For some beach goers, having a bonfire on the shore is a quintessential activity once the sun starts to set. While fires aren't allowed on certain North Carolina beaches in North Topsail, Surf City, Ocean Isle, Holden, Sunset and Kure, there are still a few places that allow this age-old tradition. Here are the beaches that allow bonfires in North Carolina.


First, find the perfect beach house in North Carolina.


Have A Bonfire On These 8 North Carolina Beaches


Photo: Jim Denham/Flickr


1. Nags Head Beach

Nags Head, a part of the Outer Banks, is a popular spot for swimming, surfing, beachcombing and – you guessed it – holding bonfires. While fireworks are not allowed on the beach, bonfires are allowed with a permit. Nags Head Fire and Rescue sells permits every day between 5 pm and 9 pm, at Station 16 at Milepost 14.5 (252-441-5909) and Station 21 at Milepost 18 (252-441-2910). They can also be purchased online. Permits are issued based on the current wind speed and fire danger conditions, as determined by officials. Permits are only valid on the date issued until midnight.


Photo: Frank Reid/Flickr


2. Waves, Rodanthe and Salvo beaches

These beaches are part of the “Tri-Villages” on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks area. National Park Service manages the island’s beaches as part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Bonfires are allowed on the beach from November 16 through April 30 from 6 am to 10 pm with a permit, which can be printed here. Bonfires are only allowed in the day use area between May 1 and November 15. Beach fires are prohibited May to mid-November on the beach to create a safe habitat for nesting sea turtles. The permit is valid if an adult 18 years or older reads and signs the document, and keeps the permit at the site of the bonfire. Beach goers can also obtain permits in person by visiting any park visitor center, off-road vehicle use permit office or campground.


Photo: Jim Denham/Flickr


3. Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras

Hatteras Island includes seven villages in total. While Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras are not part of the “Tri-Villages” grouping on the island, their beaches also fall under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. The same rules and procedures apply as the aforementioned “Tri-Villages” beaches. See above for more information.


Photo: Smythe Richbourg/Flickr


4. Ocracoke Island beach

Ocracoke Island is accessible by air or water, with access from the mainland and Hatteras Island. Ocracoke Island also falls under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service when it comes to bonfires. Bonfires are allowed between November 16 to April 30 from 6 am to 10 pm. Between May 1 to November 15, beach bonfires are only allowed in the day use area. Permits can be printed here.


Photo: John Buie/Flickr


5. Coquina Beach

Coquina Beach, considered among the loveliest beaches in the Outer Banks, is a part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Beach bonfire permits are issued by the National Park Service, and can be printed here. Bonfires are allowed in the day use area only from May 1 to November 15, and allowed throughout the park November 16 to April 30.


Photo: David McSpadden/Flickr


6. Oak Island Beach

The Oak Island Beach area is an attractive destination with a number of public access points including fishing docks and boat ramps. Campfires are allowed on the beach with a permit from late November through April. They are not allowed between May 1 and November 15. Permits can be approved at the Town Hall, at the fire station or via email at burnpermits@ci.oak-island.nc.us. A copy of the permit can be found here.


Photo: Mike Bitzenhofer/Flickr


7. Carolina Beach

Campfires are allowed all year in approved fire pits in the Freeman Park area of Carolina Beach. Fires are only allowed in the designated areas, and prohibited within 25 feet of dune or vegetation line. Paper permits are not needed. More information can be found here.


Photo: Virginia (Ginny) Sanderson/Flickr


8. Masonboro Island Beach

Masonboro Island is a barrier island just north of Carolina Beach. Fires area allowed on Masonboro Island Beach in approved fire pits. There are designated campfire areas on the beach. Obtaining a permit is not necessary. Officials ask those building a campfire not to burn trash or natural vegetation found on the island.



This article was written by Hanna Choi.