THE BEST PLACES TO ELOPE
Where are the absolute best places to elope?
We’ve traveled all over the world and photographed in hundreds of stunning locations. This has created a pretty high bar for what we’d recommend to couples who are searching for the perfect elopement destination. Some would call us scenery snobs 😉 But you’re probably planning to travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles to elope, so in our humble opinion finding the best places to elope is worth it!
This isn’t some catch-all list of every possible place to elope. No, this is our extremely biased take on the very best places to elope for epic photos and an experience that will be truly unforgettable. Every place on this list meets our VERY high bar in every aspect, from the experience to the photo ops to the mini moon options after the big day. Have fun getting inspired!
1. getting beautiful elopement photos
Firstly, we only recommend the locations that will truly “wow” you. We’re talking about the kind places that are a photographers heaven and have an epic backdrop in every direction. The places that are worth traveling the country, or world, to see with your own eyes because you deserve to get married in a place that’s just as epic as the love you two have.
2. fun place for your elopement mini-moon
Secondly, let’s be honest, you don’t want a location that’s only fun to visit for just 1 day, you want a place that you can explore for a few days, heck even a week or two! Because if you’re going all out on your adventure elopement, why not turn your elopement into a bad-ass honeymoon too?!
3. when is the best time to elope there
Finally, we’ve photographed in all these locations during all the different seasons and have learned a thing or two about weather patterns, road closures, peak tourist seasons, wildfires, etc. So when we recommend an epic place to elope, we always include the best time of year for it!
Best places to elope in Washington
The best thing about eloping in Washington state is that Washington literally has it all, from rugged coastlines and old growth forests to vast mountain ranges with glaciated peaks and turquoise alpine lakes. If you wanted a little bit of everything for an all day epic Washington elopement, you could even get a mix of all of the above!
Best places to elope for epic photos in Washington:
Washington is stacked with three national parks; Mount Rainier, the North Cascades, and Olympic. To sum it up – between rugged coastlines, lush rainforests, enchanting waterfalls, whimsical wildflowers, glaciated volcanoes, and the most beautiful mountains in the country (yes we’re making that claim), there is no shortage of incredible views.
Honeymoon ideas for a Washington elopement:
Did we mention there are three national parks?! Rent yourselves a camper van and go on an epic road trip to explore them all! Or book a cozy A-frame cabin tucked away in the woods between ferns and towering trees and spend a week really getting to know one of them. Washington has a lifetime’s worth of adventure and then some, so you won’t be short on things to do. Oh yeah, and Seattle is a pretty cool city with SO MUCH delicious food and breweries.
Best time of year to elope in Washington:
You can have a great time in Washington year-round, but in general the best time to elope here is April-October. The winter months are pretty wet, but this also means LOTS of snow in the mountains. So if you want a winter elopement with snow-blanketed Dr. Seuss trees, then the winter might be perfect for you. If you want mountains without the snow, most trails typically become accessible starting in July (however, some of our favorite mountain trails on the Olympic Peninsula are good to go in June). The coast is accessible year round and insanely beautiful on both sunny and misty/moody days. We personally favor the latter and love exploring the coast, forests, and waterfalls in the spring and fall.
Eloping at Mount Rainier National Park
If we had to pick one word to describe Mt. Rainier National Park, it would be “enchanting.” The trails meander through forests of tall evergreens dotted with colorful wildflowers, set against the backdrop of the behemoth herself (plus some other pretty epic Cascade ranges). This landscape is seriously straight out of a fairy tale. Mid July through mid August is wildflower season at Rainier, which just might be one of the best places in the world to witness this seasonal smorgasbord of vibrant colors. But each season has its own unique beauty here. No matter when you visit, the feeling of awe and wonder will leave you swooning over this place.
Eloping at North Cascades National Park
If you’ve ever dreamt of seeing the Swiss Alps, you’re going to love The North Cascades. With thousands of glaciers, lush green mountainsides, stunning wildflowers, pristine alpine lakes, and some of the most dramatic peaks in the US, the North Cascades are definitely the American Alps! Standing atop a summit of one of these mountains, you’ll get a view commonly referred to as the “sea of peaks” where the layers of jagged mountain peaks seem to stretch on forever. This range of mountains has some of the most breathtaking and adventurous hikes in the state, and perhaps the best part is that they’re all dog friendly! These beautiful mountains captured our hearts and are why we chose to make Washington our home in the first place.
Eloping at Olympic National Park
As if the North Cascades and Rainier weren’t enough, Washington also boasts the Olympic Mountains out on the Olympic Peninsula. The mountains rise up from a massive temperate rainforest that’s filled with mystical moss and ancient trees. This means you can often start the day exploring the forest and end it with sunset high on a rugged peak! One of our favorite things about hiking out here are the expansive views you can get of the Puget sound and all the volcanoes in the region. On a clear day, you can even see far into Canada and the Coast Mountain Range. Being a little lower elevation than the Cascade range, the snow melts earlier in these mountains, so we love hiking here in June and July.
Eloping on the Washington Coast
The Washington coast has miles and miles of rugged beaches and ocean cliffs. Old growth forests with giant trees border these beaches and create an incredible diversity of landscape to explore. This area is truly beautiful year round, from perfect summer sunsets to moody winter days where the fog drifts through the trees like something from a dream. We love exploring the tide pools, looking for urchins and star fish amongst the rocky sea stacks that poke out of the sand. And ending the day with a beach bonfire just might be our favorite way to cap off an epic elopement! Fall, winter, spring, or summer are all perfect times to visit this magical landscape on the Olympic Peninsula.
Eloping in the Hoh Rainforest
Dominating the majority of the Olympic Peninsula, The Hoh is one of the biggest temperate rainforests in the world, receiving a whopping 140 inches of average rainfall every year. But most of this precipitation is in the form of a light mist that makes everything glisten in the most magical way. Plus, we actually prefer photographing in the Hoh on a rainy or overcast day. The thick canopy keeps you from getting too wet and the experience is just so enchanting. The dew drops glisten off the moss and ferns and you can literally feel the plants living their best life all around you. This is why we prefer to visit this area in the spring, fall or winter, when our chances for getting a nice overcast day are higher. Oh yeah, and they say Sasquatch lives here 😉 If so, he’s got some pretty gorgeous stomping grounds.
Best places to elope in Oregon
There are very few states that offer the variety of epic landscapes that Oregon does. Western Oregon is covered with lush forests and some of the most breathtaking waterfalls you’ll ever see. The Oregon coast is unbelievably cool, with seemingly endless scenic beaches, sea cliffs, and cute little coastal towns dotting the entire stretch north to south. In the middle of the state you’ll find snow-capped mountains, glaciated volcanoes, and thermal hot springs. And then on the eastern side of the state you can experience the high desert, which feels like a totally different place from western Oregon. The desert is defined by vast vistas and even more hot springs! Oregon is such an awesome state to road trip around, which is one of our fav mini moon ideas.
Best places to elope for epic photos in Oregon:
What we love about all of these areas in Oregon are the variety of photos you can get in a single day. Oregon is a photographer’s paradise with epic views year-round!
Honeymoon ideas for an Oregon elopement:
Similar to Washington, this state is stacked with amazing trails and scenery, so road tripping around it is always a good idea. You could also plan a hot spring tour, rock climb at the world-class Smith Rock State Park, or spend a day gorging yourself on cheese and other delicious dairy products at the Tillamook Creamery *drool*
Best time of year to elope in Oregon:
Year round depending where you go!
Eloping in the Columbia River Gorge
Hop on I-84 in Portland heading east and in less than an hour you’ll find yourself in the stunning Columbia River Gorge. Home to Oregon’s most breathtaking waterfalls (and lots of them!), wildflower-covered hikes, and scenic bluffs overlooking the massive Columbia River, there’s no shortage of places to explore out here. Hood River is a super cool town in the heart of the Gorge, with some fantastic breweries and restaurants that make for a great place to wrap up the elopement day. And you’re never far from Portland, which is a foodie’s paradise.
Eloping on the Oregon Coast
There isn’t a bad spot on the entire Oregon coast – all the way from the border of California to the border of Washington there are postcard-worthy views. At the far southern coast you can see a plethora of sea stacks and natural arches poking out of the ocean, and towering redwoods lurk just inland. As you head north, you’ll encounter rolling sand dunes, grassy bluffs that look like a scene from Scotland, dramatic sea cliffs, massive sea stacks, and pristine beaches. And the whole coast has cute little beach towns with great seafood and ocean-front Airbnbs!
Scroll through photos of real Oregon Coast elopements!
Best places to elope in Colorado
Colorado needs no introduction. Home to the Rocky Mountains, many know this state for its 50+ 14ers – mountain peaks over 14,000 feet above sea level. If you’re expecting a long list of places to elope in this state, you won’t find it in this list (we told you it was biased!). While there is great hiking all over Colorado, there’s one area that just stands above all the rest (at least for us) – The San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado. Yes, Rocky Mountain National Park is super pretty, but it’s hard to top the steep and jagged peaks of the San Juans, with all the awesome jeeping roads over mountain passes and through abandoned gold mines. The experience you can have out here is just so unique and fun and beautiful, which is why it’s the only location we regularly shoot at in Colorado.
Best places to elope for epic photos in Colorado:
It’s all about the epic mountain vistas here! And alpine lakes. And adventure jeeping. And a few big waterfalls. And gorgeous sunsets. And wildflowers…okay yeah there are kind of a lot of photo ops here.
Honeymoon ideas for a Colorado elopement:
You HAVE to rent a jeep and do some off roading if you visit the Telluride/Ouray area. Explore old ghost mines and hike through groves of Aspen trees that turn bright gold in the fall. The network of trails also means some awesome mountain biking if you’re into that kind of thing. And Telluride is such a cool town to just wander around. We highly recommend grabbing some tacos at Tacos Del Gnar after a big day of adventure!
Best time of year to elope in Colorado:
June-October, unless you’re planning to ski!
Eloping in the San Juan mountains
The San Juan mountains are a rugged range in the southern Colorado Rockies. The ski resort of Telluride is nestled in the heart of these mountains, and is a fun destination in its own right, summer or winter, and is a great base for exploring this area. But venture up into the mountains and you’ll discover a world of incredibly scenic views featuring abandoned gold mines, epic 4×4 roads, turquoise alpine lakes, and snow-capped peaks. Jeeping over the mountain pass between Telluride and Ouray is hands down one of the funnest adventures we’ve ever been on, and there’s a huge network of 4×4 roads to explore in between that’ll take you to views that’ll make it difficult to keep your eyes on the road. If you’re looking to elope in Colorado, this is the absolute best place to elope!
Best places to elope in California
California is a massive state. There are A LOT of beautiful places and parks to explore from the far southern tip all the way up to the border of Oregon. However, there are a handful of places that really stand out for the best places to elope. Whether it’s massive Redwoods you’re looking for, 3000 ft tall cliffs, or pristine coastline, California’s got it. Having traveled extensively all over this magnifiscent state, these are the places we keep returning to year after year. Even though we’ve photographed some of these spots dozens of times, the wonder and awe of experiencing it in person and getting creative behind the lens never gets old! Not to mention watching couple’s react to their first time witnessing the grandness of these places (which just might be our favorite thing about elopements ever!)
Best places to elope for epic photos in California:
This is the only place to go if you want some stunning photos amongst towering Redwoods! Plus, the photo ops on the coast and in the mountains are plentiful and insane. And California has some of the best sunsets we’ve ever witnessed.
Honeymoon ideas for a California elopement:
There’s no shortage of things to do here on your none-elopement days. Tour the vineyards in Sonoma, cruise the coast on the incredibly scenic Highway 1, explore other groves of Redwoods, wander remote and rugged beaches…we could go on for days.
Best time of year to elope in California:
Year-round depending where you go!
Eloping in Redwood National and State Parks
The Redwoods are unique to California and are easily at the top of our list of insanely impressive forests. In fact, I think we might even like it more than the Hoh in Washington. Wandering through these woods is like stepping back in time. We half expect to see a brontosaurus traipsing through the ferns (yes, we always blast the Jurassic Park soundtrack when driving through here). We’ve explored many old growth forests, but there’s really just something special about redwoods. They’re the biggest, most picturesque and photogenic trees. The way the light filters through the tall canopy is unreal. Some redwood forest grow close to the coast, therefore we love combining these forests with a trip to the Pacific Ocean to watch sunset. It makes for such an epic elopement day.
Eloping in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, you might have heard of it? Do we really need to tell you about this insane place? Yosemite is the home to the most impressive granite walls in the world: Half Dome, El Capitan, the Sentinel, Bridal Veil Falls, and Cathedral Rocks are striking enough to visit just to see them individually, but in Yosemite you get to see them all in one amazing valley. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also Redwoods and Sequoias, wide open meadows, and gushing waterfalls. What makes Yosemite one of the best places to elope is that you can easily see all of these things in a single day. Doing both sunrise and sunset is one of our favorite ways to experience the park on your elopement. Whether you elope here or mini moon here, it’s a stop you don’t want to miss in California.
Eloping in Big Sur
Big Sur is a scenic stretch of coastline south of the San Francisco area. Highway 1 famously winds along this coastal clifflines, offering up views of rolling hills plunging into the ocean, where the waves crash against rocky outcroppings. It’s easily one of the most scenic drives in the world and a whole elopement day could honestly be spent just cruising along the road and stopping to explore the dozens of beautiful roadside views. You can go up in the Succulent-covered hills for sweeping views of the coastline, or hike down to the beach to dip your feet into the Pacific Ocean. If you head inland a bit, you’ll even find old Redwoods! And if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can simply explore the coast in a camper van, which is probably our preferred way of experiencing this amazing area.
Best places to elope in Utah
Utah is the land of sandstone arches, desert towers, soaring cliffs, deep canyons, and the richest reds you’ve ever seen. Or put simply, it’s Mars on Earth. Here, you get to experience a preserved wild west landscape. The varied terrain of Utah rivals that of any state in the US and here you’ll find several of the best places to elope. The desert definitely has a distinctive feeling that will captivate you like no other place. It’s rough and rugged and desolate, yet gorgeous and romantic. And if you like adventure, you’ll love the deserts of Utah. It’s home to places like Zion, Moab, and Bryce Canyon. With world-class slick rock mountain biking, epic canyoneering, intense off-roading, white water rafting, and some of the best desert climbing around, you’ll never be bored.
Best places to elope for epic photos in Utah:
Long, glowing sunsets over an expansive desert landscape that’s straight out of an old Western movie, mystical canyons that rise around you, and crazy desert towers and natural arches are just some of the amazing features we love photographing.
Honeymoon ideas for your Utah elopement:
Raft the Colorado River, go slick-rock mountain biking, climb some desert towers, road trip to all the big 5 national parks, or do all of the above!
Best time of year to elope in Utah:
The Spring and Fall are generally the best times to avoid intense heat and the worst of the crowds.
Eloping in Zion National Park
We like to call Zion National Park the Yosemite of the Desert. There are soaring cliffs here that form a valley very much like Yosemite, except these cliffs aren’t granite; they’re a rich, red sandstone with beautiful black streaks and splitter cracks. Rock climbers also love this mecca of big walls, but you don’t need a rope to reach some epic views here. Hikes like Angel’s Landing will have your heart pumping as you carefully traverse a steep and narrow path up to one of the best views in the park! We love coming here in winter, spring, and fall, when the weather is a bit cooler and the summer crowds die down a bit. Exploring the slot canyons, cliffs, and desert dunes of this area makes for an unforgettable elopement experience.
Eloping in Moab
The Moab desert can be a week long road trip in and of itself! With two major national parks (Canyonlands and Arches) plus all the Moab BLM land surrounding the area, there’s a lifetime of Mars-like landscapes to explore. Canyonlands National Park is full of countless rain and river carved canyons and buttes, a true desert wonderland. You can find some pretty massive cliffs out here too that’ll get your blood pumping as you peer over the edge. Arches National Park is covered in balanced rocks, pinnacles, and of course, over 2,000 towering red rock arches. And then there’s the Moab BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, which is publicly owned and preserved and full of even more adventure opportunities. There’s a lifetime of exploration to be had out here and so many cool nooks and crannies and vistas to discover on your elopement day.
Honorable Mention: Eloping in Bryce Canyon + Capitol Reef + Monument Valley
In our opinion, the Moab and Zion areas are the most practical places to elope due to their accessibility and amenities. However, that’s just a sliver of what whole state of Utah has to offer. Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Monument Valley, Bears Ears, and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument are all worth visiting if you have the time and would also make for stunning elopement destinations. However, since they’re a bit more remote and amenities like good restaurants and groceries are a bit harder to come by, eloping out here poses a few additional challenges. But for the adventurous who would trade a cozy Airbnb for a night under the stars, these destinations just might be the best place to elope for you!
Best places to elope in Arizona
Arizona features a lot of the same landscapes of its northern neighbor Utah, which means it too has plenty of epic places to elope. But there are definitely a couple spots in particular that stand out as unique to the state. It’s a wide and vast area that is super fun to explore by car (car hiking is a legitimate activity here). But you’d be missing out if you didn’t get out of the car to explore the slot canyons and massive gorges that abound out here.
Best places to elope for epic photos in Arizona:
Lush desert vistas, unbelievable sunsets, and other-worldly natural features make Arizona an a photographer’s dream and one of the best places to elope for epic photos.
Honeymoon ideas for your Arizona elopement:
The state of Arizona is full of awesome camping, fun towns to explore for food and beer, and some of the warmest winter weather you’ll find in the states. From Flagstaff to Tuscon, there’s plenty to fill out a whole trip just getting to know this state.
Best time of year to elope in Arizona:
Summers are unbearably hot, so we shoot here in spring, fall, and winter.
Eloping in Page + Lake Powell
Up near Arizon’a border with Utah you’ll find the famous Horseshoe bend, a striking feature where the Colorado River wraps around a rocky red plateau. This is easily one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area, along with nearby Glen Canyon Dam and Antelope Canyon, but it’s worth a visit. And a sunrise elopement here can avoid the worst of the crowds. However, we’d really recommend getting out into the wilderness around nearby Lake Powell instead. Whether you go off roading to reach a remote overlook of the sometimes Alien-planet-looking lake, or you take a boat out there and find some awesome cliff jumping, there are endless scenic areas to discover.
Eloping in Sedona
Sedona is a desert environment unlike any other we’ve encountered during our travels around the US. It’s a desert alright, but it’s also green and lush. The richness of the reds and greens here is so striking. Rocky towers dot the landscape, broken up by lush canyons and cool rivers. To the south, it’s a hot and dry desert. But drive 45 minutes to the north and you’ll be in Flagstaff where there’s a ski resort. Sedona falls in between these two extremes, making for a truly unique landscape. Plus, there are some seriously cool and relaxing Airbnbs and hotels to stay at here if you want a little pampering on your elopement day 😉 When you visit, don’t forget to buy some crystals and meditate by a vortex.
Honorable Mention: Eloping at the Grand Canyon
We can’t talk about Arizona without mentioning the Grand Canyon. This area can be a little tough to explore for an elopement, due to its remote location, but if you’re into gazing into abysses and feeling dwarfed by enormous landscapes, then you’re probably going to love it out here. And Flagstaff makes for a great home base that’s not too far away.
Best places to elope in Hawaii
Kauai is known as Hawaii’s most adventurous island and it is really something special. You have epic ocean cliffs, a lush “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” jungle waterfalls, mountain ridges, and relaxing beaches. The Na Pali coast is a natural wonder and home to some of the most spectacular views on earth. Along with all the adventure hikes you have snorkeling, surfing, sea kayaking, boat tours… what better way to escape the cold for a tropical elopement and honeymoon?
Best places to elope for epic photos in Hawaii:
Perfect tropical beaches, epic waterfalls, stunning rainbows (they appear constantly!), dramatic mountain ridge hikes, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever witness are just some of the many, many, many incredible photo ops you can get on your elopement here.
- Honeymoon ideas for your Hawaii elopement: A week in Kauai is a week in Paradise. Be careful, or else your “mini-moon” might turn into a “permanent-moon” – it’s happened many times before! Spend a few days on the south side of the island and then bop up to the North for your second half. There are incredible snorkeling and hiking opportunities all over, plus the best poke everrrrrr.
Best time of year to elope in Hawaii:
Yearround! Although escaping to Hawai’i in the winter always makes the trip extra nice 😉
Eloping in Kauai
We’d add other islands in Hawai’i to this list, but we just can’t seem to spend a single trip away from the ultimate island of adventure, Kauai. Kauai is known as Hawaii’s most adventurous island and it is really something special. You have epic ocean cliffs, a lush “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” jungle waterfalls, mountain ridges, and relaxing beaches. The Na Pali coast is a natural wonder and home to some of the most spectacular views on earth, where exciting ridge hikes take you out to vistas thousands of feet above the ocean. You also have snorkeling, surfing, sea kayaking, boat tours, helicopter tours…what better way to escape the cold for a tropical elopement and honeymoon?
Best places to elope in the world
We have it pretty good here in the old US of A when it comes to amazing places to elope, but there’s a whole world of epic destinations out there! An international elopement can be such a fun and memorable adventure, kicking off your marriage by experiencing new places and cultures together. We love making some international trips every year and are constantly adding to this list (it could literally be endless with all the epic places out there). But here are some our favorite places for elopements we’ve been to so far.
Eloping in New Zealand
We traveled to New Zealand for our first time in the spring of 2019 and became forever enchanted with this landscape. The fact that most of Lord of the Rings was filmed here is enough reason to visit, but there’s so much more than what you even see in the movies. Fjords, mountains, glaciers, rainforests, jungles, beaches, rivers, canyons…you name it, NZ has it. On the north island it’s warm and tropical, while the south island is rugged and mountainous. While we only had three weeks here, Hannah spent 6 months exploring this incredible place! Even so, she can’t wait to go back, and neither can we.
Eloping in Dolomites, Italy
The Dolomites are part of the Italian Alps in northern Italy and are known for their dramatic rocky peaks and the Via Ferratas that traverse these steep cliffs. As much as we love the North Cascades in Washington, the Dolomites look even more epic if that’s possible. Everywhere you look is a postcard-worthy view. One of the coolest and most unique features of the Dolomites are the rifugios that lie tucked away in the mountains. You can hike between these huts and stay in them instead of pitching a tent, which is pretty awesome. Oh, and you get to feast the most delicious Italian food the entire time you’re there *drool*.
Eloping in Iceland
Iceland is an anomaly. It blows our minds how one little arctic island can have such a crazy variety in its landscape. It has volcanoes and thermal activity, massive waterfalls, rugged mountains, black sand beaches, barren moonscapes, cute little cottages, rolling green fields…we literally can’t even list all the variety here or else this description would go on forever. It’s a famous elopement destination, and for good reason. You’ll be hard pressed to find a place that has more epic places to elope.
Eloping in Isle of Skye, Scotland
In the Scottish highlands lies the enchanting Isle of Skye region. Rolling green hills give rise to rocky pinnacles and dramatic sea cliffs line the shores. A visit out here will take you back in time and make you feel like you’re in an entirely different world. Fairies definitely live out here. You can spend the day wandering trails through this enchanting landscape and then end it cozied up in an old pub sipping a dram of local Scotch whiskey.
There you have it, the best places to elope!
We’re Gabi and Brandon (aka the Foxes) and Hannah and Zoe. Toegether we make the Foxpack – a team of adventure elopement photographers. Together we’ve shot over 200 elopements (and counting) and are experts on planning and documenting epic days for our couples. We can help guide you through the nitty gritty details of your dream adventure elopement!
Sound like we're the one's for you?
Let's do this.