10 Best Places to elope
in the us

a bride's guide on

It’s a big decision to make - to bring it back to what truly matters, ditch the “performance” or “show” that big weddings can sometimes bring, and keep it about YOU.

And after you’ve made this decision, the next one is - WHERE? Where are you going to commit your lives to each other for the rest of your lives, share your vows, and seal your marriage with a kiss?

If you’re anything like me, I like to be outside in absolutely incredible places. I don’t mind hiking to get to some of the best views in the world, and I know that some couples CRAVE that adventure as well.

Well, if that’s you, then here are just a few of the top places that you should consider eloping in the US:

so, you've decided
to elope?

table of 

table of contents

contents

Yosemite

Click to jump to a location for more info!

moab

zion

cannon beach

grand tetons

columbia river gorge

kauai

redwoods national park

joshua tree

rocky mountains

I strongly believe that life is too short to be wasted doing things you don’t like doing - like working a job you dislike, hanging around people who bring you down, or doing things that don’t truly fill you. Because we were created to do bigger things!

That’s how I found my passion with adventure elopement photography. I was sick of the 9-5 office job, sitting (which felt more like rotting) away at a desk where I felt unfulfilled and sad. That’s when I picked up my camera and made the decision to change my life.

Yosemite and Moab have easily become 2 of my favorite destinations in the US, and I’ve found a new love for national parks in this great nation of ours. With this, I’ve also found a passion for hiking, camping, off-roading, and truly living off the grid on adventures with my husband and pup. 

SO, if you’re down to camp or hike a 14 mile trail, just know, I will ALWAYS be down. :)

why should you
trust me?

why should you trust me?

but first,

hey, i'm dani!

come chat with me about your elopement!

yosemite national park

01

Yosemite is probably one of the most common places to elope, but rightfully so. The view are absolutely INSANE when it comes to getting to the top of the cliffs. With the California sun promising to show it’s face in the summer evenings and even early fall, you’re bound to get some of the best sunset views of your life.

With this, since it is a national park, you’re going to want to make sure that you have the necessary permits to legally get married here and take photos.

To apply for a permit, go here.

Now, let’s talk about some of the best locations to get married here!

locations to elope in yosemite

check out my free guide to yosemite:

how to elope in yosemite

01

pros

This spot has the perfect view of El Capitan from the top of a cliff, and has an amazing view for sunsets. There is also an angle to take photos where you can stand on the edge of a cliff and see the vastness and steepness of the cliff below you - a pretty amazing site! There is lots of cliff to move around here and explore, with many viewpoints for amazing views to get married.

When the roads are open, this spot is an easy drive to get to, has limited parking (carpooling in as least cars as possible is better), and is about a mile hike away from the parking lot. Family members who are agile and hike often should have no issue on the hike as it’s fairly easy.

This spot is also known to get crowded during the summer at sunset, so my recommendation would be to elope on a weekday to try and avoid some of the weekend crowds.

Arguably the BEST spot in the park to watch the sun set. If it’s a sunny evening, you’re almost guaranteed to get a golden hour that will leave you breathless. The cliffs are vast and go straight down into the valley. 

And your view of El Capitan from here is the best view you’ll get of it in the park. 

This is a pretty popular place to elope in the summer time, so if you’re thinking of eloping here, consider choosing a weekday in the summer, or waiting until late September/early October for a weekend day.

Because it is about a mile hike to the actual point, there isn’t as much traffic here as there might be at Glacier Point (see below). That said, be prepared for AFTER sunset and make sure to bring headlamps with you so you can find your way back! :)

Couple of things to note safety wise: there are NO railings, so safety should be your priority first. DO NOT get too close to the edge of the cliffs or be reckless. Enjoy and respect the cliffs and their beauty!

Taft Point

- Best view by far in the entire park of the sunsets. Best view in the world in my personal opinion.

- Not as crowded as Glacier Point because of the hike

- Lots of cliffs and space to take portraits or get married.

cons

- Parking is limited on the street

- About a mile hike in to the cliff. Hiking in elevation can also be challenging for those who aren’t used to altitude or experience altitude sickness easily

- After the sun sets, the trail gets dark. It’s important to bring headlamps/flashlights with us as we leave.

02

pros

Glacier Point is a great spot for the perfect view of Half Dome from the top of a cliff. Sunrise is a really popular time to come here, as the sun rises right over Glacier Point and creates magical light for photos, and a magical scene for you to commit your lives to each other. 

When the roads are open, this spot is an easy drive to get to, has lots of parking, is fairly accessible for family members, and is a short walk away from the parking lot.

It’s definitely known to get crowded here in the summer time, especially in the evening time, so choosing a weekday in the early morning is usually my recommendation.

This is the place to go if you want spectacular views of Half Dome. While coming here in the day time or for sunset may present some great views, the crowds are most likely going to be heavily trafficked at these times.

This location is easily accessible when the road is open during the Summer and Early Fall months - but it also means that there will be more traffic.

The main recommended time to elope at this spot is at sunrise because there will be practically no one there (especially at 5am in the morning), and the sun will peak over Half Dome, making it the best lighting scenario for this spot.

Here are some examples of what it looks like to shoot here at sunset. You’ll notice that Half Dome is a bit washed out or over exposed, and that’s because the sun was hitting it directly, making it a difficult lighting situation. And also note: there were LOTS of people here for this shoot, so I had to use a bit of a zoom lens to crop them out. 

So to reiterate, the best time to elope here is at sunrise. :)


glacier point

- One of the best views of Half Dome. The sun also rises right over Half Dome, making it a surreal experience if you choose to elope at sunrise.

- Parking and access is easy - just a short walk from the parking lot to the edge of the cliffs.

cons

-Parking is limited on the street

- About a mile hike in to the cliff. Hiking in elevation can also be challenging for those who aren’t used to altitude or experience altitude sickness easily

- After the sun sets, the trail gets dark. It’s important to bring headlamps/flashlights with us as we leave.

03

pros

This point has the same view of Tunnel View - but better! It’s a private location (Tunnel View has a lot of crowds usually all day), and it’s not terribly hard to access. 

The view itself has both El Capitan and Half Dome as well as the entire valley in the distance - giving you the true essence of all of Yosemite. The best time to come to this point is sunrise in my personal opinion, because the sun rises just over Half Dome in the distance and it lights up the entire valley. You can literally watch the cliffs change colors as the sun rises - and it’s a magical place to get married.

So this location is something special. It has the same view as the overly-crowded Tunnel View, but this one is more private. Like, 100% more private.

It requires about a mile uphill hike (which is tough to do in early spring as there will most likely be mud and water running downhill), but well worth it!

The best time to elope at this spot is at sunrise, and the best way to get there is to park at Tunnel View and find the trail head near the back of the parking lot. It goes immediately uphill.

I use All Trails to make sure I stay on course with the right trail since this trail technically leads all the way up to Glacier Point. :)

artist point

- Extremely private. No one will be there, I almost guarantee it, as it’s not a well know trail.

- One of the best views of all of Yosemite, including Bridal Veil falls in the distance.

- Not a long hike to get here, and parking is easy (same parking lot as Tunnel View)

cons

- The trail can be a bit difficult in the Spring/Winter months as there is a lot of running water on slippery rocks. Other than that though, the trail is not that hard

- The spot is hard to find unless you have the All Trails app to guide you there (download the map because there is no service)

- The hike is uphill, and mix that with altitude, it makes it a tough situation for someone who is not trained well for it. While it’s not a long hike, it can still pose to be challenging.

- The road may close due to weather and fires.

pros

A great place away from the valley to get married! Yosemite National Park is a big park - one of the largest in the nation!

There are a lot of hidden spots along Tioga Road/Pass which leads you from Yosemite, through the Sierra Nevadas, and ends in Mammoth area. Along the road, there are many lakes and meadows worth checking out, one of them being Tenaya Lake.

Sunrise is the best time to come here and elope, because the water is usually placid and crystal clear - creating a serene picture to get married. 

Oh man! This was a hidden gem of a location that I found last year. While it is not as grand as some of the other locations, it’s got a very different and unique feel. 

The lake is the best during sunrise, when the sun rises over the mountains. This is also when the lighting is the best and is something to consider when choosing what time to plan your elopement.

Lastly, during sunrise, there will be hardly any crowds, and also the lake will most likely be PLACID and crystal reflective - something spectacular to have in the background as you commit your lives to each other.

Please note that the road to this lake will be closed from late fall to early spring months (October - May), and it will not be accessible during those times.

04

tenaya lake

- Fairly private. There aren’t too many people here at sunrise, even during the Summer and Fall seasons.

- Easy parking and accessibility. Not a far walk to lake shore from parking lot.

cons

- Not in Yosemite Valley - about a 45 minute drive from the valley itself.

- Not open for the whole year. Tioga Road/Pass closes between the months November to May, depending on what the snow and winter season looks like.

back to top

moab utah

02

This place is magical. This is one of the best places to get those Red Rock vibes you may want with unique and different landscapes. 

There are different terrains that will absolutely blow your mind, varying from the Arches that are formed out of the sandstone, to the canyons that look just like the Grand Canyon. All within a couple of hours from each other. 

Since there are multiple national parks in Moab, you’ll most likely need a permit to get married here.

Here’s where you can go to apply for a permit.

Here are a couple of the best spots to elope in Moab:

locations to elope in moab

01

pros

One of the only places that you can go to witness the amazing creation that is these arches.

Not only are they beautiful, but they are the perfect frame for you and your boo to elope. If you’re looking for something unique and beautiful all in one, this is the place. There are a BUNCH of arches available to elope at (check out the Window Arches as well!), so there are definitely a lot of options when it comes to finding the absolute right arch here.

Couple things to note: The crowds are very popular here because most of these arches are pretty accessible to everyone. Make sure to choose a time that is not busy (like a weekday) and also a time that is not normally busy (like sunrise).

We shot here at sunrise and were the only people there in March.

arches national park

- Many locations within the park that are gorgeous 

- Beautiful red rock with structures that you can't find anywhere else

- Easy to get to most arches

cons

- Pretty busy park, may not be private if you choose an easy to get to arch like Turret Arch or Window Arches

- Weather varies here, some days is very cold and in the summer very hot

02

pros

While in these photos it was a very cloudy (and snowy) day in March, the view is actually quite spectacular on a clear day and 100% worth the trek! It’s about an hour away from the town of Moab, and is one of the best places to elope. 

It’s a great place to elope with one of the most spectacular views in the nation!

Best time to go is at sunset - it’s the best view for sunset and golden hour. I’d also recommend trying to go near early summer (May) or late Fall (September) when it starts to cool off a bit.

Keep in mind that it’s a desert here, so in the summer it gets VERY hot! And also, the winters are VERY cold, and can start as early as October and last up until April. 

Weather may change your plans a bit, but as you can see in my photos above, they still come out pretty cool if you’re up for an adventure. :)

dead horse state park

- Great views of the cliffs, including Half Dome

- Easy to get to - park and walk to the meadow easily

- Close to Curry Village where there is food and lodging

cons

- May not be very private because it’s close to Curry Village

- Parking is hard to find in the Summer and on-seasons

back to top

Zion National
Park

03

Zion is a FANTASTIC place to visit and also elope! It’s red rock canyons are unlike you’ve ever seen before (if you’ve never been of course!). There are lots of amazing hikes and incredible views of this place. 

With this, since it is a national park, you’re going to want to make sure that you have the necessary permits to legally get married here and take photos.

To apply for a permit, go here.

Here are some of the spots to consider eloping in this national park:

locations to elope in zion

01

pros

One of the easiest views to access for your elopement. The hike is about a mile to one of the coolest little viewing spots of the entire canyon of Zion. The view is particularly spectacular around sunset, as the sun tucks behind the cliffs in the distance, and the canyon turns colors from orange, to blue, to purple. It’s CRAZY beautiful, and you should definitely stick around after the sun goes down (I call it during “blue hour”) so you can see the canyon show off and change colors. :)

If you’re doing this hike in the summer, note that temperatures can get EXTREMELY hot, so it’s best to wait until evening, or do it early in the morning. Most goes for other hikes and activities in the park - avoid being out in the daylight for too long.

The best time of year to come here to elope is around May - October (as with most national parks that experience seasons), but if you want to see some epic snow, definitely come in the winter! Just know it will be a bit colder, and accessibility to certain parts of the park may be closed because you have to take a bus/shuttle around to different locations. There is really no stopping/driving in this park.

Canyon overlook

- An easy access view of the entire park and for some amazing sunsets

- A fairly easy hike to get to viewpoint

cons

- Parking is limited on the street

- About a mile hike in to the cliff. Hiking in elevation can also be challenging for those who aren’t used to altitude or experience altitude sickness easily

- After the sun sets, the trail gets dark. It’s important to bring headlamps/flashlights with us as we leave.

02

pros

Easily the best view you will get in this park, but it is a strenuous hike to get up. 

If you’re afraid of heights or don’t do well on long hikes, this might not be the spot. But if you’re up for the adventure and can look past using a rope to climb up some cliffs, then it’s totally worth it to get to the top!

It’s recommended to start this hike in the morning for sunrise - but this also means there will be a lot of people with you on the hike. If you wish to do sunset, be prepared to hike down in the dark and bring plenty of light, food, and snacks.

Avoid this hike in the heat of the day during the summer time as it is BRUTAL heat (like 107 degrees!!). 

You’ll need to take a shuttle to get to the trailhead of this hike as hardly any cars are allowed to park and stop at spots in the canyon. Make sure to get to the main shuttle stop at the entrance of the park EARLY to avoid lines. :)

angel's landing

- Best view by far in the entire park of the sunsets. One of the best views in the world actually!

- The best view of the sunset in the park

cons

- Have to take the shuttle to get to trailhead

- Sunrise recommended, which is a fairly early day to start

- The hike is strenuous and STEEP. Caution to those with fear of heights because it can be a bit scary!

03

pros

A very unique place to have an elopement and takes lots of preparation, but easily one of the coolest experiences you’ll have in your life.

I recommend first, making sure you select a time when the Narrows will be open in the park - which is usually only in the summer time.

Avoid going during the heat of the day - for this session pictured above, we started at sunrise (to avoid the crowds, and also the heat of the desert).

There are lots of nooks and crannies to stop and take photos, but know that you WILL be in water! 

Most of the time you will be treading through creeks and water with a current, and it’s REALLY important to have water shoes with ankle support as you do this. Regular water shoes for the pool will NOT help you - get the real deal. You’ll be happy you did!

You can rent them at the entrance of the park for the day if you don’t want to buy your own, and they are 100% worth it (speaking from experience).

Because the Narrows are only open a short amount of time every year, preparing for when you want to go is a big part of when to have your elopement. I recommend waiting until middle of summer when they will most likely be open, but KEEP IN MIND: they WILL shut them down if there are lots of rain storms and thunder storms as these canyons are subject to flash floods. 

So my suggestion is to have a back up plan just in case, especially if this spot is your #1.

the narrows

- A unique experience you can only have during some summer months, and if the weather permits

- Fun in the water and an incredible adventure

- Stunning cliffs and an easy hike to it

cons

- Permits here are a bit hard to acquire

- Can't plan the weather, and sometimes the weather dictates whether the narrows are open or not

- Need the proper footwear so that you don't cut up your feet as you walk through streams

back to top

cannon beach oregon

04

Looking for a clean, simple, and fun setting to have your elopement? Well, Cannon Beach (and the Oregon coast!) is something to consider!

With it’s long shoreline and reflective shores, you’re definitely getting an interesting and beautiful background to say your vows. 

Here are some of the best places near Cannon Beach to elope:

locations to elope in Cannon Beach

01

pros

This is the most iconic rock in all of Oregon, and when you Google Cannon Beach, this is most likely the rock that you will see.

It doesn’t need much of an explanation - you can see the beauty self explained in the grandeur of the rock structure itself. 

The photos don’t really do it justice either - it is a BIG rock! And a very beautiful setting to elope if you’re looking to get married on a beach with some special features. :)

There are usually some crowds here, but luckily they are easy to photoshop out if you hire the right photographer who knows how to do that (speaking from experience as an elopement photographer myself). 

If you want to avoid them altogether for a more private setting, I recommend looking to elope on a weekday when it may not be that crowded.

Also, knowing the nature of Oregon and the weather in the PNW, it’s mostly cloudy. BUT if you choose to elope in the summer, you’ll get some gorgeous sunsets, so wait until the evening to elope if you want the best lighting scenario!

haystack rock

- Clean and open space that has an amazing background of a giant rock in the background

- Parking is fairly easy, and easily accessible

- Lots of shoreline and space to run around

- Close to town

cons

- Not very private, there is usually people and tourists around

- Not a whole lot of variety for photos, mostly just shoreline and giant Haystack rock

02

pros

Just a couple hours from Haystack Rock you’ll find one of the cutest little towns on the Oregon Coast. It’s got some long coast line, as well as some BEAUTIFUL cliffs to check out. 

It’s a quiet town, and a great place to elope if you’re looking for a more private setting with a beautiful beach. If you’re looking for some epic cliffs on the coast, check out the Neah-Kah-Nie Mountains, which are just up the road. There are some great trails that lead to some of the coolest spots on the cliffs over the ocean!  

Manzanita

- A beautiful area and a quaint little town

- Beautiful mountains in the distance!

- Lots of areas to stay with gorgeous Airbnb's, and lots of street parking

- Lots of open space for lots of gorgeous photos

cons

- There may be some tourists in the area

- Parking can be tough in the busy summer months as it gets busy

02

pros

Just a few minutes from Haystack Rock, this state park is definitely one to check out! 

In the summer, there are so beautiful wild flowers blooming making it a very pretty setting for an elopement. 

There is also a great view of Haystack Rock and the rest of the Oregon coast in the distance. If you are looking for a pretty great view, then this is the place.

Keep in mind though: they have since put up railings on the edge of the cliffs because of reckless people. So note that the railing may also be in your photos if you decide to elope here. 

There are some crowds here on the weekends, but if you go during the weekday, you should definitely be avoiding some crowds, so that is what I recommend.

ecola state park

- Lots of fun space to frolic in wild flowers

- A great view of all of Cannon Beach

- Many different areas and trails to explore

cons

- A popular tourist spot, can get busy in summer months and weekends

- Will require a permit for ceremony locations

- Fencing is near cliffs which may taint photos a bit

back to top

grand teton national park

05

Want one of the most EPIC mountain ranges in the background while you elope? Then the Grand Tetons are your best bet! 

Their jagged and incredible ridge line is something unique and beautiful to admire as you get married, and is an incredible backdrop for your adventure. 

With this, since it is a national park, you’re going to want to make sure that you have the necessary permits to legally get married here and take photos.

To apply for a permit, go here.

While there are multiple spots to check out here, and you can use resources like All Trails and Google Earth to find them, here is my favorite spot to elope in the Grand Tetons:

locations to elope in grand teton national park

01

pros

There’s two great things about this spot. First, you get TWO epic landscapes - the Tetons and also a beautiful lake with some gorgeous grass and meadows. It’s an absolute serene location to have a ceremony - and something straight out of a Thomas Kinkade painting.

Things to consider: for the time of year, I would recommend the summer time. Every other season in Wyoming can be unpredictable. Think very COLD winters that last until most of spring. 

BUT, if you do choose summer, I would recommend waiting to have your ceremony until later in the day when the summer heat dies down a bit. The summer heat in Wyoming is VERYY real - so consider that when thinking of timing. Sunrise and sunset are probably best. :)

SCHWABACHER LANDING

- Gorgeous 360 views of jagged mountains of the Tetons

- Summer months bloom wild flowers which is an amazing landscape

- Fairly private depending on where you go

cons

- Pretty cold and closed in the winter months - summer months are recommended. Summers can also get very hot so sunset or sunrise recommended.

- Will need a permit to get married in the park

back to top

columbia river gorge

06

This place is special. If you’re looking for Norwegian Fjord vibes in the US - this is as close as you’re going to get.

With lots of Icelandic-like waterfalls, and cliffs like the Norwegian Fjords, this place has it all.

While it isn’t a national or state park, you still might need a permit for certain locations, so be sure to follow the rules and research if you’re looking for a specific location.

locations to elope in columbia river gorge

01

pros

If you’ve ever been to Iceland, then this is the waterfall in the US that will give you the closest feel to the magical waterfalls in Iceland. 

The rock structures from the water erosion and the height of this waterfall alone will take your breath away.

The waterfall is just a short walk from a parking lot, which means it’s pretty accessible to the public. 

We shot this session at sunrise in the early morning in August (while it was cloudy, so the lighting was even), and we were the only people there.

My recommendation would be to go on a weekday in the morning when the crowds are light - otherwise, it will not be a private location to elope (which is really what you want on your wedding day, am I right?).

LATOURELL FALLS

- A beautiful waterfall that is fairly private if you go at sunrise or unpopular crowded times

- Parking is easy when not crowded

- Very accessible, just a small hike to get to the falls

cons

- Can get crowded in the summer months and week days

- Rocks are slippery so make sure to wear the right shoes!

02

pros

While this trail is strenuous to get to the top (about 6.2 miles uphill, the top viewpoint picture on the right), there is a lower viewpoint (pictured left), and is a great spot for a sunrise elopement time to commit your lives to each other. 

The best time to go is in the spring and summer when the flowers are blooming and you get those crazy views of the gorge. :)

Be prepared for this one - the lower viewpoint is bound to be more crowded, but the full hike will be least likely to have a lot of people. Bring LOTS of water, a day pack of snacks, first aid, and all the things you need for a regular hike. 

And what most of my brides do with a hike, they pack their dress in their backpack and put it on when we reach our spot. A good way to hike up and not have to worry about ripping or tearing your dress (although, with elopements, that is always a possibility so be ready for anything!).

dog mountain trail

- One of the best views of the gorge

- Gorgeous wild flowers in the spring and summer months

- Extremely private if on a weekday.

cons

- A bit of a long trek and hike to get to the top

- Can be heavily trafficked if on a weekday

- Might be rainy because of the nature of Oregon so be wary of the weather if you choose to go another month besides June - August.

back to top

kauai island hawaii

07

If you’re looking for a special place that’s tropical, adventurous, and paradise all in one - then Kauai is the island for you. It’s got some of the most BEAUTIFUL beaches and landscapes, and is the least touristy island in Hawaii.

It is an island for adventurers, I can tell you that. With their incredible waterfalls, beaches, canyons, and more, it’s got the makings for an incredible experience and adventure together.

Considering Kauai is one of the most wet places on the planet, mud and rain are always something to consider when eloping here. But as pictured below, rain makes the most beautiful rainbows (like true Hawaii fashion), and who wouldn’t want a rainbow on their wedding day? :)

Here is a great article on more about everything you need to know about getting married in Hawaii.

locations to elope in kauai

01

pros

Probably one of the most epic landscapes in all of Kauai with the most awesome colors of red and green, and cliffs that look like they were carved out by rain and waterfalls.

While most of the views of the canyon you can get from just pulling off the side of the road along the rim of the canyon, there are some pretty epic views off the beaten trail and hidden “secretly” - meaning less trafficked and more private. Which is exactly what we want for an elopement!

We were lucky enough to find a really great location for this shoot above with a secret hike that led to one of the most EPIC and unique views of the canyon.

But. If you want to be a part of it and elope here, you’ll have to ask me about the spot and how to get there since it’s not very well known, and a bit of a trek out there. ;)

waimea canyon

- Waimea canyon is a very big and vast area with many opportunities for privacy.

- Gorgeous 360 views of red dirt and the warm weather of Hawaii

- Rainbows are a plus and sometimes very likely! :)

cons

- Hiking out can range from .5 - 3 miles depending on what you choose

- Most of the hikes are muddy and slippery so get ready to get a bit dirty

- Depending on the location, crowds can be a factor, especially in busy months

02

pros

Our of all the beaches on the island, this one is by FAR my favorite because it is the most scenic, has the most beautiful mountains in the background, and isn’t too crowded in off-season.

When we took these photos, it was in December (when tickets from CA > Lihue, Kauai were literally $300!!!), and it was about 2 hours before sunset. 

Keep in mind when eloping here: the sun will go behind the big mountain a couple hours before the expected sunset time, so be sure to prepare and compensate for that.

This beach is also at one of the most northern points of the island and can take a couple hours to get there if you’re staying near Poipu or Waimea.

You may also run into other people, but it’s a very big beach and there are lots of different private spots that I’m sure will be available. 

Try avoiding going here in the summer time. November - March are a great time to go. :)

tunnels beach

- Gorgeous beach with amazing mountain views and long shorelines

- Fairly private and residential - not very well known to tourists

- Parking can be tricky but fairly accessible

cons

- Parking is limited on the street and in lot

- Can have tourists in busy months like spring and summer, I personally recommend going in the winter or fall.

- The shore is a bit rocky once in the water and the waves can get very big.

03

pros

The Napali Coast is one of the most extraordinary views in the entire US. It’s extremely unique in Hawaii landscape, and is an amazing site to see via boat, helicopter, and hiking. 

The Kalalau Trail in particular is THE most strenuous hike in Kauai if you do it in its entirety - and you need a permit to do it so don’t go unprepared.

However, the Kalalau Lookout is a great spot to view the Kalalau Valley, which is the start of the Napali Coast, and an incredible backdrop do elope. 

Even if you don’t choose this spot as your ceremony site, if you make it to Kauai, definitely make this a stop to see on your adventure!

NĀPALI COAST

- Can be pretty private on the trail

- GORGEOUS view of the most incredible coast in the world

- Always the possibility of a rainbow depending on weather and season. :)

cons

- Parking is limited on the street

- About a mile hike on the edge of a cliff 

- Can be crowded at times in popular months

back to top

redwoods national & state parks

08

If you’re looking for a forest that will absolutely take your breath away, the Redwoods are the best place. 

While there are definitely some Redwoods closer to San Francisco, my personal preference is the actual National and State parks in Northern California, close to Oregon. 

These are where the most magical and private groves are. 

Because these parks are pretty far from any major city, the crowds are not too terrible in off-season (that being fall, winter, and early spring months). 

Because it is a National and State parks, you’re going to need a permit to get married here.

You can apply for one here

Here are the best parks with the best groves to get married (with example photos of course!):

locations to elope in the Redwoods

01

pros

These redwoods are probably the best groves you can find as far as clean redwood forests (without any other trees other than just the redwoods), and are a great setting for eloping.

They are pretty popular for elopements, and quite honestly, there’s a good reason for that. Because the groves are actually BREATHtaking. 

You’ll just have to go check them out for yourselves - don’t just take my word for it.

Keep in mind: lighting for these forests goes away faster than most because of all the trees. I recommend having a ceremony and taking photos in the afternoon with some hours still before actual sunset (just so it’s not super dark for your ceremony!!).

JEDIDIAH SMITH REDWOODS

- Many locations within the park that are gorgeous 

- Beautiful red rock with structures that you can't find anywhere else

- Easy to get to most arches

cons

- Pretty busy park, may not be private if you choose an easy to get to arch like Turret Arch or Window Arches

- Weather varies here, some days is very cold and in the summer very hot

02

pros

This place is a great place to see ELK! ohhh my word, the multiple times I’ve been there, I’ve always seen herds in the vast meadow outside the main campground of the park. 

With the beautiful groves of trees in this park as well, there is also an amazing meadow to view and play in. 

While some of it is under rehabilitation and cannot be truly “frolicked” through, there are still some really great cut outs and places to take photos if you’d like. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the meadow for a ceremony location as it is pretty public and close to the main road.

The groves on the other hand are quite beautiful too!

And same here goes for the lighting - try and aim for some hours before sunset, because there is a hill of trees that hides the sun sooner than normal, and therefore causes the grove to be darker than usual. I’d recommend early afternoon at any season is a good time to plan for a ceremony.

These groves are also a bit more public at the main camp, and have some railings put up along the trails making it hard to kind of get the “wild” look you might be looking for. I’d recommend finding some groves away from the main camp for more privacy.

PRAIRIE CREEK STATE PARK

- Many locations within the park that are gorgeous 

- Beautiful red rock with structures that you can't find anywhere else

- Easy to get to most arches

cons

- Pretty busy park, may not be private if you choose an easy to get to arch like Turret Arch or Window Arches

- Weather varies here, some days is very cold and in the summer very hot

back to top

joshua tree national park

09

While it’s not a very large national park, it’s still one that’s well known for it’s unique plants and very open landscape for that “hip desert” feel. 

I gotta say (especially as a semi-local who shoots here a LOTT), this place has BY FAR got some of the best golden hours I’ve ever seen. 

While the weather can vary of course, if you choose a day and season that is sunny (I’d recommend spring time when it’s not too hot), you’re likely going to get an AMAZING sunset and golden hour for your photos.

Because this is a National Park, you WILL need a permit to get here - and they are pretty strict about it. You can apply for one here.

The cool thing about this park is AFTER the sun goes down - the stars come out.

If you choose a night that is clear and a New Moon cycle, you’re going to get some of the best views of the Milky Way. 

There is not a lot of light pollution in the desert, so it’s time to bring out the tripod and take some truly “out of this world” photos. ;)

locations to elope in the Joshua Tree

rocky mountain national park

10

Rocky Mountain National Park has some of the most epic mountain views you can ask for - and also LOTS of different adventures!

If you feel like hiking a fourteener, then this is your place! 

If you’re looking for an alpine feel with amazing mountain ridge lines and crystal lakes, then you should definitely consider the Rockies.

While the mountain range itself is not ALL the national park, you still might need a permit to get married at certain places.

To apply for permits, go here.

There are also THOUSAND of places to elope in the Rockies, and all that’s required to find the right one is to use resources like All Trails and Google Earth for specific spots. (That’s my secret as a photographer to finding some off-the-beaten-path spots and more private locations to elope).

But nonetheless, here are also some notable places that you should definitely check out in the Rockies if you’re looking for something accessible and easily beautiful:

locations to elope in
the rockies

01

pros

This elopement in particular happened at the Blue Lakes Trailhead. It took a 4x4 vehicle to get here because of the ice and snow on the road, so I definitely recommend renting a capable vehicle if you are from out of state.

The temperatures get COLD in the winter - and in Colorado, winter starts at the end of October, so be prepared. 

I recommend checking out the mountains in the spring and summer time, as that’s the most beautiful and green time. BUT, it’s also the most popular time for Denver locals to have adventures, so be prepared!

If you’re looking for privacy, I’d recommend finding some spots that are good for sunrise when you can avoid the crowds. 

Altitude is also something to consider. This lake in particular was 11,000 ft above sea level, and altitude sickness is definitely a factor if you’re not used to that elevation. 

Make sure to bring LOTS of water and to rest when you need to. 

breckenridge

- Fairly private with a gorgeous view of the lakes and mountains

- Gorgeous 360 views everywhere you look

- Fairly accessible, but trail length can very

cons

- Can get crowded in spring and summer months

- Breckenridge is a very popular little snowboarding town, so housing can very when looking for a place to stay.

02

pros

This spot is a popular one, and you need a permit a couple months in advance to reserve your date.

BUT, it’s view is great and it can host a group of people that you invite, so you can get the best of both worlds if you still would like some friends and family to attend. It’s also accessible for them too - so your grandparents won’t have a problem getting there.

Because this spot is close to a parking lot, please note that it is also not totally private. There will be a risk of crowds if you elope in the spring and summer months, so just know that as you book.

The view itself from the ceremony site that you reserve has lots of trees that may make it a bit difficult to see the lake in the distance, but there are some trails you can adventure up later if you’d like to take some more photos later. 

sapphire point overlook

- Best view by far in the entire park of the sunsets. Best view in the world in my personal opinion.

- One of the best views at sunset

- A fairly easy hike to get to viewpoint

cons

- Parking is limited on the street

- About a mile hike in to the cliff. Hiking in elevation can also be challenging for those who aren’t used to altitude or experience altitude sickness easily

- After the sun sets, the trail gets dark. It’s important to bring headlamps/flashlights with us as we leave.

what place speaks to you most?

and we've only hit the tip of the iceberg!

Well friend, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as top places to elope in the US. 

We didn’t even touch Alaska, the East Coast beauty, and even more beautiful spots on the West Coast.

BUT, what’s most important is that you choose a place that will be special to YOU.

If it’s about the adventure, the excitement of beautiful landscapes, being in the mountains that you call home, or even just traveling to a place on your bucket list, talk about it and consider all these things as you decide your spot.

As an elopement photographer, I try and make this process as easy and seamless as possible - because we’re trying to avoid as much stress as possible by deciding to get married privately anyways. 

SO, if you’re still a bit stressed on locations and where to go, or just want planning help in general, I’d love to chat and help you out in any way.

Follow the button below to chat more about your elopement and your big dreams about your special day! :)

let me plan your elopement!

But
don’t just take
my word for it

Prev

next

Marlee A.

"We loved everything about Dani! Dani is beyond talented. Her attention to detail is amazing. Her use of lighting is timeless and her attitude is full of energy. Our friends and family keep speaking about how stunning the photos are from the big day. We loved Dani’s use of non posed photos. They came out more authetic and genuine and we couldn’t be more happier. Everything about these photos speaks fairytale dream come true. Thank you so much."

Rebekah H.

"Dani is such a people person, I had no hesitation in booking her because she has such a gracious presence about her on all platforms. She does such a good job at giving you direction but not making you feel forced or awkward about it. She's genuinely there to be a friend, she was so kind to both me and my husband and I may be a little bit biased but honestly I don't think I would ever book another photographer besides her if I needed photos taken."

Bryanna C.

"Dani was more than we expected! She was so happy and very calm on our wedding day. Her passion for photography did not go unnoticed! She even came to the rehearsal to scope it out and stayed longer than she was supposed to take pictures. She got me a few pictures by the next morning which made me even more excited to see all our photos. She was always on time and took all the photos that I wanted to be taken. I highly recommend Dani and will definitely use her in the future!"