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15 Epic Outdoor Adventure Elopement Ideas

Eloping is about soooo much more than just your ceremony, it’s about all the activities you include in your day that make it unforgettable + help you create the best memories!! I’m such a fan of couples incorporating their fav activities into their day to make it fun, exciting, and adventurous, especiallyyyy when it comes to outdoor elopements. Places like the PNW have SOOO much to offer for adventure elopements, from hiking thru the mountains, to swimming in alpine lakes, to romantic sunset strolls on the beach. I swear it’s so easy to make your elopement day feel like a rom-com here. So to help ya make sure your elopement is full of things you love to do + helps you create amazing new memories with your love, I’ve put together this list of 15 epic outdoor adventure elopement ideas 🙂 You’re welcome!!

15 Epic Outdoor Adventure Elopement Ideas

1. Soak in a natural hot spring

Wanna let off some steam? 🌬️Find a natural hot spring to visit on your elopement day! This is my personal favoriteee way to de-stress and just relax when I’m outdoors, especially if it’s after a tiring hike or a long day that I’m ready to decompress from. What better way to get some R&R on your elopement day than soaking in a steaming hot spring with your boo, surrounded by lush greenery, the sounds of nature, and maybe even some scenic mountain views?

It would be SO romantic to bring along a celebratory bottle of champagne, or a little picnic/snack to enjoy whenever you need a break from the heat. Make sure to bring a cute set of swimsuits, too, cause you bet we’ll be taking a ton of photos of you hotties chillin’ in the springs 🔥

Here are some of my favorite hot spring spots in the PNW:

And then a few key tips to make sure you follow hot springs etiquette!

  • Leave No Trace: It’s super important that you Leave No Trace wherever you elope, hot springs or not! Essentially, this means respecting the land you’re visiting + leaving it better than you found it. There are 7 core LNT principles I def recommend you learn about before you elope—and lucky for you, I have a whole article about How to Have an LNT Elopement 😉
  • Pack in, pack out: This is actually one of the LNT principles, but I wanted to highlight it specifically because it’s a big part of keeping hot springs clean! If you bring anything with you (clothes, food/drinks, trash, bags, etc.), make sure to also take it with you when you leave. Easyyyy peasy, yeah?
  • Keep the noise down: You’ll probably run into other people enjoying the hot springs at one point or another, so be mindful + respectful just like you’d want them to be! Keep the noise to a minimum, even if you’re alone, so that you don’t disturb any nearby wildlife, hikers, etc.
  • Don’t use soap: I know that soaking in a hot spring can kinda feel like taking a nice hot bath out in nature, but you’ll wanna leave the soap at home (and shampoo, conditioner, etc.). Even biodegradable ones! They can have pretty negative impacts on the hot springs ecosystem 🙁 If there’s any sort of shower or hose nearby (some hot springs will provide them), you should also rinse off before you get in to make sure you don’t have any sunscreen, lotion, bug spray, etc. on your skin.
  • Don’t drink out of glass: If you wanna bring a bottle of champagne, don’t open it until you’re away from the hot springs! And don’t drink out of any glass while you’re soaking—opt for aluminum cans or a reusable stainless steel bottle instead. If the glass breaks in or around the springs it can be super dangerous to anyone who visits, including you, haha!

2. Find an outdoor hot tub

This one’s kinda similar, but can sometimes be easier to make happen than a natural hot springs: find an outdoor hot tub!! There are a TON of Airbnbs in the PNW that have gorgeous outdoor hot tubs, so it’ll probably be easier to book a place to stay with a cozy hot tub than it would be to find a natural hot springs in the area you’re eloping. Since you can pretty much find Airbnbs with hot tubs all over the PNW, whereas hot springs are only in certain places! 

Here are some gorgeousss Airbnbs in WA that have amazing hot tubs + would be so cute for an elopement:

Check out more of my fav Airbnb wedding venues in Washington state here!

I love love shooting with couples when they’re just having fun relaxing in a hot tub, snuggling up together and reflecting on all the wild emotions they’ve probably been having during their elopement. The bonus of having a hot tub on-site at your Airbnb is that you can use it whenever you want to—the night you arrive, the morning of your elopement, halfway through the day when you need a break, after you say your vows as the stars start to come out. . . ugh just imagine stargazing on the deck of your Airbnb in a steamy hot tub!! Magical!

3. Stargazing

Speaking of stargazing, it’s one of my fav activities for couples to include in their outdoor elopements! I swear there’s nothing more romantic than finding a spot to cuddle up to your partner and look up at the sparkling night sky, whether you’re in the mountains, on the beach, or in the middle of the woods at an A-frame Airbnb. If you want to include a night of stargazing in your adventure elopement, you’ll want to choose a location far away from city lights—thankfully, Washington has a TON of amazing dark spots across the state where you can see some really spectacular stars, no telescope needed! 

And if you want the best stargazing opportunities, you’ll want to pick your elopement date around the phases of the moon, to make sure you don’t have a ton of moonlight blocking out the stars. The best times to stargaze are in the days before, during, and right after each New Moon (which is when there’s no moon in the sky!). Summer will give you the best chance at clear skies here in the PNW to see stars, so elope in the summer if you can, too!

Some of the best places to go stargazing in Washington include:

Bonus tip for epic stargazing photos: bring a couple of headlamps or lanterns to use while we’re shooting! The light coming off them will add some extra magical vibes into your photos, and will help my camera focus on the two of you since it’ll be super dark out 🙂 

4. Take a romantic bicycle ride

Ummm there’s not much to say about this one except HOW ADORABLE?! Ok ok I may be biased because these are self-portraits that my fiance Jake and I took haha, but honestly just imagine how sweet it would be for you and your partner to go on a cute lil’ bike ride in your elopement attire🥹Or if you wanna make it more of an adventure, rent or bring your own mountain bikes and find an epic mountain biking trail in the forest! Either way, it’ll be like the two of you are starring in your own rom-com, just casually going on a romantic bike ride through some beautiful landscapes—through the woods, along the beach, on a trail in the mountains, around an alpine lake. . . you can make biking look cute pretty much anywhere. Bonus points if you do wear your elopement attire and also if you decorate your bikes with pretty flowers like we did 😉

5. Have a picnic in the middle of nowhere

Why hire a caterer to feed a group of 200+ guests at your wedding when you could have a gorgeous picnic in the mountains, instead? Or in the middle of the Redwoods? Or next to a bright blue lake? Or on a sandy beach??? When you elope, you’re going to be saving SO much money on catering, whether you’re eloping just the two of you or with a small group of guests. You won’t be limited to the typical catering options or whatever is cheapest because you have to feed a huge group of people—so get creative with your food and think outside of the box! I personally looove a good charcuterie board, I will literally make my own and eat charcuterie for breakfast hahaha. Or maybe you wanna hire a planner to design a full-on, intricate tablescape for you in the backyard of your Airbnb? Maybe you just wanna keep it simple and bring stuff for sandwiches, plus a bottle of wine and some cupcakes for dessert! It’s up to you, but I’d def encourage you to think outside of the normal “wedding food” and dream big! How romantic would it be to have a sunset picnic at the top of a mountain, surrounded by panoramic views, before you hike back down?!

6. Take a boat ride

I may also be biased for this one because I have my own boat that I rent out to couples 😉 And I’m OBSESSED with it. The one I have is a little handmade wooden dinghy that’s sooo cute and perfect for elopements, or even for couples/engagements (it’s the one in the pics below!). There’s nothing dreamier than eloping at a beautiful lake in the PNW, surrounded by gorgeous mountain views and lush greenery; maybe you say your vows on a dock, on the shores, or you actually take a boat out on the water for your ceremony. Renting some sort of boat (like my dinghy, a canoe, or a kayak) is such a fun and simple way to add an activity to your elopement day, whether you take it out on a romantic sunset ride or even just pose inside of it on the shore, if you don’t want to risk getting your elopement attire wet. 

Rent my boat for your elopement here if you like what you’re seein’!

7. Have your first dance out in nature

Because who says you can only have a first dance if it takes place on a checkered dance floor, in front of 200 people? Nobody!! You can totes still have a first dance even if you elope; in fact, in my opinion, first dances are usually way more special if they’re not done in front of hundreds of eyes, making you feel like you have to perform or put on a show. Instead of your first dance feeling super cheesy and/or nerve wracking, you can simply find a beautiful spot out in nature, put on a quiet song (if there’s nobody else around, and as long as it’s not disruptive to the area), and dance with your love. If you’re not inviting any guests, then the only “audience” watching you will be me behind my camera. But you’ll barely even notice me!

8. Go waterfall chasin’

Visiting waterfalls on your elopement day is ALWAYS a good idea. Waterfalls are just one of the most breathtaking types of scenery out there, especially here in the PNW where we have sooo many incredible waterfalls surrounded by vibrant greenery, lush moss, dark basalt columns, and jagged cliffs. I recommend eloping at a waterfall in the late spring or early summer, when the flow will probably be at its most intense after the spring rainfall. And make sure to monitor weather conditions ahead of time so that you know it’s safe to access the waterfall you’re planning to visit!

If you end up deciding to elope at a waterfall, make sure to bring these things with you:

  • Bug spray
  • Ponchos
  • Umbrellas (clear or white!)
  • Sandals and hiking shoes with good traction
  • Extra clothes
  • Layers
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Towels to dry off
  • A bag to put any wet clothes in

I even made a whole list of the 12 Best Waterfall Elopement Locations in the PNW for you—check it out here!

9. Go for a spontaneous swim

Why not hop in the lake/river/waterfall/ocean in your elopement attire after your ceremony?! I know it’s not exactly “spontaneous” if you’re planning it lol, but hey, who cares! If you’re eloping near any body of water where it’s safe to swim, I highly recommend taking a dip before the end of the day—it creates SUCH fun photos and an amazing, playful, silly memory to look back on. And if you really don’t want to get your elopement attire dirty/wet, then just bring along a swimsuit to change into, instead! Splash around a bit with your new partner for life and remember that carefree feeling of being kids, just swimming without a care in the world. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure my cameras stay safe if I have to get in the water too!

10. Take an epic hike into the mountains

If you know me, then you know I’m an avid hiker and LOVE taking my couples on epic hikes!! We have hundreds and hundred of incredible trails here in the PNW, so if you’re up for an adventure, I highly recommend hiking on your elopement day to a breathtaking viewpoint, whether it’s along the coast, in the mountains, or in the desert. 

As far as what to wear for a hiking elopement, you’ll want to make sure you have two things:

  1. Hiking boots that will keep you safe + sturdy (bonus points if they’re also cute)
  2. An outfit that’ll allow you to move around freely and be comfortable

There’s sooo much more I could go into here, so I’ll just direct you to two other blog posts I have where I dive deeper into each of these topics! Here’s a blog with all the Best Hiking Boots for Adventure Elopements, and here’s my Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Dream iIking Elopement Dress.

If you or your guests are unable to hike due to mobility restrictions, but you still want to elope somewhere super scenic, check out my guide to 8 Wheelchair Accessible Elopement Locations in Washington! These are great locations even if you don’t use a wheelchair, and just want somewhere that’s easy to get to + doesn’t require much effort 🙂 

11. Rock climbing

Looking for more of a thrill? Have a rock climbing elopement! Yup, you heard me right: you can totally incorporate rock climbing into your elopement day if that’s a hobby you’re passionate about. Whether you’re beginner boulderers or advanced climbers looking to take on a challenging route, rock climbing is such a fun activity to include in your adventure elopement, and is an amazing way to experience the great outdoors. I personally love climbing myself, so I’ll have a blast watching + taking photos of you while you climb!

Leavenworth is one of the best areas in Washington for rock climbing, so if you want to have a rock climbing elopement, I def recommend eloping there. There are endless amazing routes to choose from, and the scenery is pretty dang incredible—plus the Bavarian town of Leavenworth is SO CUTE and fun to explore! Here’s a full guide to How to Elope in Leavenworth for ya to look through.

12. Camping

Wanna extend your elopement day and make it a multi-day adventure? Spend the night at a campsite! Find somewhere that’s quiet, secluded, and beautiful where you can enjoy a night under the stars, surrounded by nothing but the sounds of nature (and maybe some other people at the campsites around you lol). Crack open a cold one by the fire, play card games, cozy up under your favorite blankets, do all the fun camping things you’d normally do—and I’ll take cute pics of you while you do it!

13. Stand up paddleboarding

More ways to get out on the water on your elopement day? Yes please! Stand up paddleboarding is so much fun to do on a warm summer day, just you and your boo basking in the warmth of the sunshine and all the emotions of your newlywed (or about-to-be-newlywed) glow. It would be so fun to invite your friends and fam to join you for a lake day before or after you tie the knot!

14. Skateboarding

Want all the cool-kid-sk8ter vibes in your elopement photos? Bring out your skateboards for some photos!! Find a place to skate for a little while in your elopement attire, maybe on a road along the coast or even the parking lot at the trailhead you’re about to start hiking at. It’s just such a vibe and I love it, plus it’s super low-effort + easy to make happen. 

15. Take a backpacking trip

Finally, if you want a longer, more adventurous elopement activity (something more than just a day hike), why not plan a full-on backpacking elopement? Find an epic place to elope with scenery you love + a trail that you feel excited about, and invite along any guests who can comfortably make the trip with you. Make it into an unforgettable adventure that you’ll never forget by bringing along your camping gear and doing some fun camping activities at night, like making s’mores, drinking beers by a fire (as long as there’s no burn ban in place), stargazing, and cozying up in your tent while I sneak some photos of you through the flap, hahaha. Backpacking elopements can be so epic and are an incredible way to take advantage of the stunning natural beauty we have especially here in the PNW! But there is def a LOT to plan, and there are a lot of important things to take into account to make sure you have a safe, stress-free trip—so of course I put together a full Backpacking Elopement Guide to help you out.

PNW Adventure Elopement Photographer

Okay soooo are you ready to plan your adventure elopement with some of these epic activities or what?! I know you’ll obviously need a photographer there to document your epic hike, or your relaxing night in that hot tub, or your cozy night around the campfire. . . I’m the gal you’re looking for 😉 Let’s plan your adventure together!

Loved this blog post? There’s plentyyy more where that came from—check out some more of my fav adventure elopement resources below!

What is the Best Time of Day for an Adventure Elopement?

Nontraditional + Gender Nonconforming Wedding Outfit Ideas

How to Create a Stress-Free Elopement Timeline

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