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Group of people are making roasted marshmallows over a bonfire at the beach.



Winter is a favorite time for locals to head to the beach for a bonfire thanks to the long nights. It’s a great way to bond with friends and enjoy a little downtime in nature.

Destin makes the process easy. You can actually hire a company to take care of it for you. They’ll procure the required permit, purchase the items you need, and then set it up for you. Check out Excel Beach Services, Reef Beach Services and Rentals, or Holiday Isle Beach Services, Inc. if this is the route you choose.

However, if you’d prefer a more DIY route, then these tips will help you have the best bonfire possible.

Get a Permit

Destin requires permits for all beach fires, through the South Walton Fire District. Head over to their offices – and don’t wait until the last minute because they are closed on holidays and permits are given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Permits cost $100 ($105 if you pay with credit card, due to processing fees).

Check Weather Conditions

Be sure you have picked a good night for your bonfire when the weather will be pleasant. Fires will not be permitted during poor weather conditions – even if you have already purchased your nonrefundable permit.

Get the Right Materials

Bonfires must be contained in a metal burn barrel. Make sure you bring burn material that is on the city’s approved list (which you can find when you purchase your permit). This typically includes firewood that is free of nails and other metals. Make sure to bring appropriate fire starters because lighter fluid and other flammable liquids are not permitted.

Keep Everybody Safe

Remember to leave three feet of clearance around the barrel at all times during your bonfire in order to keep your group and passersby safe. Embers can easily blow out of the fire and land on people who might be sitting, standing, or walking too close, which can cause painful burns.

Clean Up Properly

Destin requires that bonfires should be extinguished by thoroughly dousing everything with water. It’s essential that you remove the ashes and the barrel – in other words, leave no trace. Be prepared and bring buckets, as well as heavy, thick gloves to protect your hands during this process.

For more tips on living the good life in Destin, follow the Olympus Emerald Coast blog.