So you’re eloping. Or maybe you’re doing an adventure session. First of all: DOPE. Good for you! We made this list of elopement locations for folks who are already aware of the gorgeous, famous, heavy hitters in WA, like Snoqualmie Falls, the Enchantments, Mt Baker, Hurricane Ridge, Mt Rainier, etc. Because while those are all *amazing* and gorgeous spots that we love so very much, they can also come with a lot of summer-time crowds. Most folks get around this by planning their elopements for a weekday, but if you’re hoping for a weekend elopement, gorgeous views, and uninterrupted solitude, this list of places to elope is for you!
So without further ado, here’s our list of the best (and most under-rated) places to elope in WA. Some of these are pretty specific spots and some are bigger areas with a multitude of trails to pick from.
- White Bluffs Trail in Hanford Reach National Monument (Want to elope in your home state but have a love for some desert scenery? We do in fact have sand dunes in Washington!! They reside in the surprisingly easy-to-get-to White Sand Dunes area of Hanford Reach nestled along the last free flowing stretch of the Columbia River. It’s central Washington like you’ve never seen it. Did I mention the pure and utter solitude??? We didn’t see another soul during our time there, just some curious coyotes. To this day everyone is surprised when I mention it, most folks have no idea where or what it is!
- Cascade River Road in North Cascades NP (While most folks drive through the park via the main highway & make a stop or two at Diablo or Ross Lake, this side forestry road is where a lot of excellent trails hide away from the main highway & the crowds! Lookout Mountain, Cascade Pass, Hidden Lake Lookout are just a few among many, many others. Fair warning, these gorgeous trails tend to be pretty strenuous, so type two fun is definitely in order! 😉
- North Beach Trail in Deception Pass State Park (This park ranks among the most visited in Washington, and with good reason! However, most folks stop at along the bridge itself or the very accessible Rosario Head, but the North Beach Trail is where it’s at. It shares a parking lot with the main bridge viewing area, but head out past the crowds on a trail that winds down the side of the cliff to long stretches of quiet coastline, excellent views of the bridge, and an easy walk through coastal forest. Did we mention there’s also really cute group picnic shelters, bathrooms & an amphitheater hidden down there too? A perfect spot for an intimate ceremony & reception. For accommodations, if you don’t want to go far: the fully furnished, cozy and adorable Ben Ure cabin has stunning water views, is located on its own island, and is reachable only by row-boat or kayak!! You can reserve the cabin via the State Park website.)
- Cape Flattery & Shi Shi Beach (An. absolute. gem. Located on Makah Tribal lands, all you need to access the most NW point in the continental US is a $10 recreation pass sold by the tribe in town. While the cape can feel a bit crowded at sunset (for which it’s rather famous) there are so many side trails and thick forest it’s easy to feel all alone on this gorgeous stretch of rugged coastline. Just a few minutes drive to the south is Shi Shi beach, which is a hike through temperate rainforest accesses one of the most beautiful beaches in all of WA. If you find it too pretty to leave after your elopement, you can stay there for the night, since overnight camping on the beach is allowed. If you’re hoping for a bit more glamping options, the nearby Hobuck Beach resort has some pretty amazing beachfront cabins for rent.
- Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway – North Olympic Penninsula. Since it’s outside of Olympic National Park, and along a stretch of tiny coastal towns that the main highway bypasses, this gorgeous area is pretty empty. If you want gorgeous rocky, moody PNW beach vibes without the crowds of Rialto or Ruby Beach, Salt Creek Recreation Area or really any stretch along the Strait of Juan de Fuca or Highway 112 is an amazing, easy bet. We drove through on a gorgeous sunny Saturday evening and saw just the mountains and nearly a dozen bald eagles, but really nobody else.
- Glacier View Trail Want stunning wide open views of Mt Rainier for your elopement? How bout no crowds?? Yep. This trail has amazing views of Seattle’s favorite mountain, but since it is outside the boundaries of the national park down a quiet forestry road, it’s not highly trafficked. Oh, did I mention that since it’s not inside the NP, it’s also a dog-friendly trail? Your favorite four-legged friend can tag along for your day too! A pretty perfect place to elope if you ask me.
- Blue Mountain Loop This ridge in Olympic National Park, located just next door to its very famous cousin, Hurricane Ridge, boasts nearly identical views of the Olympics, is equally accessible by road in the summer, and has about 1/100th of the crowds and bustle. A good jumping off-point to more of the back-country hikes in the park, there’s also a gorgeous campground right nearby with some of the best star-gazing around come night-time. Hang out with only the mule deer on the meadows and enjoy the views in peace and quiet.
- Copper Glance Lake Trail One of the many hidden gems in the North Cascades. Buried deep in the National Park down a forestry road, this lake is a great alternative to the busy trails off the North Cascades Highway that bisects the park. This stunningly blue-green high alpine lake features gorgeous fall foliage and almost no one else on the trail.
- Swakane Wildlife Trail If you love endless rolling mountain foothills covered in green grass, wildflowers, and scenic river & valley views for miles that might have you confusing Washington with Ireland, then this is your spot for your elopement. Residing right on the lee side of the Cascades, this quiet, easy trail cuts along the hills of the Columbia River.
- Frenchman Coulee Recreation Area Easily the best, undiscovered gem on here. The only reason I’ve buried it so far down on the list is because I’m loath to let anyone in on my secret (just kidding, it’s awesome, you should go.) This desert coulee park is just minutes off i-90 and is located right next-door to Cave B, which has some of best glamping options in the whole state. This under-visited park not only has desert canyons, sand dunes, a waterfall, and free camping, but also has awesome rock climbing to boot! Sounds pretty amazing, right? Hands down one of my very favorite parks in Washington, and a killer place to elope.
- Ebey’s Landing & Fort Ebey State Park I like to think of this spot as a little of the Oregon coast right here in WA. Rolling bluffs, ocean views for days, and quiet, long stretches of sandy beach bring to mind the famous Highway 101 coastline, but as a bonus, you have great views of the Olympic Mountains just across the water and historic fort to explore. Plus you get to ride the ferry and who doesn’t love that??? This beach can be a popular one, but it’s so long & expansive it’s easy to forget anyone else is around. Plus, if you want to stay a while, the adorable and newly reopened Captain Whidbey Inn is just around the corner.
- Mt Spokane State Park We’ve shot at Mt Spokane almost half a dozen times, almost always on a weekend. For some unknowable reason, this absurdly beautiful and accessible mountain top (you can drive straight to the summit in summer!) is usually deserted. Which really is just fine by me, because the sunsets up there are unparalleled and the views are insanely good. Though Mt Spokane is at relatively low elevation, the views are much better than you’d expect since it’s the tallest peak for quite a ways, and you can wander around the summit at your leisure, un-squished by any crowds. The almost-too-gorgeous-to-be-true Vista House sits at the summit, a vintage stone lodge built in the 1920s that can be used for weddings & events. It’s one of my all-time favorite places to elope in Washington!
- Lyons Ferry State Park This little, underrated gem might be the most overlooked state park in the whole state. It’s just a few minutes down the road from the very popular Palouse Falls, and it gets few visitors, despite have an amazing view of the Snake & Columbia rivers converging. If you wander past the picnic area, there’s a trail leading out to an amazing cliff-face with some gorgeous views that look so much like Scotland & Iceland, you might be able to get away with saying you eloped in Europe. The time to visit is in the spring, when all the hills are a gorgeous green. Since it’s buried in the middle of the state, it is a bit of a drive to get to for most folks, but incredibly worth the effort. There’s usually only a handful of people around at this park, even in the best of weather, and it’s even emptier and more beautiful in the rain.