From the Forum – “Best Bonfire sites in the area?”

by Prince Of Petworth November 8, 2016 at 1:40 pm 18 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user MJWein

“Hi everyone,

Im new to the area and looking for the best areas near DC (preferably within an hour of the city to go and make a bonfire with some friends. Not necessarily overnight camping, just a place that we can go to hang out around a bonfire, make smores and enjoy a nice cozy fire lit evening

thanks for any advice”

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  • Anon

    Know anyone with a car and some spare gasoline? I know of a couple of alleys.

  • NH Ave Hiker

    Lots of state parks, etc. within an hour of DC that allow camping – not sure about their rules on fires though. If you want to just make a fire somewhere, your best bet is in the National Forests (closest being Massanutten Mountain and Great North Mountain) but that is about a two hour drive from DC.

  • stacksp

    A fire pit in someones backyard works

    • Anon x2

      If they know somebody this is the answer. Having even a small backyard is a huge luxury for this in DC, especially this time of year.

    • also anon

      We spent about 7 hours around the fire pit in our back yard last night. It was wonderful.

    • textdoc

      I thought fire pits were illegal in D.C. No?

      • wdc
        • textdoc

          Maybe I was out of town or something that week. ;)
          On re-reading the thread, though, I don’t see a definitive answer (like a citation of DCMR) one way or the other. The closest is this:
          “from what i have researched, it has to be something like 6′ away from any wall and if you have trees etc, it cant be directly under those, it cant be “in the ground” either and you arent allowed anything that can drift ash. so basically, some sort of air tank-fueled contraption”

    • SassyinDC

      Lots of firepits in the Ward 7 Hillcrest neighborhood. The Hillcrest Gentlemen’s Association rotate turns hosting Friday and Saturday nights.

  • Anon E Musk

    Maybe try Swains Lock, which is up the C&O canal path about two miles past Great Falls. There is car parking there, but you may have to pay for it (I’ve been on my bike every time I’ve been up there, so fees don’t apply.) They have fire pits and first-come first-serve camping, with the catch being that you can’t bring your own wood into the park and can only burn dead sticks etc that you collect there. .


  • dat

    your best bet is a campground — i don’t know of anywhere else you can build open fires around here (with the exception of private property). Prince William forest park isn’t too far.

  • guy

    Fletcher’s boathouse

  • KingmanParkRes

    Bardo in NE DC used to have a fire pit in the colder months. If they don’t, I’m sure you could convince the owner to bring it back or allow you to bring your own wood.

    Loosely related, a drink at the Tabbard Inn in front of their fireplace is a close second to having your own fire.

  • chasscott

    Too bad you just missed Guy Fawkes Day. Remember, remember the 5th of November!

  • msSS

    A lot of Maryland state parks have campgrounds/shelters where fires are permitted. I think Patapsco might be the closest with many of these amenities. http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/patapsco.aspx

  • hliz1001

    My boyfriend and I go to Greenbelt Park (National Park) for this exact reason. We drink wine on the down-low and have a fire and stay a night for $16. It’s a little quiet/boy scouts use one of the loops, but the bathrooms are decent and its a 20 minute drive. It’s not what I’d consider camping but it gives us our “we don’t have a real backyard in the city to have a fire” fix.

  • JMo

    Butler’s Orchard in Maryland. They do hayrides and bonfires.

  • Biltmoron

    Rock Creek Park has picnic areas that you can rent, some with fire pits. One shelter has a roof and fireplace. http://www.recreation.gov/camping/rock-creek-park-group-picnic-areas/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=111896


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