May 16, 2022

The Best Places to Elope in the US: My top 6!

When I talk about the pros of elopements, I always include the flexibility to get married anywhere—but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my favorites! To me, the best places to elope in the U.S. are where you can get in touch with each other through the wonder of nature: big trees and bigger views, acres of quiet solitude and the loud rush of waterfalls, and the kind of peace that only Mother Nature knows. These are the kinds of places that make you say, “Holy cow!” even as they leave you breathless—kind of like love itself! 

If you’re planning a destination elopement but you’re not sure where to go, these regions across the U.S. are all awesome options. Each one offers unique benefits (some are less traveled, others are accessible in all seasons), but all of them will inspire you to adventure and explore throughout a lifetime together.

Watch the video below or keep on reading:


One of the Best Place to elope in the US:
WASHINGTON

A couple stands in front of Mt. Rainer in Washington State. They are dressed in traditional Indian wedding clothes.

I would be doing something wrong if I didn’t list Washington state as one of the absolute best places to elope in the US. Choosing this state for your elopement guaranteers big epic mountains that are snow capped year round, mossy green forests, ferns galore, mountain lakes, wildflowers, deep snow, and even moody beach scenery. You can have it all here. There’s even dessert style dry landscape if you head to the Eastern part of the state!

3 National Parks

Washington has THREE national parks and its iconic mountain: Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, and North Cascades National Park (which is actually one of the least visited National Parks in the country). Mount Rainier is also visible from about half the state, on a clear day. Olympic provides you with a mix of water and mountains since it is a big section of the Olympic Peninsula. There are also large amounts of National Forest Land that cover the landscape. This leaves the options for choosing an elopement location endless.

Near the City

The capital of Washington, Seattle, has incredibly quick access to outdoor locations for your elopement, but be prepared that the locations closest to the biggest city are going to be the most popular and therefore crowded with people on certain days and times of day. I always suggest trying to find a location further away from popular spots, but if you want to experience a bit of city life and adventure on your elopement day you have the option!

The drastic weather and climate differences in this area depending on location also makes it ideal for give you so many choices for the type of elopement experience you want to have. From warm and sunny to moody and lush, all the way to magical and snowy; you get to choose!

All in all, Washington State is absolutely one of the best places to elope in the U.S. – one of the closest to eloping in BANFF Canada or the European Alps. What could be better?

Watch Sawan + Laurin’s Elopement film to get a vibe of what your Washington elopement could be like


One of the Best Place to elope in the US:
NORTH CAROLINA

A couple stands in North Carolina, one of the best places to elope, on their wedding day hugging and looking at each other in front of a cloud inversion mountain landscape.

Local knowledge

Alright, I admit that as a WNC native, I’m a little biased here. But that’s not the only reason the region tops my list of the best places to elope in the US. Tourists have been coming to the Blue Ridge Mountains for more than a century. People want to to enjoy the panoramic views, hundreds of waterfalls, and national forests that dot the western end of the state. Thousands of miles of trails and scenic drives like the Blue Ridge Parkway make all of this gorgeous scenery really accessible. 

Weather & landscape

For couples who are eloping, Western NC offers a lot of benefits other areas of the country don’t. North Carolina is a state with four distinct, beautiful seasons, and with the temperate climate of the mountains, all of them are enjoyable. In Spring, rhododendron cover the mountains in bright fuchsia flowers. Summertime means everything is so green and lush it almost glows. During Fall, the hills turn from green to red, orange, and gold as the foliage changes with the season. In winter, the weather usually stays warm enough to keep travel easy (though a few annual snows make the mountains magical). The summers are never too hot and the winters never too cold. So thankfully my couples are almost always able to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of WNC. 

And that natural beauty is for real, y’all!! WNC has 125 mountain peaks, two national forests, a national park, and more than 250 waterfalls in Transylvania County alone. More than a million acres are protected in Western North Carolina. These beautiful scenes are here to stay and make the most beautiful backdrop for elopements. Whether you want to explore miles of trails or just make a quick trip to an overlook, the region has magnificent landscapes that make your dream possible.

WNC is gorgeous, but it’s also got good vibes. It’s the kind of place where people still say “y’all” (myself included), everyone is quick to smile, and community runs deep. It’s a little bit Southern and a little bit country. But with Asheville serving as the region’s central city, it’s also really liberal and modern. Couples who want to spend their elopement in the great outdoors but also have access to modern convenience and good food will definitely find that here. 

A busy place

It’s not perfect, of course. WNC’s national forests and national parks are really popular (in fact, Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park in the country). Solitude isn’t as easy to find in WNC as it may be in other locations on this list. But since I’ve spent my entire life here and consider Western North Carolina home, this is the part of the country I know best. I’m really confident in my knowledge of the region, especially less popular trails and views. I love helping my couples track down the perfect backdrop for their elopement.

Watch Jessica + Colins’s Elopement film to get a vibe of what your Western NC elopement could be like


One of the Best Place to elope in the US:
OREGON

It may be on the other side of the country, but Oregon shares a lot of traits with Western North Carolina: green mountains, four separate and enjoyable seasons, and a laid back vibe. But there are a lot of differences, too. 

Oregon is home to ten national forests that cover about 16 million acres (isn’t that awesome?!). That means couples who elope in Oregon have options galore when it comes to choosing a beautiful place to wed that’s totally free of human influence. In the Pacific Northwest, the climate is so different, which create a totally different landscape that changes as you move across the state. Here, steep mountains are covered in pine trees and wide plains stretch as far as the eye can see, and elopers could explore both on their wedding day. 

Coastal Oregon

Head toward the coast, and the landscape shifts again. Oregon’s beautiful coastal beaches are peppered with tall sea stacks, those columns of tan rocks that are Instagram famous. The beaches are also home to tide pools filled with colorful starfish and anemone. The windswept coast is often wrapped in chilly fog (very romantic). 

Crater Lake

Oregon’s landscapes are all beautiful in their own way, but my personal favorite is Crater Lake. Located in south-central Oregon in a national park that shares its name, Crater Lake is such a deep blue it makes you think of popsicles and candy; it’s actually hard to believe it’s even natural. Fun fact: the water’s vibrant color and clarity is because of its depth and purity—Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S.! 

With five national parks and all those national forests, couples have almost unlimited options for places they could explore on their elopement day. Not to mention, Oregon has so many cool towns to kick your feet up after all the adventure: Portland has the hustle bustle and beer; Astoria has the history in its museums and architecture; and Eugene has the eclectic culture and city parks.  Hopefully these reasons explain why this is one of the best places to elope in the US!


One of the Best Place to elope in the US:
CALIFORNIA

A couples stands in front of a big tree root in California Redwoods, one of the best places to elope. They are standing forehead to forehead in their wedding outfits.

If California hasn’t used “We’ve got it all” as a marketing slogan, they should. It’s the third biggest state in the country, and it’s got the variety of climates, scenery, and weather to show for it. Here’s why I chose it as one of the best places to elope in the US:

Southern California

Southern California is a desert lover’s dream. The coast, from San Diego to Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, has long stretches of wide beaches and sheer cliffs, and the areas between those big cities are surprisingly peaceful, perfect for beachy elopements. When you go inland, you’ll find miles and miles of desert where you won’t see a soul for miles. Boho elopers love places like Joshua Tree National Park for its skinny cactuses and scrubby quietness. Southern California is warm all year round and even rainy weather is rare, making it a great choice for weddings. If you and your partner love the heat and the desert, taking off to So-Cal is a great elopement choice. 

Northern California

Northern California is as beautiful as it is different. National parks like Yosemite and Sequoia stir up those “Holy moly!” feelings with larger-than-life scenery like redwood trees and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. Mountain bikers love Downieville in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, while hikers and skiers adore Lake Tahoe and Mammoth; all are great destinations to incorporate your favorite hobby into your elopement day (after all, that’s what eloping is all about!). 

California has nine national parks, the most of any state, and 20 national forests—so yeah, you could say you have a few options for a scenic elopement! In fact, a multi-day elopement or a honeymoon up the coast could provide elopers with the best of all of California’s scenery. As I’ve mentioned before, the best part of eloping is the flexibility to do whatever you darn well please; in California, that could mean a whole bunch of different things that take advantage of its variety of views!

Watch Sydney + Chelsea’s Elopement film to get a vibe of what your California elopement could be like


One of the Best Place to elope in the US:
Maine

A couple walks along the rocky shores in their wedding outfits in one of the best places to elope; Maine. It is sunset and there are pines and ocean and rocks surrounding the couple.

Another one of the best places to elope in the US? Way up north on the east coast lies another beautiful option: Maine. As the northernmost state on the east coast, Maine has the advantage of being less populated. Therefore, it is more private than some of the other locations on my list. In summertime, Acadia National Park does get very busy. The park welcomes over 3 million visitors every year! But in the spring and fall, couples looking to elope will enjoy thousands of acres of solitude. Stony coastlines and wide lakes surrounded by pine trees make for a surprisingly rugged backdrop. 

Islands & lakes

The coast of Maine is ringed with lots of picturesque islands. Many of them are only accessible by ferry. So, that means couples can enjoy some seriously secluded scenery all on their own. If the ocean isn’t your thing, the northern part of the state has lots and lots of lakes just begging to be explored. 

Prepare for the weather

Like I said, Maine is the northernmost state, which means it gets cold. If you’re planning a winter elopement and don’t want snow and icy winds, you can take Maine off your list. But, its northern latitude means its beautiful and cool the rest of the year. You could plan to hike miles of its forests, coastline, or islands and summer and forget about the worries of more southern states, like heat and mosquitos. 

Maine has a really different feel from my other elopement picks, too. It’s got a touch of the Northeastern, coastal, preppy vibe of its neighboring states, but mixed with a little wild ruggedness. Here, bearded fisherman live side-by-side with folks in seersucker and flip-flops—everyone is welcome! Cities like Portland and Bangor have lots modern culture and old timey history. It’s a state of contradictions, but that’s what makes it one of the best places to elope in the US.

Watch Hannah + Rusty’s Elopement film to get a vibe of what your Maine Elopement could be like


One of the Best Place to elope in the US:
COLORADO

A couple stands by a lake in Colorado, one of the best places to elope in the us, for their wedding around mid day. It is clear and they are looking at each other, small in the distance, with a mountain view in the background.

Don’t worry, there’s room for the Midwest on this list, too! Colorado is, in a word, epic. Growing up in Western North Carolina, my jaw dropped when I first saw the Rockies. Snow-capped and craggy, the huge, rocky (the name fits) mountains are an awe-inspiring backdrop for an elopement. The combination of altitude and latitude make for cold, snowy winters up in the Rockies. But that makes the scenery even more picturesque! Unfortunately, that beautiful weather can also make for some tough travel conditions; snow could close mountain passes and roads. Therefore, planning for an elopement at a high elevation in winter could be a gamble. Rocky Mountain National Park is also tricky because there are a lot of restrictions placed on eloping couples. But if it works out, you’ll make your promises in a winter wonderland! 

Different locations

The Rockies are Colorado’s showstopper, but the state has a lot more to offer! There are 11 national forests and four national parks across the state. Lots of them are the pine trees and crystal clear alpine lakes you’d imagine. There’s a surprising variety of scenery in Colorado. Great Sand Dunes National Park, for example, has rolling sand dunes for couples to glide down. Mesa Verde’s famous cliff dwellings are literally unlike anywhere else in the country. In springtime, the hills around places like Aspen look like a scene straight from The Sound of Music, speckled with millions of colorful wildflowers; in fall, birch trees make yellow confetti rain down all over the state. 

Great for adventurers

If you’re adventurers, Colorado is like heaven. Miles and miles of mountain biking and hiking trails weave across the state. If you’re into winter sports, skiing and snowboarding abound at the state’s 26 ski resorts. City folks can elope in bustling small and big towns like Telluride, Crested Butte, and Boulder. Each of these towns allow you to stay close to the state’s natural beauty, getting the best of both worlds. 

Watch for high altitude

The only downside to eloping in Colorado is the high altitude. The change in altitude can make some people feel under the weather (I’ve felt it myself). Even normally active visitors can struggle with their typical hobbies. As long as you’re open to taking it slow and shifting plans if need be, this can definitely be one of the best places to elope in the US!

Watch Amanda + Brett’s Elopement film to get a vibe of what your Colorado Elopement could be like


Best places to elope in the US Summary

While this is a pretty comprehensive list of my favorite (and I think best places to elope in the US), the cool thing is there are literally millions of options that would be just as beautiful. Anywhere with lots of nature can and help you two to get in touch with the planet and each other.
Hawaii’s lush green mountains, Arizona’s red rock deserts,  Florida’s clearwater springs populated by chubby manatees—you have so many options! 

The best way to choose your elopement destination is to talk to each other, choose your goals, and work with someone who knows how to research where and how you can elope to achieve them (a planner like me!). Let’s talk about how you can get married in a place that makes your heart swell! You deserve to create memories that last a lifetime.

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