One of the most peaceful places in the world is a sandy beach. It also makes for one heck of an elopement location. Planning a beach elopement takes a lot of logistics. This article covers everything you’ll ever need to know about how to elope on the beach, including tips, packages, and locations.

Ultimate Beach Elopement Checklist

  1. Choose your beach venue.
  2. Choose the best time of year to elope at the beach.
  3. Apply for your marriage license and permits.
  4. Book your beach activities.
  5. Book your lodging.
  6. Plan and pack ahead.
  7. Beach elopement packages.

10 Best Beach Elopement Locations in the U.S.

Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach, located in Olympic National Park, is my all-time favorite beach. Driftwood, rock formations, and fog will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Pacific Northwest wonderland. There are so many beautiful locations here for an intimate ceremony.

See a breathtaking Ruby Beach elopement here!

A couple having a sunset elopement at the beach during golden hour, captured by a California elopement photographer.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is located in Southern California and happens to be one of my personal favorite beaches. While the beach itself isn’t huge, there are lots of “secret” beaches nearby, all super close to the downtown area that are perfect for an intimate ceremony.

A bride and groom playing in the water on their elopement day.

Huntington Beach

If you’re the kind of person that loves beach food, bicycles, and piers, Huntington Beach is the place for you. This 8.5 mile beach located in Southern California is one of my favorites! It’s the perfect location if you’re looking for lots of fun on your elopement day.

Hanalei Beach

Located in Kauai sits Hanalei Beach. The beach itself is surrounded by Kauai’s beautiful cliffsides and greenery. This happens to be one of the more popular beaches on the island, so be sure accordingly if you’re wanting something more quiet.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is a popular beach located in Oregon. The beach itself is 4 miles long and known for the famous Haystack Rock. If you’re set on this location, I recommend visiting during the off-season on a weekday, as this beach is one of the most popular in Oregon.

The Lost Coast in California.

The Lost Coast

One of the most underrated areas in the world (in my opinion) is the Lost Coast. It’s an undeveloped and off-grid costal area located in Northern California. Miles of the coast are littered with beautiful black sand beaches. This is the perfect location for couples wanting a completely private elopement.

Madaket Beach

Madaket Beach is located on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. There aren’t many amenities nearby, but that’s what makes this location so great! Not only is it absolutely beautiful, but it’s incredibly peaceful and makes a great spot for any elopement.

When Should I Plan My Beach Elopement?

All beaches have different climates. For example, in Washington State, beaches are best visited in the summer when there isn’t as high of a chance of rain. However, beaches in Southern California are best visited during the winter where the weather is pleasant and there aren’t huge summer crowds.

Generally speaking, you should highly consider planning your beach elopement during the fall season. While weather is nicer during the summer, there are tons of people, limited parking, and lots of traffic.

Get Your Marriage License and Permits

If you’re wanting to have a legal ceremony on the beach, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license. You can find all the information you need if you Google the state you’ll be getting married in, followed by “marriage license.”

You may also need a special use permit depending on your ceremony location. A special use permit is a piece of paper that grants you permission to have a ceremony on the land. For example, beaches in national parks require special use permits. I always recommend asking your photographer if you need a special use permit, as they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Failure to obtain a permit could result in heavy fines.

For the West Coast and Hawaii, check out my elopement guides that have step-by-step instructions on how to obtain a marriage license.

Beach Elopement Activity Ideas

Some of my most favorite elopements take place on the beach near the cutest beach towns! Here are a few ideas you can consider doing for your own elopement in a beach town.

  • Have a beach bonfire and roast hotdogs and s’mores
  • Build an epic sandcastle
  • Try surfing, boogie boarding, or water skiing
  • Have a romantic picnic during sunset
  • Take a stroll and look at all the seashells
  • Go whale watching
  • Rent bicycles and ride around town
  • Try a famous funnel cake on the pier
  • Have a fancy dinner at a restaurant overlooking the ocean
A couple playing on the beach during their sunset elopement.

Best Beach Airbnbs

Below are a few of my favorite Airbnbs you can find along the West Coast and Hawaii, right on the beach!

A bride and groom exchanging vows on the beach in California on their elopement day.

Beach Elopement Tips

#1: Don’t plan your wedding on a weekend or holiday. These two times are the worst times to plan an elopement, especially at the beach. You’ll experience nothing but crowds, traffic, and increased pricing for lodging.

#2: Bring sunscreen. Even if you aren’t planning an elopement during the middle of the summer, always be sure to bring sunscreen. There is nothing worse than being sunburnt during your honeymoon!

#3: Prepare for wind. The coast is known to be cold and windy. Be sure to bring layers and plan accordingly when it comes to decor.

A bride and groom walking on the beach with birds on their wedding day.

Beach Elopement Packages

As a Pacific Northwest and California elopement photographer, I’ve shot many different beach elopements. I help plan and capture elopements for couples looking to have an adventurous and authentic wedding day experience.

Beach Elopement Package Pricing

  • 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere on the beach
  • A hands-on elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
    • personalized elopement locations and questionnaires
    • vendor recommendations
    • permit assistance
    • customized elopement timeline
    • activity suggestions
  • Online gallery with full resolution and printing rights
  • 24-48 hour sneak peak images
  • Travel fees to ANYWHERE on the West Coast (CA, OR, and WA) are already included
  • Starting at $4,500 for CA, OR, and WA. Starting at $6,500 for anywhere else in the U.S.
  • I also offer all-inclusive elopement packages, which takes the planning out of your elopement completely. Check those packages out here.

Want more beach elopement inspiration? Check out this Ruby Beach Elopement, Sunset Cliffs Elopement, and Oregon Elopement Guide.

NEED HELP PLANNING YOUR DREAM ELOPEMENT?

Snag your FREE elopement guide to help you plan your dream elopement in California, Alaska, or even Spain! Learn everything you need to know about how to plan a “just us” experience.

A free guide all about how to elope, created by a California elopement photographer.
A girl holding a camera and smiling.

ARE YOU READY FOR AN ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER?

I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.

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