How to elope

Where to elope



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Ultimate List of the 10 Best Places to Elope in Alaska

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Ever since shooting a couple of elopements in Alaska a few years ago, I have been absolutely OBSESSED with Alaska: the epic mountain ranges, the old-ass glaciers that make you feel like you’re in Ice Age, the sunrises that just seem to hit different. . . give me alllll of it. I know we’ve got a billion beautiful places to elope here in the PNW (and trust me, they’re all AMAZING), but if you’re looking for somewhere just as epic a little bit further away, then Alaska is for you boo!! I put together this guide to the 10 best places to elope in Alaska to help ya find the perfect place(s) to hit up during your Alaska elopement, and to go over a few FAQ’s you might want answers to. If you don’t want to elope on a glacier now, I promise you’ll be dying to do it by the end of this 😉

Alaska Elopement FAQ’s

Before I convince you to take a helicopter ride to the top of a mountain and say your vows on top of a chunk of ice that’s hundreds of years old, let’s answer some questions ya might have about Alaska elopements & how to get married in Alaska.

How do you get to Alaska?

Good q!! Alaska is wayyyy up there next to Canada (bordered by British Columbia and Yukon to the east), so you’ll def want to fly there for your elopement. The main airports people fly into to get to Alaska are Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), Fairbanks International Airport (FAI), and Juneau International Airport (JNU). Which one you fly into just depends on where in Alaska you’re eloping and what region you want to explore.

Once you arrive in Alaska, there are lots of ways to travel around, including small planes, cruises, ferries, trains, or cars (oh, and helicopters!). But I recommend renting a car if that’s in your budget so you can travel around freely on your own schedule!!

Why is Alaska a good place to elope?

Well for starters, the landscapes are some of the most freaking EPIC in the world. With glorious mountain ranges, lush green alpine meadows, bright blue alpine lakes, massive glaciers, and stunning coastlines, you will literally never run out of places to explore if you elope in Alaska – and the scenery will be insane no matter where you go!! It’s one of the most amazing destinations for people who love exploring the outdoors, thanks to its literal endless opportunities for activities like hiking, kayaking, ice climbing, dog sledding (yes, really!), fishing, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, camping, & more. And did I mention Alaska has some of the best whale-watching in the world?? I don’t know why you WOULDN’T elope in Alaska if you’re dreaming of a once-in-a-lifetime, epic adventure, to be honest!

Alaska even has 8 different national parks, as well as 8 more national parks, rivers, monuments, & preserves and 120 state park units – so you have a wide selection to choose from if you want to have an Alaska national park or state park elopement! A lot of Alaska’s national parks don’t even have fees to enter or to go camping, so that cuts out a small cost that you won’t need to worry about.

Where can I elope in Alaska?

You can elope anywhere that marriage ceremonies are legal, including all of Alaska’s national parks, as long as you follow the local rules and regulations + get the proper permit! Some places will be harder to get a permit than others, some may take longer to get permits. That’s why it’s important to do your research ahead of time so you know exactly what to expect from the location where you want to have your ceremony. 

Here are some factors to take into consideration when you’re looking at potential locations for your Alaska elopement:

  • Permit application fee
  • Other permit fees
  • How long it takes to get a permit
  • How far in advance you need to apply for a permit
  • Maximum group size
  • How much parking is available (if any)
  • How accessible the location is for you + your guests
  • What seasons the location is open/closed
  • Open hours
  • What facilities are available (e.g. restrooms)
  • How easy/difficult it is to get there
  • What the weather is like

Can a non-resident get married in Alaska?

Yep!! Luckily you don’t have to be an Alaska resident in order to get married in Alaska.

Do I need a witness to get married in Alaska?

You’ll need 2 witnesses at your ceremony in order to make it legal.

What documents do I need to get married in Alaska?

Here are the documents you’ll need when you apply for your Alaska marriage license:

  • Valid picture ID
  • Birth certificate
  • Records of previous marriages/divorces if applicable

How do I legally get married in Alaska?

In order to legally get married in Alaska, both of you need to be at least 18 years old and apply through the Bureau of Vital Statistics or a local Alaska Court. There’s a 3-day waiting period once you pay the $60 fee to get your license, and it’ll be valid for 90 days so make sure you use it before it expires! There’s no blood test required, and you’ll need 2 witnesses present at your ceremony.

Here’s how to obtain your Alaska marriage license when you’re ready:

  1. Fill out this marriage license application.
  2. Visit either the Juneau or Anchorage Vital Records Office, or an Alaska Courthouse outside of Juneau or Anchorage in person, with valid government-issued photo ID & any other necessary documents.
  3. Pay the $60 application fee via check or money order.
  4. Pick up your license after 3 business days.
  5. Get married within 90 days!
  6. Return your original license to a local Vital Records Office (in person or via mail) after your ceremony. 

10 Best Places to Elope in Alaska

Ok ok we’re all done with the boring legal stuff now – let’s get into all the insane places you have available to you for your Alaska elopement! While there are soooo many amazing spots everywhere, I narrowed it down to the 10 best Alaska elopement locations* to help ya get started. 

*Note: all of the photos in this section are provided just for Alaska elopement inspo, and were all taken at Hatcher Pass!!

1. Hatcher Pass

Hatcher Pass is my personal fave Alaska elopement location and is where all the photos in this guide were taken!! Located in the southwest part of the Talkeetna Mountains, this mountain pass has some of the most INCREDIBLE views in the area and is literally heaven on Earth for mountain lovers. The pass stretches along 49 miles of rugged mountain landscapes with incredible mountain views, wide-open alpine meadows, and a collection of adorable little cabins at Hatcher Pass Lodge. Driving along the Hatcher Pass Scenic Drive is an amazinggg experience, but keep in mind that the road to the summit has some unpaved sections and is only open over the top of the pass from early July to late August, so plan accordingly!

Permit needed: Special Park Uses Permit

Best time to elope: Summer through early fall (July-mid September)

Dog-friendly? Yes

Best hikes:

2. Denali National Park

Home to the tallest peak in all of North America, Denali National Park is a must visit if you’re eloping in Alaska! It literally spans 6 MILLION acres of rugged Alaskan wilderness, which is filled with tons of wildlife, spruce forests, jagged mountain peaks, epic hikes, glaciers, rivers, and more. Whether you want to just take a quick hike to a nice viewpoint, trek 10 miles through the mountains, bike along the Denali Park Road, or spend the night at one of the park’s six campgrounds, there’s honestly something for everybody to enjoy at Denali National Park. 

Entry requirement: Park Pass

Entrance fee: $15/person

Permit needed: Special Use Permit

Best time to elope: Summer (late May-early September)

Dog-friendly? Yes

Best hikes:

3. Kenai Fjords National Park

While Denali National Park is mostly made up of rugged mountainous landscapes, Kenai Fjords National Park sits at the edge of the Kenai Peninsula with nearly 40 glaciers that flow from the Harding Icefield! The coastal fjords and islands are absolutely magical, with bright blue glaciers galore and over 600,000 acres to explore. The landscapes are freaking unbeatable whether you hike the trails or cruise through the fjords on a boat – literally some of the most breathtaking and unique coastal scenery you will EVER witness!! You can drive to Exit Glacier (the only part of the park you can get to by car), kayak through the fjords, hike the Harding Icefield Trail. . . it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise.

Entry requirement: None

Entrance fee: $0

Permit needed: Special Use Permit

Best time to elope: Summer (June-August)

Dog-friendly? Only in a few select areas

Best hikes:

4. Glacier Bay National Park

West of Juneau, Alaska, is Glacier Bay National Park, another one of Alaska’s most spectacular destinations for wild coastline scenery & sparkling blue fjords! You’ll even find a rainforest at Glacier Bay in addition to the manyyyy glaciers, abundant snow, and vibrant wildflowers at certain times of year. Just like most of the other national parks on this list, you can choose from a ton of different outdoor rec activities including boating, kayaking, or even getting a birds-eye-view from above in a plane!

Entry requirement: None

Entrance fee: $0

Permit needed: Special Use Permit

Best time to elope: Late spring-early summer (April-June)

Dog-friendly? Only in a few select areas

Best hikes:

5. Katmai National Park

If you want more of a barren tundra landscape for your elopement, then Katmai National Park is the park for you!! The park is known for its many brown bears that like to catch salmon in Brooks Falls, as well as its incredible tundra, forest, lake, & mountain landscapes. You can experience the wide-open landscapes by camping and hiking in the backcountry, going bear watching, boating through the numerous lakes & rivers, hiking through the Brooks Camp area, or visiting nearby spots along the Alaska Peninsula!

Entry requirement: None

Entrance fee: $0

Permit needed: Special Use Permit

Best time to elope: Late summer through early fall (July-September)

Dog-friendly? Yes

Best hikes:

6. Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier is located just a few miles from Juneau, making it a great elopement location if you want to stay in a more populated area by a major airport & not have to drive too far! It’s one of the most accessible glaciers in the country thanks to the fact that you can just drive or take a taxi from Juneau, and then walk around the glacier on your own OR with a guided tour. It’s super easy to get close to this glacier, which means it also gets crowded on the shorter trails. Definitely make sure that you’re familiar with glacier safety practices when you’re exploring Mendenhall Glacier, especially if you want to go to the Mendenhall Ice Caves!

Entry requirement: Day use pass

Entrance fee: $5/person

Permit needed: Noncommercial Group Use Permit only for groups of 75 or more

Best time to elope: Summer through fall (May-October)

Dog-friendly? Yes

Best hikes:

7. Matanuska Glacier

Matanuska Glacier is another easily accessible glacier in Alaska, stretching over 27 miles, making it the largest glacier you can access by car in the entire U.S.! You have to pay to visit the glacier on a guided tour, since it’s actually on private property, but every penny is sooo worth it for the ice-capped mountain views & crystal blue alpine lakes you get to see. The guides will help you safely explore the glacier with helmets, crampons, and poles, so you’ll be totally taken  care of the entire time! And you can book tours year-round – just be aware that they book out pretty far in advance, so it’s best to do it as early as possible. 

Entry requirement: Tour booked in advance

Entrance fee: $150/person (tour required – the glacier is on private property)

Best time to elope: Any season!

Dog-friendly? Yes

8. Knik Glacier

About 50 miles east of Anchorage, you’ll find Knik Glacier, an ice field over 25 miles long on the northern edge of the Chugach Mountains. It’s one of the most BEAUTIFUL glaciers in central Alaska and actually has no roads, so it’s not accessible by car! You can take an ATV ride up the Knik River to get to Knik Glacier, orrr land on the glacier via helicopter if you wanna make it a little more epic. 10/10 recommend hopping out of a helicopter onto an ancient ice field in your elopement attire and having a private vow exchange in the middle of the mountains 🔥

Entry requirement: Tour booked in advance

Entrance fee: $125/person (tour required)

Permit needed: No permit, but special reservation needed

Best time to elope: Summer-early fall (May-September)

9. Chugach Mountains

When I searched the Chugach Mountains on Google, it said they were a “playground for outdoor enthusiasts” and honestly, I think that’s the best possible way to describe this mountain range!! The Chugach Mountains are located in southern Alaska and are home to more than 60 easily-accessible glaciers, a ton of different access points, and, of course, breathtaking scenery. There are SO many different trails to explore via hiking, ice & rock climbing, or mountaineering, and either way you choose to explore you’ll get to enjoy gorgeous lakes, rivers, and mountain views.

Entry requirement: None

Entrance fee: Varies by location

Permit needed: Noncommercial Group Use Permit only for groups of 75 or more

Best time to elope: Summer (June-August)

Dog-friendly? Yes, certain trails

Best hikes:

10. Ketchikan

Last but not least is the little town of Ketchikan, a popular stop for cruises that faces the Inside Passage along the southeastern coast of Alaska. Ketchikan is an adorable place to spend your elopement, with a vibrant downtown area that’s super walkable, a lot of rich history to learn about, and access to the Tongass National Forest for tons of outdoor activities (hiking, swimming, waterfall-chasing, kayaking, you name it)!

Best time to elope: Summer-early fall (May-September)

Permit needed: Noncommercial Group Use Permit only for groups of 75 or more on national forest land

Best hikes: 

Alaska Elopement Photographer

Woohoooo you made it to the end! I hope you’re feeling SO EXCITED to plan your Alaska elopement at one of these incredible places and to dream up alllll the epic things you can do during your time there. I LOVE ALASKA and would love to help you choose the best place to elope in Alaska based on what you want your day to look like, aaand would love to be there to capture it all of course 😉 Read up on my Alaska elopement packages to get the deets about what I offer and then let’s start freaking planning this thing!!

I’ve got sooo many more elopement location guides like this in case you haven’t quite settled on Alaska yet – here are some of my faves!

15 Most Beautiful Alpine Lake Elopement Locations in WA

How to Elope in Yosemite

Places in the PNW That Look Like Iceland 

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