Olympic National Park Elopement Guide
Olympic National Park is one of the best places to elope and one of our favorite national parks in Washington State. ONP is located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest and offers a ton of picturesque and unique options for couples to explore during their elopement. From beaches, mountains, and rainforests to meadows, lakes, and waterfalls. If you’re thinking about eloping somewhere in Olympic, then this guide is for you. We’ll cover everything from the best spots to elope in the park, and the best time of year. We’ll even share our featured elopement vendors to help build your ideal Olympic elopement package.
How to Elope in Olympic National Park
Places to Elope in Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is one of our favorite Washington national parks for its whimsical yet dramatic elopement locations to choose from. You can have it all, from a moody forest elopement to a fun beach elopement. The park itself is about 3 hours away from the Seattle airport. However, the exact distance also depends on the part of the park you’re visiting.
Olympic National Park has 194 trails, over 300 high mountain lakes in the park, over 350,000 acres of old-growth forests, 5 different beach areas, and so much more to explore. Its diverse landscape offers couples multiple opportunities to enjoy different activities throughout the year. There is something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate at ONP. While we know of some pretty amazing remote locations in the park to explore on your wedding day, we’ll be sharing some of the more popular locations below. Keep in mind, teaming up with an experienced elopement vendor allows you to have your wedding ceremony in less crowded areas that not many tourists know about.
Whimsical, moody, unique, perfect. This is Hoh Rainforest. So many people come to Olympic just to explore this rainforest, and we could easily see why every time we see an elopement here. It’s the most popular spot in the entire park, but it has everything you’re looking for for your PNW elopement experience. If you’re loving the vibe of Hoh, but you’re getting anxious thinking about all the people you may encounter, then bring this up to one of our featured elopement vendors. We bet you they have some amazing alternatives.
Any Twilight fans thinking about staying in Forks? Ruby Beach is ONP’s most popular beach location and it’s right outside this famous town. We love this beach because even though it does get crowded, you can walk a few minutes and find a spot or two to beat the crowds. It’s also perfect if you’re looking for a moody PNW elopement vibe with epic rock formations. If you want to elope with your dogs, then you can bring them here too!
If you’re looking for an alternative to Ruby Beach, then Rialto Beach is actually up the road from it. Unlike Ruby Beach, this beach is known for its sea stacks and geological formations. This is a dog-friendly beach as well, and it’s a nice alternative if you’re trying to beat the crowds.
If you’re planning a micro wedding in Olympic National Park, then Hurricane Ridge is the perfect accessible mountain location to consider. You and your guests don’t have to hike to get there either, which makes it perfect if you’re inviting grandparents along. However, with this accessibility comes huge crowds. If you’re interested in eloping here, then opt for a sunrise or sunset ceremony during the weekday and off-season!
One of the most iconic Olympic National Park locations is Lake Crescent. You’ll get those Pinterest-worthy photos you have been eyeing with the most gorgeous views from the famous pier located right next to the Lake Crescent Lodge. With its popular views come multiple tourists around the shoreline. Plan for a sunrise or sunset elopement here during the off-season because the summer months here are BUSY.
Waterfalls in ONP are one of our favorite elopement experiences because you get to see some amazing views along the way during some of the hikes, and the waterfalls are just magical. Marymere Falls in particular is a short mile hike. It’s not a HUGE waterfall, but it is still gorgeous just the same, and close to other popular spots like Lake Crescent. Since it has a great location and it’s a fairly easy hike, this location does see a lot of foot traffic.
Madison Falls is a 50-foot waterfall in the park. It’s actually perfect for couples who have guests or who can’t walk very far since it’s ADA-accessible. Keep in mind this elopement spot gets crowded, so we recommend planning a sunrise elopement ceremony here. Another great perk besides the accessibility is this spot is also dog-friendly, so bring your furry friends along (don’t forget their leashes)!
Kalaloch Beach is a unique spot to elope because it’s home to the “Tree of Life”. This tree is actually nestled in between two rock formations and makes for a great backdrop during your portraits. This beach is dog friendly and close to Ruby Beach. Unlike Ruby Beach, however, this beach is flatter and has a forest that meets the sea.
Mount Storm King
For adventurous couples who want a challenge to hike to the summit, this elopement spot is for you. Mount Storm King is steep to reach the top, and you even need some ropes to get up there, making this a worthy challenge for couples who hike often. If you’re not a big fan of a more challenging hike, then you can explore the trails around the area, which give you equally gorgeous views.
When to Elope in Olympic
Olympic is pretty special year-round. We always recommend staying up to date with the park’s website and make sure of any closures to certain locations that may become inaccessible during the time you’re visiting.
Our favorite time to plan an adventure wedding or elope in Olympic National Park is Spring or Fall.
Spring is a popular time to visit ONP, but there is a science to planning your elopement correctly to fully enjoy the fresh new blooms and greenery alongside the waterfalls in Olympic.
Summer is the most popular time to visit the park, so expect loads of crowds. If you’re aiming to have a more private elopement, then this is not your season. You can always plan a sunrise or sunset elopement, but summer does bring the most crowds. If you don’t mind a few people and work out a plan with your elopement vendor, then you’ll be able to enjoy gorgeous weather and even some water activities!
Fall brings the famous fall foliage throughout the park, and you’ll even start to see snow in higher elevations such as Hurricane Ridge. Overall, we prefer fall because the park is quieter than in summer.
Winter is a gamble and be prepared for snow, rain, and park closures. This is the time of year when the least amount of people visit. So if you’re feeling adventurous, want a winter wedding adventure, and are flexible with ceremony locations, then plan a winter elopement at Olympic.
Permits and Leave No Trace in Olympic + WA Wedding License
How to Get Your Special Use Permit for Olympic National Park
Do I need a special use permit to get married in Olympic National Park? Yes.
Special use permits are required for weddings and ceremonies, including elopements. To apply for a special use permit, you can download a Special Use Permit application here. Once you fill it out, send the application back to [email protected].
The permit itself is $50, and we recommend that you apply for your permit at least a month in advance from your wedding date. You can apply for the special use permits on ONP’s website and make sure all the permit information is up to date. Once you receive your permit back, be sure to print it out and bring it with you on your wedding day.
There is also a $30 entrance fee per vehicle, per day to account for in your Olympic wedding expense too!
If you’re planning a bigger wedding ceremony, like a small wedding, then most spots can accommodate up to 30 people. We recommend chatting with your elopement vendor about spots they suggest if you’re planning to include family and friends during your ceremony.
Remember to leave no trace at Olympic National Park during your wedding adventure. It’s important that we leave the area(s) we are visiting better than we found it. If you’re bringing along your dog to one of the dog-friendly locations at ONP, then please pick up and watch over your furry friends.
If you have any questions about leaving no trace during your elopement, check out this resource or ask your photographer what they recommend when it comes to packing and preparing. The fee does increase if you have more than 10 people as well.
1–10 people – $50/day
11–30 people – $150/day
Over 30 people – $250/day
Please note we try to provide the most up-to-date information, but it’s always recommended to check the park’s official website for the latest permit updates and park closures.
Leave No Trace For Your Olympic National Park Elopement
Obtaining your permit is not the only thing you need to consider. You’ll also want to remember to leave no trace and leave the area even better than you found it. Leaving no trace during your elopement ensures other couples and visitors can explore national parks in the future without any issues.
Here are some things to remember:
- Stay only on trails, going off trail will hurt the delicate ecosystem. This includes not going through meadows, especially when wildflowers are in bloom (as tempting as it might sound).
- Olympic does allow dogs at some locations. However, pets are not allowed at Olympic’s Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, and the Hoh Rainforest. Please clean up after your pets and double-check if the area you’re visiting allows them to join you. Check out the park’s rules surrounding pets in ONP.
- Pack extra trash bags to pick up after yourselves.
- Make sure not to have your wedding guests throw any confetti, rice, etc.
Marriage License Requirements in Washington
If you’re planning to have a legal wedding ceremony at ONP, then remember to apply for your marriage license! The license itself is about $69.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Washington has a three-day waiting period, so you can’t get married the same day you get your license.
- You have 60 days to use your license.
- You can apply for a marriage license in any county of Washington State and use it anywhere within WA. However, you’ll need to return it to the same county you first applied.
- You’ll need an officiant and two witnesses to make your wedding ceremony official. Some elopement photographers double as an officiant, and you can always ask some hikers passing by to be witnesses if you want a just-us wedding day.
Do you not want to deal with the stress of getting legally married in the park? You can always plan a commitment ceremony in ONP!
Elopement Vendors For Your Olympic National Park Elopement
As you put your Olympic National Park elopement package together, the best advice we can give you is to team up with someone who has experience planning and documenting elopements at this National Park.
Why team up with a wedding vendor who specializes in elopement and adventure weddings in Olympic National Park? Because these vendors are experts when it comes to PNW elopements in Washington State, they are perfect for your ONP wedding planning needs. While we offer tips and the best places to elope in this guide, these vendors can suggest more remote locations that a lot of tourists aren’t familiar with. Just show them the location you’re loving and ask if they have a more remote suggestion with the same vibe! Team up with one of our featured Washington State elopement vendors below!
Discover a way to feel something more | LGBTQ & BIPOC Friendly | LNT Aware Photographer
Adventure & Vow
An adventure elopement team here to help you plan + capture your dream dream day together from the mountains to the deserts.
Katie Berg Photo
Co-creator for intentional and meaningful elopements | Capturing how it really felt | Leave No Trace Certified | LGBTQ+ friendly
Sabrina Kaye Photography
Marla Manes Photography
LGBTQ+ affirming, BIPOC inclusive, Leave No Trace certified | Stress-free elopements for adventurous couples♥
Documenting love stories that intertwine the raw beauty of nature and human connection | All love is welcome | Leave No Trace ✅
Venture Ever After
Connection is in our Nature || 🏳️🌈 All love celebrated 🏔 Leave No Trace committed || Each booking → A donation made
Best Places to Stay Near Olympic National Park
When it comes to places to stay near and within Olympic National Park, you actually have a good amount of options to pick from.
Check out the following locations you can reserve ahead of time:
ONP also has campground reservations. Kalaloch, Mora, and the Hoh Rain Forest campgrounds are the only park-operated campgrounds that accept reservations in the summer. Campsites are first-come, first-serve the rest of the year.
OR you can always check out some of our favorite rental properties nearby you can stay at before your Olympic adventure together.