Free to the public, Bolsa Chica State Beach is a quiet and peaceful place north of Huntington Beach, California. After years of neglect, post World War II, it was cleaned up at the urging of local activists. It became a state beach in 1963 Stretching 3-miles. It's adjacent from the edifying Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and south of Sunset Beach.
There's plenty of relaxation ranging from the fire pits for a bonfire, surfing, fishing (license needed), biking, and sunsets. It offers respite from the mundane. The Bolsa Chica State Beach Hours are 6:00 am to 10:00 pm Monday thru Sunday with the gate closing at 9 pm. Parking is $15. If you're planning on visiting the state beaches in Southern California frequently, purchase the $125 state parks pass.
For swimmers, lifeguards are on duty and patrol year round. The best time to visit is in the fall or spring as it's less crowded. Weather is generally comfortable throughout the year. August is the hottest month with average highs of 85º. December the coolest with a high of 69 and lows of 46ºF.
Bolsa Chica State Beach camping is a major draw with the RV park and campground steps to the sand. There are picnic tables and public restrooms. Nearby restaurants exist, however, they're likely going to be a little pricey. Drive a few miles out. Many have take out options.
Bolsa Chica State Beach is also a great spot for group activities such as volleyball. There are no volleyball nets so you'll need to bring your own. How much for a good volleyball set? You can expect to pay north of $140. If you're doing a lot of out of office team building, it's a wise investment.
For surfing beginners, there is no better place. The waves are smaller but the area is less crowded than HB. Expect breezy conditions, at times, since you're oceanside with no trees.
A few words of caution.
First, there is a riptide. Second there are stingrays. Should you get stung from stepping on one, seek immediate medical attention.
Now the fun begins.
A great group activity to keep the workaholics in shape is the 8.5 mile Bolsa Chica Multi-Use Trail. It runs from Sunset Beach to the peninsula in Newport. You'll feel it the next day but it's a small price to pay. This bike ride affords great scenery. Stop in Seal Beach and visit the main street shops, bars, and restaurants.
Bolsa Chica Beach Rules: What's Not allowed:
- Dogs on Sand
- Glass Bottles
- Charcoal Grills
- Tent Camping
Been mulling a road trip but no RV? Outdoorsy, a peer to peer rental platform connects owners with renters. See the resources section.
Tips for Visiting
- Ideal Kiting Conditions
- Buy Firewood Locally
(home stored may have pests)
- Bring Grate Top To Grill For Fire Pit
(3 feet wide inside and 18" deep)
- Free Parking at Warner/PCH
- Beware of Riptide
- Reserve a Fire Pit in Picnic Area
- Measure Propane Grill (Must 18" High)
- Watch Out for Stingrays!!
- Wear Flip Flops Due To Broken Shells in the Sand
Bolsa Chica State Beach Fire Pits
The Bolsa Chica State Beach Fire Pits are a major draw for bonfires. Although they number in the hundreds, they're highly sought after.
Securing one is no easy task!
First come, first served they go quickly.
Yelpers claim it's so competitive that you need to get there at 6:00 am during peak season to claim one. Just because you place your stuff there is not enough. Someone needs to physically occupy the space or it will be taken! Public restrooms are available.
So what's the best way to secure a fire pit for a Bolsa Chica Bonfire? The easiest way to reserve one unless you arrive early. Prices start at $100 a day and can top $200. Reservations don't guarantee parking. Tel: 714-377-5691.
The Bolsa Chica Bonfire hours are from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. The patrol will ask that you start packing up prior. Barbecuing is permitted. If you're bringing a grill top, it needs to measure 3 feet wide and 18" deep to fit. Propane grills are allowed but must be 18" off the ground to comply.
For groups, you can get an alcohol waiver if you reserve a picnic area. The cost is pricey. Up to 100 people is $500. You must have a monitor which is $79.00 per hour with a 4-hour minimum. All of which means this will put a hole in your wallet unless you do a corporate write off.
Bolsa Chica Camping is $50 or $65 beachside for a hookup. A non-refundable reservation fee of $8 is added. Receipt needs to be displayed in the driver-side windshield.
- Public Restrooms
- Partial Hookup
- Waste Station
Where is Bolsa Chica Beach?
The Bolsa Chica address is 17851 Pacific Coast Hwy. Tel: (714) 846-3460.
- Picnic Reservations: (714) 377-5691
A purchased ticket gets you in and out or into any other State Parks on the same day until closing.
State Parks Nearby include:
• Crystal Cove
8471 N. Pacific Coast Highway
Drive Laguna Beach 92651
Tel: (949) 494-3539
25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point 92629
Tel: (949) 496-6172
NOTE: Originally published September 2, 2016, Updated June 2017