If there was only one place I could travel to for the rest of my life, it would be Olympic National Park. From Olympic’s mossy rainforests, snow-capped mountains, and rocky coastlines to its abundance of wildlife and miles of hiking trails, it’s safe to say that’s pretty much impossible to run out of places to explore. Whether you’re dreaming of a mountaintop picnic during sunrise or a golden hour vow exchange on the beach, I’m here to help you imagine what’s possible.

I’m an Olympic National Park elopement photographer who has photographed 50+ elopements in Olympic alone. I’m excited to share with you all my expertise, favorite locations, and more in this jam-packed guide. So if you’ve been dreaming of an Olympic National Park elopement, look no further because this is the most comprehensive how-to elopement guide on Olympic National Park you’ll find.

This guide includes everything you need to know about the park, including the most jaw-dropping elopement locations, the best time of year to elope, permit instructions, and more. As a part-time local who specializes in Olympic National Park elopements, this guide was created to make your planning process as seamless as possible. Let’s begin, shall we?

Why Elope in Olympic National Park?

Of all the places to elope, why Olympic? Well, that’s easy, and not just because it was the location that inspired the Twilight books and movies (wink, wink).

Here are the 6 main reasons that make Olympic National Park better than any other elopement location in the country!

A couple in wedding attire kissing on a mossy forest trail in Olympic National Park.

It’s the Most Diverse National Park in America

It has one of the last remaining temperate rainforests on Earth, dramatic mountain ranges, beautiful blue alpine lakes, over 70 miles of rocky coastline, huge waterfalls, rivers, evergreen forests, and more. Basically, if you’re looking for any kind of scenery besides the desert, you’re guaranteed to find it in Olympic.

It’s Snow-Free and Accessible Year-Round

Olympic is the only national park in Washington that’s accessible and has snow-free locations year-round. Whether you visit in January or August, you’re sure to find a snow-free ceremony site.

It’s Not Crowded

Due to its sheer size, Olympic never feels crowded. Yes, some of the more popular locations like Hurricane Ridge or the Hoh Rainforest may see some crowding during the busy summer months, but compared to other national parks like Mt. Rainier or Yosemite, Olympic feels like a hidden gem.

It Has an Insane Amount of Accessible Locations

Whether you’re bringing guests or simply aren’t up for hiking, Olympic has some of the most accessible drive-up elopement locations in the United States.

It’s Close to Seattle

If you don’t want to drive too far from a large airport, you’re in luck. Olympic is a short 2.5-3 hour drive from the Seattle. This makes it a great option for elopements with guests or for couples who don’t want to drive super far but still want to feel remote.

It’s an Incredible Honeymoon Location

Charming towns, hot springs, and romantic lodging options are just the beginning. If you’re an adventurous couple who loves the outdoors but also doesn’t mind splurging on a luxurious place to stay, Olympic National Park is an incredible honeymoon location.

How to Elope in Olympic National Park

Don’t worry, we’ll cover each of these sections in great detail, but for now, here is a quick list of what you need to do to elope in Olympic National Park.

  1. Choose your location
  2. Pick the best time of year to elope for your location
  3. Hire your vendors
  4. Book your travel
  5. Get your special use permit
  6. Get a Washington marriage license
  7. Pack and prepare
  8. Elope!
A bride and groom standing on a rug with bouquets of flowers on the two back corners. The bride has a large flower crown on and is smiling at the camera. They are in front of a lake in Olympic National Park.

7 Most Jaw-Dropping Places to Elope in Olympic National Park

Remember what I said earlier about Olympic being the most diverse national park in the United States? You’re about to see what I mean.

Choosing your elopement location can be an exciting part of the planning process. Helping my couples choose the perfect location that is personalized to them is extremely important to me. Before we dive into the best places to elope in Olympic, here are some things to consider when choosing your elopement location:

  1. What kind of views are you dreaming of? Are you picturing a 360 degree mountaintop view? What about a lush green forest? Or maybe a waterfall surrounded by trees?
  2. Think about how far you’re willing to hike. Are you looking for a super accessible location or would you prefer to walk a mile or two in order to avoid the crowds?
  3. Lastly, consider how close in proximity your locations are to one another. If you’re hoping to see as many spots as possible, it’s a good idea to choose locations within a short driving distance of one another. This is especially important in a place like Olympic where some of the most popular locations are hours away from each other.

Without further adieu, here is a list of the 7 best places to elope in Olympic National Park from a part-time local.

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is my personal favorite elopement location in Olympic National Park which is why it’s at the top of the list. It’s the most accessible mountain location in the park that requires no hiking to reach. This is a fan-favorite for elopements with guests. At Hurricane Ridge you’ll find lots of deer, wildflower meadows, numerous hiking trails, and ranger-led stargazing tours. Because Hurricane Ridge is so accessible, this location is very popular to visit, so a sunrise or sunset ceremony is highly encouraged (unless you know of an awesome photographer who knows all the secret crowd-free spots wink, wink).

It’s important to note that Hurricane Ridge sits at a higher elevation, which means it’s usually covered in snow from November-June. However, it’s still accessible on the weekends (Friday-Sunday) during the winter season if you’re dreaming of a snowy winter wonderland elopement.

  • Best time of year to elope: June-October. I personally love this location at the end of September, beginning of October.
  • Hiking required: No, but there are lots of trails to explore if you want to hike.
  • Closest town: Port Angeles (40 minutes).
  • Crowd level: Busy, plan for sunrise or sunset.
  • Pet friendly: No.
  • Pro tip: This is the best place for deer sightings and stargazing in the park. In the summer, there is a ranger-led stargazing program you can do for free.

Check out Haley and Joe’s breathtaking sunrise elopement at Hurricane Ridge in June here!

Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent is the second most popular elopement location amongst my couples and one of my all-time favorites. It’s 30 minutes from Port Angeles and sits at a low elevation, which means it’s snow-free year-round. The most popular place for a ceremony is on the dock located next to the Lake Crescent Lodge (a place you can actually stay for your elopement). However, there are numerous hiking trails, a stunning hidden forest, and other secret ceremony locations I know about all around the shoreline. This is a particularly popular place for elopements with guests, as there are quite a few picnic tables around the shoreline you can utilize for cake and champagne.

One thing to note is that this spot is extremely popular during the summer months. The shoreline gets packed with people sunbathing, paddleboarding, and kayaking (which you can actually rent the day-of your elopement at the shore), so a ceremony around sunrise or sunset during the summer months a must. Any other time of year, the lake is fairly empty.

  • Best time of year to elope: May, June, September, or October. You truly can’t go wrong with any month here though – it’s snow-free year-round.
  • Hiking required: No, but there are a few trails nearby if you want to hike.
  • Closest town: Port Angeles (30 minutes).
  • Crowd level: Semi-busy, plan for sunrise or sunset.
  • Pet friendly: No.
  • Pro tip: This is a great spot for sunrise if you want to see pink alpenglow on the mountains.

Check out a sunrise spring elopement at Lake Crescent elopement here!

The Hoh Rainforest

I couldn’t make a list of the best places to elope in Olympic National Park and not include the famous Hoh Rainforest. The Hoh Rainforest is the quietest spot in the continental United States and the most green place I’ve ever seen! Unfortunately, it also happens to be the most popular spot in the entire park. When you Google this location, you’ll probably seen photos taken along the Hall of Mosses Trail. While the trail is gorgeous for portraits, it’s not an ideal ceremony location. Instead, consider a less-traveled trail or road pull-off for more privacy. If you’re hoping to bring your friends and family along for the ride, there are several spots nearby like the Hoh River Trail or even the nearby campground that accommodate a larger amount of people.

If you’re hoping for something similar without the crowds, there are a handful of other secret rainforest locations I can show you.

  • Best time of year to elope: May, June, September, or October. This location is snow-free year-round and stunning anytime of the year.
  • Hiking required: Yes, but very little. Less than 1 mile roundtrip on a flat surface.
  • Closest town: Forks (45 minutes).
  • Crowd level: Extremely busy, plan for sunrise or sunset.
  • Pet friendly: No.
  • Pro tip: There are several other temperate rainforests in the park if you want to avoid crowds. This is a great spot for elk sightings!

I have an entire guide with specific locations, pictures, and more information about how to elope in the Hoh Rainforest (with some secret spots to consider as well). You can also check out Erin and Erik’s gorgeous elopement in the Hoh Rainforest and at Hurricane Ridge here!

Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach is the exact beach you think of when you think of Pacific Northwest beaches. In my opinion, it truly is the most beautiful beach on the Washington Coast. It’s located right outside of Forks, Washington. Yes, the famous town featured in Twilight! The beach is a super cool and unique place to explore, but it can get quite crowded around mid-morning and the afternoon. However, the beach is a mile long, so if we walk a bit up the coast, we’ll have no problem finding a secluded location for a ceremony. On a clear day, the sunsets are gorgeous, and in the winter, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the fog that overtakes the shoreline.

  • Best time of year to elope: July and August. You can access this location year-round. It’s gorgeous anytime of year.
  • Hiking required: Yes, but very little. It’s about 0.4 miles roundtrip to get from the parking lot to the beach. It’s a bit steep on the way up.
  • Closest town: Forks (45 minutes).
  • Crowd level: Fairly busy all-day. Sunrise is your best bet for crowds, but I recommend sunset for lighting purposes.
  • Pet friendly: Yes.
  • Pro tip: Walk past the large formations to have the beach to yourself! Most people stay near the giant rocks.

Check out Maddy and Kodiak’s dreamy golden hour Ruby Beach elopement here!

Lake Cushman

Lake Cushman is one of my favorite lakes in all of Olympic! It’s located on the Eastern border towards Seattle. Surprisingly, Lake Cushman is one of the least popular places to elope (and visit), simply because it’s a bit out of the way from the more popular sites like Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh Rainforest. The lake is close to a few forest hiking trails, waterfalls, and campsites. Like most lakes in the summer, it’s full of people swimming, paddling, and kayaking. However, come during sunset and you’re almost guaranteed to have this entire place to yourself. There’s also an adorable town nearby (Hoodsport) with a population of only 139 people that serves hot dogs and ice cream in the summer. This is my go-to recommendation for couples looking to elope somewhere closer to Seattle.

  • Best time of year to elope: July, August, September, or October. This location gets snow during the winter.
  • Hiking required: No, but there are some trails nearby.
  • Closest town: Hoodsport (12 minutes).
  • Crowd level: Fairly private depending on where you go along the shoreline.
  • Pet friendly: In some locations, yes.
  • Pro tip: If you’re up for some hiking, there are some incredible mountain summits in this area.

View Cristina and Ryan’s jaw-dropping boho elopement at Lake Cushman here.

Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach is located a bit up the road from Ruby Beach and is at the base of the Quillayute River. If you love marine life, this is the place for you! Rialto has an incredible hiking trail called the hole in the wall trail. It’s a 3.3 mile hike that can only be accessed during low tide, but if you time it just right, you’ll come across some of the most amazing tidepools you’ll ever see. This is one of my favorite spots to recommend to couples who are looking for a beautiful beach without the crowds. If you love the look of Ruby Beach but don’t like the crowds, Rialto is the place for you.

  • Best time of year to elope: July and August. This is a great location anytime of the year.
  • Hiking required: No, but there is an awesome trail you can hike to see marine life.
  • Closest town: Forks (20 minutes).
  • Crowd level: Fairly private, especially if you walk a bit down the beach.
  • Pet friendly: Yes.
  • Pro tip: The beaches in Washington are rocky, bring good shoes!

Madison Falls

Madison Falls is one of my favorite hidden gems within the park. I love this location because it’s right up the road from Lake Crescent and requires practically no hiking to reach. The trail is ADA accessible and a great location for guests who can’t walk very far. This area gets fairly crowded during the day, so I recommend getting here early in the morning. While you’re here, take advantage of the scenery across the street from the parking lot where you can access the Elwha River and admire Hurricane Ridge in the distance (see a picture below).

  • Best time of year to elope: April and May. The waterfall will be at its fullest during the spring or winter season. It can be accessed year-round.
  • Hiking required: No, just a short 0.2 mile roundtrip walk from the parking lot.
  • Closest town: Port Angeles (20 minutes).
  • Crowd level: Private if you visit at sunrise or sunset.
  • Pet friendly: Yes.
  • Pro tip: The base of the falls are not very large. They also don’t have a ton of dry ground. Prepare to get your feet wet.

Marymere Falls

If you’re looking for an epic waterfall in Olympic, look no further than Marymere Falls. It’s a short 1-mile hike to reach the falls with stunning scenery the entire way. Along the trail, be sure to stop for photos in the forest, along the river, and on the famous bridge. Due to its proximity to other sites like Lake Crescent and Mount Storm King, this is one of the busiest falls in Olympic. There isn’t much room near the base of the falls, so be sure to plan your ceremony accordingly (i.e. sunrise or sunset). I also don’t recommend this spot for guests, as there is hardly any room at the viewing point.

  • Best time of year to elope: April and May. The waterfall will be at its fullest during the spring or winter season. It can be accessed year-round.
  • Hiking required: Yes, an easy 1.7 miles roundtrip. Towards the end, there are some stairs.
  • Closest town: Port Angeles (30 minutes).
  • Crowd level: Private if you visit at sunrise or sunset.
  • Pet friendly: No.
  • Pro tip: You cannot access the base of the falls. Tons of scenery along the way for photos though. Prepare to get wet!

Check out a gorgeous elopement photographed at Marymere Falls here!

7 Bonus Olympic National Park Elopement Locations

Here are just a few more jaw-dropping locations to consider for your elopement that didn’t quite make the list of the best of the best, but are still incredible (and less-traveled) options to explore:

La Push Beach

La Push, baby! It’s La Push. If you’re a fan of the Twilight movies, La Push Beach is a must-see. Moody weather, driftwood, and rock formations await. The beach is located within the Quileute Reservation, so permission from the reservation is required before having a ceremony here. If you want something similar without the hurdle of getting permission, there are a few beaches right next door that I love to share with my couples.

Lake Quinault

Lake Quinault is one of my favorite hidden gems in the park. I almost don’t even want to share this one that’s how incredible it is. The lake is a bit far from most of the popular spots, which means it’s less traveled! Right next to the lake is one of my favorite off-the-beaten-path rainforests. There’s even an old homestead to explore. The Quinault Valley as a whole is an undiscovered area of the park for elopements.

Sol Duc Falls

If you’re looking for a huge waterfall, consider checking out Sol Duc Falls which is located near Port Angeles. I love these falls because the trail provides a ton of different photo opportunities. Plus, there are some secret pull-offs of other locations along the road to the trailhead that are worth checking out. Unfortunately, you can’t access the base of these falls, but there are some cool viewing platforms you can check out.

Kalaloch Beach/The Tree of Life

Kalaloch Beach is composed of 4 different beaches, though the first is the most famous, as it’s home to the “Tree of Life,” a tree nestled between two rock formations. While it is a beautiful beach, it’s pretty flat. This is a great spot if you’re bringing lots of guests, but in my opinion, there are better beaches to see in the area. Kalaloch Beach is a dog-friendly location though which is nice!

Cape Flattery

While not technically within the park, Cape Flattery is the furthest northwest tip of the contiguous United States and is about 1.5 hours away from both Forks and Port Angeles. This location is beautiful for portraits and is a fun place to see if you’re in the area. The observation decks aren’t the largest, so it’s not an ideal location for elopements with lots of guests. I wouldn’t go out of my way to drive here, but if you’re already on the coast up north, this is a great stop.

Shi Shi Beach

Shi Shi Beach is one of the best places to elope in Olympic if you’re looking to avoid crowds. You have to hike 2 miles to get to the beach unless you park in the private lot, which is only 0.5 miles from the beach and requires a tribal pass. During the rainy season, the trail to the beach becomes super muddy, but don’t let that stop you. This is one of my personal favorites for avoiding crowds!

Secret Locations

Ask your elopement photographer if they know of any secret spots! I personally have a huge database of hidden gem locations I love to share with my couples so they can have the most intimate experience possible. If you’re hiring someone local to the area, they should know the best of the best places to elope in the park.

Best Time of Year to Elope in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is beautiful year-round with some of the park experiencing all four seasons. The summer boasts nice weather and wildflower meadows while the fall and spring bring cooler temperatures and bright colors. The winter is incredible for overcast weather and crowd-free locations.

In my opinion, the best time to elope in Olympic National Park is during the early spring or late fall when you take into account crowds, weather, and location accessibility. However, because Olympic is accessible and has snow-free locations year-round, you truly can’t go wrong with any season for your elopement.

Below is a breakdown of the best months to elope in the park along with my personal experience and expertise.

March, April, and May

March through May (spring) is one of the best seasons to elope in Olympic, especially if you’re hoping to spot some wildlife, particularly Roosevelt Elk and Gray Whales. This is my favorite time to explore places like the Hoh Rainforest and waterfalls, as they’re at their peak this time of year in both water flow and greenery.

One thing to note about the spring season is that you do need to be prepared for any kind of weather, mostly rain (especially in March) which can make some of the trails muddy. While I love photographing elopements in the rain (hello even lighting and no crowds), some couples prefer a drier climate. Higher elevation areas like Hurricane Ridge are still covered in snow, so if you’re looking for a mountainous location, I recommend holding off until the summer or fall months.

  • Pros: No crowds, lots of wildlife, waterfalls and forests are at their peak
  • Cons: Unpredictable weather, some higher elevation areas have snow

Check out some elopements I photographed during the spring months below.

June, July, and August

June through August (summer) offers amazing weather and clear hiking trails. All locations in the park are accessible, and some of the higher elevation areas, like Hurricane Ridge, blossom with wildflowers. There is a ton of things to do this time of year, as all the visitor centers and towns are bustling with tourists. Nearby towns like Sequim have incredible lavender farms that bloom in July and are a must-see.

That begin said, the nice weather also comes with crowds. This time of year can be difficult to find secluded ceremony sites in popular locations. However, it’s not impossible. Plan for a sunrise or sunset ceremony and you should be good. I would also recommend considering some of the lesser traveled places in the park like the Quinault Valley.

  • Pros: Warm weather, all locations are snow-free, lots of things to do
  • Cons: Crowds

Here are a few images of elopements taken in the summer.

September, October, and November

September through November (fall) attracts the least amount of visitors aside from the winter season. Vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows sweep across the park and turn it into a colorful paradise. Snow starts to fall in higher elevations around mid-late October, and everything in the park quiets down which means better deals on lodging and flights. You can also find festivals like the Apple and Cider Festival or the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in towns like Port Townsend and Port Angeles.

In the fall, prepare for a bit of rain and overcast weather. Similar to the spring season, the fall can sometimes be a bit unpredictable in terms of weather. The park starts to get rain around the month of October. However, this is one of my personal favorite times to explore the park. I really enjoy late-September to early-October.

  • Pros: Nice weather, beautiful fall colors, fun festivals, minimal crowds
  • Cons: Higher elevation areas get snow, unpredictable weather come late-October

Want an idea of what it looks like in the fall? Check out some of the images below.

December, January, and February

December through February (winter), is usually wet and rainy which means 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, winter is the perfect season to elope. You can experience snow-shoeing in the mountains in the morning and then enjoy a sunset beach stroll at night. Plus, there are tons of locations in the park like the Hoh Rainforest or Lake Crescent that are snow-free.

I’ve personally found that winter is by far the most underrated time of year to elope and one of my personal favorite times to explore.

  • Pros: No crowds, cheaper lodging, airfare, and rental car costs
  • Cons: Higher elevation areas have snow, rainy weather

If a winter elopement in Olympic is calling your name, scroll through some of these images to get an idea of what it looks like during this time of year.

What Airport Should You Fly into if You Want to Elope in Olympic?

The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the closest airport to the park. It’s about 2-3.5 hours away depending on what side of the park you’re traveling to. Most people (including myself) stay in Port Angeles when they visit, making it a 2.5 hour drive.

If you’re staying in the area longer and want to explore as much of the Pacific Northwest as possible, I recommend flying into the Portland International Airport and driving up the coastline to Olympic. While it is a longer drive by about two hours, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking and it’s a great way to see as much of the park as possible before you venture toward Port Angeles. I recommend stopping to explore the Quinault Valley and some of the beaches.

Do You Need an SUV for Olympic National Park?

No, you do not need an SUV for Olympic National Park. A standard sedan will allow you to visit all the popular locations. There are a few 4WD roads in the park if you want to explore the backcountry, but this isn’t super popular to do unless you want an incredible remote experience.

Do You Have to Take a Ferry to Olympic National Park?

No, but you can. Online, you might see that some people say to take the ferry, but I personally don’t recommend doing that, especially during the busy summer season. In a case like this when you take into account the ferry schedule, boarding time, and unboarding time, it’s usually faster just to drive.

A couple in wedding attire kissing on a pier at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.

Do You Need a Permit to Elope in Olympic National Park?

If you have less than 5 people at your elopement, no. This includes the two of you, your photographer, officiant, etc. If you have more than 5 people, yes, you’re going to need what’s called a “special use permit.” The permit is $50 and can be applied for entirely online.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Fill out the downloadable application here.
  2. Send in your completed application to OLYM_Permits@nps.gov.
  3. After the office receives your permit, they will send you a link where you will be able to pay the $50 permit fee online. The permit office is a bit slow and won’t get in contact with you about your permit until about a month before your big day.
  4. After paying, you will receive the completed permit a few days after. Be sure to print this out and bring it with you on your wedding day in case you get stopped by a park ranger.

If you need more information, check out the official park’s website permit page that walks you through everything you need to know.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure about the permit process, ask your photographer to help. They should be able to point you in the right direction and/or complete the applications for you.

A couple in wedding attire kissing on Ruby Beach with light rays in the back.

How to Get a Marriage License for Your Olympic National Park Elopement

In order to get married in Olympic National Park, you’ll need to get a Washington marriage license.

There are a few things you need to know about Washington marriage licenses:

  • You can get a marriage license in any county. You DO NOT need to get one in the county you’re getting married in.
  • Washington State has a 3-day waiting period which means you can’t get married until 3 days have passed after picking up your license.
  • The license is valid for 60 days.

I usually recommend getting your marriage license through a county that allows you to apply for the marriage license via mail, so you don’t have to worry about getting to Washington 3 days before your elopement. Clallam County, which is the county of Port Angeles, allows mail-in applications.

To get a marriage license through Clallam County, fill out the online application found here. After you fill out the application, mail it into the office with a $62 money order or cashiers check. Instructions can be found on the application.

If you prefer to show up in-person, fill out the application then head to the County Clerk’s office in Port Angeles together with your photo ID and $62 to pick up your license.

To get more information and step-by-step instructions on how to get a marriage license in Washington, check out the official Clallam County government site or my SUPER helpful article that breaks down exactly how to get a marriage license in Washington, step-by-step.

Do You Need an Officiant and Witnesses for Your Olympic National Park Elopement?

Yes, you will need an officiant and two witnesses in order to elope 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.

Pro tip: Hoping to elope just the two of you and not sure about witnesses? Witnesses can be people on the trail, friends back home, or even the park rangers!

How Many Guests Can You Have at Your Olympic National Park Elopement?

Each location within Olympic National Park has different max capacity numbers when it comes to guests. However, most sites within the park only allow up to 20 people for a wedding or elopement. Places like the coast or Hurricane Ridge can accommodate more guests than places like Madison Falls or Lake Crescent – it just depends on your location!

However, if you’re hoping to invite more guests, consider small nearby wedding venues like Fern Acres in Forks (my personal favorite), Sea Cliffs Gardens in Port Angeles, or Misty Clover Farms in Discovery Bay for your ceremony.

For more small venue options in Olympic National Park, check out my super helpful Olympic Peninsula wedding venue guide!

Pro tip: If you’re wanting to invite a larger group of friends and family but also want to explore the park on your own, consider a 2-day elopement experience. Check out Autumn and Christian’s 2-day fall elopement in Olympic National Park to get some more inspiration!

A bride and groom holding their miniature poodle and smiling on Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park.

Can You Bring Your Dog?

Yes! Olympic National Park has a variety of different locations where dogs are permitted. However, dogs are generally not allowed at Olympic’s most popular sites. If you’re hoping for more location options, consider looking into the nearby national forest which is super dog-friendly and my top recommendation for elopements with pups.

Pets are permitted at the following locations:

  • Ruby Beach
  • Peabody Creek Trail
  • Rialto Beach parking lot to Ellen Creek (about .8 miles along the beach)
  • The beaches between the Hoh and Quinault Reservations (Kalaloch beach area)
  • Madison Falls Trail
  • Spruce Railroad Trail
  • July Creek Loop Trail
  • Olympic Discovery Trail – Part of this trail isn’t technically in the park, but I wanted to include it because it’s one of my favorite spots if you’re hoping to squeeze some portraits in close to your Airbnb, as this trail spans from the coastline all the way to Port Townsend running through places like Port Angeles and Sequim!

To get more information about bringing your pets to the park, check out the official park’s page here. Some of my personal favorite dog-friendly locations are Madison Falls and Ruby Beach.

A couple in wedding attire holding umbrellas and laughing at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park.

Where to Stay for Your Olympic National Park Elopement

Olympic National Park itself only has a handful of lodging options. However, the park is 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 if you’re looking for something more secluded. Expect to drive a bit to get to the grocery store, but this is the perfect place to unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

  • 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 on the shoreline.
  • 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!
  • Lake Quinault Lodge – Wake up to a private balcony overlooking the lake followed by a fresh baked breakfast in the famous Roosevelt Dining Room (yes, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ate in the room in 1937)!

Port Angeles

Port Angeles is the most popular place to stay when visiting Olympic National Park. It’s a medium-sized city located on the water filled with cute shops and dining options. Port Angeles is very close to places like Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent. This is where most couples stay, as there are a variety of things to do and see around the area like bookstores and coffee shops while still being centrally located to the park. This is the middle point of Olympic National Park.

Blue Haven – A beautifully designed home on Lake Sutherland with a private dock and two decks with incredible viewpoints. It also comes with kayaks you can utilize during your stay. I’ve stayed on Lake Sutherland before and it’s an amazing experience!

Agate Beach Lodge – If you’re looking for the most intimate elopement experience possible, you need to check out Agate Beach Lodge. This gorgeous property can host weddings up to 75 people. The entire lodge is located on a private beach with fire pits and picnic tables. Hands-down one of my favorite places in the area.

Happy Glamper Dome – If you’re looking for a unique experience, you need to check out this glamping dome just 2 miles from the Elwha River. Did I mention it has an outdoor shower?

Port Angeles Mid Century Ocean Lookout – A modern home with a stunning ocean view located close to trails and town and furnished with original pieces and art from the mod era.

Hurricane Ridge Retreat – Just minutes away from Hurricane Ridge lies a 1-acre home with a hot tub and immense charm. If you’re looking to be close to town yet feel like you’re living off-grid, this is the place for you.

Forks

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, this is the place I recommend staying if you’re planning a ceremony at Ruby Beach or the Hoh Rainforest, as it’s just a short drive away from town. However, I don’t recommend staying here for your entire trip as there isn’t much to do or see in the area.

River’s Edge – A large home right against the Bogachiel River. This is a great place to stay in nature, especially if you have a few guests you’d like to bring along.

Cozy Rainforest Cabin – This is another cabin in pristine wooded setting on the banks of the Bogachiel River, located midway between Forks and the Hoh Rainforest. It’s a bit of a drive to town, but worth every minute.

Wild Coast Craftsman – A beautifully decorated home in the heart of downtown Forks. Walk to restaurants, stores, and more. I’ve stayed here and it was fantastic!

Red Roof Retreat – If you’re looking for a place to stay where you and your guests would have a blast, the Red Roof is the place for you. Enjoy a hot tub, fire pit, and even a game room in a home located near downtown Forks.

Trout Corner – Looking for a unique experience? Stay in this tiny home a few minutes north of Forks. It’s close to the Sol Duc River and has a charming yard space.

Other nearby towns include Sequim and Port Townsend, both of which are East of Port Angeles. These towns are a bit further away from the park’s main attractions. However, it’s worth the drive. I love Sequim for its variety of big-name stores like Costco and Michaels, but also because they have some incredible lavender farms. Port Townsend is incredible for views, historic sites, and good food.

A couple in wedding attire holding hands and looking at each other on Hurricane Ridge.

How Much Does It Cost to Elope in Olympic National Park?

Most couples spend between $5,000-$15,000 for their elopement in Olympic National Park. This is one of the more affordable places to elope due to its proximity to a large airport, low permit costs, and lots of lodging choices. You can truly make your elopement as expensive or affordable as you’d like depending on your preferences.

To help give you a better idea of cost, here’s a breakdown what you can expect to spend on your Olympic National Park wedding or elopement. I obtained these specific numbers when researching a 4-day, 3-night weekend trip (Friday-Monday) during the gorgeous fall season (October 4th-7th).

High-End Elopement Budget

  • $650 plane tickets – This greatly depends on where you’ll be flying from. However, most flights into Seattle are fairly affordable since it’s a large international airport. This specific number is the cost of a nonstop flight from New York to Seattle for two.
  • $400 rental car – This is the price of an SUV from Hertz at the airport.
  • $1,500 Airbnb in Port Angeles – This is a beachfront Airbnb with a hot tub located in Port Angeles.
  • $10,000 elopement photographer – For full day elopement coverage.
  • $500 florals – Includes a bouquet and boutonnière and florals for a tablescape.
  • $500 hair and makeup
  • $400 officiant – For a personalized ceremony and filing with the county clerk.
  • $200 activity – A private chef experience for two.
  • $50 miscellaneous costs – Could go towards parking, a small cake, etc.
  • $62 marriage license – For Clallam County
  • $50 special use permit

Total cost = $14,312

Standard Elopement Budget

  • $650 plane tickets – This greatly depends on where you’ll be flying from. However, most flights into Seattle are fairly affordable since it’s a large international airport. This specific number is the cost of a nonstop flight from New York to Seattle for two.
  • $300 rental car – This is the price of a standard sedan from Hertz at the airport.
  • $650 Airbnb in Port Angeles – This is a roomy home in downtown Port Angeles.
  • $8,000 elopement photographer – For full day elopement coverage.
  • $350 florals – Includes a bouquet and boutonnière.
  • $500 hair and makeup
  • $200 officiant – For a quick ceremony and filing with the county clerk.
  • $50 miscellaneous costs – Could go towards parking, a small cake, etc.
  • $62 marriage license – For Clallam County
  • $50 special use permit

Total cost = $10,812

Low-End Elopement Budget

  • $650 plane tickets – This greatly depends on where you’ll be flying from. However, most flights into Seattle are fairly affordable since it’s a large international airport. This specific number is the cost of a nonstop flight from New York to Seattle for two.
  • $200 rental car – This is the price of a standard sedan from an off-site rental car company or a rental through Turo.
  • $450 Airbnb in Port Angeles – A charming guesthouse in Port Angeles.
  • $6,000 elopement photographer – For half day to full day elopement coverage.
  • $50 florals – DIY bouquet.
  • $0 hair and makeup – DIY hair and makeup
  • $0 officiant – Have me or a guest officiate your marriage for free.
  • $50 miscellaneous costs – Could go towards parking, a small cake, etc.
  • $62 marriage license – For Clallam County
  • $50 special use permit

Total cost = $7,512

As you can see, you can truly make your elopement experience as grand or simple as you’d like. According to a report by CNN, the national cost of a wedding is $29,000. The high-end elopement budget is about half of what it would cost to have a big wedding. Sounds like a win to me!

Elopement Activities in Olympic National Park

Whether you’re looking for activities to do before, on, or after your elopement, these are some of my personal recommendations.

  • Bike along the Olympic Discovery Trail – This is a great dog-friendly trail! It’s popular for hiking, biking, walking, etc.
  • Explore the Twilight Forever museum – When in Forks, right?
  • Walk downtown Port Angeles and explore the shops – My personal favorites are MOSS and Odyssey Bookshop.
  • Dine on some Italian food at Bella Italia
  • Go whale watching in Port Angeles
  • Have your first dance under the stars – Hurricane Ridge is the best place for this!
  • Enjoy some s’mores around a campfire – Select beaches allow campfires, but be on the lookout for fire bans which are in effect during the summer months.
  • Go kayaking, paddle boarding, or swimming in Lake Crescent – You can rent kayaks on the shore or in town.
  • Visit a lavender farm in Sequim – Purple Haze is my personal favorite.
  • Take a wildlife tour around the park – Hurricane Ridge is the spot for deer, Hoh Rainforest for elk, and Rialto Beach for marine life.
  • Go tidepooling at Rialto Beach
  • Hike one of the many trails in the park – I recommend Hurricane Hill, Sol Duc Falls, and Mount Storm King.
  • Relax in one of the many hot springs
  • Visit a bookstore in Port Angeles
  • Go wine tasting
  • Check out Sequim’s drive-thru wildlife farm
A couple in wedding attire standing in front of a large rock on Ruby Beach during sunset.

Olympic National Park Wedding Vendors

Below are a few of my favorite wedding vendors I have worked with in the past. I also send detailed local recommendations to each of my couples who book with me so you can find the vendor team of your dreams!

Officiants

Styling and Coordination

Hair and Makeup

Florist

Photographer

That’s me! I’m a part-time local (I live in Port Angeles in the summers) who specializes in Olympic National Park elopements. If you’re looking for a photographer to help plan and capture your special day in Olympic National Park, you’ve come to the right place. I’m not only a photographer, but also a planner who helps couples plan once-in-a-lifetime elopements in the Pacific Northwest by creating personalized location lists, offering vendor recommendations, assisting with logistics like permits and marriage licenses, creating customized timelines, and so much more. Check out my Olympic National Park elopement packages for more details.

Olympic National Park Elopement Timeline Examples

One of the main questions I get asked as a photographer is “how much photo coverage do I need for my elopement in Olympic National Park?” The short answer? More than you might think. The long answer? At least 8! The park is ginormous, and if you’re hoping to see as many locations as you can, 8 hours is a great place to start.

Check out some inspiration below to see how much time you need for your elopement!

12-Hour Elopement

  • 10:00am – Brianna arrives at the Airbnb for getting ready images
  • 12:00pm – First look
  • 12:15pm – Head to Ruby Beach for the ceremony with your dog and family/friends.
  • 1:00pm – Arrive and begin the ceremony
  • 1:15pm – Family portraits
  • 1:45pm – Family picnic on the beach with FaceTimes back home
  • 3:00pm – Couples portraits on the beach
  • 4:00pm – Head to the Hoh Rainforest for more couples portraits
  • 4:45pm – Arrive and begin photographing
  • 6:00pm – Head back to the Airbnb for cake and champagne to celebrate
  • 6:45pm – Let the party begin! Celebrate, open letters, etc.
  • 8:00pm – Couples portraits at a nearby secret location for golden hour
  • 9:00pm – Small campfire with s’mores and a first dance under the stars to end the night
  • 10:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves

8-Hour Elopement

  • 1:00pm – Brianna arrives at the Airbnb for getting ready images
  • 2:00pm – First look
  • 2:15pm – Head to Hurricane Ridge for the ceremony
  • 3:00pm – Arrive and begin the ceremony
  • 3:15pm – Family portraits
  • 3:30pm – Quick couples portraits around Hurricane Ridge
  • 4:00pm – Leave for Lake Crescent
  • 5:00pm – Couples portraits and picnic at Lake Crescent
  • 6:00pm – Travel to a nearby secret forest
  • 6:30pm – Quick couples portraits in the forest
  • 7:00pm – Leave for the beach
  • 8:00pm – Meet family at the beach for toasts and portraits
  • 9:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves

4-Hour Elopement

  • 5:00pm – Brianna arrives at the Airbnb for getting ready images
  • 6:00pm – First look
  • 6:15pm – Head to Hurricane Ridge for the ceremony
  • 7:00pm – Arrive and begin the ceremony
  • 7:15pm – Family portraits
  • 7:30pm – Sunset couples portraits around Hurricane Ridge
  • 9:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves
A couple in wedding attire looking at the rock formations on Second Beach in Olympic National Park.

5 Must-Know Olympic National Park Elopement Tips

As a local, there are a few things I recommend to all couples looking to elope in the park. Here are some tips that will make your experience the best it can be.

Prepare to Drive

Like I’ve stated before, the park is huge and the main attractions can be about an hour to an hour and a half away from each other. There is also frequent construction, so be sure to leave plenty of time to get from one destination to the next.

Stay After Sunset

Olympic National Park is one of the best places to see the stars, especially in higher elevation locations like Hurricane Ridge or somewhere along the coastline due to low light pollution. In the summer, they even offer guided tours. Consider doing an astrophotography session for some epic star images.

Plan For 3-5 Days

The park is gigantic. Even when I live here during the summers, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. 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.

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 (mainly in the spring and fall), so bring lots of layers just in case.

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 read all about Olympic National Park and what it has to offer, I hope I’ve convinced you to elope in the area. I’m Brianna, an Olympic National Park elopement photographer who specializes in photographing and planning elopements in the park. To see more details about what’s included in all my elopement packages, check out my pricing page here, or read below to get a little sneak peek.

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
  • Complimentary album design
  • 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
  • Travel fees to anywhere in Washington are already included
  • Starting at $6,500

Olympic National Park Elopement Photos

Here are a few more images of elopements in the park to help you get excited and inspired about the possibilities of your very own elopement in Olympic National Park.

Still Need More Olympic National Park Inspiration?

Take a peek at some of my most helpful resources and galleries about specific locations in Olympic below!

Pin for Later

Don’t forget to save these handy graphics to your Pinterest boards so you can come back to this guide over and over again!

FAQ

Can you elope in Olympic National Park?

Yes, according to the NPS website, you can elope in Olympic National Park.

Can you get married at Olympic National Park?

Yes, according to the NPS website for Olympic, you can get married at Olympic National Park as long as you have a special use permit if there are more than 5 people present at your elopement.

Do you need a permit to elope in Olympic National Park?

Yes, you need a special use permit to elope in Olympic National Park if you have more than 5 people present at your elopement. The permit costs $50 and can be applied for online through the NPS website.

How much does it cost to elope in Olympic National Park?

It costs $50 to elope in Olympic National Park due to permit costs. However, most couples end up spending around $5,000-$15,000 for an elopement in Olympic National Park.

Don’t forget your FREE elopement guide!

An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.


A girl holding a camera and smiling.

You? You’re the kind of person that gets a lil’ teary eyed looking at an epic view…

That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.

These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.

If the mountains/beaches/redwood forests are calling your name, go ahead…

(I promise you won’t regret it.)

P.S. I’m Brianna. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.

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