Taking a sunset beach stroll: romantic. Being able to kindle a campfire on that same beach: now the sparks are flying! Tucked between Pebble Beach
and Point Lobos
, Carmel Beach is a soft-sand, crescent shaped, dog-friendly gem that shines brightest at sunset. Even better, after the sun melts into the Pacific you can heat things up with a bonfire (though you’ll have to pack in firewood and materials). Stake your spot with a picnic blanket, show off your mastery at building a small teepee with wood, and when the flames rise, kick back next to your fire with your favorite libation. There are likely to be other bonfires on the beach, but there’s usually enough room between each for privacy, and it’s cool to look down the dark beach and see a line of orange embers lighting up the night. Glow worm!WHERE TO STAY:
The fact that Clint Eastwood owns Mission Ranch Hotel
in Carmel may be its claim to fame, but this ruggedly stylish 22-acre resort has way more than just Hollywood good looks. It's got some of Carmel's best coastal views. Hofsas House
is a cozy family-owned Bavarian-style inn with 38 rooms including units with private fireplaces and ocean views. S’mores Bonus: For instant sweetness, Hofsas has a Carmel Beach Fire and S’mores Package ($60), a go-bag of everything you need, including bundled wood, fire starters, skewers, s’mores fixings, wet wipes, flashlights, and a beach blanket.Beach fires are permitted on Carmel Beach south of 10th Ave. (map) and must be extinguished by 10:00 p.m. Fires should be 25 feet from the slopes and not exceed 3 feet in height or diameter. Bring water to extinguish the fire (do not use sand) and leave the coals visible. Alcohol is allowed on the beach only. Carmel Beach and some rooms at Hofsas House are dog-friendly. No dogs at Mission Ranch Hotel.