I’d love to be your California Elopement Photographer! But first, if you are wondering the best places to elope in California, you are in luck! Of all the states, California has one of the most diverse landscapes that encompass snow-capped mountains, massive lakes, old-growth forests, sandy beaches, and rugged sea cliffs. If you are looking for the best elopement locations take a look below!
If you are wanting to elope closer to the world famous Golden Gate Bridge, these are the best places to elope in San Francisco, all within a few miles from the City, that provide just as intimate and beautiful a setting as you need.
Outdoor Elopement Locations
If hiking, being out in nature, and having a more intimate low key wedding is your preference, these locations are perfect
Muir Woods (Mill Valley)
This remarkable grove, which can be found in San Francisco bay comprises of California’s must-sees. This spectacular elopement destination offers great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Mount Tamalpais. Muir Woods offer great settings for your elopement filled with stillness and quiet. If you are looking to spend your elopement with you and your partner, this is the perfect spot. As described by John Muir, the wind blows the freshness of nature into you while the mountains give you a good view of their tidings.
While the park remains open for the whole year, it is advisable to avoid the peak seasons if you are looking for a quiet elopement. The park also offers great camping options if you are looking to spend your elopement night in adventurous surroundings.
Mount Tamalpais State Park (Mill Valley)
This popular elopement and recreational spot can be found an hour away north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The drive to the park features panoramic views while the park sits majestically at the centre of Marin county. The park offers sweeping hillsides and deep canyons cloaked with open grasslands, oak woodlands and redwood forests. While at the top of the Mountain, one is treated to spectacular views of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada, Mount Diablo, the east bay, San Francisco and the Marin County hills. You can set up your elopement in one of the parks various offerings then come down to enjoy a couple of outdoor plays at the Mountain’s theatre.
If you are planning to elope during the weekend, ensure that you arrive early and avoid the heavy weekend traffic. The best time to visit the park is during the spring and summer as the temperatures tend to be warm and ideal for outdoor elopement and adventures.
This is the most epic elopement destination in Northern California. Yosemite national park is a popular elopement destination that features 1,200 square miles of famous waterfalls, mountain overlooks, valleys and exquisite meadows stretching from the Yosemite valley to the Taft Point. Your elopement will blow you off your feet regardless of the chosen setting. Yosemite national park helps you realize how beautiful and big this world is.
Plan to visit the park from Mid May to June when the wildflowers are in bloom, and the waterfalls will be clear and at their peaks. However, you are expected to knock elbows as the park is often full at this time. If you are looking for a silent elopement in this park, plan to visit during either the fall or winter.
While you can visit the valley all year round, do not expect much activity around the pack between September to May.
Big Sur (Monterey County)
You will never go wrong when planning to hold your elopement at the Big Sur. Found in California’s central region; the Big Sur features a rugged coastline that is popular for its Redwoods, Sandy Beaches, Big cliffs and Aqua water. You can have your elopement at the shores of the Pacific Ocean or climb the succulent covered hills that will give you spectacular views of the Coastline below. You can also be adventurous by heading inland to the giant redwood groves, which will offer you amazing backgrounds for your elopement pictures.
After completing your vows, enjoy your evenings by booking one of the impressive AirBnB’s around, visit the quaint inns or have dinner in one of the world-class hotels you can access along Highway One. You also get access to wide of camping options to choose from.
I do recommend that you plan your visit around September to October as it is the best time to visit.
Lake Tahoe (Placer County)
Lake Tahoe is also known as America’s All-Year Playground and is popular for hosting all types of outdoor recreational fun. The Lake features a well-rounded area for all-year adventures. These range from summer activities such as rafting, Kayaking and hiking to winter activities such as snow sports of all kind. Lake Tahoe comes with spectacular views making it a great elopement destination. You can opt for the Southern part of the Lake, which much lower and attracts lots of tourists or the Northern part of the Lake, which features a cosy mountain town and offers incredible views of the area below. Regardless of the side of the Lake you have chosen, you will find plenty of accommodation options to match your taste.
Redwood National Park (Humboldt County)
While mountain tops remain hidden due to inaccessibility, Mt. San Jacinto is an exception to this rule. This park features an aerial tramway that takes only 10 minutes to reach the Mountain’s peak at 8,516 feet below the desert floor. Using the Tramway is easier than trailing yourself to the top. The park’s scenery is often subject to change depending on the time of the year. For example, the park turns to a snowy wonderland during winter and a meadow filled forests during the summer. As for accommodation, you have plenty of choices, which can be found a short distance from the Tramway.
Wedding Venues for Elopements
Just because you want to elope doesn’t mean you have to be outdoors in epic locations. These wedding venues throughout California serve large traditional weddings in addition to small elopements
The Barns at Cooper Molera (Monterey)
A rustic location in beautiful Monterey, this barn wedding venue equally serves large weddings as well as smaller elopements.