We are a husband & wife team. Based in the mountains of Montana & Washington State, we’ve been photographing and filming couples since the start of 2021.
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Look no further because this comprehensive guide has everything you need to know about planning an elopement or micro-wedding in Olympic National Park! We have included information on the best time of year to elope in the Pacific Northwest, along with Olympic National Park elopement locations, local micro-wedding venues, where to stay, and so much more. Check out the table of contents to get an overview of everything that’s included in this epic guide. And feel free to reach out to us to plan your 2024 Olympic National Park elopement!
Olympic National Park is located at the northwesternmost part of the contiguous United States. From the rugged Washington Coast to the snow capped Olympic mountains, planning Olympic National Park elopements with our couples is one of our favorite things to do! The diverse landscapes are seriously INCREDIBLE, and I don’t think we’ll ever get tired of exploring them. While it’s one of the rainiest places in the United States, it’s also the most vibrantly green place! Plus, there’s so much to do from summiting Mt. Olympus to kayaking on the clear waters of Lake Crescent to picnicking on driftwood at the beach. Intrigued yet? Keep reading for more info on how to elope in Olympic National Park!
The Hoh Rain Forest is a literal dream! Imagine eloping among ancient trees with blankets of draping moss. I don’t think it gets more fairytale-like than that!
Or imagine tying the knot along the northwesternmost tip of the United States? Just you, your partner, and the crashing waves to serenade your ceremony!
Okay, but how about the snowcapped Olympic Mountains?? You can’t beat the accessibility of this mountain range!
You didn’t think we’d forget the incredible lakes of Olympic National Park, did you?! Imagine the surreal color of Lake Crescent being the backdrop to your micro-wedding ceremony? How beautiful!
Olympic National Park is in the northwesternmost part of Washington State. The park covers nearly a million acres of ancient forests, over 70 miles of wild coastline, the jagged peaks of the Olympic Mountains, and so many other beautiful sights! We recommend renting a car to explore as much of the park as possible.
If you are not local to Washington, we recommend flying into SeaTac Airport. From here, the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles is roughly 2.5 hours. This is going to be the closest access point to the rest of the park.
Olympic National Park Visitor Center Address: 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles, WA 98362
One of the ways to access Olympic National Park is via the Washington State Ferry system! There are a number of routes you can take including:
You can also head to Victoria BC via ferry from Port Angeles! All of these ferries are car ferries, meaning that you can drive onto the boat with your vehicle. Make sure to plan ahead if you’re taking a ferry! Sometimes the lines can get really long, and you might have to wait for the next ferry.
The best way to check out Olympic National Park is going to be via car. So, if you’re flying into Washington, or if you have family flying in, we recommend renting a car. There are a ton of car rental options such as KAYAK, Budget, Expedia, Enterprise, and Turo. We haven’t rented cars in the states (only internationally), so we don’t have a personal preference for this! Just make sure to get a vehicle that fits your needs for the adventure.
Okay, this is the hardest part honestly. You can never entirely predict what the weather is going to be here in the Olympic Peninsula. So, no matter what season you visit, it’s going to be great! But we do recommend visiting in the summer or fall months for the least chance of rain, and of course, for longer days to explore.
These are considered the best months to visit Olympic National Park! June to August is summertime here with daytime temps ranging from 65 to 80 degrees. Nighttime temps get down into the low 50s usually. You can expect pretty good sunsets in the summer! In September and October (fall months), temperatures range from 35 to 65 degrees, and it’s often cloudy. These months are much more rainy than the summer, but it’s always a good idea to bring rain gear no matter what season it is.
In the wintertime, snowfall is rare at lower elevations, such as along the coast and in Port Angeles. But in the Olympic mountains, you can definitely expect snow! Temperatures are usually in the 40s, with nighttime temps dropping to as low as the 20s. If you want snow in the mountains or if you want to avoid crowds, these are the best months to explore the park!
This is probably the most unpredictable time of year to visit Olympic National Park. This time of year comes with lots of rain, making the forests extremely lush and green! If you want to elope during this timeframe, but you want the best chance of staying dry, head to the eastern corners of the park such as Port Angeles and Staircase. Towards the end of spring, around May, there is a greater chance of more sunshine! This is a good time of year to elope on the coast if you want the chance of a good sunset without the crowds that come in the summertime.
You truly can’t go wrong with Olympic National Park elopement locations! Everywhere you turn, there are gorgeous mountains, lakes, and trees. But we’ve condensed our favorite spots into 10 epic Pacific Northwest elopement locations!
Lake Cushman is an over 4,000 acre lake/reservoir that’s located on the southeastern part of Olympic National Park. It’s on the north fork of the Skokomish River in Mason County, Washington. It was created by a glacial trough, and has since been dammed. This spot is one of the lesser photographed locations for Olympic National Park elopements. “Why” you might ask… Simply put, it’s just not as central to other spots in the park. It’s a bit more isolated, so if you plan to elope here, you’ll likely only visit this general area. However, that’s not a bad thing! There are tons of beautiful beachy and driftwood-abundant spots to say your vows. There are also lots of local trails, cliff-jumping spots, and areas to camp. It’s a local’s favorite summer hangout!
If you’ve googled “Olympic National Park,” you’ve probably seen tons of pictures of Lake Crescent! This 600+ foot deep lake was carved out by glaciers from the last Ice Age. It has access points all along Highway 101 from East Beach to Fairholme Campground. It’s a tricky spot to get married, though, because there are only a few spots that are accessible for groups larger than two people. We’ve captured micro weddings by Lake Crescent Lodge and at Fairholme Campground! It’s probably one of our favorite places to document elopements because you never know what kind of weather you’re going to get. It could be sunny with clear skies or moody with lots of moving clouds and rain. No matter what the forecast says, though, we always recommend packing warm layers (and your swimsuit hehe).
While Lake Crescent is much more photographed and visited, don’t pass up Lake Quinault! It’s a quieter lake situated along the southwestern part of Olympic National Park. There’s lots to do around Lake Quinault! You can take a boat tour, rent kayaks or stand up paddle boards, fish, stay at Lake Quinault Lodge, hike, and so much more. It’s worth considering if you want a more relaxed and less busy stay in Olympic. We’ve documented elopements here, as well as said our vows along the lake on our one-year wedding anniversary!
I want to start by warning you, this hike is NOT EASY! It’s a 4 mile out-and-back trail with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain in 2 miles. Once you start this trail, it’s straight up the entire way. And the end has a rope to help you climb the steep incline to the rocky top. Once you’ve reached the top of the trail, there are few spots to stand when it’s busy. We captured an epic hiking elopement here where we started before sunrise during the summer, and had the whole place to ourselves until well after the sun had come up! So, it’s definitely possible to have private vows up here. But just keep this in mind when planning your elopement adventure here. Besides the craziness that is the hike itself, it’s worth it for the views (in our opinion). You get incredible views of Lake Crescent below, along with Canada in the distance! You can see the sunrise and sunset from the top, making it perfect for beautiful portraits and golden-hour vibes.
The trek back down is equally hard on your knees as it was on your lungs going up! There aren’t a ton of places to stop for portraits along the hike itself, as the main spot is the top. But if you want a challenge, this hike is worth adding to your bucket list! And the trailhead starts along the same path as Marymere Falls, so you have access to other beautiful locations for your elopement day. The elopement below took place at sunrise, and after we got back down to our cars, we all jumped into Lake Crescent!
Out of all the locations in Olympic, this one will forever be one of my absolute favorites. It’s incredible to stand on the trail surrounded by ferns and millenia old trees draped in moss. The only word that even comes close to describing the Hoh Rain Forest is enchanting! There are so many beautiful spots within the forest to say your vows and explore, and it’s a great destination to add to your Olympic National Park itinerary! The main Visitor Center is about two hours from Port Angeles and one hour from Forks, Washington.
This stunning mountain range in Olympic National Park is super accessible! You can drive 17 miles from Port Angeles to get these incredible views. There are also multiple picnic areas that have paved trails overlooking the mountains. We love taking couples here because it’s not difficult to take a hiking trail and find privacy for vows and couples portraits! It’s also a good spot to see wildlife, such as deer, bunnies, birds, and even black bears.
Cape Flattery is located on the Makah Reservation, and requires a Makah Recreation Pass. You can get one at most locations on the reservation, such as The Cape Resort and the Hobuck Beach Resort in Neah Bay. Cape Flattery is the most northwesterly point of the contiguous United States, with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and Canada. When visiting this spot, you can expect moody weather, massive waves, sea stacks and sea caves, and unique birds like the tufted puffin! If you have time to make the drive out here, don’t pass it up. We love visiting Cape Flattery any chance we get! It’s also one of the most beautiful spots for a coastal elopement!
While Ruby Beach (see #9) gets the most hype on the Washington Coast, our favorite beach is Rialto! Not only does it have amazing sea stacks and tide pools, but it has one of the coolest coastal hikes. The Hole-in-the-Wall trail is about 3 miles roundtrip, and it can only be accessed at low tide. The trail is along the beach and takes you to an epic rocky arch that you can cross under to explore another beach area!
Ruby Beach is probably one of the most sought after elopement destinations in Washington. When elopements became popular during covid, more couples chose the coast to say their vows! Lots of photographers (us included) started photographing elopements and small weddings here. It became pretty famous for it’s incredible sea stacks/rock formations and incredible sunsets. I mean check out the sunset photo below… stunning, right?! While it’s a decently busy beach, you can avoid the crowds by eloping in the off-season or during the week. It’s also important to double check the tide charts to make sure that the beach is accessible for your wedding!
We’ve wanted to shoot here for a long time! As a kid, Hannah visited the Tree of Life with her family every time they went to the beach. It’s an amazing tree that has an exposed “root cave” due to erosion along the bluff. You can check out pictures on Google, but it’s truly one of those things that you just have to view in person! This is a great spot for elopement portraits or if you want to have a crazy awesome elopement ceremony backdrop!
Bonus: Here are a few pictures of some lesser known elopement locations that we love taking our couples. Reach out to us to start planning your elopement at one of these incredible locations!
There are three main pieces to remember when planning the legal part of your wedding: Special Use Permit, Marriage License, and how to have a legal ceremony. We’re here to help make it easy for you! Here’s everything you need to know about legally getting married in Olympic National Park.
In order to legally get married in Olympic National Park, a Special Use Permit is required. To apply, you can download a Special Use Permit application. We always email the park as well to inform them of our elopement plans! It is recommended to apply at least 3-4 weeks prior to your wedding date. We’ll help guide you through this process once we determine your elopement location and ceremony time!
You must apply for a marriage license 3 days prior to your wedding or elopement, and use it within 60 days. You can do this in person or by mail. Here is more up-to-date information on Washington’s current marriage laws.
For your ceremony, you must have an ordained officiant and two witnesses to sign your marriage license. We can act as your witnesses if you’re eloping just the two of you!
You might’ve heard of Leave No Trace before, but if you haven’t, it’s a set of seven principles to follow outdoors. Basically, it helps us keep the outdoors wild, while still enjoying everything nature has to offer!
As an elopement photographer and videographer team, we’re outdoors a lot. We do what we can to make sure that everything is left the same way as when we found it. This means that we never leave trash or wedding decor behind, and we respect wildlife, as well as other visitors. We make sure to stay on trails or on other durable surfaces, and never trample on wildflower meadows. Don’t worry, though, we’ll still get you those epic wedding photos where it looks like you’re surrounded by wildflowers even though we’re all still on trails!
Below, we’ve listed the seven LNT principles, as well as some specific ways that we can follow them when visiting Olympic National Park.
Prepare for any weather conditions, making sure to always pack waterproof gear. Plan to explore the park when it’s not too busy, so that there isn’t an influx of visitors. Always use a GPS or physical map to eliminate use of cairns on trails and at the beach.
Designated campgrounds and campsites are the best places to set up your tent. But in certain areas, beach camping is allowed. Sand is a durable surface that is safe for travel, whereas, you shouldn’t step or camp on fragile vegetation.
Always dispose of your trash properly in designated trash cans, or pack out your trash. We use compressive dry sacks to pack out our trash for backpacking and day hiking trips.
It’s important to leave the outdoors wild, meaning when you visit Olympic National Park, make sure not to pick any wildflowers or take home rocks or driftwood.
This is a huge issue, especially on the Washington Coast beaches! Only have fires in areas where it is safe and legal to do so. Please make sure to always check for fire bans throughout the year, but especially during the summer months. When building fires on the beach, they must be 100-150 feet away from the dune line, and made with small pieces of dead and down wood. Do not throw any trash into the fire! And when your wood is burned to ash, make sure to drown your fire in water. Do not bury your fire with sand, this doesn’t extinguish it.
You can expect a lot of different animals in Olympic National Park, including elk, deer, marmots, squirrels, raccoons, cougars, and black bears. If you want to do some wildlife viewing, we recommend early mornings around dawn or late evenings at dusk. Always drive slowly through the park and watch for animals crossing the roads. Please remember to respect the wildlife by keeping your distance, not feeding any wildlife, and ensuring all food and smelly items are stored safely when camping or backpacking.
It’s a common courtesy to be considerate of other visitors when exploring the outdoors. But here are some ways that we try to respect other visitors during our adventure elopements: We try not to block any trails or spaces where other visitors might want to get a view, we take turns at popular photo spots (such as the famous rock at Ruby Beach), and we try to keep music and the volume of our voices down so that we don’t disrupt anyone else’s experience.
There are a few different locations to stay around Olympic National Park. If you’re travveling from Seattle, the nearest town will be Port Angeles. Forks is going to be the town closest to the Washington Coast! And lastly, Ocean Shores is going to be the town closest to the Quinault Rain Forest and Lodge. We’ve included links to Airbnbs and VRBOs, as well as other stays in the area!
Take note that Airbnb rates change all the time, so these prices may not be 100% accurate depending on when you view the listing.
Port Angeles is the first Olympic National Park town that you’d arrive at when traveling from SeaTac Airport. It’s home to Hurricane Ridge Rd, and minutes away from the entrance to the park. You’re close to lake Crescent and other awesome spots like Sol Duc Falls!
Forks is known for the iconic Twilight Saga. I grew up watching those movies and visiting all of the iconic locations! But aside from that, Forks is a little town situated between the Washington Coast and the Olympic mountains. It’s a place we’ve both been to countless times! While there isn’t a ton to do in terms of shopping or restaurants, you have access to so much of the outdoors from Forks. It’s the perfect place to stay if you don’t want to have to drive too far to get to the beach or check out the local rain forests.
Ocean Shores is a quaint town along the Washington Coast, known for its long Pacific beach. People often go to Ocean Shores to fly kites and ride bikes or vehicles on the beach! It’s a great place to explore, and a good home base if you plan on adventuring around the Lake Quinault area.
If you’re looking to stay inside the park, we recommend checking out the different lodges. Some of our favorites include: Kalaloch Lodge, Lake Crescent Lodge, and the Quileute Oceanside Resort. We’ve included a map of the different lodges and resorts below!
When traveling to the Pacific Northwest, try to avoid cotton clothing. Pack layers that include wool, polypropylene, and polar fleece. And always pack rain gear, even in the summer! You never know when waterproof shoes and a rain jacket could come in handy when visiting the wettest place in the continental U.S.
The Pacific Northwest is home to a ton of wildlife, epic adventures, and beautiful sights! There are a surplus of things to do, and we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of everything we can think of, including links and descriptions. You can plan these for an Olympic National Park elopement or vacation!
While a lot of itineraries include a ton of options, we’ve made a super manageable trip itinerary for you! Each day involves time to eat, driving distances, as well as our favorite and the most iconic stops that we recommend taking! It’ll likely be a bit exhausting, but SO worth it.
When a couple books with us for their Olympic national Park elopement, we first try to figure out what kind of adventure they want to have. So, if your #1 goal is to see the mountains, we figure out how to make that work! Or maybe you want to see as much of the park as you can in an 8 hour timeline, so we chat about the best spots to visit within that timeframe. Below, we’ve written out two example timelines for different Olympic National Park elopement experiences!
1:15pm – Coverage Starts at Lake Crescent Lodge
1:30pm – Photograph Details & Getting Ready Photos
3:00pm – Ceremony at Lake Crescent
3:15pm – Family Photos
3:45pm – Lake Crescent Couples Portraits
4:30pm – Drive to Hurricane Ridge
5:30pm – Arrive at Hurricane Ridge
6:00pm – Sunset Portraits, First Dance, and Cake
7:00pm – Sunset
7:15pm – End of Coverage
5:30am – Coverage Starts at Hurricane Ridge
6:00am – Sunrise First Look & Portraits at Obstruction Point
8:00am – Head to Lake Crescent
9:00am – Arrive at Lake Crescent For Family Breakfast
10:00am – Family Portraits
10:30am – Morning Ceremony at Lake Crescent Lodge
11:00am – Couples Portraits at Marymere Falls & Kayaking on Lake Crescent
1:00pm – End of Part 1 Coverage (this is where we’d take a break or a nap!)
4:30pm – Meet at Lake Quinault Lodge
5:00pm – Quinault Rain Forest Portraits
6:00pm – Drive to Ruby Beach
6:45pm – Arrive at Ruby Beach
7:00pm – Beach Picnic & Sunset Portraits
9:00pm – End of Sunrise to Sunset Elopement Coverage
We’re Hannah and Adam, your Olympic National Park elopement photographer and videographer team! We both grew up in Washington, so we’ve explored a lot of the Olympic Peninsula. We love hiking in the Olympic mountains, kayaking on Lake Crescent, camping along the coast, and admiring the massive trees in the Hoh Rain Forest! The two of us have such a love for the PNW that even though we currently live in Montana, we can’t imagine not exploring Washington anymore. Olympic National Park is one of our top favorite elopement destinations, and we truly love shooting here!
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions for Olympic National Park weddings! If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave a comment on our blog, and we’ll reply as soon as we can.
Can you get married in Olympic National Park?
Yes! While each location is different, the maximum number of guests allowed is around 30. But it’s the perfect location for small weddings and elopements! There are also a few wedding venues that can accomodate larger wedding parties.
Do you have vendor recommendations for Olympic National Park?
Yes, part of our job is to provide you with local vendor recommendations. We’ve worked with a ton of amazing wedding vendors from the greater Seattle area that serve micro weddings and elopements.
Is it expensive to get married in Olympic National Park?
No! A Special Use Permit is the only required cost, and it’s between $50-100 (this is non-refundable). Besides that, the main cost would be photo/video, lodging, food, and any additional vendors. We have lots of tips and tricks to help you plan a budget-friendly elopement, while still making it dreamy and special!
Are there wedding venues in Olympic National Park?
Yes! Like we mentioned above, most locations within the park can only accomodate small groups of people. But if you want to have more than 20-30 people, we recommend checking out Fern Acres, NatureBridge, and ElkHorn Ranch.
What happens if it rains?
You should definitely plan for the possibility of rain on your wedding day in the PNW, even in the summertime. We always recommend bringing a rain jacket, waterproof shoes, and clear umbrellas. We can plan for an indoor ceremony alternative, such as an Airbnb or gazebo. If you pick a location under the trees in the Hoh Rain Forest, you’ll avoid direct rainfall. And lastly, we recommend trying to embrace whatever Mother Nature throws at you! We’ve documented some really fun, wet elopements and they’re always beautiful!
Hannah and Adam are a Montana and PNW-based Elopement Photographer + Videographer Team traveling across the US and abroad to capture couples' special days. They firmly believe love is love, Black lives matter, and in respecting our planet.
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