A bride and groom stand on a rock holding hands as the bride's dress blows in the wind next to her in one of the best elopement locations in the US.

Best Elopement Locations in the US

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Updated May 12, 2024

Looking for the Best Elopement Locations in the US?

It’s no secret that there are tons of beautiful places to elope, but you might be asking yourself “What are the best elopement locations”? The word “best” is subjective, of course, but we’ve traveled a lot (it happens when you live in a van) and been fortunate enough to spend a decent amount of time in these beautiful elopement locations. 

That’s why we’ve created this list of the best elopement locations in the US.  Since there are so many incredible spots, the list is pretty long. But don’t worry, we’ve broken them down into different landscapes: mountain, desert, forest, coastal, waterfalls, and lakes. If you already know what type of scenery you’re looking for on your elopement day, you can skip right there, or if you’re still trying to figure that out, have a look through the whole list of the best elopement locations.

How to Find the Best Elopement Locations for You

Before you dive into the best elopement locations list, sit down with your partner and consider these factors for your big day. And if you’re still trying to decide if you want to elope or have a wedding, head over to this blog page to read more about the pros and cons of both.

Scenery/Backdrop:

When you start talking about your elopement, it’s super important to take a second to pause and start dreaming. Close your eyes and picture where your elopement ceremony will take place. Are you standing next to a waterfall? Or on top of a sand dune? Maybe in a valley, with mountains surrounding you? Once you decide what type of landscape you’re most drawn to, everything else can start falling into place!

Time of Year & Weather

Now that you’ve decided on the type of landscape you are interested in, it’s time to start thinking about what the weather is like in that spot. Is it somewhere that gets really hot during certain months or maybe really cold? Are you ok if there is snow in your photos or would you rather fall foliage and colors? As you start narrowing down which temperatures and months you like best, you’ll be able to do some research to figure out when to visit the landscape you’re looking for.

Whether or not you’re inviting guests

This is a big one for some people! When you’re considering the best elopement location for you, it’s important to consider if you are inviting guests or not. Some locations are not able to accommodate larger groups of people and some national parks limit the group size. If you do want to invite guests, consider having an elopement ceremony with everyone and then adventuring off on your own to say your vows in private.

Hiring Experienced Elopement Photographers 

That’s where we come in! We are elopement photographers who love having a hand in the planning process as well. We’ve visited a lot of the elopement locations on our list so we can offer our expertise and advice when it comes to deciding on a location for you. We offer assistance with location scouting (so we know exactly where we’re going and what it will look like), the permit process if necessary, recommending other vendors you might be interested in working with, accommodations, information regarding the marriage license, and other fun things to do while you’re in the area!

If all of that sounds like just what you’re looking for, send us a quick hello! We’ll find a good time to jump on a zoom call so we can get to know each other a bit more and make sure we’re a good fit. Then we can dive into finding the best elopement locations for you!

Map courtesy of Wanderlog, a trip planner on iOS and Android

Best Mountain Elopement Locations

Mountains aren’t just for hiking; they make incredible backdrops for elopements too. We’ve trekked through spots like Yosemite and Glacier National Park and each peak (and park) tells its own story. If you’re dreaming of saying ‘I do’ with panoramic views and crisp air, you’re in the right place. Enjoy reading through the best elopement locations for your mountain elopement.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park is undoubtedly one of the best elopement locations in the US, offering iconic cliffs and breathtaking waterfalls as your ceremony backdrop. The vast beauty of Yosemite Valley, along with the epic views of Half Dome and El Capitan, provides a dramatic and unforgettable setting for couples. Whether you exchange vows at Taft Point or amidst the ancient sequoias, Yosemite’s natural beauty makes it a perfect choice for a romantic elopement. If you’re looking for more Yosemite elopement inspiration, check out this beautiful Cathedral Beach Wedding.

Eastern Sierra Mountains, California

The Eastern Sierra Mountains are a dream destination if you’re looking for secluded and picturesque settings, making them one of the best elopement locations in the US. The whole area is dotted with hidden lakes and hot springs, offering stunning views and a serene atmosphere. The natural beauty of places like Mono Lake and the ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest adds a unique and intimate touch to your elopement.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Known for its pristine wilderness and awe-inspiring mountain vistas, Glacier National Park offers a perfect romantic escape, solidifying its place among the best elopement locations list. The park’s diverse landscapes, from the dramatic Going-to-the-Sun Road to the peaceful shores of Two Medicine Lake, provide countless options for intimate ceremonies surrounded by nature’s majesty.

Hatcher Pass, Alaska

Hatcher Pass, with its rolling hills and vibrant wildflower meadows during the summer, is ideal for you if you’re seeking a tranquil and intimate setting. As one of the best elopement locations in the US, it offers stunning views of the Talkeetna Mountains, providing a picturesque and private locale for those special moments. Want to read more Hatcher Pass info? Check out this 2-Day Helicopter Elopement we photographed there.

Stanley, Idaho:

Tucked away in the heart of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Stanley is a total hidden gem. Its landscape features crystal-clear rivers and rugged mountain views, creating a peaceful yet adventurous setting for your elopement. Stanley’s natural hot springs and the reflective beauty of Redfish Lake are perfect for post-ceremony relaxation and photography. Plus, there are so many adventure activities to be had in Stanley. Think fishing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, horseback riding, and even a side-by-side adventure elopement like these two. The list goes on and on!

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park is famous for its dramatic peaks, making it one of the best places to elope in the US. The park offers a stunning combination of mountain landscapes and abundant wildlife, with serene lakes and meadows providing ideal spots for intimate vows. The iconic view of the Teton Range, particularly at sunrise or sunset, makes every elopement here truly magical.

North Cascades National Park, Washington

This park is a hidden treasure, featuring lush forests and stunning waterfalls. Its remote location offers privacy and solitude for ceremonies, while the panoramic views of jagged peaks and serene lakes make North Cascades a breathtaking choice if you’re a nature-loving couple.

Best Coastal Elopement Locations

Nothing beats the sound of waves crashing as you exchange vows. We’ve visited coastal gems from Big Sur to Charleston, and each has its own magic. Whether it’s rugged cliffs or sandy beaches, these elopement spots are ideal for ocean lovers.

Big Sur, California

Big Sur is a quintessential example of the best places to elope in the US, where the rugged coastline meets the expansive Pacific Ocean. The area provides dramatic cliffs and secluded coves, ideal for intimate ceremonies. The mystical quality of the misty coast, especially at spots like Garrapata Beach, offers a romantic and unforgettable elopement experience.

Montana De Oro, California

This State Park is known for its dramatic cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, and rugged coastal plains. Its untouched natural beauty makes it a perfect spot for couples looking for a serene and private ceremony by the ocean, with the sound of waves and the stunning sunset as a backdrop.

Cape Kiwanda, Oregon

Cape Kiwanda, with its unique sandstone formations and sweeping views of the Pacific, stands out as one of the best places to elope in the US. The dynamic landscape of the cape offers stunning photo opportunities, from the dramatic cliffs to the soft, sandy beaches below, providing a vibrant and energetic setting for your elopement.

Ruby Beach, Washington

Known for its iconic sea stacks and driftwood-strewn shores, Ruby Beach is a mystical coastal setting and easily one of the best elopement locations in the US. The dramatic backdrop of the Olympic Mountains and the rugged coastline provide a stunning natural setting for you if you’re looking for a unique and memorable elopement.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston offers a blend of coastal beauty and historical charm. Its well-preserved architecture, cobblestone streets, and lush gardens provide elegant and picturesque settings for elopements. The serene beaches nearby add a tranquil coastal charm to the vibrant city atmosphere.

Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu combines tropical landscapes with crystal-clear waters. The island offers diverse settings from the lush, green mountains of the interior to the serene beaches of the North Shore. Its vibrant Hawaiian culture and breathtaking sunsets create a paradise-like backdrop for your elopement.

Seward, Alaska

Featuring rugged coastlines and pristine waters, Seward is not only a gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park but also one of the best places to elope in the US, and one of our favorites. Its dramatic landscape provides a stunning backdrop and a sense of adventure, ideal for you if you’re looking to combine your love for each other with your passion for the great outdoors. Ready to read more about Alaska? We’ve got a whole guide for you.

If you’re thinking you might know the best elopement location for you, or maybe you need help deciding, get in touch and we’ll help narrow things down!

Best Desert Elopement Locations

We’ve explored deserts from Joshua Tree to Moab, and trust us, there’s nothing quite like them. Each spot offers something unique, from starlit skies to mystical rock formations. They’re some of the best elopement locations if you’re looking for a ceremony backdrop that’s both stunning and serene.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, known for its stark desert landscapes and iconic Joshua trees, is one of the best elopement locations in the US. The park offers a magical setting with its unique rock formations and star-filled night skies, ideal if you are seeking a surreal and intimate desert elopement. The serenity and vastness of the desert provide a perfect canvas for a truly personal and memorable ceremony.

Moab, Utah

Moab, with its breathtaking red rock formations and vast desert vistas, has quickly become one of the best places to elope in the US and another one of our favorites. The adventurous spirit of Moab, home to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, offers dynamic and dramatic landscapes for a unique elopement experience. Its natural beauty is not only awe-inspiring but also provides a spectacular backdrop for the outdoor lovers.

Sedona, Arizona

The spiritual and mystical vibes of Sedona, combined with its natural beauty, provide a peaceful yet energizing setting for your elopement. The panoramic views of Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock offer iconic backdrops for a ceremony that’s both intimate and grand.

Glamis Dunes, California

The sweeping sand dunes of Glamis, also known as the Algodones Dunes, offer a vast, otherworldly landscape. If you’re looking for a truly unique place to elope, the rolling sand dunes provide a dramatic and expansive backdrop that feels like stepping onto another planet.

Anza-Borrego Desert, California

Known for its wildflower blooms and rugged terrain, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park offers a stunning natural choice for desert elopements. The park’s vast landscapes feature everything from badlands to palm oases, offering a diverse array of backdrops for a truly unique ceremony in the heart of nature.

 Best Forest Elopement Locations

Imagine getting married surrounded by towering trees and the quiet hum of nature. From the Redwoods to the Hoh Rainforest, we’ve wandered through some of the most enchanting forests America has to offer. Each one offers a peaceful, intimate setting for your elopement.

Redwoods National Forest, California

The towering redwoods of Redwoods National Forest provide a breathtaking and serene setting, making it one of the best places to elope in the US. The majestic and ancient trees create a naturally cathedral-like atmosphere that is both awe-inspiring and intimate, perfect if you wish to exchange vows in the tranquility of nature.

Hoh Rainforest, Washington

As one of the most romantic places to elope, the Hoh Rainforest offers a lush, verdant landscape with moss-covered trees and a canopy of green that creates a fairy-tale setting. The quiet and mystic atmosphere of the rainforest offers a secluded and magical “venue” if you’re looking for an intimate and enchanting elopement.

Sequoia National Forest, California

Home to giant sequoias, Sequoia National Forest offers a majestic and awe-inspiring atmosphere. There is something so incredible about standing amongst the towering trees and the peacefulness of the forest floor. They provide a stunning and serene backdrop for a memorable elopement, surrounded by nature’s giants.

Tongass National Forest, Alaska

As the largest national forest in the US, Tongass National Forest offers lush landscapes and stunning biodiversity, making it one of the best elopement locations in the US. The forest’s coastal rainforests, glaciers, and fjords provide a variety of breathtaking settings for an elopement, ideal for you who cherish the beauty and solitude of the Alaskan wilderness.

Coconino National Forest, Arizona

With its diverse landscapes ranging from dense forests to iconic red rock formations, Coconino National Forest stands out as a super unique place to elope. The forest not only offers a beautiful and varied natural setting but also provides a tranquil and intimate backdrop if you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature on your special day.

Best Waterfall Elopement Locations

There’s something magical about waterfalls—their power and beauty can turn any moment into a fairytale. Imagine standing next to one of these falls, reading your vows to your partner while the water pounding on the rocks drowns out any other sounds. Pretty epic!

Upper Yosemite Falls, CA

As one of the best elopement locations in the US, Yosemite Falls offers a stunningly romantic backdrop with its towering cascades and breathtaking vistas. The natural beauty and iconic status of Yosemite Falls make it a top choice for couples seeking both a romantic and adventurous elopement experience. While you can’t have your ceremony directly under the falls, you can have photos taken there afterward.

Havasu Falls, AZ

Known for its vivid blue-green waters and dramatic cliff surroundings, Havasu Falls ranks among the most unique elopement locations. Its remote and exotic appeal makes it a perfect spot for couples looking for a truly unique and intimate ceremony in the heart of the Grand Canyon. If you have your heart set on an elopement at Havasu Falls, make sure to get in line for your reservation early.

Burney Falls, CA:

Often described as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the US, Burney Falls provides a mesmerizing and romantic elopement location. The cascading waters and lush surroundings offer a serene and picturesque setting, ideal for those seeking tranquility on their special day.

Multnomah Falls, OR

Multnomah Falls is not only one of the best places to elope in the US but also offers an iconic and romantic elopement location with its majestic waterfalls and scenic bridge. Its easy accessibility and stunning natural beauty make it a popular choice for couples from all over.

Niagara Falls, NY:

As one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls is a top contender for the best elopement location for couples desiring a grand and memorable ceremony. The powerful falls and panoramic views provide a spectacular and unforgettable backdrop. You definitely wouldn’t be alone at this elopement location, but you could have your own “Jim and Pam” moment.

Best Lakeside Elopement Locations

There are so many incredible lakeside elopement locations. We’re listing some of our top contenders, but there are still many others that might be a bit more remote (think Alpine lakes that might require a little bit of hiking). Whether you’re looking for a quiet canoe ride post-vows or a lakeside picnic, these locations offer a peaceful retreat.

Lake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe is universally renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes to elope at in the US, offering clear blue waters and stunning mountain views. Its natural beauty and variety of scenic spots make it a favorite if you’re looking for both romance and adventure in your elopement.

Lake McDonald, MT

Set within Glacier National Park, Lake McDonald is a romantic elopement location characterized by its crystal-clear waters and dramatic mountain backdrops. It’s an idyllic setting if you dream of a peaceful and picturesque lakeside ceremony with a sunset paddle afterward.

Flathead Lake, MT

Flathead Lake provides one of the best elopement locations with its expansive blue waters and surrounding mountain scenery. This destination offers a blend of tranquility and natural beauty, perfect for a romantic and serene lakeside elopement.

Crater Lake, OR

Known for its deep blue color and striking scenery, Crater Lake is considered one of the most unique elopement locations in the US. The dramatic caldera surrounding the lake creates a secluded and majestic atmosphere for a truly special elopement.

Lake Powell, AZ + UT

Straddling the border between Arizona and Utah, Lake Powell offers a unique elopement location with its intricate canyons and expansive waterways. Its surreal landscape provides a stunning setting if you’re looking for a dramatic and adventurous elopement.

Lake Chelan, WA

Lake Chelan is celebrated as a romantic elopement location, offering miles of vineyards and water activities alongside its beautiful waters. Its charming small-town vibe and scenic views make it an appealing choice for a laid-back, intimate ceremony.

Dream Lake, CO

As its name suggests, Dream Lake is a dreamy and unique elopement location nestled in the Rocky Mountains. The reflective waters and alpine backdrop create an enchanting setting if you’re wishing to immerse yourselves in nature on your wedding day.

United States Elopement Photography Packages and Info

In case you read all the way to the bottom and don’t know who we are, we’re Becky & Brian of Scenic Vows. We’re an elopement photography team (and Becky’s an officiant) living on the road in our converted Sprinter Van. We’ve visited a lot of these places on our best elopement locations list and explored them in depth, giving us an insider’s perspective and we’re here to share those insights with you!

We offer several different elopement packages based on what you want to do for your elopement day. You can check those out here and if you’re not sure yet what you want to do, no worries! We’re here to help you figure that out. The best thing to do would be to head over to our contact page and fill out the form so we can set up a time to jump on a Zoom call and chat about it all!

If you’re looking for more insight on some amazing places to elope we’d love to chat!

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