Where to Elope?

Are you looking for a list of the best locations to elope? I’ve built a list of the top destinations from all around the world with example images and detailed information for planning your dream elopement. I’ve shot locations in every continent (minus Antarctica!).. so feel free to reach out if you have questions about a certain location.

Table of Contents

Top Ten Elopement Locations in the World

With 8+ years of elopement experience, here is my top ten list of best elopement locations in the world. As you’ll soon see, there are so many more incredible spots that couldn’t make the list.

Mountain Elopement Locations

I’ve always been a major fan of mountain elopements. Here is a list featuring a few of my favorite mountain areas. I also have a “secret” list from my travels that I can share with booked couples.

Here are five of my favorite mountain elopement locations: https://dylanmhowell.com/mountain-elopement-locations/

Forest Elopement Locations

Few experiences compare to eloping under a quiet canopy of pine trees. The natural beauty, refreshing air, and calming presence is a perfect backdrop for your vows.

Here is a list of my six favorite forest elopement locations:
https://dylanmhowell.com/forest-elopement-locations/

Coastal and Beach Elopement Locations

Orcas Island

At the northwestern edge of the USA there is a beautiful string of islands known as the San Juans. Orcas Island is especially stunning and very remote. Arrive in this tiny island town by sea plane or hop on a ferry from Seattle. There are many wedding venues and secret elopement locations throughout the island.

Big Sur

With it’s coastal cliffs, rolling golden hills, and Redwood forests, It’s easy to see why Big Sur is one of the most popular places to elope on the west coast. The town of Big Sur is surrounded by unique and beautiful elopement locations like Pfeiffer Beach, Glen Oaks, and Big Sur Bakery. Although the area itself is rather isolated, it’s only about an hour from the town of Monterey, which has a regional airport.

Tulum

South of the popular tourist destinations of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen lies the chilled out beach town of Tulum. It’s become more popular over the past few years for those looking for a more relaxed vibe. There are several resorts and world-class restaurants that can double as an elopement venue.

Sayulita

This Mexican surf town is just northwest of the big city of Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita is a small coastal town with a lot of charm and modern amenities. There are several beaches and plenty of rental homes with stunning views for your intimate elopement. 

Amalfi Coast

Picturesque beaches, colorful cliffside villages, and tons of history what’s not to love about the Amalfi Coast? Here you can rent a number of villas with gorgeous views of the ocean and the distant rolling hills. This is a special and secluded place to elope. Fly into Salerno Costa D’Amalfi Airport and drive an hour and a half to your destination. 

Where to elope in the US?

California Elopement Locations

Big Sur

With it’s coastal cliffs, rolling golden hills, and Redwood forests, It’s easy to see why Big Sur is one of the most popular places to elope on the west coast. The town of Big Sur is surrounded by unique and beautiful elopement locations like Pfeiffer Beach, Glen Oaks, and Big Sur Bakery. Although the area itself is rather isolated, it’s only about an hour from the town of Monterey, which has a regional airport. 

Yosemite

For the adventurous types who want that magical rugged mountain backdrop for their vows, Yosemite National Park is an ideal elopement location. Within the park there are several gorgeous locations like Glacier Point, Taft Point, and the Lower Yosemite Falls trail. Within the park, it’s easy to find epic views of Half Dome, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Falls. Access the park easily by flying into Mammoth Yosemite Airport (42 miles) or Fresno-Yosemite International (65 miles) 

Pasadena

Northeast of Downtown Los Angeles is the historic city of Pasadena. Its charming Victorian and Art Deco architecture makes for a beautiful elopement backdrop. Venues like Maxwell House, Castle Green, and the Pasadena City Hall are all perfect for elopements. 

San Diego

Southern California is ideal for eloping anytime of the year and San Diego has beautiful locations and a unique style. For dramatic cliffs and ocean views, head to Sunset Cliffs. Balboa Park has a gorgeous botanical garden surrounding the historic Spanish architecture. The San Diego Courthouse is a beautiful building next to the bustling streets of the city’s Old Town. 

San Francisco

San Francisco is a city surrounded by natural beauty and full of elopement locations. Just north of San Francisco you’ll find the rolling hills Marin Headlands and from here you’ll see views of the city and the bay. Sutro Baths and Golden Gate Park are two gorgeous locations within the city. San Francisco’s City Hall is famous for its stunning architecture and a wonderful location for an elopement.

Joshua Tree

If a vast and vibrant desert landscape is more your vibe, Joshua Tree National Park is perfect for an elopement. From the big boulders of Indian Cove, to the cati-lined Nature Valley Trail, to the Wonderland of Rocks there are plenty of beautiful locations to exchange vows and elope. The nearest airport is Palm Springs International, which is about a 45 minute drive to the park entrance. The Park is open year-round but Spring is ideal for colorful spring blooms.

Redwoods  

The Redwood National Parks are home to the tallest trees on Earth and make an epic setting for a woodsy elopement. Some of the most popular places to get married amongst the Redwoods are Schmidt Grove, Grizzly Creek, and The Avenue of the Giants. Arcata, California is the largest city in the area and a good homebase for exploring all of the surrounding Redwood Groves. 

Oregon Elopement Locations

Cannon Beach

The most iconic beach along the Oregon Coast is arguable Cannon Beach with its famous Haystack Rock. The beach is several miles long and the town of Cannon Beach is a great place to stay when exploring the nearby beaches like Ecola State Park and Oswald West State Park. Popular elopement locations include Indian Beach and Hug Point.

Portland

Portland is a major West Coast city but somehow it still holds a sort of small town charm. Its quickly becoming a world-wide travel destination for its awesome food scene and surrounding nature. Popular Elopement Locations include Hoyt Arboretum and Forest Park.

Mt Hood

The forests and beautiful landscapes surrounding Mount Hood offer plenty of elopement locations. From Trillium Lake you can see the peak of Mount Hood and it is particularly beautiful at sunset. Fly into Portland International Airport and drive about an Hour to Timberline Lodge.

Waterfalls

East of the city of Portland you’ll find the waterfall corridor off of interstate 84. Here there are several stunning waterfalls like Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Wahclella Falls. Elope early in the morning for a chance at privacy before the trails become crowded in the afternoon.

Washington Elopement Locations

Snoqualmie Falls

This 268 ft waterfall just east of Seattle is right off of the I-90 and is easily accessible for elopements. The Falls can sometimes be raging with water so check ahead to make sure the area is accessible. There is a platform on the path next to the falls that makes for a great elopement spot. 

Mt Rainier

In the Summer and early Autumn months Mount Rainier is a beautiful location to elope. From June to August the wildflowers are spectacular and the trail is easy to access from the lodge parking lot. Fly into Seattle-Tacoma Airport and drive about 2 hours to the trail access point. 

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Olympic Mountain Range. Turning Left at the Town of Forks, Washington, this road will lead you up to the lodge at the top of the ridge. The views here are worth the journey especially in the Summer Months.

Leavenworth

This central Washington Town is the access point to the stunning Enchantments Mountain Range. There are plenty of trails that lead to picturesque lakes and rivers. Locations like Aasgard Pass and Stuarts Lake are popular for elopements from May – October.

Lake Cushman

Cushman Lake is actually a resivoir located on the Skokomish River in Western Washington. Surrounded by forests and glacial-cut mountains, Lake Cushman has some stunning scenery for your elopement. There are plenty of rental homes near the lake and it’s only about 45 minutes from the city of Tacoma, Washington. 

Olympic National Park

The Olympic National Park is full of beautiful old growth forests and even has several different eco systems. Mount Olympus is a popular climbing destination and the rugged coast line is popular for hiking and backpacking. Elopement locations include Ruby Beach and Shi Shi Beach. 

Seattle

The Emerald City (aka Seattle) is full of elopement locations. The city’s waterfront parks are especially beautiful. Discovery Park, Golden Gardens, and Waterfront Park are just a few. Gas Works Park and Lake Union Park have sweeping views of Lake Union. You can even get married on a boat and cruise the Puget Sound. 

Colorado Elopement Locations

Telluride

Telluride was once a booming mining town in the Victorian era. Located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, This small mountain town is now very popular for outdoor enthusiast year-round. The ski lift will take you up the mountain from the center of town and from here there are plenty of beautiful photo opportunities.

Rocky Mountain National Park

This National Park in Located in Northern Colorado and spans along the continental Divide. You can access the area by driving on the famous Trail Ridge Road in the Summer and early Autumn. Possible Elopement Locations include Longs Peak and Bear Lake.

Maroon Bells, Aspen

About 12 miles Southwest of Aspen are the Maroon Bells, two peaks located in the Elks Mountain Range. Along the hiking trails through the mountains valleys there are several alpine lakes with gorgeous sunset reflections. The best time to elope here is between June and October.

Pikes Peak

Pike’s Peak is the tallest mountain on the Southern Front of the Rocky Mountains. This means you can see the peak from several locations within Pike National Forest. Pikes Peak makes for a stunning elopement backdrop. The access point to Pikes Peak is about twelve miles west of Colorado Springs.

Estes Park

From Estes Park, Colorado you can take the aerial tram up to the summit of Prospect Mountain. Here you’ll discover views of the Rocky Mountain Range and the nearby valley. With endless trails and viewpoints you’ll have plenty of options for ceremony locations.

Panorama Point

As the name suggest Panorama Point will deliver exceptional views in every direction. The viewpoint is located in Corwina Park, about 45 mins from the city of Boulder, Colorado. Perfect for those eloping in the summer months.

Montana Elopement Locations

Glacier National Park

This protected Wilderness area spans across the United States Border and into Canada. Located in Northwestern Montana, Glacier National Park is famous for its glacier-carved peaks and river valleys. There are a few lodges to call home-base as well as plenty of camping sites for the more adventurous. 

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald is the biggest lake within Glacier National Park and the most prominet feature is the glacial peaks that reflect in the calm waters. McDonald Lodge is a Swiss-style Chalet right next to the lake. This is the perfect place to elope if you’re looking for comfort and alpine lake views all in one place. 

Logan Pass

Logan Pass is located on the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. From here you can see the deep valley below and several seasonal waterfalls. You’re likely to see wildlife like mountain goats and deer. The pass is only open for a short window every year due to snow. Be sure to visit late June through early September.

Idaho Elopement Locations

Redfish Lake

Central Idaho is full of natural beauty and remote locations. Redfish lake is a popular summer destination for idahoans and tourist alike. The water here is crystal clear and on sunny days it is a gorgeous turquoise blue. Redfish Lake Lodge is the perfect place for couples and guests to stay. 

Sawtooth Mountains

The Sawtooth Mountains are a series of dramatic peaks in Central Idaho, and they are a part of the Rocky Mountain range. The tiny town of stanley is a quaint place to stay while visiting. You can elope in the open valley at the base of the mountains or head to Redfish and Stanley Lake for water and mountain views.  

McCall

McCall is a small town located on Payette Lake in Central Idaho. Popular in the summer for boating and hiking, and even busier in the winter with its two nearby ski resorts. Elopement locations include Ponderosa State Park and Paradise Point. 

Coeur D’Alene

This small city at the very top of the Idaho Panhandle is a popular summer vacation spot for locals and celebrities alike. Lake Coeur D’Alene is huge and has plenty of beaches and coves that are perfect for hosting a small wedding or elopement. 

Sun Valley

Sun Valley is known for its ski resorts Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain. It’s also a favorite places for Hollywood celebrities to escape and enjoy Idaho natural beauty. Sun Valley is most beautiful in the autumn months when the leaves are changing. To reach Sun Valley, fly into Boise Airport and drive about 2 hours east. 

Northern Idaho

The Northern Idaho towns of Sandpoint and Coeur D’alene are picturesque lakeside mountains towns with plenty of options for elopement locations. Sandpoint is the smaller of the two. Located on Lake Pend Orielle, Sandpoint has both stunning mountains and a glacial Lake. Reach Coeur D’Alene by flying into Spokane, Washington. You can Reach Sandpoint by Amtrak from just about anywhere. 

FAQ

Where is the best place to elope?

You should pick a location that has meaning or that will create lasting memories. Choosing to go on a grand adventure is a great way to make your elopement memorable for a lifetime.

Where can I elope?

Almost anywhere. There are a few countries that require an official wedding ceremony, but you can hold your own elopement ceremony practically anywhere in the world. Some states and countries also let you perform a self-uniting wedding ceremony without the need for a third party officiant.

What is the difference between getting married and eloping?

The modern definition is simply choosing to skip the large traditional wedding celebration and hold a more intimate ceremony with a small number or no guests.

What paperwork do you need to elope?

This will depend on the state or country, but typically you need to make sure you have a marriage certificate and any necessary permits for the event at the location you’re choosing.

Do you have to have a witness to elope?

Many states require two witnesses to sign the marriage license. You can either bring a few friends, ask your photographer, or find a random person on the trail.

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