Best Places To Elope in California
Thinking of saying “I do” in the great outdoors?! California is a beautiful and unique state, and with so many amazing places to choose from, it can get overwhelming. That’s why we wanted to share the BEST places to elope in California!
#1 Yosemite National Park
Are you surprised this is #1 on our list? 😉
Yosemite is one of the most beautiful National Parks in the US, and it’s one of our favorite places in California. There is something for everyone in this Park. From the hardcore rock climbers to hikers, to people that simply enjoy being outdoors. Yosemite has a countless amount of iconic landmarks that are very accessible, and that’s one of the reasons it’s one of the best places to elope in California.
Eloping in Yosemite means having a hard time picking one place for your ceremony since everywhere is absolutely beautiful. But the good thing is, Yosemite’s wedding permit allows you to take pictures all over the Park. So remember, don’t rush your day! With so many amazing spots in the Park, you’ll want to have time to enjoy your wedding day and get some amazing pictures all over the Park! Check out this Sunrise to Sunset Elopement at Yosemite National Park to get inspired!
#2 Big Sur
It’s no wonder Big Sur is a must-do while traveling through California, this place is incredibly unique for its views. Driving through Highway-1 will seriously make you feel like you’re in a movie scene! The mix in between ocean views, beaches, mountains, and cliffs is just out of this world, and it makes it for the perfect elopement location!
And here’s one of the best parts about eloping in Big Sur: even though Big Sur is pretty touristy, and it can definitely get crowded, you’ll always be able to find a little quiet corner for your ceremony! With so many open areas and ocean views, there will be no shortage of locations for your elopement. Avoiding weekends in the summer, for example, will also increase your chances of having the place almost to yourself.
#3 Central Coast
The Central Coast of California is made by some of the most amazing coastal lines in the world. From Monterey to San Luis Obispo, there are so many amazing places to elope! Shelby & Albert chose this beach in particular for two reasons: it was special to them, and it’s usually very empty. They wanted to elope in a meaningful place, but also not have to worry about crowds. The place they chose was perfect! Throughout the first looks, ceremony, family photos, cake cutting, and sunset pictures, I think I saw 5 other people total. It was the chill wedding day that they were dreaming of, and it was beautiful!
#4 Sequoia National Park
If you want to say “I Do” surrounded by the world’s largest living things, Sequoia National Park might be the perfect place for your elopement. In our opinion, Sequoia NP is an underrated Park. And that’s why it’s often less crowded than Yosemite, for example. Which it’s pretty ideal if you’re thinking of getting married in a beautiful iconic place, but still want the peace, quiet, and privacy that a wedding ceremony should have.
#5 Mammoth Lakes
One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. I seriously couldn’t believe it took me 2 years of living in California to visit this place. When Hayley booked us to shoot her elopement at Mammoth Lakes, we were SO excited! We made a whole trip out of it. We got there 5 days before the elopement day and found a camping spot. Then we scouted the ceremony location, did so many different hikes, and were absolutely amazed by this place.
Pro-tip: avoid summer, and if you can’t, plan for a sunrise elopement. Mammoth Lakes can be really crowded, so to escape from that, it’s a good idea to avoid busy seasons or find alternative spots. Convict Lake is a beautiful place for an elopement, but it is super popular in the summer. With so many other beautiful lakes in that area, it won’t be hard to find an alternative place for your elopement!
The Golden State is FULL of beautiful landscapes, and we’re so excited that you’re wanting to say “I do” in one of them! Here are a few more tips for having a successful and relaxed elopement:
- get married on a weekday, it will make your planning process easier, and you’ll avoid crowds
- if you’re eloping at a famous spot, like Yosemite, avoid busy seasons such as summer
- if you can’t avoid a busy season or a weekend – consider a sunrise elopement!
PS. can you tell we’re always trying to get away from the tourist crowds? Lol. Jokes aside, your elopement experience should be everything you’ve ever dreamt of and more! And not having to deal with big crowds, tourists’ buses, and etc will definitely improve your elopement experience!
Living in Fresno, right in the center of California, allows us to drive and work in some epic locations in the golden state. All of the places listed above (with the exception of Mammoth Lakes) are within 3 hours of driving from Fresno!
Don’t go yet, check out:
- Complete Guide to Elope in Yosemite
- Full-day Yosemite Elopement
- Top 10 Elopement Tips
- Sunset Engagement Session a Taft Point, Yosemite