes, an aquarium. With a $9 flat fee for all-day parking, it won't break the bank either. (San Pedro)
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