Redwood National Park, located in Northern California, is a place I believe everyone should experience at least once in their life. There’s something about being encompassed by giant trees that makes you realize, in the best way possible, how small you truly are. There are numerous trails, beaches, and off-the-beaten-path locations to explore. Not to mention, its remoteness makes it the 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.

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 more touristy.

All of the parks are located fairly close to each other. For reference, each park is about 6-7 hours from the San Francisco and 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.

  • California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport – 30 minutes
  • Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport – 3.5 hours (most recommended)
  • Redding Municipal Airport – 4.5 hours (has direct flights from Seattle and Portland)
  • Sacramento International Airport – 6 hours
  • San Francisco International Airport – 6 hours
  • Portland International Airport – 7 hours

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. 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.

A Walk in the Templeman Grove by Sierralara - ViewBug.com

Templeman Grove

Max capacity: 20

Templeman Grove is located right off the main highway and requires no hiking. The trees in this grove are a bit skinnier than others, but there is lots of room for guests and is a bit more quiet than other locations in the park.

Organ Donor's Grove Pre-approved Wedding - Redwood National and State Parks  (U.S. National Park Service)

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 an elopement of any size.

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River Trail

Max capacity: 8

Located along the Smith River lies a 1-mile out-and-back trail, the River Trail, known primarily 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, but still a great place to consider if you like variety.

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.

Crescent Beach, Crescent City, CA - California Beaches

Crescent Beach

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 totally possible. Oh, and did I mention it’s dog friendly?

Crescent Beach, Crescent City, CA - California Beaches

Crescent Beach Overlook

Max capacity: 20 (only available October 25th – May 1st)

Crescent Beach Overlook, though can be a bit crowded, is a great 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.

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.

High Bluff Overlooks Trails - California | AllTrails

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 along the coast. I personally love this location for portraits, though it’s not the best if you’re scared of heights.

Merriman Grove Pre-approved Wedding Location - Redwood National and State  Parks (U.S. National Park Service)

Merriman Grove

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, and surprisingly, it’s super unique! The grove is located at the end of a trail of redwoods. It’s super lush and green with ferns and not super busy.

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Zig Zag #2

Max capacity: 10

Similar to Merriman Grove, Zig Zag #2 is a 3.5 mile loop that will make you feel like you’re in Jurassic Park. Filled with ferns, moss-covered trees, and running water, this location is nothing short of amazing.

Schmidt Grove

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 park. There are numerous pull-off spots and tons of room for 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 Pre-approved Wedding Location - Redwood National  and State Parks (U.S. National Park Service)

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.

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.

Berry Glen

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.

Can I Get Married Anywhere in the Park?

Technically, no. Ceremonies are not allowed at the most popular places in the 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.

When Is the Best Time of Year to Elope in Redwood National Park?

The fall and spring are the two best times to elope in the park. Both the weather and crowds are great during this time of year. If you’re wanting to avoid all the crowds, steer clear from summer. Visiting during this time comes with traffic, limited parking, increased lodging prices, and lots of mosquitos. Don’t mind a little rain? The winter is a great time to elope. There is hardly anyone in the park and while you might experience some rain, most of it falls onto the trees, protecting you from getting soaking wet.

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 require a permit.

  1. Choose your ceremony location.
  2. Decide what time you want to have your ceremony at (ceremonies are only scheduled for 1-3 hours).
  3. Fill out the special use permit application.
  4. Fill out the threatened and endangered species addendum.
  5. Email both of these forms to the permit coordinator at REDW_Special_Use_Permits@nps.gov.
  6. Once the forms have been received, you will get an email where you can pay for your 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.

A bride and groom holding hands and walking through the redwoods.

Important Information You Need to Know for Your Redwoods Elopement

#1: The parks are remote. Most people don’t realize just how remote the parks truly are. Don’t expect to find any fancy restaurants, an abundance of lodging, or big chain stores. Like I said before, it’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

#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.

#4: Bring food and gas. There aren’t any restaurants or gas stations within the park. 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.

A bride and groom sitting on a log and kissing in Redwood National Park.

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.
  • $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.
  • $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
  • $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.

Best Airbnbs Near Redwood National Park

Below are some of the best Airbnbs you can find near Redwood National and State Parks.

Brookings Airbnbs

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

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. Check out my starting prices below and see how I can help plan and photograph your epic elopement!

Redwood National Park Elopement Package Pricing

  • 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in California
  • 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 are already included
  • Starting at $5,500

Want more elopement inspiration? Check out my Forest Wedding Guide, Oregon Elopement Guide, and Washington Elopement Guide.

FAQ

Can you get married in Redwood National Park?

Yes, you can get married in Redwood National Park.

How much does a wedding in the redwoods cost?

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.

How much does it cost to elope in redwoods?

It costs $160-$400 to elope in the redwoods. This comes from the cost of the marriage license and special use permit.

NEED HELP PLANNING YOUR DREAM ELOPEMENT?

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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.

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