Eloping in Washington State, or curious about what Washington has to offer for your adventure elopement? Allow me to be your hype queen — Washington is freaking rad, and you’ve made an awesome decision on the road to planning your adventure wedding experience! This post will help you figure out which Washington elopement locations would be the best fit for you.
Meet your Washington Elopement Locations Pro
Hey, I’m Janelle — an adventure elopement photographer who grew up here in Washington State. I was previously an outdoor recreation guide, leading trips around WA for hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, mountaineering, and more. I absolutely love our state (I really couldn’t picture myself living anywhere else), and I truly believe there is no better place to have an intentional adventure elopement. There are so many gorgeous wilderness areas in WA, and the amount of variety between them is INSANE.
I completely understand if looking at all of the beautiful location options gives you a hardcore case of choice overload (no surprise there — Washington is gorgeous all-around). That’s where I come in!
I’ve broken these elopement locations down by vibe to try to encapsulate how I, as a WA native, perceive each of these regions. So if you have an idea of how you want your elopement day to feel in terms of emotion, vibe, and intentionality, but aren’t quite sure which area of Washington would fit that vibe best, this post is for you!
Moody Washington Elopement Locations – Washington Coast
If you’re looking for that moody/edgy vibe, look no further than the coastline along the Olympic Peninsula. The unique, towering stacks of black rock complement Washington’s foggy, misty weather perfectly. Each rocky beach has something unique to offer with different features and headlands to explore, and varying levels of accessibility. Many of the beaches along the coast are fairly close together, so don’t limit yourself if you want to see more than one!
Distance from Seattle: 3-4 Hours
Location Attributes: Rocky Coastline, Unique Seastacks, Driftwood Logs
Possible Activities: Tidepooling, Hiking, Surfing
Best Time of Year to Visit: April – October
This beach has some of the most dramatic rock formations just a short hike from the parking lot. Minimal effort for high payoff! This is a popular location, so visiting at sunrise or sunset is a must.
Home to the unique sea arch, Hole-In-the-Wall, this beach has gorgeous stacks both on shore and off the coast to admire. The coolest part of this beach is near the far end and is around 4mi round-trip. That said, this beach is perfect if you’re willing to hike for some privacy!
You’ve probably seen photos of the famed Tree of Life, suspended above the beach on two neighboring cliffs. This wonder is a one of a kind, and is a must-see if you’re in this area. Please do not hang or pull on the roots of the tree, as it is already in danger of collapsing.
Rugged Washington Elopement Locations – North Cascades
Picture jagged, needle-sharp peaks as far as the eye can see. This high-alpine environment is a perfect choice if you’re looking for an area that matches your hardcore, rugged vibe. North Cascades National Park is one of the most remote areas of Washington, with few roads actually running through the park. Here you’ll find teal blue lakes, steep valleys, sparse tarns, towering rocky massifs, alpine heather, and more. If you want to feel on top of the world while saying your vows, this is the best area for your elopement!
To learn more about eloping in the North Cascades, check out my complete guide on How to Plan a North Cascades Elopement!
Distance from Seattle: 3-4 Hours
Location Attributes: Alpine Lakes, Striking Mountains, Steep Valleys
Possible Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Climbing
Best Time of Year to Visit: June – September
Not technically a part of the NCNP, but definitely one of the most recognizable areas of the North Cascades. You can hike right up to the glaciers of Mount Baker, or enjoy her gleaming white faces from afar. You’ll be hard pressed to find a spot in this area that doesn’t leave you in awe.
Highway 20 runs straight through big mountain country and has steep, jagged peaks towering over on either side. This area is also home to Diablo and Ross Lakes, famous for their teal blue waters. Hikers, climbers, and mountain bikers flock to Mazama for ideal recreation conditions when the west side may still be rainy.
If you want a remote elopement location that not many other people have seen, Stehekin is the way to go! Tucked at the very top end of Lake Chelan and surrounded by mountain ranges on either side, this remote town is only accessible by three ways: A 23 mile hike one way to the nearest campground and a shuttle into town, a 4-hour ferry ride from the town of Chelan, or a private chartered seaplane or helicopter.
Dramatic Washington Elopement Locations – Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier (or Tahoma) is the crown jewel of Washington’s 5 volcanoes. You’ll often hear Washingtonians saying, “the mountain is out”! At 14,411ft elevation, with over 13k ft of prominence, it’s hard not to feel small while standing in the shadow of this beauty. Getting up close & personal to this gentle giant is an out-of-this-world experience, and walking along her flanks and ridgelines feels surreal. The views are breathtaking in every direction, whether you’re facing the mountain or not. If you want a profound elopement experience, feeling at one with nature and small in comparison to the huge mother mountain in front of you, Mount Rainier National Park is unbeatable.
Distance from Seattle: 2-3 Hours
Location Attributes: Largest Mountain in WA, Steep Valleys, Subalpine Meadows
Possible Activities: Hiking, Scrambling, Road Biking
Best Time of Year to Visit: July – September
My personal favorite at Rainier, this is the best view of the mountain (in my opinion) and has the most variety for customizing your adventure. From pulloffs on the side of the road with stellar views, to plenty of hiking options that bring you up close and personal with the mountain or to a fire lookout. This area is only accessible from late July through mid-late September.
The most popular area in the park, Paradise is nestled on the southern flank of the mountain and has plenty of paved and unpaved trails branching off from the main parking lot. This area truly makes you feel like you’re ON the mountain — because you are! You can expect to see marmots, fragile alpine meadows, and even wildflowers if you time your elopement right.
This alpine lake is a gem. With plenty of trails around the lake to explore, and known for its gorgeous rolling meadows while Rainier looms nearby. This area is typically only open June through October. Please don’t pick the wildflowers!
Adventurous Washington Elopement Locations – Central Cascades / Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Hikers & backpackers rejoice! The Central Cascades are the way to go if you want to turn your elopement into the ultimate hiking adventure, or celebrate your wedding with a multi-day backpacking elopement excursion. This area has some of the most beautiful trails, with scenery ranging from lush forest to crystal clear alpine lakes. The giant scale of the views and limitless options for recreation can leave you in awe of the beauty of this part of Washington.
Check out this mountain biking & fire lookout elopement in the central Cascades!
Distance from Seattle: 1-3 Hours
Location Attributes: Alpine Lakes, Dense Forest, Mountain Views
Possible Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Climbing
Best Time of Year to Visit: June – October
You’ll most likely recognize The Enchantments as one of the most sought-after hiking & backpacking areas in the state. If you’ve seen any photos, you know why! Jagged peaks, seasonal larches, and stunning blue lakes make this one of the most visited areas in Washington. Backpacking permits are hard to secure for this heavy-use area, but if you’re willing to day hike into any of the 5 zones, you’re in for a treat!
This region is heaven for hikers and scramblers, and has some of my favorite views on overnight backpacking trips. You’ll see steep valleys, crystal clear alpine lakes, and rocky peaks around every corner. If you don’t want your elopement celebration to end after just one day, a backpacking elopement in this area will lead you to stellar views.
The area along US 2 has an immense amount of options for your hiking elopement. Best let someone who knows the area well help you choose a spot! 😉 Here you’ll find the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, aptly named for the numerous lakes that dot the area, and lush, dense forests. This area feels truly wild — you might even be lucky enough to see a bear or a deer!
Fantasy Washington Elopement Locations – Olympic National Park
Want to feel like you’ve just stepped out of a fairytale forest? Same. Draping green moss, sword ferns, and waterfalls make this area absolutely magical. The ONP is maybe best known for its lush, green forests. However, if you want to feel like you’ve entered a Lord of the Rings movie, its steep valleys and alpine tundra will have you feeling like you’ve just set foot in Middle Earth. If you’re going for that fantasy/fae vibe, the Olympic National Park is your best bet!
Distance from Seattle: 3-4 Hours
Location Attributes: Winding Ridgelines, Moss-Covered Rainforest, Misty Waterfalls
Possible Activities: Hiking, Wildlife Viewing, Kayaking
Best Time of Year to Visit: April – October
How many people can say they’ve gotten married in a literal rainforest? Washington has the only temperate rainforest in the contiguous United States, and its beauty is unmatched. Trickling streams and hanging moss truly make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fantasy world. If you’d prefer a calm, serene elopement day, the rainforest is for you.
The gorgeous, clear blue waters of Lake Crescent are absolutely breathtaking. This is the second deepest lake in Washington, and is nestled in between mountain ridges on either side. The sunsets here are to die for! Don’t forget to check out the waterfalls in this area — they are some of my favorite hidden gems. The falls cascading down the mossy rock faces, and mist caressing your cheeks is pure magic.
Ever feel the urge to light the beacons of Gondor? You will when you see these views. This is the highest driveable point on the Olympic Peninsula, and a treasure that can be enjoyed almost year-round (if you want a snowy wonderland experience)! With rolling ridgelines and snow-capped peaks across deep valleys, this area has several unique trail systems to explore.
Boho Washington Elopement Locations – Eastern WA
Not feeling the green so much? Eastern Washington has some of the most unique scenery in Washington. Canyons, buttes, winding rivers, sand dunes, petrified forests, pristine lakes, and more! This area is often overlooked, but not because of the scenery — it’s just less populated than the West side of the Cascades. This means fewer crowds and a higher chance of privacy on your elopement day. If you’re going for that boho desert vibe, Eastern Washington fits the bill!
Distance from Seattle: 2-4 Hours
Location Attributes: Buttes & Plateaus, Canyons, Unique Lakes & the Mighty Columbia River
Possible Activities: Kayaking, Hiking, Climbing
Best Time of Year to Visit: March – November
This lake is a 27-mile long splendor of unique cliffs and buttes, and gorgeous earthy colors like beige, brown, and green. Kayaking, hiking, and climbing (even deep water soloing!) are just a few of the activities you could include in your elopement day here, and the State Parks surrounding the area are some of the most unique in Washington.
An outdoor amphitheater isn’t the only attraction around this area. Climbers and backpackers frequent this spot, and it’s no secret why! Here you’ll find stunning views of coulees, lakes, and the soft sound of sagebrush waving in the wind. If you’re a history or geology buff, you’ll be amazed at the scale of the Channeled Scablands around you that were carved out by the Missoula Floods thousands of years ago.
This 200-ft beauty is the last remaining waterfall from the ice age floods thousands of years ago. The area is popular and feels like its own little corner of paradise. There are three different spots where you can enjoy the view of the falls and the dramatic basalt cliffs that surround it.
Location Attribute Breakdown
In case you just scrolled through the post to look at all the pretty pictures, and forgot to read about the details of each place (I see you), here’s a breakdown of the attributes of all of the Washington elopement locations I mentioned above:
Rocky Coastline, Unique Seastacks, Driftwood Logs
Alpine Lakes, Striking Mountains, Steep Valleys
Largest Mountain in WA, Steep Valleys, Subalpine Meadows
Alpine Lakes, Dense Forest, Mountain Views
Olympic National Park
Winding Ridgelines, Moss-Covered Rainforest, Misty Waterfalls
Buttes, Plateaus, Canyons, Unique Lakes, the Mighty Columbia River
Janelle’s Pick: North Cascades
The North Cascades is my favorite region to visit, both for elopements and for my own personal recreation trips. The rugged, striking peaks and teal blue lakes are some of my favorite scenery in Washington. I don’t think I will ever get tired of the views here — I could sit and stare and count the mountains for hours! Check out my complete guide to planning an elopement in the North Cascades.
Still unsure about which Washington elopement locations would be best for you? Not to worry — I’ve got you covered! Reach out to me about your elopement and give me all the deets: guest count, preferred scenery, accessibility requirements, and more. I create an in-depth, personalized location suggestion list for each of my couples so you can be sure you’re picking an epic spot to elope in Washington State. I’d be so stoked to help you find the perfect place to say your vows!
What You Need to Legally Elope in Washington
- Marriage License
- Special Use Permit (depending on location)
- Two witnesses
- Optional (but recommended): a kick-ass photographer 😉
To learn more about Washington’s variety in scenery and explore even more possible Washington elopement locations, check out the WA DNR’s round-up of the 100 quintessential places to visit in WA.
What other questions do you have about elopement locations in Washington? Drop ’em below 👇 and I’d be more than happy to help!
This is so well written and organized! Lovely photos to boot! Thanks for putting this guide together!
This list is fantastic! Sending to a few friends who are looking for an outdoor location for photos because WOW! Really incredible photos to boot, absolutely beautiful work.
Ranking by vibe? What a fantastic idea! This is a super helpful elopement guide, thank you for putting it together 🙂
Your images are beautiful too, they’re so atmospheric yet still focus on the couple.
Wow!! The Northern Cascades are taking my breath away! I knew Washington state was pretty but dang… I might just elope there now! So many amazing places to see and things to do. Thanks for sharing!
This is an amazing elopement resource. And beautiful examples of each vibe!
This is a super creative list of locations…amazing! Looking at the photos you have, I think I would have to choose between adventurous and fantasy, they just look amazing, thanks for sharing!
This is such an incredible guide! I love how you gave locations based on the vibe, so unique and helpful!
I had no plan to elope in Washington, but well, I think I may change my mind! There’s so many options, and the views look incredible. Also, you had me at “Lord of the Rings”, I’m in love with those forests.
Gosh, Washington just seems like the best place to elope no matter what vibe a couple is looking for! Such an awesome guid!
I absolutely LOVE this guide! You perfectly captured the various vibes that a couple can enjoy during their elopement in Washington. Your photos and ideas compliment each area very well. I have saved this guide to share with others. Well Done!!
This is one of the best location breakdowns I’ve ever seen! I absolutely LOVE the way you concisely yet effectively painted a picture with both your description, and your fabulous images of each area. Very cool!
11 Comments on Top Washington Elopement Locations by Vibe