Well, it is almost 11:00 pm, and we just got back from renting fire pits at Crystal Cove.  We had such a wonderful time as an extended family, and I just had to share this activity with you.

When I was in high school (many years ago… but not too many).  The popular thing to do was to go to Huntington or Bolsa Chica Beach and grab a fire pit ring for the night and have a bon fire on the beach at night.  You would grab your pallet, or go to the grocery store and buy your stack of firewood (hoping you would have enough to last the whole night).  I was great, roasting s-mores and going going home smelling like burnt wood.  The problem is, we stopped going.  The fire pits became so popular that you would have to get to the beach super early in the morning to grab an available one.  Stay all day at the beach, with your stuff by the fire ring, so noone took it, and then hike all the way across the hot sand to get to the water.  The beach started getting really crowded too at night, and sometimes not with the best to crowds.

We have found a solution that is way better, and the best part about it is, that it is at our favorite family beach!!

Crystal Cove is a wonderful quaint family beach, located just south of Corona Del Mar.   To access the beach, you can either turn right at Los Trancos, go down the hill and unload your car, or you can turn left and take the shuttle down to the beach. ( If you past The Shake Shack, you have gone too far.)  The shuttle is $1.50 a rider each way, and children under 12 ride free with every paying adult. It is lined with historic cottages that can be rented throughout the year and is home to The Beachcomer restaurant.  I will be posting all about Crystal Cove on another post later this summer with all the ins and outs about the beach.  For this article, we are just going to cover the fire pit rentals.

 

Today was the last day of school for my children and last night my incredibly awesome niece graduated high school, so as a celebration my sister and I decided to take our family and celebrate at Crystal Cove. We go here many times during the summer, and have be going there for years.  Last year, The Beachcomer started renting out portable gas fire pits with a grill attachment, so you can not only make s’mores, but you can cook hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill as well.

 

Reservations can be made online. There are 3 packages available ranging in price from $95 -$185.  We did the “Camper’s Delight” Package, for $145.  This package included a 3 hour rental for the fire pit with 4 beach chairs.  It also included,hamburgers and hot dogs for 4 with fixings like lettuce, tomato and onions. As well as 4 drinks (we asked for free refills and they did give it to us). It also includes a s’mores kit for 4 as well.  Even though this might be a little pricey for some, it is so worth it, especially if you share with another family.  It is WAY better than having to spend the whole day at the beach trying to fight for  a  fire ring. One of the great perks about the rental, is that they set it all up for you.  They also clean it up for you too (can’t get much better than that).  Two workers from the restaurant, set up your pit, in the location that you would like.  They bring the food out to you in containers and a rolling freezer chest.  They have all the utensils you need to cook your food and roast marshmallows.  Then they check on you periodically to see if you need anything.  Great service!

Since we were a bigger party (there was 13 of us), 4 hamburgers and 4 hot dogs were not going to take us very far, so we brought extra food to prepare on the grill, and they were fine with that.  The hamburger patties were large, hand formed and seasoned.  These were not your frozen pucks from the freezer section of the grocery store….. kinda like the ones we brought.. ha ha!  The hot dogs were huge and really thick, tasted good too.  They provided nice quality buns and fresh lettuce, tomato and onions.  All packaged in nice heavy to go carriers. You could have the grill in the lower position, and have both the fire pit and the grill going at the same time, or you could have the grill higher (in a more standing position), in which the fire pit would turn off, until the grill was lowered again.  It was so nice to have hot food at the beach, especially since the sun was getting lower and the temperature were starting to drop. The kids were wet, and getting cold from being in the ocean, so it was great to get the changed into warmer clothes and put some hot food in their little tummies.

 

The kids loved putting their marshmallows on their sticks and putting them in the fire till they started to burn, catch on fire and turn black and crispy.  After all that IS THE best way to eat a marshmallow.  We brought our own really long sticks with us, but the kit does come with metal skewers that elongate to roast with.  By the end of the night, we learned that kids really love to put wooden sticks into the fire and watch them burn. Then take them out and watch the end of it glow red, wave it around and then stick it in the sand to put it out.

 

The sunset was amazing.  Sitting there on the beach, with the the sounds of the ocean, waves crashing, fire pit going and a beautiful setting really makes you aware of how blessed we all are to be living in Southern California.  After sunset, the frogs start croaking and it is like being on the being part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.  The frogs are in the marshy area that runs along the pathway that leads to the beach.  It was a great soundtrack to our night.  We all gathered around the fire pit. My niece brought out her ukulele, played a few songs for us.  We put on our Beach Boys play list (a lesson from my earlier article about “making a soundtrack for your life”).  We also told scary ghost stories… ok, well maybe not SO scary, but the kids loved putting the flashlight up to their faces as trying to come up with some type of story. TIP:BRING A FLASHLIGHT OR LANTERN WITH YOU.  It is dark when you leave, and it is no fun to try to find your shoes and all your gear in the dark.  So, remember this little helpful tip.

At the end of the night (rentals only go till 9pm), the kids had a great time, the adults got to relax and talk, and we were ready to face all the adventures the summer has in store for us. It was a great way to kick off their summer vacation and celebrate all their hard work at school. I love it when we can all get together and all the cousins get to play and bond.  I know they are building memories that will last a life time.  We will definitely be doing this again before the summer is over. It is a California tradition,and this time, noone goes home smelling like a forest fire.  It is a must for the summer!!!

If you would like more information about Crystal Cove or the fire pits, just click here.