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February 23, 2019
Best Places to Elope in Washington State
Adventure wedding photographer, Betty Simpson, shares best places to elope in Washington.
Photography by Betty Elaine’s Best Places to Elope in Washington

Best places to elope in Washington state

The Pacific Northwest is my home, and as a photographer that loves travel and hiking, I am often a guide to my couples helping them plan the best wedding day or elopement they can imagine. My couples are drawn to experiencing the natural wild beauty of the outdoors as part of their wedding photography. If you’re just starting to figure out how to elope, in this post I’ll give you information on the best locations to elope in Washington State for your adventure wedding.

Washington has the best scenery, from the rugged coast, to the mossy forest, waterfalls, alpine lakes, and the wildflower filled mountains. So how do you choose where to have your wedding ceremony? When considering a location for your elopement, keep in mind what values you have set for your wedding day. How private do you want your location to be? What season and weather are you comfortable in? How far are you willing to hike? A perfect location doesn’t always have to be 8+ mile hike, I know plenty of locations that are less than 1 mile! 

Once you’ve chosen a location, you’ll also want to check to make sure that you have the correct permit to have your ceremony, and decide when you will apply for your marriage license.

Mount Rainier National Park best places to elope for your adventure wedding.
Mount Rainier National Park best places to elope for your adventure wedding.

Mt. Rainier National Park

It’s hard to choose, but Mt. Rainier National Park might be my favorite Washington elopement location. As an outdoor enthusiast and adventure wedding photographer, this place took my breath away the first time I visited during peak wildflower season, and I have continued to make it a priority go back every year. If I ever decide to do a vow renewal, this is where I will have it!

Permit info: https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/upload/sup-info-weddings-july2012.pdf

Distance from Seattle: Approx 2hrs

Weather: It’s normal for snow to still be on the mountain through June, but late July and August become wildflower season. It’s a short season, but the wildflower meadows are enchanting. Fall foliage in September is colorful and just as impressive, even on the rainy days.  

Lodging: For lodging in the park you can stay at the historic Paradise Inn, or find an A-Frame cabin or rental on Airbnb & VRBO and stay just outside the park in Ashford for your Washington elopement. Maybe find a rental with a hot tub, it is your honeymoon after all ;)

Favorite spots: Paradise – This popular part of the park is incredibly beautiful with stunning views, many trails with wildflower meadows, and little hiking effort needed. 

Sunrise – The highest point to be reached by vehicle in the park! At 6,400 feet, Sunrise Point offers nearly 360-degree views. It’s my favorite view of Mt Rainier in the park, and the trails are more secluded than at Paradise, and still full of wildflowers in the summer.

Tipsoo Lake – Full of wildflowers in the summer, and vibrant colors in the autumn. Trails from here connect with PCT trails. 

Mt Rainier National Park best places to elope
Mt Rainier National Park best places to elope for your adventure wedding.

Olympic Peninsula & Olympic National Park

The Olympic peninsula is so majestic. Standing on the beach, watching and listening to the crashing waves, would be a beautiful scene for your Washington elopement photography, and natural soundtrack while you exchange your vows. And if you’re set on having an Olympic National Park wedding, the options are quite diverse, from rainforest, to lake, or mountain top.

Permit info: https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/permitsandreservations.htm

Distance from Seattle: Approx 4hrs +

Lodging: Kalaloch Lodge, Lake Cresent, and rentals on Airbnb & VRBO

Favorite spots: From rainforest, to coast, there is so much variety it’s hard to choose!

Rialto Beach or Ruby Beach – These popular beaches are easy to get to, but still have that wild scenery that is classic Washington Coast. 

Second Beach – To get to Second Beach, you have to hike less than a mile through a forest. Tide times are also important to note, so you’ll have more of the beach to explore. The seastacks are dramatic, and the sunsets perfect. 

Cape Flattery – The northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States! What an incredible spot in the world to say your wedding vows. Stunning views and endless wildlife watching.

Hurricane ridge – For a mountain area in the Olympics, this is the spot. Panoramic views  and access to several trails if you want to adventure further. You can even snowshoe in the winter.

Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park best places to elope
Adventure wedding photographer, Betty Simpson, shares best places to elope in Washington, Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park

The San Juan Islands (on the ferry or Island)

This is my favorite ferry ride in Washington. The wild beauty of the PNW really shows off, and did you know you can have a wedding ceremony on a Washington State Ferry? But if that isn’t adventurous enough for you, there are lots of beautiful trails to explore on San Juan, Orcas, or Lopez Island. Choose your own adventure! 

Distance from Seattle: Approx 3 hrs

Adventure wedding photographer, Betty Simpson, shares best places to elope in Washington.
Photography by Betty Elaine’s Best Places to Elope in Washington

North Cascades National Park

Considering a North Cascades National Park elopement? The mountain viewpoints, and overlooks of glaciers and lakes are what make this one of the best places to elope in Washington. The mountains are calling, and you must go!

Permit info: https://www.nps.gov/noca/getinvolved/special-use-permits.htm

Distance from Seattle: Approx 2.5 hrs

Weather: Snow covered in the winter, ski and snow shoe areas could make for a stunning winter wedding. In the summer hiking trails open up deeper into the cascades, leaving a never ending amount of options for places to explore. 

Lodging: Ross Lake Resort, or look for places near Bellingham, WA

Favorite spots:

Artist Point – Panoramic views of Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, Coleman Pinnacle, the Ptarmigan Ridge. Beautiful covered in snow in the winter, great idea for a snowshoeing elopement.

Heather-Maple Pass – Epic views of the north cascades, wildflowers in summer, lakes ringed with golden larches in fall. 

Diablo Lake – Easy access to Diablo Lake Vista Point, the beautiful turquoise lake is unbelievable. Perfect spot to kayak out onto the lake surrounded by mountains, or hike Thunderknob trail and check out the Colonial Peak viewpoint. 

North Cascades National Park best places to elope for your adventure wedding.
North Cascades National Park best places to elope for your adventure wedding in Washington.

Planning an adventure wedding or elopement? I’d love to chat with you about your wedding photography! You might also want to read my list of best places to elope near Seattle.  Let’s create something wild, romantic, and uniquely you.

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