When it comes to weddings, more and more couples are looking to create an experience. Whether it’s just for themselves or includes a small group of close friends and family, couples who want their ceremony to be focused on the experience aspect often turn to elopements or adventure weddings.
If escaping to an unfamiliar place (and possibly even hiking to get there) to say ‘I do’ sounds like something you and partner would love, then consider these national parks for your adventure wedding or elopement.
The North Cascades
For some of the most dramatic mountain views in the state, your best option is North Cascades National Park, hands-down. This park is less than three hours from Seattle, but feels like a world away. Rocky cliffs, jagged peaks, and over 300 glaciers make this place feel truly magical and impressive.
You can also elope on the national forest side of these mountains, like Artist Point. Ideally, you’ll want your wedding date in this area to be between July and early October for the best weather, since most of it is not easily accessible the rest of the year. Or check out some of the best fire lookouts in the state, several of which are in this region!
For couples who are considering an adventure wedding, the Grand Canyon should be on your list of potential destinations. With wide open views and plenty of scenic geological formations to take in, the park is definitely a sight to see.
Make an entire trip out of it by going whitewater rafting, camping out the night before and possibly even waking up to a canyon sunset. Dreamy, right?
Do scenic mountain views sound like the ideal backdrop for your wedding photos? Head to Mount Rainier (during the spring or fall when the landscape is lush!) for your wedding.
The Mount Rainier National Park offers more than just mountain scenery — ceremonies can take place in a wooded area, at a lodge, or even creekside. While a special permit is required to have your wedding inside of Mount Rainier National Park, there are plenty of venues around the park that are made for the adventurous couple. And if you’re making a weekend out of the trip, consider heading over to Olympic National Park for more jaw-dropping portraits!
Located 70 miles off the coast of Key West, this secluded island is the perfect spot for an intimate, beachside ceremony. Dry Tortugas National Park is surrounded by clear blue waters, an abundant marine and bird life, and is home to Fort Jefferson.
And since you can only access it by seaplane or boat, this spot may be best for those who are eloping and won’t be bringing guests along for the ride. All of this combined makes for a truly intimate adventure wedding.
Great Sand Dunes
By far one of the most unique places you’ll find in Colorado, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a must-see and a top choice for desert elopements!
As long as you don’t mind getting your feet a bit sandy, you’ll have a blast climbing to the top for some stunning views. These gigantic dunes are the tallest in North America of their kind, and tucked away in a gorgeous valley within the Rocky Mountains.
For best lighting (and to avoid the extreme heat during summer), aim for a sunrise or sunset adventure wedding ceremony here. And if you stay overnight in one of the nearby campgrounds, be sure to head out to the dunes again on a clear night, where you can stargaze for hours!
For some California couples, having a ceremony in the middle of the desert would certainly make all of their wild-hearted, bohemian dreams come true. The desert scenery provides the perfect backdrop for a warm, rustic wedding.
Get lost in the woods with your beloved for a breathtaking ceremony among the world’s tallest trees. The Redwood National Park is more than just a place to hike and take in — it can serve as an awe-inspiring destination for your nuptials.
The ceremony spots throughout the Redwoods require special permits and are limited to very small groups, making this perfect if you just want to bring along family members, a couple close friends and, of course, your photographer to snap all of the memorable moments.
Glacier National Park
Between late spring and early fall, Glacier National Park is a dreamy location for adventure weddings and elopements! The park gets its name from the glaciers held there, as well as from the lakes created by glaciers that no longer exist.
The park is in northern Montana, and can get booked up quickly several months or even a year in advance. But if you can snag a weekday reservation and the right permits to say your vows there, you won’t regret it!
Great Smoky Mountains
If your favorite season is autumn, you’ll love having a Smoky Mountain intimate wedding or elopement in mid-October! There are few places in the entire United States more beautiful and colorful in the fall than Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The peak for this park typically only lasts about a week or two, so you’ll need to plan appropriately, but it can be well worth it if you catch the season at the right time!
Looking to stay on the East Coast and dreaming of breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean? Acadia National Park is your best bet! The park includes a magical mix of rocky shores and small mountain peaks that are perfect for a summertime elopement or adventure wedding.
If you’ve never been, Zion National Park should be near the top of your list! Between the red-orange cliffs and canyon walls, to the river running through the canyon, Zion is nothing short of breathtaking.
For a short adventure hike before your ceremony, consider places like the famous Narrows or the views from Canyon Overlook Trail. Or if you’re really up for an adventure, hike up Angel’s Landing for some of the most daring wedding portraits your friends and family will ever see!
Last, but certainly not least, Yosemite National Park is the most iconic park in the country for an adventure wedding. There are dozens of fantastic locations throughout the park for a breathtaking, yet intimate ceremony for the two of you.
Other National Park Elopement Advice
Looking for more insight and ideas? Head on over to these other related posts!
Planning a National Park Elopement? Reach Out to Skyewater!
Skyewater Photo + Film is an adventure elopement and destination wedding photo and video team. We help couples plan elopements all over the US, and offer insight for more than just photography: from planning assistance, finding and booking locations, vendor references and more! Reach out to our elopement photography and videography team today to get more info!