Redwood National Park is located in northernmost coastal California and is home to the largest trees on Earth. Did you know that Redwoods can live to be 2,000 years old and grow to be over 300 feet tall? While Redwood National Park is known for its giant trees, it’s also known for its numerous hiking trails, beaches, and off-the-beaten-path locations only accessible through forest roads or by foot. Not to mention its remoteness, which makes the Redwoods a perfect honeymoon destination for couples looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This guide covers everything you need to know about planning your very own Redwoods elopement or wedding, specifically in Redwood National Park. Let’s get into it!
Where Is Redwood National Park? How Many Parks Are There?
Redwood National Park, also known as Redwood National and State Parks, is actually composed of 4 different parks: Redwood National Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Many people may also be familiar with Humboldt Redwoods State Park, a park that’s a bit more inland and South, though still close to the coast. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is technically separate from the others, though I’ll be touching on it throughout this guide as well.
All of the parks are located fairly close to each other. For reference, each park is about 6-7 hours from the San Francisco or Portland Airport. Check out the map below to see where each park is located.
How Do I Get to Redwood National Park?
There are a few major and minor airports you can fly into to reach the park. Below is a list of driving distances from the closest airports to the main park (the main park being Redwood National Park).
- California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport – 30 minutes (offers flights from large cities on the West Coast, though more expensive and not as nonstop options)
- Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport – 3.5 hours (most recommended to fly into for convenience without sacrificing price)
- Redding Municipal Airport – 4.5 hours (offers direct flights from Seattle and Portland)
- Sacramento International Airport – 6 hours (cheaper and more flight options)
- San Francisco International Airport – 6 hours (cheaper and more flight options)
- Portland International Airport – 7 hours (cheaper and more flight options)
Best Places to Elope in Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park has a list of pre-approved ceremony sites. Below are all the pre-approved ceremony sites of each park from North to South. If you find a location that is not on this list, you must get it approved through the park before applying for your special use permit. We’ll talk more about this shortly. See all the approved ceremony locations here.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is the most northern of the 4 parks and is located just 30 minutes away from Brookings, Oregon. The park is mainly known for its numerous hiking trails and close proximity to both the Smith River and Crescent City, a small town located along the coast. Many couples who plan a Redwoods elopement here also get the chance to experience the beauty of Southern Oregon’s coast due to its proximity to the park.
Max capacity: 20
Templeman Grove is located right off the main highway and requires no hiking no reach. The grove has lots of room for guests and is far less traveled than other locations in the park. This location is worth checking out if you’re hoping for something more secluded, yet close to town.
Organ Donor’s Grove
Max capacity: 20
One of the more quiet ceremony spots in the park is Organ Donor’s Grove. Located at an intersection, this unsuspecting grove is secluded, spacious, and a great site for a Redwoods elopement of any size. However, it is close to a road, so traffic noise is to be expected.
Max capacity: 8
Located along the Smith River lies a 1-mile out-and-back trail called the River Trail. This trail is primarily known for its fallen Redwoods. If you fancy lush greenery and running water, this is the ceremony site for you. This trail is a bit busier than the two previous sites I mentioned, but still a great place to consider if you like variety in locations.
Del Norte Redwoods State Park
Del Norte Redwoods National Park is one of the least-visited parks, though definitely has some hidden gems. It’s mainly known for its close proximity to the coast and various beaches. This park has some of my most favorite hidden gem locations if you’re up for a bit of hiking!
Max capacity: 20 (only available October 25th – May 1st)
If you’re a fan of moody, foggy beaches that meet the forest line, Crescent Beach is the ceremony spot for you. It’s 3 miles long, meaning finding a secluded area is practically guaranteed. Oh, and did I mention it’s dog friendly? I personally adore this beach during the winter months. It’s chilly, but well worth the shivers.
Crescent Beach Overlook
Max capacity: 20 (only available October 25th – May 1st)
Crescent Beach Overlook, though can be a bit crowded, is a great Redwoods elopement location if you have guests that don’t want to walk too far along the beach. The platform provides sweeping views of the ocean and forest. Like I said though, this is one of the more popular locations, so plan your ceremony around sunset.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is the most popular park out the 4. It’s most known for Fern Canyon, Gold Bluffs Beach, and its multiple hiking trails.
Note: Due to high foot traffic, in order to access Fern Canyon and Gold Bluffs Beach (some of the park’s most popular spots), from May 1st to September 30th, you will need to reserve a permit online. Ceremonies are also not allowed in Fern Canyon, but portraits are.
High Bluffs Overlook
Max capacity: 20
One of my favorite spots in the park is High Bluffs Overlook. Not only is it not frequently visited, but it has some of the most beautiful scenery you can find along the coast. I personally love this location for portraits, though it’s not the best if you’re scared of heights, as the drop-offs are pretty steep.
Max capacity: 8
Want to get married in Redwood National Park without the Redwoods? Okay, a little silly, but that’s what Merriman Grove is (kind of), and surprisingly, it’s super unique! The grove is located at the end of the Ah-Pah Trail, a small Redwood-lined walk. It’s super lush and green with ferns and not super busy.
Max capacity: 20
Schmidt Grove is located at the end of Cal Barrel Road, a long windy dirt road, and just so happens to be one of my favorite spots in the entire park. There are numerous pull-offs and tons of room for Redwood elopements with guests. The road is subject to close during certain seasons, though there are still spots around the area worth checking out.
Prairie Creek Amphitheater
Max capacity: 20 (only available October 25th – May 1st)
If you’re looking for a more formal setting or a location with seats, the Prairie Creek Amphitheater is the best you’ll find. There’s a stunning path that leads to the amphitheater and tons of privacy. This is one of the most popular locations for intimate weddings, so be sure to plan in advance to snag this location.
Lost Man Creek
Max capacity: 20
Lost Man Creek is a popular biking trail that runs along a nearby creek. While it doesn’t have a ton of thick redwood trees along the trail (there are some by the picnic area), there are many different spaces and lookouts for ceremonies along the shaded trail.
Max capacity: 6
Berry Glen is a small trail that connects with the famous Lady Bird Johnson Grove. It’s littered with old-growth trees, fern meadows, and tons of ceremony sites for smaller groups. Due to the size of the trail, only 6 people are allowed at this location for your Redwood elopement.
Photo by: Dave Baselt
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is technically its own park, separate from the main Redwood National Park system, but is just as beautiful as the others. Due to its closer proximity to cities like Sacramento and San Francisco, this park is much busier than the others. Humboldt Redwoods State Park also requires a different wedding permit. You can check out their official site for more information about the park and its permit process.
Currently, Humboldt Redwoods State Park does not have specific ceremony sites. Instead, you just let the know where you would like to get married, and they’ll provide restrictions based on that location. The following areas of the park do NOT allow special events or weddings: California Federation of Womens’ Clubs Grove, Founders Grove and Rockefeller Forest, and weddings near Drury Chaney Grove/Trail or Grieg French Bell Grove will require a park monitor, which is an additional fee.
Other Redwoods Elopement Locations
Aside from Redwood National Park itself, there are a variety of different Redwoods elopement locations in California. Below are some of the most popular.
- Muir Woods – A redwood forest on the outskirts of San Francisco. Very popular in the summer!
- Sequoia National Park – A gorgeous national park near Yosemite with giant trees.
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park – An old-growth redwood forest in San Francisco.
- Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – A beautiful state park in Big Sur with redwood groves and trails.
- Oregon Redwoods Trail – An off-the-beaten-path location located in Southern Oregon near the coast.
Can I Get Married Anywhere in the Redwoods?
Technically, no. Ceremonies are not allowed at some of the most popular places in Redwood National Park, that being Fern Canyon, the James Irvine Trail, Stout Grove, or the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail. However, you are allowed to take portraits here so long as you practice Leave No Trace guidelines and it’s just the two of you.
If you want to get married at a different location than the pre-approved ceremony sites, you can submit a permit application that will go out for a two-week review with the staff. We’ll talk more about this in the permit section.
If you’re looking at other Redwoods elopement locations aside from the official national park, be sure to reach out specifically to that location’s permit coordinator, as the rules and ceremony locations may be different.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Elope in Redwood National Park?
While Redwood National Park has a pretty even climate year-round, there are certain seasons that may be better for your elopement depending on your needs.
If you’re hoping for an elopement without the crowds, steer clear from the busy summer. Visiting during the summer months come with traffic, limited parking, increased lodging prices, and lots of mosquitos (especially in July). Many of the main attractions, such as Fern Canyon, also require you to purchase a reservation during the summer in order to control foot traffic in the area. I usually recommend holding off until the fall.
Fall is an incredible time to elope in the park. The weather is nice and cool, the summer crowds have left, and the park is vibrant with fall colors. The beaches are also empty and serene.
If you don’t mind a little rain, winter is an incredible time to elope in Redwood National Park. This is the park’s off-season, meaning there are hardly any visitors. You’d be surprised at just how peaceful and quiet the park gets! While you more than likely will experience some rain, most of it falls onto the trees, protecting you from getting soaking wet.
Spring is a great time to visit the park as well. While you still may experience some rain, there are no crowds, the greenery in the park is at its peak, and the wildlife is abundant. This is one of my favorite times to visit. It truly is magical!
Do I Need a Permit to Elope in Redwood National Park?
Yes, you will need a special use permit to elope in the park. Below are all the steps you need to go through to obtain a permit.
- Choose your ceremony location. Check out the locations I mentioned above!
- Decide what time you want to have your ceremony at (ceremonies are only scheduled for 1-3 hours).
- Fill out the special use permit application.
- Fill out the threatened and endangered species addendum.
- Email both of these forms to the permit coordinator at REDW_Special_Use_Permits@nps.gov.
- Once the forms have been received, you will get an email with a link where you will be able to pay for the permit online. The permit cost is $100 unless you want to elope outside of a pre-approved ceremony site, in which case, the permit would cost $200.
You can see all the forms and steps you need to take on the official park website here.
Note: Permits will not be issued during major holidays due to crowding. Live or dried natural plant/flower material is prohibited as well as props such as arbors, stands, etc. Food and alcohol is also prohibited during ceremonies.
Note: Check out this article to see how to get a California marriage license.
Important Information You Need to Know for Your Redwoods Elopement
#1: The park is remote. Most people don’t realize just how remote the park truly is. Don’t expect to find any fancy restaurants, an abundance of lodging, or big chain stores. Places like Walmart and Target are hours away. Like I said before, it’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. There are tons of cute ma and pa shops, as well as friendly locals.
#2: Download maps offline. All the parks are known to have iffy service. Always be sure to download your maps offline in case you don’t have any service.
#3: Always bring rain gear. Even if you visit during the middle of the summer, always be sure to bring rain gear, as the weather in the area can be a bit unpredictable. I recommend bringing a blanket or clear umbrellas that can be used as cute props in pictures!
#4: Bring food and gas. There aren’t any restaurants or gas stations within the park, just in the nearby towns. Be sure to fill up and bring some food with you into the park on your elopement day.
#5: The roads are windy. If you get carsick easily, bring medicine, as the roads are quite windy.
How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Redwood National Park?
While each couple has different wants for their elopement day, here is a cost breakdown of what you can expect to pay for a Redwoods elopement.
- $700 Plane Tickets – This greatly depends on where you’ll be flying from. Since most airports around the park are smaller, plane tickets may be a bit pricier than usual.
- $400 Rental Car
- $350-$1,000 Two-Night Lodging – This greatly depends on your lodging preferences. There aren’t many places to stay in the park, which makes lodging a bit more expensive than other places. However, if you’re willing to drive a bit, you can find some more affordable options.
- $100-$200 Location Permit – This depends on whether or not you select a pre-approved ceremony site.
- $70-$100 California Marriage License – This depends on the county you get your license from.
- $5,500 Elopement Photographer – This depends on your photographer’s experience. I specialize in elopements around the Pacific Northwest and help my couples with locations, permits, marriage licenses, timelines, vendors, and so much more.
- $400-$600 Hair and Makeup – Due to the remoteness of the park, many vendors will charge a travel fee. I would budget a little more for this vendor.
- $300-$600 Florist
- $0-$500 Officiant – $0 if I or a family member officiate your ceremony, though you can also hire one if it’s within budget.
In total, you can expect to spend anywhere from $7,820 – $9,600 for a Redwoods elopement. Again though, this is just a rough estimate. You can have an elopement cheaper or more expensive than this based on your preferences.
Best Airbnbs Near Redwood National Park
Below are some of the best Airbnbs you can find near Redwood National and State Parks for your elopement.
Located in Oregon, Brookings is mainly known for Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, a great place to check out if you have the time. Brookings has a few grocery stores, thrift stores, and dining options. It’s close to Jedediah Smith and Del Norte and one of my favorite places to stay along the coast.
- Cottage in Brookings – A quaint cottage tucked behind some trees for those looking for a short stay near downtown.
- Pelican Path – A modern, gated home with private beach access.
- Ocean Mist Beach House – The perfect stay for elopements with guests, located right on the cliff with private beach access.
Crescent City Airbnbs
Crescent City is located in California and also lies close to Jedediah Smith and Del Norte, as well as Prairie Creek. Similar to Brookings, you’ll find a few grocery stores like Safeway and Grocery Outlet, as well as local dining and activities. This is where most of my couples stay, as it’s centrally located to almost all the parks.
- The Gasquet Fly In – While technically located in Gasquet, this modern home is located at the bottom of emerald green mountains, has a pool, and even has a runway for sport pilots.
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods Retreat – This private home provides a ton of natural light and has stunning views of the nearby coast.
- Panoramic Ocean Views – Located just steps away from the beach, this giant home not only has a game room, but it can host up to 11 people, perfect for elopements with guests.
Arcata and Eureka Airbnbs
Located close to Prairie Creek and Redwood National Park, Arcata and Eureka are known for their art scene and laidback vibe. These towns have a bit more lodging and shopping options than the other towns, though are a bit further away from some of the parks.
- Vimala Voga Retreat House – Just steps away from the beach lies this artsy home located within a private garden.
- The Forest Oasis – This cottage core inspired home is surrounded by redwood trees and offer deer sighting.
- Yellow Victorian Home – This historic home located near downtown Eureka is any history lovers dream. Plus, it’s great for guests!
Redwood National Park Elopement Packages
I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who helps plan and photograph elopements in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. I’m passionate about helping my couples plan the best day ever in beautiful places like Redwood National Park. Check out my starting prices below and see how I can help plan and photograph your epic Redwoods elopement!
Redwood National Park Elopement Package Pricing
- 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in the Redwoods
- 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 California, Oregon, or Washington are already included
- Starting at $5,500
Yes, you can get married in Redwood National Park.
It costs $160-$400 to have a wedding in the redwoods. This comes from the cost of the marriage license and special use permit. However, this does not take into account travel, vendors, attire, and more.
It costs $160-$400 to elope in the redwoods. This comes from the cost of the marriage license and special use permit.
Yes, you can elope in the redwood forest.
It costs $160-$400 to get married in the redwoods.
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.
AN ELOPEMENT EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER
I’m Brianna, a Pacific Northwest elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.
I help couples all around the world plan unique and unforgettable elopement days by providing personalized location lists, vendor recommendations, permits, guides, and so much more.