One of the most versatile places to elope in Washington state is Olympic National Park! The vast diversity of the park includes everything you need to experience the Pacific Northwest – from towering evergreens to rocky beaches, and everything between. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about planning an Olympic National Park elopement!
Here’s what’s in this Olympic National Park Elopement Guide:
- Olympic National Park Elopement Locations
- The Best Time for an Olympic National Park Elopement
- Olympic National Park Wedding Permits
- Getting Legally Married When You Elope Olympic National Park
- Olympic National Park Elopement Timelines & Things to Do
- Olympic National Park Elopement Packages
Olympic National Park Elopement Locations
Dense rainforests, rocky beaches, and towering mountain tops make up Olympic National Park! With all the different options you’ll come across, it can seem really overwhelming – but whether you want to tie the knot by a glacial lake or under a canopy of moss, let’s talk about the best Olympic National Park elopement locations.
The Best Mountain Elopement Locations
The namesake of Olympic National Park comes from Mount Olympus in the center of the park. While you can’t see it from most of Washington, you can see it from some other peaks in the Olympic Mountain Range. Though you’d have to climb up to Mount Olympus, you can easily access tons of other beautiful places for a mountain top elopement. Here are some of the best mountain elopement locations in Olympic National Park!
With views of Mount Olympus in the distance, you’ll have the best view in all of Olympic National Park from Hurricane Ridge! Close to Port Angeles, this beautiful elopement spot is close to town and easily accessible most of the year – just be careful during winter because the snow can cause road closures. From the visitor center area, you can access many trailheads to go up to places like Klahhane Ride or Hurricane Hill. This is also a great place to spot some wildflowers in the spring!
At the base of Mount Olympus is Lake Crescent – a beautiful glacial lake whose reflective surface paints a picture of the mountains like you’ve never seen. You’ll find plenty of things to do at Lake Crescent, so you’re sure to fill up your wedding day with fun activities like renting a row boat or hiking to Marymere Falls!
The Best Beach Elopement Locations
Saying your vows along the rocky shores of the Olympic Peninsula can feel like a dream! Giant rock formations, tide pools, and cool breezes create the perfect atmosphere for saying “I do.” Some of the prettiest places on the beaches are more difficult to get to at high tide, so be sure to check the tide tables and plan your elopement accordingly! The coast of Washington is also a prime place to see the sun setting along the horizon. Here are some of Olympic National Park’s best beaches!
One of the more popular beaches in Olympic National Park is Ruby Beach – it’s also the most easily accessible! Take a walk down the rocky shores to find tide pools, driftwood, and a stunning sunset. Ruby Beach is where you’ll find one of the Washington Coast’s most famous sea stacks – Abbey Island! It’s so relaxing watching the light catch and the waves crash along the intricate rock formations. The beach is a mile long, but stretches farther to both the north and south so you can find so many incredible places to say your vows!
Another easily accessible elopement location is Rialto Beach, but if you’re up to an adventure, take the 1.5-mile hike to the popular Hole in the Wall rock formation up the beach! It’s only accessible during low tide, so be sure to check the tidal chart before heading out there so you don’t get stuck.
Shi Shi Beach
One of the only places you can camp on the beach in Washington is Shi Shi beach! The trail to get there is an 8.8 mile out and back trail, so it’s also a really great day hike if you’re adventurous. It can get pretty muddy after a big rain – which often happens on the Olympic Peninsula. While you’re there, check out the Point of Arches where you can see a mile of sea stacks and lively tide pools!
The Best Forest Elopement Locations
Home to one of the few temperate rainforests in the U.S., the Olympic Peninsula provides a lush green background of old-growth forests when you tie the knot. These forests are straight out of a fairy tale!
You’ll be in awe as you watch the sun shine through the mossy tree branches in the Hoh Rainforest. The Hall of Mosses, Hoh River, and the Sol Duc Valley are all incredible spots to elope in this temperate rainforest. Your ceremony will feel peaceful and full of life!!
The Quinault Valley is full of cascading waterfalls, alpine meadows, and huge old-growth trees. Known as the Valley of the Rainforest Giants, you’ll find some of the world’s largest trees in the Quinault Rainforest! The Quinault River snakes through the trees towards Lake Quinault and then out to the Pacific.
The Best Time for an Olympic National Park Elopement
The next decision you’ll need to make when you’re planning your Olympic National Park elopement is when you want to have your ceremony. In each season, weather and crowds can look pretty different so it’s important to know what to expect when you decide when you’ll tie the knot! To help you figure it out, let’s chat about the weather!
If you’re looking for the nicest weather, a summer elopement is ideal at Olympic National Park. The comfortable temperatures and sunny weather make summer the best time to say your vows in the Olympic National Park if you want to avoid the rain.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – fall is one of the best times to elope in the Olympic National Park! The huge maple leaves change color and fall to the forest floor, salmon spawn in the rivers, and you’ll find way fewer tourists here in the fall than in the busy summer. It does start to rain a lot more in the fall, so be prepared with lots of layers. Snow begins to fall in higher elevations in late fall, so plan accordingly if you want to elope in the mountains!
Depending on where you elope at Olympic National Park, the weather will look a bit different in the winter. The closer you get to the coast, the less snow you’ll find – mountainous spots like Hurricane Ridge will get quite a bit of snow, so you’ll need to make sure to check the road conditions before your elopement if that’s where you decide to tie the knot. Most of the park has lots of rain during winter, so be prepared to get a little wet!
The best time of year to see waterfalls at Olympic National Park is spring when the weather starts warming up, melting the snow in the mountains. The rivers and streams flow with glacial waters through the forests and fields of wildflowers, and over cliffs. These things make spring an idyllic time to elope in Olympic National Park!
Avoiding Crowds When You Elope at Olympic National Park
Though the weather plays a big part in deciding when you’ll tie the knot at Olympic National Park, you’ll also want to consider what the crowds are like in each season, day of the week, and even down to the time of day! Fighting crowds to get the best ceremony spot would make it harder to focus on why you’re really there. Here are a few of my tips for avoiding crowds when you elope at Olympic National Park!
My first tip for avoiding crowds when you elope is to plan your elopement for a shoulder season like late spring or early fall. Choosing a shoulder season will make sure that you’ll still get that gorgeous warmer weather, but fewer crowds than you’ll find in the summer. Another thing to consider is the day of week. Typically, weekends and holidays are the most busy times at Olympic National Park, so shooting for a weekday will help you avoid those weekend crowds! The next thing you’ll want to think about is the time of day. Eloping at sunrise or sunset can make sure that you’ll have a more private elopement, since a lot of people tend to go out mid-day – plus, sunrise and sunset are the most beautiful times of day as far as lighting goes to give you that beautiful glow!
The most important tip I have for avoiding crowds is to find a more secluded spot. Lesser known trails and viewpoints will mean you’ll have less people crowding around photo bombing your ceremony photos. As your elopement photographer, I’ll help you find a gorgeous, more private place for you to tie the knot!
Olympic National Park Wedding Permit
Whether you’ll need to get a permit or not depends on how many people will be included in your ceremony. If you have less than 10 people, you don’t need one – yay! If you do have 11 or more people, you’ll need to get a permit for one of the pre-approved ceremony locations. They don’t list the locations on the National Park website, so you’ll need to email them if you want to know where you can tie the knot.
Every elopement with a photographer will require a photographer permit that ranges from $150-$350 depending on the size of your ceremony. As your photographer, I’ll help you figure out the details of your permits so it’s not so overwhelming, and make sure you get the most up-to-date information on what you’ll need!
Getting Legally Married During Your Olympic National Park Elopement
Making your ceremony legal requires that you obtain a marriage license! Whether you’re traveling to Washington or are a local to the Evergreen State, you’ll need to apply to get your marriage license. You can apply to any county clerk’s office that’s most convenient for you, but the two different ones that are close to Olympic National Park are Clallam County in Port Angeles and Mason County in Shelton. Depending on where your ceremony takes place, one of these locations might be the most convenient for you!
When you apply for your marriage license, both you and your partner need to head down to the county clerk’s office with both of your IDs and the application fee – this can range from $33 to $72, but in Clallam County it costs $62 and costs $72 Mason County. After you submit your application, there’s a three-day waiting period before you can pick up your license and have your ceremony. Once you pick it up, you’ll need to have an officiant and two witnesses to sign the license before you return it! Your officiant can be anybody who is legally ordained, so you can hire an officiant or choose to have a friend or someone from your family get ordained through the Universal Life Church.
Elopement Timelines and Things to Do When You Elope at Olympic National Park
When you decided to elope, you decided to put yourself first! No couple is the same, so no elopement will look the same. Whether you want to have a day full of adventure just the two of you, or a relaxed day watching the waves with your family, you can make your wedding day anything you’d like! Olympic National Park has all sorts of things to do, so your elopement can be exactly how you dreamed of it.
Olympic National Park Elopement With Family
9:00 You and your dad wake up in your Airbnb and cook up some delicious pancakes and eggs for breakfast together, then you and your family gather around the table to eat
10:30 You and your partner take a few moments to go on a walk and enjoy the morning together
11:30 You’ll split up after your walk to start doing your hair and makeup
1:30 You get dressed with help from your family, who may shed a few tears when they see you in your wedding attire for the first time!
2:00 You do a first look outside the Airbnb, seeing each other all dressed up for the first time
2:30 After a few photos, you and your family pile into two cars and drive to your ceremony location at Lake Crescent
3:30 When you arrive at Lake Crescent, you’ll take a few photos and have a little snack at the car
4:00 You all take a walk to your ceremony spot with the beautiful lake reflecting the mountains behind you, then your sister officiates your ceremony
5:00 Congratulations, you’re married! After a few hugs and tearful celebrations, you’ll take a few more photos to really capture that moment
5:30 At the car, you’ll sign your marriage license
6:00 While your family heads back to the Airbnb to prepare dinner, you head off together as newlyweds to Marymere Falls to take a few more photos and enjoy your first few hours as a married couple!
7:30 You’ll drive back to the Airbnb for dinner and cake to celebrate with your family!
“Just Us” Hiking Elopement
7:00 You start the day early together, having coffee and breakfast at your AirBNB
8:00 After coffee and breakfast, you’ll start doing your hair and makeup together
8:30 You’re finished with hair and makeup, so you pack the car and take off for the trail head!
9:00 You arrive at the trailhead for Shi Shi Beach, lace up your hiking boots, and start hiking through the forest, taking in the views along the way
11:30 When you get to the beach, youwatch the waves roll in while we have a little beach picnic
12:30 After a nice lunch, you’ll go change into your elopement attire, and do a first look
1:30 We walk down to the Point of Arches for your ceremony
3:00 It’s time to say your vows!
3:30 After your ceremony, we’ll take a few more photos before heading back to the original beach spot
5:00 We’ll get back to the original spot right as the sun is setting and take a few more photos with that awesome golden hour light!
5:30 You’ll change out of your elopement gear and have a snack
6:00 We’ll strap on some headlamps and start heading back to the car
8:30 At the car, you’ll sign your marriage license and then head back to your Airbnb
9:30 Celebrate your marriage with some cake and a well-deserved dinner!
Olympic National Park Elopement Packages
One of the most important things you’ll do when planning your elopement is finding an Olympic National Park elopement photographer! As your elopement photographer, it’s my goal to not only capture all the moments that make your elopement special, but also to help you plan a wedding day that’s unique and all about you! I’m always down for an adventure, so count me in on all your exciting elopement plans. My Olympic National Park elopement packages are personalized just for you – from finding the perfect location to creating a detailed timeline to help us keep on track for the day, I’ll help you make your whole elopement planning process run smoothly! Whatever you decide to do when you say your vows, I’ll be ready to join you!
Contact me if you’re ready to plan your elopement, or want to learn more about my Olympic National Park elopement packages!