Olympic National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the United States to have a wedding. In fact, as an Olympic National Park elopement photographer, it’s my favorite national park and place I’ve ever been (and I’ve traveled a lot). Located in Washington State, it’s the perfect place for couples who love luscious greenery, jagged mountains, wildflower meadows, rushing waterfalls, and more. You’ll find nothing short of beauty within this underrated park.
If you’re wondering how to plan an Olympic National Park wedding, this entire guide covers everything you need to know. From choosing the best Olympic National Park wedding venue and lodging, to obtaining a Washington marriage license and wedding 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.
The Best Places to Elope in Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge is one of my favorite places in Olympic National Park to visit as an Olympic National Park elopement photographer. 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 a Hurricane Ridge elopement 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.
The Hoh Rainforest
Known for being the quietest spot in the United States, the Hoh Rainforest is the perfect spot for a wedding. It’s 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.
Ruby Beach is one of the closer beaches to Forks, you know, the famous Twilight town. Ruby Beach is a super cool and unique place, but it can get quite crowded around mid-morning, and definitely during the afternoon. Ruby Beach is the picturesque PNW beach with fog, driftwood, greenery, and rocks.
See a Ruby Beach elopement here!
Lake Cushman is an incredibly scenic lake right on the border of Olympic National Park. There are spots all around the lake, making it possible to have a completely private wedding in one of the most beautiful places within the park. There are also numerous hiking trails around the areas as well.
La Push Beach
If you’re a fan of Twilight, you may have heard about 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!
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.
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 a wedding, 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!
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!
Madison Falls is another hidden gem within the park. A short paved trail will take you to the base of this rushing waterfall, perfect for elopement images. 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.
Rialto Beach is 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.
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 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.
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.
How to Get a Wedding Permit for Olympic National Park
If you decide to get married in Olympic National Park, you’re going to need a permit. The permit only costs $50 and can be done online. Be sure to submit your permit 4 weeks before your wedding date to allow time for processing. Simply fill out the application and send it in via email. Check out the official park website to fill out the application and get the contact details.
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 50 people for a wedding (some even lower than that). It’s a great park if you’re looking at having a smaller wedding or elopement.
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 plan ahead with the weather!
During the summer, the park gets extremely crowded, and it can be more difficult to find a secluded spot. While it’s definitely possible to get married here in the summer, just know that you more than likely won’t have a ton of privacy unless you have your ceremony during sunrise. The summer does have the best weather though!
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 in Olympic National Park
While there aren’t a ton of lodging options within the actual park (unless you’re camping), Olympic National Park is close to nearby towns such as Forks, Port Angeles, and Sequim. Below are a list of some of my favorite Airbnbs, hotels, and camping options within the park and towns listed above.
Best Airbnbs in Olympic National Park
The Modern Mountain Guesthouse – This modern guesthouse is located in Port Angeles and is close to Hurricane Ridge. It’s equipped with cozy decor and bright spaces to make you feel right at home.
The Nature Lodge – One of my favorite Airbnbs, the Nature Lodge, sits on top of a hill and has not only beautiful views, but a hot tub, deck, and plenty of space for friends and family.
The Rainforest Cabin – The Rainforest Cabin is perfect for couples looking for a more off-grid experience. It’s small, cozy, and conveniently close to Forks and the beautiful Washington coast.
The Cozy Yurt – If you want something a bit more unique, consider checking out the yurt. While it’s not the most practical for a long stay, it’s always a fun experience for a night or two.
Best Hotels in Olympic National Park
Kalaloch Lodge – Kalaloch Lodge doesn’t have WiFi, but it does have absolutely incredible views, You can choose from a cabin or a room with a private balcony. It’s the perfect place for couples wanting something disconnected from the everyday world.
Lake Crescent Lodge -n Lake Crescent Lodge is extremely popular. Located right on the lake itself, this historic stay is cozy, warm, and comes with a variety of different amenities.
Log Cabin Resort – The Log Cabin Resort is one of my favorite places to stay if I want to feel like I’m truly surrounded by nature. I highly recommend checking this place out.
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort – Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort has smaller rooms, but it’s conveniently close to Lake Crescent and Hurricane Ridge. Plus, the views at this place are incredible!
Best Camping in Olympic National Park
The Hoh Campground – The Hoh Campground is one of, if not, the most popular campground in Olympic National Park. Enjoy a nature-filled experience right in the middle of the forest.
Heart O’ the Hills – This campground is more private and spaced out than others within the park. However, it’s very popular and is a first-come, first-serve campground, so get their quick to grab a spot.
Willaby Campground – Willaby Campground requires reservations and is located near Lake Quinault, which is a bit further away from popular locations, but very close to the coast.
Kalaloch Campground – Located right on the cliffs, Kalaloch Campground is one of the most popular within the park and sells out super quick. It’s a reservation-only campground.
Olympic National Park Wedding 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.
Styling and Coordination
Hair and Makeup
Hey, that’s me! I shoot a majority of my elopements in Washington State and absolutely love the scenery there. 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!
Olympic National Park Tips From an Olympic National Park Elopement Photographer
#1: Stay after sunset. Olympic National Park is one of the best places to see stars, especially up at Hurricane Ridge. You can get some epic photos!
#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.
#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!
#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.
Olympic National Park Elopement Photographer
Now that you’ve seen all the beautiful pictures and read about Olympic National Park, it’s time to book your vendors! I’m an Olympic National Park elopement photographer who offers Olympic National Park wedding packages (and wedding/elopement packages in Washington)! To see more details, check out my pricing page here!
Olympic National Park Wedding Packages
- 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in Olympic National Park
- A hands-on elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- personalized elopement locations and questionnaires
- vendor recommendations
- permit assistance
- customized elopement timeline
- Online gallery with full resolution and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peak images
- Travel fees to ANYWHERE in Washington are already included
- Starting at $4,500
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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.