How to elope

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Ultimate Oregon Coast Elopement Guide for 2024-2025

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If you and your boo elope on the Oregon Coast, then you can tell all your friends & fam that you “tide the knot by the sea” 😉 Haha sorry, I had to start this off with an ocean pun obviously! Welcome to my Oregon Coast elopement guide!! The Oregon Coast is literally one of the most beautiful parts of the PNW, and its beaches are super unique to the rest of the ones on the West Coast, since they aren’t warm & sunny like Cali beaches—they’re foggy, moody, and glorious in their own ways! This guide has all the ‘tails you need to know about eloping on the Oregon Coast, including all my fav locations, permit info, places to stay, and more good stuff. Ready to head down to the ocean, say “I do,” and walk off into the sunset with your new forever partner? 🌊

Where is the Oregon Coast?

You can probably guess where the Oregon Coast is just from the name. . . and if you guessed on the coast of Oregon, you’d be right! The coastal region stretches just over 350 miles from the California border in the south to the Columbia River in the north, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Oregon Coast Mountain Range to the east. 

If you’re eloping somewhere on the northern part of the Oregon Coast like Seaside, Cannon Beach, or Tillamook, it’ll be about a 1.5 hour drive from Portland. But if you’re heading further south to somewhere like Brookings, then you’re looking at about a 6 hour drive. You can really make it as much of a trek as you want to, whether you want a quick weekend celebration or a week-long adventure along the coast. I’ve photographed couples who only wanted to drive 2 hours from the city and had an incredible 1 or 2-day elopement at Cannon Beach, but I’ve also driven all the way down to the southern Oregon Coast with couples who wanted a longer trip! Totally up to you and how much you wanna drive + what kind of coastal scenery you want, because it varies along different parts of the coast. The northern coast is typically a lot busier and has more PNW-esque forests, whereas the southern coast usually has way fewer visitors and more California redwood-type trees. 

Why Elope on the Oregon Coast?

Soooo why should you elope on the Oregon Coast compared to the MANY other amazing locations in the PNW?! Here are the top reasons why I’m obsessed with the Oregon Coast for elopements & intimate weddings.

—It’s amazing & accessible ALL YEAR ROUND: The coast is one of the few parts of the PNW that is accessible (and beautiful) at any time of year! Most PNW elopement locations are only available + at their most scenic during the late spring, summer, and early fall (if not only summer), so you’re pretty limited on when you can actually elope there. This is because a lot of couples want to elope in the mountains of WA and OR, but for the majority of the year they’re covered in snow, and a lot of trails close off! The Oregon Coast, though, wanted to be a lil’ different, and it’s an incredible destination to visit at any time of year 🙂 Sure, some months will be warmer and sunnier than others (more on that later in this guide), but the point is that you CAN elope during the winter if you wanted to, or during those early spring + late fall months. I personally love the coast in the winter and how not crowded it is compared to summer!!

—The coastal scenery is to die for: Obvi! The Oregon Coast is ummm STUNNING and feels like it was literally made to be the backdrop for an epic elopement or a breathtaking movie. The towering sea stacks, mysterious caves, craggy cliffs, lush forests, wildlife-filled tidepools, adorable coastal towns. . . it will all leave your jaw on the floor (all the way on the ocean floor, in fact) whether it’s your first or 100th time visiting. I love how diverse the landscapes are, too; you can easily go from the beach to the forest, and maybe even to a waterfall, within minutes (depending on the area you visit, of course)! And I know you might reallyyyy want sunshine and blue skies, but the coast honestly looks even more magical + mystical in the rain/clouds/fog. You just CAN’T lose on the coast no matter what!!

—You don’t usually need permits: Most of the public beaches along the Oregon Coast don’t require Special Use Permits in order to have a ceremony, unless you have a certain amount of equipment or a pretty large group of guests. If you’re eloping, I’m guessing you’ll only have a few guests (if any!) and you should generally be good to go without a permit. But we’ll double check just to make sure, once you’ve nailed down your ceremony spot 🙂 

—There are soooo many things to do: The coast is a literal dream come true for anybody who loves being outdoors. Wanna go hiking? There’s tons of trails! How about mountain biking? River rafting? Windsurfing? Dune buggy riding?! The options are endless! And if you’re not really an outdoorsy person, you can spend your time exploring the adorable coastal towns, finding local shops to visit + restaurants to eat at, or just lounging around on the beach. There’s truly something for everyone.

—It’s easy to get to from Portland: The northern Oregon Coast is superrr accessible from the Portland area, with popular beaches like Cannon Beach only an hour and a half away. This means you could easily spend a day or two in the city, then head to the coast for the rest of your trip—or vice-versa! You can get the best of both the city AND beach worlds in one region 👏

Top 5 Oregon Coast Elopement Locations

Ok this was soooo hard to narrow down!! There are SO MANY spots I love along the coast, so don’t worry—I’ll help ya find the perfect spot if you want more options than this. These are just 5 of my all-time favs to help getcha started 🙂

1. Hug Point

Type of location: Beach, caves, cliffs, forest, waterfall

Ease of access: Easy (no hiking required!)

Entry fee: None

Special Use Permit required: None

Pet-friendly: Yes!

Hug Point is without a doubt one of the TOP places to elope on the Oregon Coast: it’s easy af to get to, has a tonnnn of diverse scenery, and is literally breathtaking from the moment you arrive. Not only does it have a long stretch of beautiful sandy beach; it’s also got a few mysterious caves, jagged cliffs, lush green forested areas, and a little waterfall that I’m obsessed with! All you gotta do is park your car in the lot (which even has a little bathroom, perf for changing into your elopement attire), walk down a staircase, and voilà—you’re at the beach! If you do want a teeny tiny hike (tbh it is barely a hike though, haha), you can take the quick 0.7-mile out-and-back trail that takes you up the cliffs and to some amazing views overlooking the ocean.

Important note: You’ll want to make sure you visit Hug Point at low tide, since otherwise it’s almost impossible to safely make your way around the bend of the cliffs and get to the area with the caves + waterfall.

2. Cannon Beach

Type of location: Beach, sea stacks

Ease of access: Easy

Entry fee: None

Special Use Permit required: None, except for large ceremonies

Pet-friendly: Yes!

If you’ve ever seen ONE photo of the Oregon Coast, chances are it was probablyyyy a photo of Haystack Rock, at Cannon Beach. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the PNW! Cannon Beach itself is an adorable little coastal town near Ecola State Park, featuring a long, sandy shore and the famous Haystack Rock + surrounding smaller sea stacks. It’s an absolutely gorgeous beach, especially if you time it right and are there to watch the sunset over the water + see the reflection of Haystack in the sand, sooo dreamy! But Cannon Beach DOES get super crowded, especially in the summertime. It can be hard to find a spot to shoot without other people in the background, so keep that in mind if you do wanna have your ceremony here; you might want to head a ways away from Haystack, or find another beach altogether. I love Cannon Beach because you have easy access to the beautiful beach AND to the town itself, it’s so cute to walk around and visit the little boutiques + restaurants!

3. Cape Kiwanda 

Type of location: Beach, dunes, cliffs

Ease of access: Easy to moderate

Entry fee: $10 Day Use Access Pass required to park in the lot, or you can find free parking somewhere nearby

Special Use Permit required: None

Pet-friendly: Yes!

Cape Kiwanda is one of the more unique beaches on this list—it’s famous for its towering sand dunes, breathtaking coastal views, and its bright orange-red rocks. It can also be confused with Cannon Beach if you look at photos, since there’s a sea stack out in the ocean that looks pretty dang similar to Haystack Rock! Located in Pacific City, the cape is gorgeousss with its 250-foot sand dunes, tidepools, caves, and crashing waves. I love heading up the dunes with couples who are down for it (they’re not too difficult to get up!), because the scenery from up there is AMAZING, and you get to see a bunch of rocks, crevices, and eroding sandstone that creates such cool patterns + textures. There are even a few little areas of greenery and some trees up there that are sooo beautiful for photos!

4. Elk Flats & Devil’s Cauldron

Type of location: Scenic views, cliffs, coves, beach

Ease of access: Moderate

Entry fee: None

Special Use Permit required: None

Pet-friendly: Yes!

Elk Flats is one of those places that will blow your MIND the moment you see it—it literally looks like you’ve left the PNW and found yourself in the middle of Iceland. This is by far one of the most epic locations on the coast if you’re down for a moderate hike; it’s just under 3 miles out-and-back, and the trailhead is located just 15 minutes south of Cannon Beach. There are SO many different ways you can explore this trail: you could hike to the right from the trailhead and see the insane Devil’s Cauldron Overlook, or you could hike to the left and find those breathtaking cliffside views. The towering cliffs and dramatic waves that crash into them are so insane to see, especially if it’s stormy or rainy out! Whatever way you choose to explore this area, the scenery is out of this world, and you’ll wonder why you ever considered eloping anywhere else 😉

Wanna see more epic locations in the PNW that look like they’re in some wild & rugged country across the world?! Check out my blog post featuring Places in the PNW That Look Like Iceland!

5. Brookings

Type of location: Beach, sea stacks, caves, rocks

Ease of access: Easy to moderate

Entry fee: Varies by location

Special Use Permit required: None

Pet-friendly: Yes!

Last but not least we’ve got Brookings! Aka the most insanely beautiful area of the Southern Oregon Coast. It’s home to Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, which stretches along 12 miles of the coast and features neverending, mind-blowing coastal scenery filled with rugged cliffs, Sitka spruce trees, bright blue waters, massive sea stacks, and all sorts of little coves + beachy areas to explore. My personal favorite spots in Brookings are Secret Beach and the Natural Bridges; the arched ocean rocks and secluded sandy beaches are to diiie for!

Want some coastal elopement location options in Washington, too? Check out another guide I’ve got to the 5 Best Beach Elopement Locations in the PNW!

Best Time of Year to Elope on the Oregon Coast

If you were to ask me when the best time to elope on the Oregon Coast is. . . I’d say ALL YEAR LONG. Like I said at the beginning of this guide, this is one of the best parts about eloping on the Oregon Coast!! It makes the coast SUCH a great location option if you want to elope in the late fall, winter, or early spring—aka when a lot of other beautiful + popular elopement locations in the PNW aren’t accessible due to snow. 

Weather-wise, if you’re looking for the warmest and clearest weather (I mean, warm for the west coast lol, not like Hawaii warm), the best time to elope would be between July-August. Temperatures usually max out in the high 70s during these months, and drop down to the 50s at night, so still bearable if you wanna be outside once the sun goes down. While this is def the season when you’re most likely to get sunshine and blue skies, keep in mind that it does get more crowded because of that! Popular areas like Cannon Beach and Seaside can get suuuper busy during the warmest summer months, since everyone else wants to try and get the best beach weather possible, too. If you want to shoot somewhere like Haystack Rock, you’ll probs end up with a lot more people around you + it’ll be harder to find privacy if you want a quiet ceremony.

If you still want kindaaa warm weather but fewer crowds, then consider eloping during the shoulder seasons—which I’d consider September-October, and April-June! I wouldn’t consider these months to necessarily be warm, but I wouldn’t say they’re super cold either. Fall temperatures typically range from around 50-70 degrees, but it can actually stay in the high 60s-low 70s into October; some locals call September-October a second summer! It CAN get pretty chilly at night and the temperatures can drop fast once the sun sets over the horizon, especially with any wind or breeze coming from the ocean. 

And if you want the MOST privacy on the coast, you can elope in the winter, between November-March! It’s likely to be colder and windier during these months, but then again, I’ve had January days be completely clear and 70 degrees so. . . it totally varies. One day it could be rainy and freezing, and the next it could be 60 and sunny. You really never know, so it’s best to prepare for any + all types of weather no matter what time of year you elope!! But winter is really when you’ll have the easiest time finding quiet spots without crowds, since most people don’t want to visit at the coldest time of year. So if you’re down to throw on some layers and embrace the PNW winter weather, this is a wonderful time of year to elope on the coast!

Oh, and one more thing to keep in mind when choosing when to elope on the Oregon Coast is travel + vendor costs. Because summer is peak tourist season on the coast, prices for things like airfare and hotels will probs be a bit higher than they would be in the winter. Some vendors may even charge more during certain seasons; for example, venues and Airbnbs may cost more during the summer due to higher demand. Or let’s say you want your florist to use flowers that are in season during the summer, but you’re eloping in winter—it might cost more to have them sourced from other locations. Just something to consider!

Legalities of Eloping on the Oregon Coast

Let’s talk legal shizzzz, baby. I know it can be kinda boring but trust me, it’s just as important as all the rest of this stuff! After all, you do wanna get legally married to each other, right? 😉

Getting your Oregon marriage license

First let’s go through how to get your Oregon marriage license. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an Oregon resident to get married in Oregon! So as long as you follow the proper rules + procedures, you’re good to go and make things official whether you’re from Washington or Texas or Tennessee. You’ll need to have two witnesses present at your ceremony over the age of 18, so you can either invite a couple of your friends/fam along, or I can be one of your witnesses + we can find another one on the beach/trail nearby to sign your documents after your ceremony.

The cost of getting an Oregon marriage license will depend on the county where you get it. Here are a few counties along the Oregon Coast where you might decide to elope + their licensing fees!

I know this can all be kinda confusing, so here’s a quick recap of the basics:

—Residency required: Nope!

—Witnesses required: 2 over the age of 18

—Minimum age: 18, or 17 with guardian consent

—Waiting period required: 3 days

—License is valid for: 60 days

—Cost: Varies by county; typically between $40-$70

For a full breakdown of how to apply for your license, head on over to my Simple Guide to Getting Your Oregon Marriage License!

Oregon Coast wedding permits

Next, you’ll wanna make sure you have the proper permit for your beach elopement (if needed). Most spots along the Oregon Coast don’t require a Special Use Permit for weddings UNLESS you have more than 50 people, or you want to set up chairs, arches, tables, or other decor—so if you’re just having a private elopement, more than likely you’re good to go without a permit. However, it’s always good to double check once you know where you want to have your ceremony, so I’ll help you make sure you know what you need!

(If you are planning on having a larger ceremony, you can read more about Oregon Special Use Permits here.)

Parking permits

And lastly, you’ll want to pay attention to any parking permits or entry fees you may need! A majority of the beaches and recreation sites along the Oregon Coast don’t require any sort of parking pass or entry fee to get in, but some trailheads and parking lots do. For example, if you want to park at Ecola State Park (or any OR State Park), you’ll need a $5 day-use permit, or an annual Oregon State Parks Permit, orrr an Oregon Pacific Coast Passport.

Best Places to Stay for Your Oregon Coast Elopement

Because the coast is obviously huge and has a TON of different areas to explore, I’m gonna split this section into the best places to stay on the northern & southern parts of the coast to help you narrow it down a bit. A lot of the places on the northern Oregon Coast will probably be near Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Tillamook, and then the southern Oregon Coast options will be mainly in Brookings.

Best Places to Stay on the Northern Oregon Coast

Best Places to Stay on the Southern Oregon Coast

10 Fun Ideas for Your Oregon Coast Elopement

Honestly the Oregon Coast is like a playground for outdoor lovers!! You’ll never run out of things to do, whether you wanna go hiking, biking, surfing, or just walking along the sandy beaches—you could seriously spend weeks on the coast and barely scratch the surface. But here are 10 fun ideas for your Oregon Coast elopement to at least get the ideas flowin’!

1. Find an epic hiking trail & have an adventure

2. Go whale watching (in the winter or spring)

3. Explore the tidepools around Haystack Rock

4. Check out some cozy coastal breweries

5. Explore the adorable little coastal towns

6. Ride into the sunset on horseback

7. Have a romantic picnic on the beach

8. Take a dip in the ocean in your elopement attire

9. Go stargazing on the beach

10. Sand board down a beach dune

Oregon Coast Elopement Photographer

*waves* Hiiiii it’s me 👋 (ocean/wave pun intended) I’m obsessed with the Oregon Coast and will literally never turn down the opportunity to explore the coast with an incredible and super in love couple like youuuu. So if you’ve been looking for your perfect Oregon Coast elopement photographer to tag along on your epic adventure, look no further—you’ve found her! Fill out my contact form here and tell me ALL THE DEETZ of your special day, I can’t wait to hang with you!!

Still craving more elopement inspo & advice? I gotchu—here are a few more of my recent PNW blog posts that I think you’ll love!

Ultimate Columbia River Gorge Elopement Guide for 2024-2025

5 Best Forest Elopement Locations in the Pacific Northwest

How to Elope in Leavenworth, WA

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