Ditching the big wedding to get married YOUR way? I’m sharing 10 of the best places to elope in the U.S. for couples who want an adventurous and untraditional wedding day!
Elopements have been on the rise over the past few years. Especially after the pandemic canceled so many large scale events – people began planning more intimate wedding days with an emphasis on the couple and the people closest to them.
If you have decided on eloping, the first question you’re probably asking yourself is: “Where should we elope?” With so many options within the U.S., from stunning mountain ranges to cityscapes, the options can seem overwhelming.
As destination wedding and elopement photographers and videographers, we have helped couples tie the knot all across the U.S. and even abroad! From choosing a location to finding vendors, securing permits and planning the day of flow, we help couples plan their dream day without the overwhelm. Each couple has customized their elopement day to be true to THEM and their love story – and you should too!
You deserve a stress free, personal and fun elopement day! Here are some of our top picks for the best places to elope in the U.S.!
Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona
If you’re wanting an adventurous elopement experience and don’t mind hiking for the best views, Cathedral Rock is a stunning elopement location! Currently, permits are not required to get married here. You just need an officiant and two witnesses (one can be your photographer). The hike up can take anywhere from 1 to two hours depending on your pace. It took us about 45 minutes to hike up both times I hiked Cathedral Rock, and we took plenty of breaks. It is a more advanced hike, as one part of the trail requires some scrambling, but it is a safe trail. I recommend eloping here on a weekday to avoid the crowds, and aiming for sunrise if you want it to be really private. If you are going to hike at sunrise, you will be hiking up in the dark, so I recommend hiking the day before to learn the trail and bringing headlamp flashlights.
The Salt Flats, Utah
The Salt Flats are a beautiful and easy place to elope. Located about 2 hours from Salt Lake City, the Salt Flats provide a blank canvas with a beautiful mountain backdrop so you can design an elopement true to you. A permit is required to elope here, and the best times to elope are the summer and fall. Outside of these seasons, the Salt Flats can be flooded - which looks beautiful for photos but can be messy. We have a whole blog post dedicated to how to elope at the Salt Flats! From how to obtain the permit to where to stay, check out how to elope at the Salt Flats here!
Yosemite National Park, California
If you’re looking for unique and scenic elopement location, Yosemite National Park is one of my top favorites. The rock formations in Yosemite are like no other, and there are a variety of hikes to find the best views of Half Dome forest lined canyons. Although ceremony permits are only issued in certain locations, you can explore Yosemite for additional spots on your elopement day.
Zion National Park, Utah
The Zion Red Rocks, slot canyons and desert landscape is unbeatable! Zion National Park is the perfect place for your adventure elopement. The park is so vast and offers a diverse set of views with easy to intermediate hiking trails. From the canyon overlook that looks down at the switchbacks, to the ground level fields, you have so much variety when eloping in Zion. Springdale, the town that sits outside of the park, houses craft coffee, breweries and fine dining to suit a full day elopements. As an elopement photographer and videographer duo, Zion is one of the locations we specialize in! We even got married in Zion National Park in 2021 and you can read all about our Zion wedding day in this blog post.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Eloping at Glacier National Park gives you snow covered mountaintops and lush green forestry with minimal hiking. While there are more advanced trails for adventurous hikers, you can access the best views with minimal hiking. The lakes are crystal clear and provide the perfect opportunity for a unique photo opportunity and activity in the canoes. We even got to see black and brown bears when we visited! Our favorite Glacier elopement locations include the Lake MacDondald Lodge and Logan Pass. Special use permits are required, as it is a national park, but they are easily accessible.
San Francisco City Hall, California
If an architectural look is more your vibe, an elopement at San Francisco City Hall is a great fit! City Hall is famous for its ornate interior and beautiful natural light, and couples come from all over the country to get married here. We highly recommend making your reservation for the morning so you can take all of your photos inside before it gets too busy! This is a popular spot, so other couples will likely be in the space getting married, but a morning weekday will be the least crowded. See some of our favorite photos from a downtown San Francisco elopement here!
North Cascades National Park, Washington
An elopement in North Cascades National Park surrounds you with panoramic mountain peaks and alpine forest views. If you elope during the right time of year, you can even catch fields full of wildflowers! The most popular time to elope in North Cascades National Park is late July to October to ensure that all of the snow has melted. A special use permit and photography permit is required for your elopement in North Cascades which can be found on the National Park Service government website.
The Oregon Coast mixes the beach and mountains for a unique elopement location! Canon Beach is one of our favorites, but you can head more south for the beachside cliff views as well. There is such lush forestry, and Portland is not too far from Canon Beach for a city vibe and good eats. Summer time offers the best weather, and the off season can be pretty rainy and chilly. A permit is needed for an elopement at Canon Beach and can be secured through the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
New York City
Elope in New York City for epic skyline views, city streets and unique brownstones! From The Highline in Manhattan that has the best sunset views, to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, to Central Park, New York City has a variety of locations to elope at. Kick off your elopement with coffee and brunch then spend the day exploring the most picturesque spots in the city. You can end the night with fine dining, as the city has some of the best food in the country, then wrap things up with a fun hotel flash session (we LOVE The Plaza for photos!). Permit requirements depend on the location. See inspo from an elegant Central Park NYC elopement here that we shot during the fall!
Big Sur, California
Big Sur has the best weather, ocean views and cliffside locations for your elopement! Pfieffer Beach and McWay Falls are two of the most iconic location to elope at in Big Sur featuring unique rock formations and blue ocean water! Fall and Spring are great times of year to elope in Big Sur, with summer being the most busy for tourism. Permits depend on the location, but most can be submitted between 365-30 days out from your elopement.
I hope this post on 10 of the Best Places to Elope in the U.S. helped you find your dream elopement location! If you are in search of an elopement photographer and videographer we would love to get to know you both! Reach out here for more information about our all inclusive elopement packages and resources!
This blog was written by Grace and Christian Torres, adventure elopement photographer and videographer. We help couples plan their dream elopement and capture it on digital and film photography and videography. We specialize in Zion elopements and Sedona elopements.