Acadia National Park Elopement
Along the coastline of Maine is Acadia National Park, a gorgeous park that offers picturesque backdrops and adventurous trails to explore. Spanning over 49,000 acres, Acadia encompasses granite peaks, lush forests, and pristine lakes, providing endless areas to adventure during your special day. But how can you elope in Acadia National Park? We go over everything you need to know when it comes to planning your Acadia elopement from where and when to elope in Acadia to specific elopement vendors to help you document your wedding day.
Not sure about eloping in Acadia? Explore our New England elopement packages for more places to elope!
How to Elope in Acadia National Park
Eloping in Acadia is pretty straightforward, especially once you acquire your wedding permit (if needed), park pass, and marriage license with a hired officiant (if you’re planning an official ceremony here). Even though the process is pretty simple, like most elopements, it’s helpful to break down the park as a whole because you have a ton of options when it comes to where you can elope within the park and when.
In this resource:
- Where to elope in Acadia
- When to elope in Acadia
- Permits for Your Acadia Elopement
- Places to Stay Near Acadia
- Vendors for Your Acadia Wedding Day
Where to Elope in Acadia
Acadia is one of the most popular location to elope in the New England area. You can choose from mountains and cliffs to beaches and lighthouses. The diversity offered in Acadia allows couples to experience an all inclusive adventure.
Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak on the East Coast, offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Jordan Pond, with its crystal-clear waters and scenic trails, provides a serene lakeside option. Beehive Trail and Bubble Rock are more adventurous trails for elopement couples. Sand Beach and Thunder Hole showcase the dramatic coastal beauty, creating a romantic atmosphere for exchanging vows. With over 120 miles of hiking trails and the iconic carriage roads, couples can choose the perfect spot to celebrate their love amidst Acadia’s natural wonders. There are specific locations within Acadia that are permitted for elopements and small weddings. We’ll discuss those below.
The following locations and group size limits have been established for simple wedding ceremonies of more than 10 people within Acadia National Park. Keep in mind that if you’re planning an elopement with less than 10 people (including yourself and your vendors), then discuss what areas you can explore that are outside this list. A lot of photographer’s will suggest less popular off-the-beaten path locations where you both can have an intimate ceremony. In order to protect these areas, we will leave them off of our list.
Cadillac Mountain is one of the most popular elopement spots in the park. So popular that no wedding ceremonies are allowed here during sunrise or sunset. It’s the highest point on the eastern seaboard of the US (1,530 ft), and you’ll see views of coastal and island landscapes.
You will also need a vehicle reservation to drive the Cadillac Summit Road from May 24 through October 22 (about $6). This is subject to change at any time, so please double check the park’s website for the latest information.
Guest limit: 30 people max
Get inspired: Barefoot Elopement Ceremony at Acadia
Sand Beach is a small beach between mountains and rocky shores on the east side of Mount Desert Island in Acadia. This location can be found on Park Loop Road. No pets are allowed on the beach from May 15 through September 15. This area is unique because the raging waves have created this beach that consists mainly of unique shell fragments from the water rushing towards the shore.
Guest limit – 30 people max
Ocean Drive is a great option for couples who want more of a longer elopement adventure. Ocean Drive is often referred to as the trail from Sand Beach to Otter Point. It’s a 1.8 mile adventure where you’ll see some of the most popular spots in Acadia including Sand Beach, Beehive, Ocean Path, Gorham Mountain, Otter Cliff, and Otter Point.
Guest limit – 30 people max
Otter Cliff is one of the most popular spots in Acadia. On the East side of the Park Loop Road and near Thunder Hole is the 110 foot high Otter Cliff. This is one of the highest Atlantic Coastal headlands and it has some of the most epic sea views.
Guest limit – 20 people max
Get Inspired: Adventure Filled Elopement Featuring Otter Cliffs
Otter Point is a 1.1 mile out and back trail near Seal Harbor, Maine. It takes about 25 minutes to complete and it’s a popular area, so expect crowds. Despite the crowds, you’ll see amazing views of the coastline without being on a beach.
Guest limit- 30 people max
Fabbri Picnic Area
Fabbri Picnic Area is located on the east side of Mount Desert Island past Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs. This is a good spot to stop during your adventure to have a small reception with your family and friends who are adventuring with you.
Guest limit – 30 people max
Little Hunters Beach
Off of Park Loop Road, Southeast of Otter Point and Otter Cove, you’ll find Little Hunters Beach. It’s secluded from the road itself (which is nice for a lot of couples) and it’s accessible by a stairway down to the beach. It’s a little secluded area that makes for a perfect ceremony location to exchange vows. Swimming here is not recommended due to strong currents, and some rocks are extremely slippery here from rock weed or kelp when wet.
Guest limit – 20 people max
Seawall Picnic Area
Seawall is about 40 minutes from the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. This area is super unique compared to others at Acadia because it is not covered with cobblestones. The coastline consists of a seawall created by ocean storms. From breaking waves, rocks are carried to the shore to form a small slope.
Guest limit – 30 people max
Between Mount Desert Island and the mainland town of Trenton, you’ll find Thompson Island. This is where the visitor center for Acadia National Park is located. However, there is also a picnic area with an open field open from mid-April through the end of November. The picnic area overlooks the Mount Desert Narrows. Keep in mind that your permit gives you authorization to use the area and tables, but it is not a reservation. With that in mind, if you’re planning a small wedding, come early.
Guest limit – 50 people max
Schoodic Point, located at the southern tip of Schoodic Peninsula in Winter Harbor, Maine, provides one of the best places to elope with a view of the rushing waves. You can also see epic views of Cadillac Mountain here.
Guest limit – 25 people max
Frazer Point Picnic Area
Frazer Point Picnic Area is perfect for small weddings and elopements alike. You can see Winter Harbor, Maine from Frazer Point. There’s a 40-foot pier with a floating dock here as well. The bathroom here is usually closed mid-October, so this is important to consider if you are planning a wedding ceremony with family and friends.
Guest limit- 50 people max
If you’re eloping at any of these locations, please remember to leave no trace. Leave the area better than you found it. It’s also important to remember that Acadia National Park is a public space, so your elopement isn’t a private event. Time allowed for outdoor events is about an hour, and there are maximum usage limits for certain areas of the park in place. Please talk to the park rangers to make sure you’re following the latest information for the given elopement location you have selected.
When to Elope in Acadia
When it comes to planning your elopement at Acadia, the next question you need to consider is when you’re going to elope in Acadia? Weather at this national park can be unpredictable, so it’s always good to team up with an experienced vendor in the area. Even though Acadia National Park is open year-round, you do still need to plan accordingly based on the season you’re planning to elope.
Spring in Acadia National Park
As the snow melts, the blooming flowers and trees brighten the scenery. This is a great time to elope in Acadia. Even though it’s still a little cold from the winter, you can pack in layers and enjoy the changing seasons.
Summer in Acadia National Park
Summer is a great time to plan your elopement, especially if you want to do a lot of water activities and hiking. You can spend the day hiking, boating, or swimming together. The only downside to the summer is a lot of visitors also want to enjoy the park during the time too. Choosing a less popular location for your ceremony and eloping during the weekday can help you navigate the crowds and still have an intimate adventure together.
Fall in Acadia National Park
We will always be a sucker for Fall elopements, especially in Acadia. Eloping in Acadia with the changing leaves and the cool weather is the perfect mix for a gorgeous elopement day. Fall can also bring a lot of tourists, so plan a weekday elopement to avoid the crowds!
Winter in Acadia National Park
Winter is the least visited season in Acadia, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a beautiful time to elope here. It will be cold, but you’ll see a side of Acadia not many people see, making your elopement unique and unforgettable. Don’t forget to dress warm and with lots of layers!
Permits For Your Acadia Elopement
Now that you know where and when you’ll be eloping in Acadia, let’s discuss the most important puzzle piece to your Acadia wedding adventure: permits.
Permits are required for weddings and commitment ceremonies in the park, with the exception of simple ceremonies of up to 10 people that meet certain restrictions.
Simple ceremonies of up to ten people (including the officiate) may be conducted without a permit. HOWEVER, please double-check with the park rangers. If you want to have a wedding arch, for example, then you’ll need a permit.
The nonrefundable permit application fee is $75.
Once you apply for your permit, you’ll be asked to sign the permit after they review your initial application. Once it’s signed, you’re good to go, and you’ll just need to keep a copy of the permit and bring it with you during your ceremony.
Please keep in mind that applying for a wedding permit through Acadia National Park does not waive entrance fees for the couple and/or their guests.
Places to Stay in Acadia
Now that you done all the hard work, now it’s time to pick somewhere to stay near Acadia. Picking an accommodation near your elopement spot is essential. You don’t want to spend hours traveling. Here are some of our favorite places to consider staying during your wedding in Acadia.
Under Canvas Acadia
This is one of our favorite places to stay near Acadia because it’s waterfront glamping! Under Canvas is located close to the Acadia park entrance and it’s really a prime spot to be at during your Acadia adventure together. Plus, it’s luxury and adventure in one.
Terramor Resort serves as an accommodation and wedding venue in one. You can plan your whole wedding there, or you can glamp it out together in their cozy tents. It’s a great spot surrounded by mountains where you can come back after a long day of adventuring and cuddle up together watching the stars.
Get inspired: Glamping elopement in Acadia featuring Terramor Resort.
Vendors For Your Acadia Wedding Day
Teaming up with an experienced vendor will help your elopement planning go by smoother and less stressful. These photographers, videographers, and planners can help you navigate every detail of your adventure from permits and locations to packing supplies and timelines. Team up with one of them below to start putting together your Acadia National Park elopement package.
Ashley Green Photography
Hayes & Baker Photography
Outdoor Chronicles Photography
Adventure and Vows
Traveling photographer for the adventurous, bold, and fun! Defying traditions and crushing expectations, one couple at a time.
Emma Thurgood – New England Elopements
New England photographer, videographer, and planner for the bespoke elopement of your dreams.