When it comes to choosing your Washington elopement location, it can be suuuper hard to narrow it down to just one place because this state is FULL of freaking incredible locations!! We’ve got three national parks to choose from, which all have so much epic scenery + opportunities to offer. If you’re going to have a Washington national park elopement, this is the blog post for you. Keep reading to decide which park is right for your big day!
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How to Have a North Cascades National Park Elopement
The North Cascades are a stunningggg mountain range. They are just three hours from Seattle along the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20). This is one of my fav highways of WA to drive through. You’re surrounded by jagged mountain peaks, waterfalls, forested valleys, and overall just an UNREAL landscape that gives off all the dreamy PNW vibes everybody’s looking for!! There’s a reason why so many couples choose to elope here!
There’s such a huge variety of opportunities within the park, which makes it a rad place to elope. From hiking thru the lush green, snow-capped mountains to boating on one of the many lakes to camping under the stars, there is so much to offer! You could easily go from saying your vows overlooking gorgeous blue water on a summer day to kayaking in the lake below, hanging out on the beach with fam & friends.
Where can I elope in North Cascades National Park?
I’ve got TONS of incredible spots up my sleeve in the North Cascades. I reserve some of them for my couples once they book 😉 Also keep in mind that if you have a party size (including you, guests, & vendors) of 12 or more, you’ll have to stick to appointed overlooks or amphitheaters. If you’ve got less than 12, you should be good to use any trail in the park. I would contact the park office for specific location approval!
Here are three amazing locations for ya though that are dreamy spots for an elopement inside the park!!
Artist Point at Mt. Baker is one of the most accessible spots near the North Cascades. You’re able to drive right up to a breathtaking viewpoint, OR you can hike if you’d rather!! Just drive along Mt. Baker Highway and find a spot to stop at, whether you choose a lower point like Heather Meadows or go all the way up to the top of Artist Point. Just make sure you look up ahead of time whether the whole road is open. Once fall/winter hits, the final 1.8 miles of the road up to Artist Point will close to cars, so you have to hike that last portion if you want to go all the way up!
Diablo Lake is one of the most freaking insane spots in the North Cascades – you’ve probably seen photos of it before, with unreal blue waters and mountains surrounding it. Unfortunately, the popular cliff spot that many couples elope at, at Diablo Lake Vista Point, is now closed off due to overuse and land damage. However, there are tons more spots you can check out with just as amazing views such as the Thunder Knob trail. You can also go down to the beach spot right at the lake for a different perspective!
Heather-Maple Pass is the perfect option for couples looking for a bigger challenge on their elopement day. Just like Maddie + Madi did for their Adventurous North Cascades National Park Elopement. They hiked a whole 8 miles to get to their ceremony location. This spot provided us with jaw-dropping views of the Cascades behind them as they said their vows!!
To legally get married within North Cascades National Park, you’ll need to get a Special Use Permit – but don’t worry, it’s a pretty easy process!!
Permit Cost: $50 non-refundable application fee + applicable fees depending on the details of your elopement
How to Apply:
The park asks that you fill out their Special Use Permit contact form on their website to receive further details + to get the application form. You’ll complete the Special Park Uses Application that they send to you, then pay the $50 fee at pay.gov or by mailing in a check. Once you contact them, they’ll give you all the necessary info + procedures you need to follow! I recommend starting this process ASAP so you’ve got plenty of time to get the permit and go through the whole process.
The peak season in the North Cascades is summer, between mid-June and late September. This is when temperatures are mildest, you’ll have the sunniest days, and the snow will be melted at lower elevations! The summer is perfect for anybody wanting to go on a day hike & stay fairly warm. hile the fall is best for anybody who’s down for chillier weather in order to get those stunning fall colors. Always make sure you check road/trail statuses + conditions before your elopement in case anything is closed off at the last minute due to unpredicted weather!!
Where to Stay near North Cascades National Park
Check out some of these suuuper cozy cabins near the North Cascades to stay in during your time in the area!
North Cascades Elopement Photographer – Inspiration
Want some real-life examples of what your elopement could look like here?? Check out Jared & Cameron’s Intimate Mountain Elopement or Maddie + Madi’s Adventurous North Cascades National Park Elopement!
How to Have an Olympic National Park Elopement
ONP is popular for a reason (it was even the area where a lot of the Twilight movies were filmed, fun fact!) – it’s literally filled to the brim with epic locations, viewpoints, and scenery EVERYWHERE you look!! Depending on what part of the park you’re going to, it’s about a 2-3 hour drive from Seattle, right near Port Angeles, WA.
Whether you want to say your vows overlooking a mountain range, have your first look under a canopy of lush green trees, go swimming with your fam & friends after your ceremony, or take a sunset stroll along a beach, Olympic National Park offers you every single one of those opportunities!
Since I LOVE Olympic NP soooo dang much, I wrote a whole article on the Best Places in Olympic National Park for Your Elopement, where I tell you all about Ruby Beach, the Hoh Rain Forest, Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge, & more. Check that one out for the dreamiest spots in the park to elope in before you keep reading this blog post, and decide what kinda scenery you want on your elopement day – the options are endless, with mountains, lakes, waterfalls, rainforests, & beaches!!
And if you already know you might want to elope at Ruby Beach, head to my blog post on How to Elope on Ruby Beach which is filled with details + tips to help you plan your Washington coast elopement!
You’ll need a Special Use Permit to tie the knot in ONP, just like in the North Cascades.
Permit Cost: $50-100 non-refundable processing fee + applicable fees depending on your elopement details
How to Apply:
The park asks that you allow 3-4 weeks for processing, but I def recommend applying for your permit as soon as you know your desired date + location! Here’s how to apply:
- Complete this application form
- Email the completed application to the Olympic National Park Fee Office by contacting them here, or mail it to them at the address below.
c/o Olympic National Park
600 East Park Ave
Port Angeles, WA 98362
- Once the park assigns you a permit number, they’ll send you a link to pay your fees.
- If your permit request is approved, you’ll get a permit sent to you. Sign & return the permit to the park for final approval and you’ll be good to go!
Just like the North Cascades, the best season to elope in Olympic National Park is the middle of the summer if you want to aim for the best temperatures + most predictable weather. Because the park sits on the coast and in one of the rainiest spots in the state, weather conditions can be pretty unpredictable, so it’s best to prepare for anything no matter what season you elope in!
Keep in mind that certain locations, roads, & trails will be closed off once late fall/winter hit, like the road up to Hurricane Ridge. So be sure to monitor the conditions ahead of time and watch for how any unexpected snow/rain/ice may affect your elopement – always have backup plans in place!!
Where to Stay Near Olympic National Park
The Port Angeles & Forks areas have some bomb places to stay & make you feel like you’re one with nature – check out some of the coolest ones in the area below!
Olympic National Park Elopement Photographer – Inspiration
For a super stunning example of a couple who decided to elope in Olympic National Park, head to this blog post showing Mayra + Russ’s Woodsy Olympic National Park Wedding!!
How to Have a Mount Rainier National Park Elopement
Mount Rainier is one of the most iconic spots in the whole state for its mountain views, wildflower meadows, and valleys filledddd with lush PNW gorgeousness. Just two hours south of Seattle it’s a super accessible location from most areas of the state, and there are SO many spots to explore on all sides of the park, no matter how much you want to hike/don’t want to hike!!
Where can you get married in Mount Rainier National Park?
There are two main sides of the park – Paradise & Sunrise. Paradise is the side that offers more dreamy wildflower meadows (a wildflower “paradise,” one could say) and breathtaking views of the mountains. It’s located 19 miles east of the Nisqually Entrance (the popular entrance with the Mount Rainier National Park sign), and offers the beautiful Paradise Inn for visitors to stay in!
The Sunrise side of the park offers just as stunning of scenery, with a more barren landscape than the wildflower meadows of Paradise, and wide-open valley views. It’s located 60 miles northeast of the Nisqually Entrance, and is accessible by Sunrise Road which is usually open from late June/early July to late September/early October!
Tipsoo Lake is a super stunning & easily accessible location on the eastern edge of the park! It’s open to vehicles during the summer, so it’s an amazing spot for couples looking to elope in the summer or early fall & get incredible views without being required to hike a ton. The subalpine lake offers seriously unreal wildflower meadows + views of Rainier in the background, and is amazing for all skill levels! If you’re looking for more of a hike, we can head to the 3.4-mile long Naches Peak Loop Trail!
Permit Cost: $60 non-refundable application fee + applicable fees depending on your elopement details
Permit Rules + Restrictions:
The size of your group will determine what locations you’re allowed to use for your ceremony, but unless you have over 60 people (including you, your guests, & your vendors), you can pretty much use any predetermined locations including specific trails and roadside spots! For over 60 people you can only use campground amphitheaters.
Here’s what is prohibited during your elopement ceremony in the park no matter what:
- Disturbance of other visitors
- Roping/blocking off any areas to the general public
- Intrusive decorations
- Chairs, tents, tables, awnings, etc.
- Throwing any confetti/rice/etc.
How to Apply:
The park office asks that you submit your application at least four weeks before your requested date, but again, do it as soon as possible to be safe!
- Complete this application form and email it to email@example.com
- Once your application is received, the park will send you a permit number + tell you how to pay your application fee online.
- If your permit request is approved, you’ll receive a permit in the mail. Sign & return it to the park office to get your final approval!
A lot of people typically don’t realize that Mount Rainier gets snow pretty late in the year and that you can’t just elope in the park whenever you want, unfortunately! The best time of year to elope at Mount Rainier National Park is usually the summer months, between June & September, depending on the location(s) you want to visit. Temperatures are warmest in July & August, and snow typically stays put at higher elevations at least through mid-July. So make sure that the location you want to elope at is somewhere that won’t be covered in snow in the late spring or early fall if you’re eloping then – lower elevations are definitely the safest choice for spring and fall. Again, just monitor conditions in the months/weeks leading up to your elopement so you have time to come up with backup plans depending on what the forecast looks like!
Where to Stay near Mount Rainier
I actually have a whole article dedicated to the 5 Best Airbnbs in Washington for Airbnb Elopements, and luckily that list includes three gorgeous cabins near Rainier that you’ve gotta check out!!
For more Washington elopement planning tips & resources, check out some of my recent blog posts down below!!