Olympic National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the United States for a wedding or elopement. In fact, as an Olympic National Park elopement photographer, it will forever be my favorite national park and place I’ve ever been to (and I’ve traveled a lot). The park is located in Washington State and littered with immense beauty. It’s the perfect place for couples who love luscious greenery, jagged mountains, wildflower meadows, rushing waterfalls, and more.
If you’re wondering how to plan an Olympic National Park elopement or wedding, this entire guide covers everything you need to know. From choosing the best elopement locations and lodging, to securing a Washington marriage license and booking an elopement photography package, I’ve got you covered.
How to Get to Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is located around 2 – 3.5 hours from Seattle, depending on what side of the park you’re traveling to. The easiest way to reach the park is to drive from Seattle, which is also the closest major airport to the park. Don’t worry though… this drive flies by when you’re surrounded by beautiful pine trees and deer.
The Best Places to Elope in Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge is one of my favorite places in Olympic National Park to visit. It’s incredibly easy to access, and the mountain views it has will leave you in awe. It’s one of the most visited sites within the park, but once you see it for yourself, you’ll understand why. If you’re lucky, you might even come across some deer on the trail who are more than happy to photobomb your ceremony. It’s definitely one of the best places to elope in Olympic National Park.
See the elopement pictured here!
Lake Crescent is a fairly large area. I personally love the pier you can get married on. They also have a lodge right next to the pier where you can stay. If you’d like, you can rent it out for your own wedding if you’re truly wanting something private. It’s quiet, has beautiful views, and is the perfect spot for a wedding, both during sunrise and sunset. This spot is very popular during the summer though, so plan accordingly.
The Hoh Rainforest
Known for being the quietest spot in the United States, the Hoh Rainforest is the perfect spot for a wedding. It has everything you think of when thinking about the Pacific Northwest – fog, rain, ferns, and forest. There are plenty of secluded areas within the forest for your Olympic National Park wedding. The most popular trail in the forest is called the Hall of Mosses Trail. This specific trail is where most couples decide to exchange their vows, though it tends to be busy until around sunset.
Ruby Beach is one of the closer beaches to Forks, you know, the famous Twilight town. This location is a super cool and unique place, but it can get quite crowded around mid-morning, and definitely during the afternoon. It’s the picturesque PNW beach with fog, driftwood, greenery, and rocks.
See an elopement at the beach here!
Lake Cushman is an incredible scenic lake right on the border of Olympic National Park. There are a few walking trails, and the location is close to beautiful forests, waterfalls, and campsites. Like most lakes in the summertime, it’s full of people. However, come during sunset and you’re almost guaranteed to have this entire place to yourself.
See the elopement pictured to the left here.
La Push Beach
If you’re a fan of Twilight, you may have heard of La Push Beach. La Push is actually known as a series of three different beaches, all of which have their own unique look, yet similar vibe. However, they all are what you would expect to see from the famous Twilight movies that are so nostalgic. As an Olympic National Park elopement photographer, I know some epic spots around this area!
Rialto Beach is located right next door to La Push and is known for its sea stacks, geological formations & driftwood. There are hiking trails all around the beach, one famous one known as the “hole in the wall” that can only be hiked during low tide. It’s a great beach to get married at within Olympic National Park, especially if you want to avoid some of the more crowded areas.
Kalaloch Beach is located right near Ruby Beach, but it has a much different feel to it. Home to the famous “Tree of Life,” many people from around the world come to visit this beach every year. This is definitely an epic spot to have a ceremony at, and even if you choose to have your ceremony elsewhere, it’s worth making the trip to see the famous tree.
Madison Falls is one of my favorite hidden gems within the park. A short paved trail will take you to the base of this rushing waterfall and is ADA accessible. This area gets fairly crowded during the day, so I recommend getting here early in the morning. Getting to the base of the falls is one of the many perks of this stunning location, along with the nearby river and views of the Olympic mountain range.
Mount Storm King
Mount Storm King is actually a hiking trail within the park. It’s a 5.3 mile roundtrip hike, and I have to warn you, it’s pretty difficult. However, the view makes this difficult hike totally worth it. At the top, you’ll see the most breathtaking view of Lake Crescent. This spot looks especially cool with the moody fog. It’s one of my favorite places in Olympic National Park for a small wedding ceremony or elopement and one of the best places in the park to elope!
If you’re wanting to get married at a waterfall, check out Marymere Falls. It’s only a 1 mile hike to reach the falls, and along the way you’ll see tons of beautiful areas for pictures. While the falls are not overly huge, they still make a great spot for an elopement, especially because you won’t have to yell over all the rushing water! If you’re looking for something more grand, don’t you worry. Olympic National Park is home to 10,000 different waterfalls!
How to Get a Marriage License in Washington
In order to get married in Olympic National Park, you’ll need to get a Washington marriage license.
To get a marriage license, you’ll need to fill out the online application found here. You’ll then head to the county clerk’s office with your photo ID and $69 (some counties charge more, some charge less). The marriage license has a three day waiting period, meaning you can’t get married until three days after picking up your license.
If you don’t live in Washington, you can fill out the online application, have it notarized, and send it back with a check or money order.
Fun fact: You can get a marriage license in any county. You DO NOT need to get one in the county you’re getting married in.
To see more information and step-by-step instructions on how to get a marriage license in Washington, check out the official government site or my SUPER helpful article that breaks down exactly how to get a marriage license, step-by-step.
Do I Need an Officiant and Witnesses?
Yes, you will need an officiant and two witnesses in order to get married in Olympic National Park.
Pro tip: I’m ordained and officiate ceremonies for free as part of my Olympic National Park elopement packages! However, a friend or family member can also officiate your ceremony by becoming ordained online for free through the Universal Life Church!
How to Get a Wedding Permit for Olympic National Park
If you decide you want to get married in Olympic National Park, you’re going to need what’s called a “special use permit.” This is a permit that allows you to have your ceremony in the park.
The permit process can be done entirely online. Be sure to submit your permit 4 weeks before your wedding date to allow time for processing. Check out the steps below to find out how to get a permit.
- Fill out the downloadable application here.
- Send in your completed application to OLYM_Permits@nps.gov.
- After the office receives your permit, they will send you a link where you will be able to pay the $50 permit fee online.
- After paying, you will receive the completed permit a few weeks before your elopement. Be sure to bring this with you.
If you need more information, check out the official park website permit page.
Pro tip: If you’re unsure about the permit process, ask your photographer to help. I personally help each of couples obtain permits, because let’s be honest… paperwork isn’t the most fun part of planning an elopement!
Pro tip: You do NOT need a permit if you have less than 5 people at your elopement (this includes vendors).
How Many Guests Can I Have at My Wedding in Olympic National Park?
Each location within Olympic National Park is different. However, most sites within the park only allow up to 15 people for a wedding or elopement. There are other areas within the park that allow for additional guests, but this limits your location options quite a bit. It’s a great park if you’re looking at having a smaller guest list.
Can I Bring My Dog?
Yes! Olympic National Park has a variety of different locations where dogs are permitted. Keep in mind that many of the popular trails within the park, like the Hall of Mosses, do not allow dogs.
If you do decide to bring your furry friend, be sure to practice B.A.R.K. and leave no trace principles. To see where dogs are permitted in the park, check out the official park’s page here.
Best Time to Visit Olympic National Park
The best time to visit and get married in Olympic National Park is during the early spring or late fall.
The spring is a pretty popular time to visit the park. However, if you go during the right time, you’ll be amazed at all the greenery, waterfalls, and wildlife you’ll encounter, without all the tourists! The spring is personally one of my favorite times to visit, though you do need to be prepared for any kind of weather (mainly rain)!
During the summer, the park gets extremely crowded, and it can be more difficult to find secluded areas. While it’s definitely possible to get married here in the summer (consider a sunrise or sunset ceremony), just know that you more than likely won’t have a ton of privacy. However, the summer months do have the best weather.
In the winter, it’s extremely rainy, snowy, and most attractions within the park are closed. However, this is when the least amount of people visit the park, so if you want to skip the crowds and don’t mind a little rain and snow, winter is the perfect season.
The fall season attracts the least amount of visitors (aside from winter) due to the rainy weather. However, it’s definitely not as rainy and cold as it is in the winter. Plus, there are still numerous places within the park that don’t have snow, and if you catch it at the right time, you’ll see the most beautiful fall colors around the park.
Where to Stay for Your Olympic National Park Elopement
Olympic National Park itself only has a handful of lodging options. However, it’s conveniently close to nearby towns like Forks, Port Angeles, and Sequim. Below is a list of some of my favorite Airbnbs and lodging options within the park and surrounding towns.
Olympic National Park
The park itself has a few different hotels and camping options for couples looking for something more secluded.
- Kalaloch Lodge – It doesn’t have WiFi, but it does have absolutely incredible views. Choose from a cabin or a room with a private balcony.
- Lake Crescent Lodge – Located right on the lake itself, this historic stay is cozy, warm, and comes with a variety of different amenities like an on-site restaurant and private chairs.
- Log Cabin Resort – One of the best places to stay if you want to feel like you’re truly surrounded by nature.
- Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort – Conveniently close to Lake Crescent, waterfalls, and the ridge. Plus, the views at this place are incredible!
Port Angeles is the most popular place to stay around the park. It’s a medium-sized city filled with shopping centers and dining options. Port Angeles is very close to places to Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent. This is often where most couples stay, as there are a variety of thing to do and see around the area.
- The PNW Cottage – A quiet, quaint cottage at the base of the Olympic mountains.
- Strait Blue Cottage – A cozy nostalgic cottage located just blocks away from downtown.
- Creekfront Cabin – The perfect stay for an off-grid experience.
- Hurricane Ridge Retreat – Just minutes away from Hurricane Ridge lies a 1-acre home with a hot tub and immense charm.
- Ocean Lookout Home – A modern home with a stunning ocean view located close to trails and town.
If you’re a small-town lover or twilight fanatic, Forks is the town for you. With not much offer except a single grocery store and a few gas stations, I usually choose to stay in Forks for its quietness and proximity to places like Ruby Beach and the Hoh Rainforest.
- Cozy Rainforest Getaway – A simple home right on the river and just minutes from downtown.
- Mount Olympus House – An epic stay for elopements with guests near downtown.
- Serene Tiny Home – A bright and wooded tiny home between Forks and Lake Pleasant.
- Modern PNW Tiny House – Another tiny home completely surrounded by nature.
- Wild Coast Craftsman – A peaceful and modern home located in the heart of the Olympic Peninsula.
Other nearby towns include Sequim and Port Townsend, both of which are East of Port Angeles. These towns offer more upscale lodging options, though they’re a bit further away from the park’s main attractions.
Olympic National Park Elopement Vendors
Since the park is in a fairly remote area, most of the wedding vendors are located in Seattle. Below are a few of my favorite vendors I have worked with in the past, or have heard amazing things about. I also send detailed recommendations to each of my couples who book with me to help you find the vendor team of your dreams!
Styling and Coordination
Hair and Makeup
Hey, that’s me! I shoot over half of my elopements in Washington State, and half of those in Olympic National Park. If you’re looking for a photographer to help plan and capture your special day in Olympic National Park, I’m the gal for you! I’m a hands-on elopement photographer and planner who helps couples by creating personalized location lists, offering vendor recommendations, and assisting with things like permits, timelines, and so much more.
Oh, and did I mention that I also have all-inclusive elopement packages that include lodging, plane tickets, rental cars, vendor booking, and so much more?
Olympic National Park Elopement Tips
#1: Stay after sunset. Olympic National Park is one of the best places to see stars, especially places with higher elevation like Hurricane Ridge. In the summer, they even offer guided tours.
#2: Stay a few days. The park is gigantic. Even when I go for days at a time, I still feel like I haven’t seen everything! The park is one of those places you’ll never forget, so take the time to slow down and explore. I recommend a minimum of at least 3 days, though 5 is ideal.
#3: Bring a rain jacket. Even in the summer, it can rain. This area is one of the rainiest places in the country which is why everything is so green. The weather is pretty unpredictable, so bring lots of layers just in case.
#4: Prepare to drive. Like I stated, the park is huge and the main attractions can be about an hour to an hour and a half away from each other.
#5: There’s limited cell service. While the park isn’t as remote as others, don’t expect to get much cell service. You shouldn’t have a problem getting service in the nearby towns, but be sure to download your maps offline so you can find your way around.
Olympic National Park Elopement Photographer
Now that you’ve seen all the beautiful pictures and read about how great Olympic National Park is, it’s time to book your vendors! I’m an Olympic National Park elopement photographer who offers hands-on wedding packages (and wedding/elopement packages in Washington)! To see more details about what’s included, check out my pricing page here!
Olympic National Park Elopement Packages
- 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in Olympic National Park
- A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- Personalized elopement location recommendations
- Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
- Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
- 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
- Customized elopement timelines
- Optional complimentary officiant services
- Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in Washington are already included
- Starting at $5,500
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I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.