For each of these 7 stunning locations, I’ll be going through a few different things:
Grab a glass of your fave beverage & read through each location to figure out what your dream spot might be! Happy exploring!
Olympic National Park is by far one of the most versatile locations in the state, being that it has moody beaches, unique rainforests, cascading waterfalls, clear lakes, mountain views, and all the lush greenery you could ever dream of! The central part of the park is just under 2.5 hours from Seattle, and the northernmost area of the coast is a 4.5-hour drive. ONP encompasses nearly a million acres and over 70 miles of coastline, making it an incredible place for couples looking to go on a true adventure & explore everything the PNW has to offer.
If you just can’t decide on one type of scenery that Washington has available to you, ONP will be perfect for you since it NEARLY has it all – except for the desert.
It’s easy to hit multiple locations within the park for your elopement as well, if you’d like a little variety + extra adventure on your elopement day!
Some of my favorite spots within the park include:
I always recommend starting the permit process as early on as you can, so you have plenty of time to follow every step of the process and get your permit in time! The park office says that permits typically take 3-4 weeks to process, but that depends on the season & how busy the office is.
Here’s how to obtain your permit:
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Ave
Port Angeles, WA 98362
The NPS also asks that you email the park office to inform them of your wedding, and to let them know you’ll be applying for a permit. This way they can respond to you with any specific details you’ll need to know before starting the permit process!
If you’re looking for a cozy place to stay during the day surrounding your elopement, you’re in luck because there are a ton of cute cabins near the park, in or near the towns of Port Angeles & Forks, WA! Check out a few of the top-rated ones below, and pick yours based on how simple/lux you want + if you want to be able to stay in the same place as your guests (if you’re having any).
For even more info about eloping in Olympic National Park, head to my full ONP elopement planning guide below!
One of Washington’s most popular tourist spots (and one of the most visited NP’s in the country), Mount Rainier National Park NEVER disappoints. Located in southeast Pierce County, the park is just a 2.5-hour drive south of Seattle, making it a super doable weekend trip for an elopement – but also a dream location for a longer adventure with lots of time to explore the whole area!
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest spans 1.32 million acres and extends into Mount Rainier National Park from the south. The forest is home to many of Washington’s beautiful mountains & volcanoes, including Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams, meaning there are endless gorgeous forest spots for an elopement in the green trees of WA!
Mount Rainier NP offers up some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever find – and a lot of it is fairly easily accessible, too! There are tons of hiking opportunities for every skill level, from quick walks from your car to moderate hour-long hikes to full-day hikes or overnight trips.
A few of my favorite areas + hikes in the park include:
The size of your group is what determines where in the park you’re able to hold your ceremony. Make sure when you’re counting your group size that you include yourselves, your guests, and all your vendors.
Here are the deets, taken straight from the National Park Service’s website:
What’s allowed during ceremonies:
What’s not allowed during ceremonies:
Here’s how to get your Special Use Permit:
Your application must be submitted at least 4 weeks before your requested date, but I recommend doing it as soon as possible! The last thing you want is to be worrying about your permit the month of your wedding, or potentially have to change your date last minute.
Luckily, you won’t need to get a Special Use Permit to get married in the Gifford Pinchot NF unless you’re having a group of over 75 people!
The towns surrounding Mount Rainier NP have so many cozy options for accommodations right in the middle of nature. Check out some of the most popular ones in Ashford, Packwood, & Enumclaw below!
At $302/night, this little cabin is tucked between the Cowlitz River and Coal Creek. It boasts gorgeous mountain views, ample opportunity to take in nature, and beautiful photo ops before or after your elopement. The glass windows and glass door make for great unobstructed views of the surrounding nature. And it sleeps 6 guests, in case you want to bring some fam/friends along with you. Plus, the cutest lights that you can turn on when it starts to get dark!
Bringing a few people is not off-limits for your elopement, and this cabin is a great fit for a small group. Located just 4 miles from Mt. Rainer, this stylish and modern cabin still has a cozy feel to it. Since it’s only 2 hours from Seattle, it’s relatively easy to get to, and there are ample activities and scenery to take in once you arrive. It sleeps 6 people and is a steal at $227/night for all of its amazing amenities. The wood-burning stove and kitchen make this place a real charmer.
The Little Owl Cabin has got to be on the top of your list if you’re eloping in or near Mount Rainier National Park. It is the sweetest little A-Frame cabin that’s going to give you the coziest, most secluded feel as you embark on this adventure of eloping together. With spaces for up to 4-5 people, it’s adjacent to the National Forest, and was originally built in the ’70s, which I personally love! Could you imagine staying at this cabin as you explore Mount Rainier National Park and elope with your partner? I know I’m in!
Finally, this cozy cabin is the perfect mountain escape. With a cedar-soaking hot tub, space for up to 8 guests, and a gorgeous open loft area, you can’t beat the vibes of this place. And it’s even dog-friendly, so you can bring your 4-legged best friend(s) along with you! You cannot beat the woodsy 60’s vibes of this cabin smack dab in the middle of the lush green trees of Washington.
To see some additional dreamy cabins around WA, check out my blog post with 9 Amazing Cabins for Your Adventure Elopement in Washington!
For more details on eloping at Mount Rainier (including seasons + weather, a packing list, & more), click the photo below to check out my Ultimate Mount Rainier Elopement Planning Guide!
Just under 3 hours from Seattle, the alpine landscape of the North Cascades is an unbeatable backdrop for an intimate elopement in Washington state. Driving along the North Cascades Highway thru the mountains is one of my favorite pastimes, because literally everywhere you stop, you’re gifted with unreal views of jagged peaks, snow-capped mountains, and forested valleys all around you!
The North Cascades makes for an epic elopement location for many reasons, one of them being that many spots in the mountain range are pretty dang easily accessible. If you simply drive along State Route 20, especially in the area nearest to Whatcom County & Bellingham, you’ll come across multiple stunning blue lakes, campgrounds, and forest hiking areas. The Cascades have plenty of hiking opportunities of different difficulty levels, so you can easily find one that fits your vision for your elopement day.
Below are a few of my favorite locations & hikes within the North Cascades:
Check out Leslie + Andy’s Romantic Winter Elopement in North Cascades National Park for beautiful winter elopement inspiration!
To elope in the North Cascades, you’ll have to obtain a Special Use Permit (which you could’ve probably guessed by this point). The park asks that you email them here for specific info about your permit based on the location you’d like to elope at + your group size, and then they’ll send you the application form + direct you to pay a $50 non-refundable application fee at pay.gov.
One quick note I wanted to include about Diablo Lake: if you look up any wedding photos of Diablo Lake, you’ll most likely see couples & visitors standing on a cliff overlooking the bright blue waters. Unfortunately, due to land damage and too many visitors not following rules, that popular cliffside spot is now completely off-limits for elopements & weddings – despite other couples & photographers still using it and ignoring that rule.
Luckily, there are multiple trails along the lake that’ll get you similar beautiful views, such as Thunder Knob Trail, and you can also have your ceremony at the foot of the lake on the beach!
North Cascades NP runs along the northernmost part of the state, so many visitors will often stay in the cities of Bellingham, Okanogan, and Methow Valley. Here are a few great places in & near those areas to stay for your North Cascades elopement!
The Mt. Baker Wilderness/Snoqualmie Forest is one of the northernmost spots in the state, west of the North Cascades and just over a 2.5-hour drive from Seattle. If you’re a fan of winter sports like skiing & snowboarding, Mt. Baker is a dream for you, as it’s one of the most visited forests in the country & gets incredible snow!
Mt. Baker has no shortage of stunning PNW landscapes, from glacier-covered peaks to forested valleys to mountain meadows & more. With hiking trails galore, it’s the perfect area for a gorgeous mountain elopement in northwestern WA, especially for couples who are down for a hiking adventure!
Some of the most popular spots to visit (and that are a dream for an elopement) include Artist Point & Heather Meadows, which is actually just down the road from Artist Point. The final 1.8 mile stretch of road up to Artist Point closes down for the winter, so you’ll have to hike up that portion to get to the top, or stick to the just-as-beautiful Heather Meadows & Austin Pass Picnic Area instead. I adore the Artist Point area because you can hike as much as you want to, or you can simply hop out of your car and be at epic views!
Lucky for ya, only weddings & events of 75+ people require a Special Use Permit. So no need to worry about obtaining a permit to hold your ceremony in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Forest!
If you’re eloping at Mt. Baker, you’ll probably want to stay in the towns of Deming or Glacier, both of which have suuuper cute cabins available. Check out some of the coziest ones below!
If you’d like to elope in the more central part of Washington, Leavenworth is absolutely a place you need to consider! It’s a small, Bavarian-styled village in the Cascades, full of German beer, tons of delish food, small shops to explore, and countless opportunities for adventure out in nature. Leavenworth is one of the most charming, unique towns you’ll find in all of Washington, truly like no other in the PNW!
Visitors come from all over to visit Leavenworth, not only for its Bavarian-style that takes you out of the real world & puts you right into a fairytale but also for all the outdoor activities it has to offer. Head to the Wenatchee River for some white water rafting or chilling on a beach in the summer, drive into the mountains to go skiing, hiking, biking, or even horseback riding.
Here are a few great trails in Leavenworth to elope at:
This small town has plenty of comfy lodging options – below are some of the ones I’d recommend you take a look at first!
I recently published an entire blog post filled with info to help you plan your Leavenworth elopement – check it out below for more information about weather, local vendors, fun activity options, & more!
The San Juan Islands are a dream elopement location for any couples who love being on the water, and want to explore beautiful islands off the Washington coast! These islands are an archipelago that boasts gorgeous PNW landscapes, lots of wildlife, & plenty of cute small towns to explore. You’ve got three main islands to choose from (or you can totally hit up multiple): Orcas Island, San Juan Island, & Lopez Island, all of which have breathtaking locations & hiking opportunities galore.
The SJ Islands would be an amazing location option for you & your partner if you feel most at peace by the water, and if you’re wanting to explore multiple different areas for your elopement. Take a ferry from Seattle, say your vows on San Juan Island, and the next day, take a trip to Orcas Island for some whale watching + to explore the town. Or say your vows in front of the lighthouse at Lime Kiln State Park, then head to Friday Harbor to explore a super charming little seaport. The itinerary options are endless!
Below are some of my favorite places to explore in the San Juan Islands:
With multiple islands comes a huge variety in accommodations to choose from – here are some super cute ones on each of the three main islands for you to check out!
For more deets about eloping in the SJI including the yummiest places to eat, fun ideas for your SJI wedding, and timeline examples, head to my SJI Elopement Planning Guide below!
Finally, we’ve made it to the desert area of Washington, the east side of the state. Vantage is the prettiest desert area WA has to offer, sitting along I-90 at a major road junction along the Columbia River. It’s far from the lush environment that western WA provides, but there’s something special and unique about the desert landscape!
The sunsets in this area of Washington are hard to beat since the dry sunny days often lead to clear skies and gorgeous colors overlooking the cliffs of the desert. You can check out one of the most unusual fossil forests in the world at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park if you’re interested in old petroglyphs, head to Horses on the Hill for a great view of Lake Wanapum, or check out the Gorge Amphitheater on a bluff overlooking the river.
Vantage is definitely a super different vibe than the rest of the locations in this blog post, but the magical sunsets + golden hour lighting, and views of cliffs standing above the Columbia River is still an absolutely gorgeous option for an elopement!
For an elopement in Vantage, you’ll likely stay in Kittitas County – here are some cute cabins & homes in the area that are available to you:
Whewwww that was a long one! I hope you found it super helpful to go through 7 of the most amazing locations in WA for your elopement, and that now you’ve narrowed it down to at least just a couple of spots for your big day.
For even more WA elopement planning tips, tools, & resources, take a look at some of my recent blog posts below! Happy planning! And when you’re ready to book your Washington elopement photographer to tag along with ya, you know where to find me (here!) 😉
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