I might be biased, but I can’t think of a more beautiful place to elope than Washington State. From the rugged coast line, to the snow-capped mountains, and towering pines in between… Washington’s topography offers something for everyone. So if you’ve found yourself here, that means you’re thinking of eloping in Washington (YAY!!!) but need help narrowing down the best places to elope in Washington State. But look no further, friend. This is the place for you!
- Mount Rainier National Park
- Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park
- Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park
- Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park
- La Push, Olympic National Park
- Palouse Falls
- Lake Chelan State Park
- Gold Creek Pond
- Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park
- Columbia River Gorge
Mount Rainier National Park
One of the first places probably on your list of places to elope in Washington would be Mount Rainier National Park. Mt Rainier is an active volcano and also the most glaciated peak in the contiguous USA. The park features wildflower fields, lush forests cloaking the slopes, and endless activities to partake in during your elopement.
Mt. Rainier is the landmark of Washington State and it’s no wonder why. Like much of the state, there’s not a bad time to explore – especially if you know the ‘vibe’ you’re trying to achieve. My best tip to deciding what time of year to elope in Mount Rainier National Park would be to stay tuned to www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm for park closures, road closures, permit info, etc.
Here are just a few of my favorite locations within Mount Rainier National Park:
– Sunrise Point Overlook
Opened from late June/early July to late September/early October, offering wildflower blooms, and panoramic views of the Emmons Glacier, Mt. Rainier, and other peaks in the Cascade Range.
Located on the south side of the mountain, Paradise is open year-round. Paradise can get quite busy, so plan accordingly.
– Longmire Bridge
Longmire is the park’s headquarters, so it can definitely be busy! One of my favorite places in the Longmire region is the Longmire Bridge. Highly recommend checking it out in the Winter for those romantic, Christmas-esque vibes.
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park boasts over 70 miles of incredible coastline sure to make you swoon. From the rugged coast to the lush rainforests, ONP is another out-of-this-world landmark of Washington State. Some of my favorite places to elope in Washington just happen to be in ONP! Check out my faves below.
Ruby Beach, ONP
There is no such thing as an ugly view at Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park. Ruby Beach is one of the most popular destinations in Washington, and I definitely understand why. The dark sand, dramatic rock formations, and the forest just beyond the shore welcomes the moodiest of vibes. The sunsets here are absolutely unbelievable and make for such a perfect ending to any day (especially an elopement).
Hoh Rain Forest, ONP
This one’s for all my plant ladies (and gents) out there. Hoh Rain Forest’s floor is covered in blankets of ferns and mosses due to the 140+ inches of rain annually. Check out the Hall of Mosses Trail to feel truly one with nature. The visitor’s center is nestled next to the Hall of Mosses Trail, so you’ll be able to find some more strenuous hikes to challenge you.
Lake Crescent, ONP
There is just something about glacial lakes that amazes me. The crystal clear waters of Lake Crescent reflect the incredible surrounding forests and the Olympic Mountains. Depending when you embark on your elopement adventure, Lake Crescent is the perfect place for swimming, fishing, sailing, and more. The dock makes for a beautiful ceremony location for you and your honey to tie the knot.
La Push, ONP
Located at the mouth of the Quillayute River, La Push is an unincorporated village on the coast surrounded by Olympic National Park. It wasn’t until July 2021 that the Quileute Reservation opened up to non-tribal members. First Beach at La Push and Second Beach are some notable features, but the most well known is Rialto Beach. Rialto Beach features the famous Hole-in-the-Wall rock formation. The hike to the rock formation from Rialto Beach is about 3 miles roundtrip, but takes a while longer due to the soft sanded beach. The views here are worth it, though!
Palouse Falls State Park
Palouse Falls State Park is the only waterfall of its kind in the area that is a reminder of the previous ice-age floods. The scenery looks like a mixture between Waimea Valley in Hawaii, and Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. Truly, it doesn’t look anything like you’d imagine in Southeastern Washington. The waterfall itself drops over 200 feet into the Palouse River. The park itself doesn’t have a ton to do, but the falls are 100% worth it for an epic elopement. Seattle is just under 4 hours away, and Portland, Oregon is just under 5 hours away. If you’re looking for a secluded, quiet, off-the-beaten path kinda elopement, this is a great option!
Lake Chelan State Park
Located in north-central Washington, Lake Chelan is another incredible, crystal clear glacier-fed lake. The lake’s shore is full of sandy beaches and shaded picnic areas. The lake is a beautiful gateway to North Cascades National Park and nestled next to Chelan, Washington. Known for having over 300 days of sunshine, Lake Chelan is a great option if you’re wanting to indulge in some modern amenities. There are several resorts and wineries along the shores, which make for such a cool location for an elopement.
Gold Creek Pond
Gold Creek Pond is located just an hour away from Seattle – ideal for those wanting a little escape from the hustle and bustle, but still wanting to explore the city. If you’re wanting to include your family and friends in your elopement, this is a great option – the paved trail is ADA-accessible! The pond is more like the size of a lake, and located atop Snoqualmie Pass.
Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park
Hot take: North Cascades National Park is underrated. You want to talk about turquoise glacial waters?! This is the crème de la crème. Located in the Ross Lake Recreation Area, Diablo Lake is like nothing you’ve ever witnessed before. There are a few hiking options depending on how strenuous you want your hike to be. Diablo Lake Trail is 7.5 miles out and back along Sourdough Mountain and is moderately challenging. Thunder Knob trail is about 3.5 miles out and back and leads to a spectacular overlook on the south side of the lake.
Columbia River Gorge
Located just along the Washington-Oregon border, how couldn’t I include this in the best places to elope in Washington State?! Multnomah Falls (on the Oregon side) is the most visited natural recreation site in the PNW. This is definitely a busy destination, but it can accommodate up to 75 people if you can’t narrow down your guest list. If you’re hoping to see the falls with a higher flow, Winter and Spring are the best times to hopefully get the view you’re hoping for. Make sure to check out www.fs.usda.gov/crgnsa for reservations which are required during certain times of the year.
If your hearts are set on eloping in Washington, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is an epic canyon that stretches for over 80 miles – this is what forms the border between Washington and Oregon. The canyon is 4,000 feet deep and boasts endless views of turquoise waters, mountains, and pines.
Preparing for your Elopement
As a Washington-based intimate wedding and elopement photographer, I’ve done my fair share of researching to help ensure my couples have the best possible elopement experience. Let’s dive into my top tips to help you prepare for the elopement of your dreams. Be sure to come back to THE BLOG✨ for a deeper dive into preparing for your elopement – coming soon!
- Pick your dream location
- Find your photographer
- Apply for appropriate permits
- Book accommodations
- Apply for a marriage license
Researching in-depth where you plan to get married will help ensure you have all the nitty-gritty details covered. Once you’ve selected your dream location, your photographer should be able to help you plan everything in between. From activities to the best locations for romantics, your elopement photographer will be your main resource.
Alright, folks. There we have it! Let me know other locations you would add to the Best Places to Elope in Washington State. Trust me, it was hard to narrow it down just to these 10! If you’re looking for more elopement tips, be sure to stay tuned (more is coming to THE BLOG✨). As always, let’s be friends on Instagram (@sarareneephotography).