How to elope

Where to elope



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How to Elope at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

bride and groom kissing lake crescent landscape

Table of Contents:

bride and groom standing together lake crescent landscape

Guys I am sooooo obsessed with this lake in Washington: Lake Crescent!! Ever heard of it? It’s one of the deepest lakes in the state, and one of the creepiest, too. There are wayyyy too many stories of bodies in this lake if you’re into learning about that kinda stuff. But anyway – Lake Crescent is def one of the best places to elope in Olympic National Park. Sooo I made a full guide for ya on how to elope at Lake Crescent!

I’ve compiled all my best tips + advice based on the Lake Crescent elopements I’ve photographed over the years, from the best time of year to elope at Lake Crescent to the coziest, cutest places to stay nearby. Let’s dive right in (lake pun intended)!!

For even more bomb AF locations near Lake Crescent, check out my guide to the Best Places to Elope in Olympic National Park!

bride and groom standing together lake crescent snow landscape

Where is Lake Crescent?

First off where even IS this place?! Lake Crescent is a lake that sits right at the bottom of the northern Olympic Mountains, inside of Olympic National Park. Not only is the blue lake itself SO gorgeous and vibrant, but the mountains surrounding it just make for suchhhh a breathtaking landscape. The crystal-clear water reflecting the mountain scenery on a sunny day is unreal! Plus there are plenty of hiking & biking trails nearby as well as waterfalls to check out in the forest along the lake’s shore, if you want to do a little more exploring.

Lake Crescent is located in the very northern part of Olympic National Park, about 35 miles east of Forks and 22 miles west of Port Angeles. So if you want to find a place to stay in Port Angeles & explore the charming little town, Lake Crescent is a perf place to hit up for your elopement. And if you’re coming from Seattle, Lake Crescent is about a 3-hour drive.

bride and groom kissing lake crescent landscape

Lake Crescent Elopement FAQ’s

Can you get married at Lake Crescent?

Yes! I would hope I wouldn’t be writing this blog post if you couldn’t get married there, lol.

Do you need a permit to get married at Lake Crescent?

Yup, you’ll need an Olympic National Park entry pass and a Special USe Permit. Skip down to this section for the ‘tails!!

Can you swim in Lake Crescent?

Yes you can!! If you elope at Lake Crescent in the summer, I def recommend going for a swim or bringing a kayak/boat/paddle board out on the water to enjoy the sunshine.

Are dogs allowed at Lake Crescent?

The only part of Lake Crescent that dogs are allowed is Spruce Railroad Trail, which is located on the north shore of the lake.

bride and groom kissing on dock lake crescent landscape

Why Elope at Lake Crescent?

There are sooo many reasons to elope at Lake Crescent, but here are a few of the top ones to help you decide if it’s the right place for you (besides the gorgeous views, because that’s a pretty obvious one).

1. It’s easy to access

One of the biggest pros of eloping at Lake Crescent is that it’s very easy to access, compared to some of the other mountainous locations inside of Olympic National Park, or the locations that require a hike. So if you/your guests need an easily-accessible location for your ceremony, or you just don’t want to have to hike, then Lake Crescent is perf! There’s an ADA-accessible ranger station as well as restrooms nearby, and Lake Crescent Lodge also has ADA-accessible rooms & amenities.

bride and groom walking together lake crescent forest landscape

2. There are other amazing locations nearby

You know that I looove when couples hit up multiple spots for their elopement: one spot for their first look, another for their ceremony, and a third for sunset portraits. It’s SO much fun to explore different places and to get a variety of photos + experiences on your elopement day! So the fact that Lake Crescent is close to other amazing locations in Olympic National Park is a huge plus. 

Some other cool spots within a about an hour drive of Lake Crescent:

bride and groom kissing lake crescent snow waterfall landscape

3. It’s close to Port Angeles

Finally, I love that Lake Crescent is super close to Port Angeles (about a 30-minute drive) because it’s a super charming little town to stay in, or just to explore during your time in the area. If you and your guests are looking for things to do before or after your actual elopement, you can walk around town and check out some of the old hotels, yummy local restaurants, and find more spots with beautiful scenery!

bride and groom reading vows lake crescent landscape

When to Elope at Lake Crescent

Now that you know why you should elope at Lake Crescent, when should you elope at Lake Crescent?

In the summertime Lake Crescent is such a fun place to go! Due to the fact that you can rent kayaks or go for a swim! Since it is water in the middle of a mountain range it gets pretty chilly, easily once temperatures drop. Def not a place you want to go swimming in the middle of the winter unless you’re down for a polar bear plunge – in which case, be my guest & I’ll stay warm while grabbing all the good pics.

So if you want warm weather & want to be able to enjoy time out on the water, you should elope at Lake Crescent in the summer, between June-August.

If you want to avoid crowds as much as possible and you’re not looking to take a swim after you say your vows (and you don’t mind snow), elope at Lake Crescent in the winter, between November-February.

bride and groom opening champagne on dock lake snow crescent landscape

As far as what time of day to elope at Lake Crescent, I’d recommend having your Lake Crescent elopement ceremony in the late afternoon, if you want to take sunset portraits at the lake afterward.

If you want to say your vows on the lake and then drive to Ruby or Rialto Beach for sunset portraits instead, then you’ll want to elope around mid-afternoon to give yourselves time to make the drive in time for sunset.

If you elope during the summer (busy season!) and want to get away from crowds, have your ceremony earlier in the morning when all the tourists aren’t quite out yet.

bride and groom kissing on dock lake crescent snow landscape

Lake Crescent Elopement Permits

Ok nowwww let’s talk permits!! Because yes, you do need a specific permit to elope at Lake Crescent, since it’s part of a national park. Here are the two things you’ll need to get to have your elopement ceremony at Lake Crescent.

Olympic National Park Entry Pass

First, you’ll need to get the general Olympic National Park entry pass to even get into the park. You can get a per-vehicle pass for $30 that lasts for 7 consecutive days, or you can get an Olympic National Park Annual Pass for $55. If you visit multiple national parks in a year, you can opt for the America the Beautiful Pass, which costs $80 and covers entry into any national park & federal recreational land!

Note that you’ll have to print your entry pass and bring it with you to enter the park.

Special Use Permit

Next, you’ll need an Olympic National Park Special Use Permit to hold your elopement/wedding in the park. You’ll need to fill out this application form, pay the non-refundable processing fee of $50-100, and submit the application to the park. If you have any questions, you can email the park office!

bride and groom drinking champagne lake crescent landscape

Where to Stay Near Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent Lodge

If you want to stay literally right on the lake, then Lake Crescent Lodge is the place to be! This iconic lodge was built way back in 1915 and has all the lakeside charm you could dream of. You’ll get a cozy room in the lodge, access to boat & lake rentals (kayaks, paddle boards, you name it!), a lounge & bar, and sooo much more. It’s such an adorable lodge and is perfect for all of your guests to stay in & have a nice little lakeside getaway.

Airbnbs Near Lake Crescent

And here are some amazingggg Airbnbs near Lake Crescent that would be so rad for just the two of you, or you and a few of your fav guests to stay in for your elopement!

If you’re still considering other parts of WA for your elopement, def check out my blog post featuring 5 of the Best Airbnbs in Washington State for Elopements!

lake crescent airbnb

5 Fun Lake Crescent Elopement Ideas

Here are 5 ideas for your Lake Crescent Elopement to make your day as special and FUN as possible at this amazing location!

1. Rent kayaks/paddleboards/boats for you & your guests

2. Have a lakeside picnic on the dock (or on the beach)

3. Pop a bottle of champagne at sunset

4. Hike to Marymere Falls

5. Have a first dance in the forest nearby

bride and groom standing together marymere falls landscape

Lake Crescent Elopement Outfit Inspiration

I wanted to include a few photos showing off couples who have recently eloped at Lake Crescent to give you some outfit inspo! Since this is a beachy location, I loveee flowy, casual outfits that embrace the carefree lake vibes – but it’s totally up to you and your style, of course!

For more elopement outfit inspo & tips, check out my Guide to Picking Your Perfect Elopement Outfits!

bride and groom standing together lake crescent snow landscape

Lake Crescent Elopement Photographer

Alrightttt so now that you’ve learned all about Lake Crescent and why it’s such an epic elopement location, you might be looking for a Lake Crescent elopement photographer to document your day here 😉 I’d love to tag along and capture all the magic for you!! Reach out to me here and let’s hang!

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