Best Places to Elope in the US
How to Find the Best Places to Elope in the U.S.
Finding the best elopement destination requires research and a well thought-out plan but ultimately depends on you and your fiance’s dream location for tying the knot. The easiest way to decide on where to elope is by envisioning yourselves somewhere and using all your senses to imagine your big day. It’s important to do this day-dreaming exercise with your spouse-to-be so that you both can pick and agree on an elopement location together. This will ensure that your elopement will be one to remember and everything you dreamed of.
Choosing the Best Elopement Destination in the US
Let’s get started! Simply close your eyes and take a deep breath. Imagine yourselves alone together and then ask yourselves the following questions:
Which travel destinations have you always wanted to visit?
Where do you picture yourselves exchanging intimate vows? In the mountains, by the lake, in the desert, beneath the forest, along the beach, or by a waterfall?
What beautiful landscapes do you see around you? Snow covered mountains, epic desert rock formations, a forest canopy, a serene beach sunset, or a gushing waterfall?
What aromas and scents do you smell? The fragrant smell of pine trees, desert sagebrush, or the salty ocean air?
What sounds do you hear? Birds chirping in the distance, winds rustling through shrubby trees, or waves crashing along the shore?
What sensations do you feel on your skin? Fresh snowfall, the warmth of the desert sun, or sand in between your toes?
Once you both have figured out your dream elopement landscape, it’s time to further narrow your options by region, state, and city. It’s recommended to pick out 2 to 3 different potential locations to have more options to choose from in the case that a place is all booked out or plans change.
How Much Do Adventure Elopements Cost?
While elopements can save money that would originally be spent on a traditional wedding, it is important to set a realistic budget. The cost of adventure elopements will ultimately depend on the location and activities you plan on doing. On average, couples who elope tend to spend around $3,000 to $15,000 on their big day. It’s important to remember to invest on the things that will make the special day for the both of you – that includes an elopement photographer to capture your best moments, of course!
In order to make your adventure elopement possible, you and your fiance will need to discuss what you both are comfortable spending. This includes travel and lodging, food and beverages, costs associated with inviting your closest family and friends, an elopement photographer and/or videographer, along with other adventures you may have planned at your elopement destination.
How to Elope?
Now that you have an elopement destination in mind, planning your elopement getaway will require a bit of research to narrow down exactly what you will need to make this day happen. Lucky for you, we created a guide on how to elope which includes an elopement checklist to make planning that much easier!
Best Places to Elope in the US?
If you’re thinking of eloping in the US, look no further! The list below includes some of the best places to elope and exchange vows with your significant other. A lot of the elopement ideas we recommend are on a first come, first served basis and require permits, so be sure to plan in advance. Once you have a dream landscape in mind, scroll down to the section that best suits your elopement destination.
Mountain Elopement Destinations
Lake Elopement Destinations
Desert Elopement Destinations
Epic Mountain Elopement Locations in the US
Yosemite National Park
Eloping in Yosemite offers a plethora of epic locations to choose from including Glacier Point, Half Dome, Taft Point, Tunnel View, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and more! Located in Northern California, Yosemite National Park is by-far one of the most magical elopement destinations out there. It’s the perfect spot for adventure junkies, mountain lovers, and admirers of majestic natural beauty. Remember to bring hiking boots since the best views may require a bit of a hike.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Offering views of Longs Peak, Hallett Peak, The Sharkstooth, and more, this location is a must-see for those who want to get married near gorgeous alpine lakes way up in the mountains. Located in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is a well sought-after wedding and elopement destination. It’s so popular that all the permits have already been issued in 2021. The best places to elope in Rocky Mountain National Park include 3M Curve, Upper Beaver Meadows, Sprague Lake, Hidden Valley, and Bear Lake.
Mount Baker at North Cascades National Park
Known as the American Alps, Mount Baker is one of the most visited national forests in the country. Located near the Canadian border in the state of Washington, Mount Baker offers glacier peaks and spectacular mountain views. It offers adventurous hiking trails and epic views of snow-capped glaciers, a must for adventure couples looking for a winter elopement getaway.
Grand Teton National Park
Located south of Yellowstone National Park and north of the town of Jackson, Grand Teton is a wonder of lush valley floors, mountain meadows, alpine lakes and the rising peaks of the Teton Range. Iconic locations like Mormon Row and the Moulton Barns may be the most photographed destinations in the park. Grand Tetons celestial peaks also provide the perfect setting for your elopement wedding ceremony with a backdrop of incredible landscapes.
Mount Rainier National Park
Basically a real-life Narnia, a Mount Rainier elopement consists of skiing at Crystal Mountain Resort and White Pass along with breathtaking photos in a winter wonderland. Located in Washington state and on the outskirts of downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park features beautiful snow capped mountains in the winter and wild flowers in the spring. For those who want epic 360-views, the park also has fire lookouts to admire the beauty of nature with your significant other.
Pristine Lake Elopement Locations in the US
Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Lake Tahoe and its surrounding pine forest is a hidden gem. Lake Tahoe is a prime spot for adventurous and athletic couples who want to elope in the wild. Among the most iconic spots are Emerald Bay State Park, Fallen Leaf Lake, and Sand Harbor. You’ll want to know the differences between North Lake and South Lake, as well as the locations available in the bi-state lake between California and Nevada. We wrote a guide for planning your Lake Tahoe elopement to help you achieve your dream elopement!
Crater Lake National Park is located just two hours away from Bend, Oregon. It is known for its deep blue color and features two small islands, Wizard Island and Phantom Ship. The lake was formed from the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. Eloping in Crater Lake is a great idea for couples who want to exchange vows in front of deep blue waters and views that will take your breath away.
Yellowstone National Park spans across three states – Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It features geothermal pools, extensive wildlife populations, and the oh so beautiful Yellowstone Lake. For couples looking to explore the largest high elevation lake in North America, eloping in Yellowstone will not disappoint. Be sure to pack extra layers as the weather can get quite cold!
Lake Powell is a man-made reservoir and lies between the Utah and Arizona border. Known for its most popular attraction, Horseshoe Bend, eloping in Lake Powell offers a sense of spontaneity and epic cliffside portraits. The red rocks and narrow canyons provide a kaleidoscope-like view overlooking the Colorado River.
Mount Shasta is a go-to spot for the spring and summer. Located in the Cascade Range in Siskiyou County, California, there’s so much to see and do for an elopement road trip. From stunning waterfall views to gorgeous lakes, Mt. Shasta does not disappoint when it comes to scenic hikes and epic mountain views. Some photo-worthy spots to visit include Burney Falls, Heart Lake, Lake Siskiyou, and McCloud Falls.
Picturesque Desert Elopement Locations in the US
Zion National Park
Offering scenic views of red, cream, and pink sandstone cliffs, Zion National Park is the perfect desert canyon elopement destination. Known for its most iconic attractions – Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Emerald Pools, eloping in Zion is a dream come true for any couple looking to venture across southern Utah’s precious gems. Just an hour away is Bryce Canyon National Park, which is another must-see for your road trip getaway.
Nestled in between towering red rock buttes and pine forests, Sedona carries a magical energy that blesses the years of marriage to come. Located in central Arizona near Flagstaff, Sedona is known for its vortexes that bring an abundance of good energy within its vibrant red hues and gorgeous mountain views. Eloping in Sedona promises adventure in the desert and good juju for your nuptial arrangement.
Eloping in Moab does not disappoint with the variety of activities and attractions it has to offer. Located in Southeast Utah, Moab is known for its sandstone arches, soaring pinnacles, high cliffs, and massive canyons. It’s the perfect off-roading elopement getaway for couples with a deep sense of adventure and willingness to go off the beaten path.
Death Valley National Park
Thinking of eloping in sand dunes and being miles away from civilization? Death Valley is the place to be! Located in the northern part of the Mojave Desert, this below-sea-level basin is by far an epic camping getaway for those who want to stargaze after tying the knot. What’s a better way to celebrate the beginning of marriage than seeing the Milky Way with the love of your life?
Joshua Tree National Park
Located east of Los Angeles and near Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is a classic California desert elopement destination. There you can find yourself surrounded by interesting rock formations, prickly Joshua trees, and colorful sunsets. What are Joshua trees exactly? Joshua trees are twisted, spiky trees that look like they came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. Definitely worth checking out if you’ve never seen them before!
Forest Elopement Locations in the US
Redwood National and State Parks
If you want to feel the sheer immensity of nature, Redwood National and State Parks are a string of protected forests, beaches and grasslands along Northern California’s coast that are especially stunning because of their size. These ancient trees can grow up to 380 ft tall and 30 ft wide! From Humboldt National State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Portola Redwoods State Park, The Avenue of the Giants, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove, there are plenty of options as far as choosing to elope in the middle of a Redwood grove.
Mt. Hood & Columbia River Gorge
The region where Oregon’s tallest mountain meets the mightiest river, Mt. Hood is known for its Douglas fir trees and views of the 12,240 foot tall dormant volcano. Located twenty miles east of Portland, Mt. Hood National Park offers a variety of waterfalls, hotsprings, and glaciers to explore. There are plenty of hiking trails, climbing opportunities, and camping for couples looking for adventure after their elopement.
Sequoia National Park
South of Kings Canyon and west of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Sequoia National Park is home to the beautiful sequoia trees. Get lost within the enchanted trees of the Giant Forest and feel small next to the world’s largest General Sherman Tree! This area is perfect for couples who want a more intimate elopement surrounded by mother nature’s greatest gifts.
Olympic National Park
With trees covered in green moss and its close proximity to Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park is another great forest elopement option. Located on the Olympic Peninsula in the State of Washington, this area is perfect for intimate ceremonies underneath a temperate rainforest in the Hoh Rain Forest. Just 30 minutes away is a black sand beach, making this located the best of both worlds for couples who want to elope in a forest and a beach!
Beach Elopement Locations in the US
If a breathtaking Hawaiian beach elopement is what you envision for your big day, Oahu and Kauai are the top two islands to check out. Sherwood Forest Beach, Waimanalo, offers long stretches of white sand with crystal clear turquoise water and is located on the East Shore of the Big Island, approximately 40 minutes from Waikiki. Poipu Beach Park in South Shore, Kauai stretches around Makahuena Point and is voted as America’s Best Beach. There are plenty of beautiful Hawaiian beaches to elope at, so find the one that best suits your idea of paradise.
Known for its rolling golden hills, coastal cliffs, and Redwood trees, Big Sur is the perfect place to start your elopement adventure. If you want coastal views and to elope in Big Sur, you’re in luck! You can catch breathtaking views of the Central Coast from Asilomar State Beach and Carmel River State Beach. Crossing over the Bixby Bridge, Pfeiffer Beach offers views of aqua blue waters and is close to the oh-so beautiful McWay Falls. We highly recommend you check it out!
Filled with lush redwood forests and dramatic cliffs along the coastline, Santa Cruz is a small coastal town that serves as the perfect elopement getaway. If you plan on eloping in Santa Cruz, be sure to visit Coast Dairies State Beach and Henry Cowell State Park.
Waterfall Elopement Locations in the US
Just a 30 minute drive outside of Portland, eloping at Multnomah Falls offers a beautiful backdrop for nature lovers. Located in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon, Multnomah Falls is one of the most iconic in the area featuring a magnificent double drop waterfall. Hovering over 620 ft, it is the tallest waterfall in the entire state of Oregon. The best part? It’s free to elope there and does not require a permit for groups less than 75 people.
Another incredible waterfall elopement in the Pacific Northwest is at Snoqualmie Falls. One of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions and located 30 minutes east of Seattle, having a Snoqualmie Falls elopement means being immersed in diverse flora and hearing the majestic sound of water crashing at the base of the falls. While this is a heavily visited destination, more intimate ceremonies and photographs can be done at the Lower Falls to have a bit more privacy.
Having an Eagle Falls Elopement offers the best of both worlds – a gorgeous view of Emerald Bay and cascading waterfalls. What more could you ask for? Mother nature sure is a beauty! Located in the Lake Tahoe Basin, eloping at Eagle Falls means lots of evergreens, large granite peaks, and if you’re up to it, a spectacular view of Eagle Lake. This hike is a must as the reflection of the mountainscape on the water will take your breath away!
Kimmi Cranes is an adventure elopement photographer who offers all-inclusive elopement packages. Based in South Lake Tahoe, she’s more than happy to travel and capture your special event wherever you choose to hold it. Whether that be in the boonies of the desert, somewhere in the forest, or along the coastline, she will be there to make your elopement photography dreams come true! She loves to explore the outdoors and take photos of people in front of breathtaking landscapes. Her photos craft a beautiful story of love, excitement, and emotions to be remembered for years to come.