why elope in winter
We’ll keep this part short and simple because we know why you’re really here: location, location, location! We love it. Winter is a GREAT time to elope! Fewer crowds, winter wonderland options, warm locations at a more affordable off-season price, etc. Oh and are you and your honey snow bunnies? Grab your skis or boards and let’s go have a winter wonderland adventure elopement!!
We’ve divided the locations into ‘warm’ winter US elopement locations and ‘cold’ winter US elopement locations, and we’d love to capture your US winter elopement! We can’t wait to hear which location fits what you’re looking for. Drop us a line or tell us if we should add any other amazing winter elopement locations!
We’ll start with this gem that features 80-degree weather in December! Yep, pack those flip flops and tank top, and swap your wintery wonderland for a festive town just an hour and a half outside of Houston, TX. Enjoy a town booming with holiday decorations despite the warm weather, and eat your heart out at all the German restaurants! Of course, there are a ton of super cute Fredericksburg bed and breakfast options for you to enjoy during your Texan elopement!
charleston, south carolina
This southern city provides character, history, and mild winter temperatures. We love a good bed and breakfast – this area is the perfect opportunity to cozy up with your partner on a wraparound porch after you GET MARRIED! Here’s a great place to start for Charleston Bed and Breakfast options. Oh and can we talk about the food?! Check out the best places to eat in Charleston (thanks Conde Naste Travel!), and let us know if you pick Charleston as your winter elopement location!
We’ll just keep the south train going – it’s warm(er), Savannah is romantic AF with its huge trees dripping with moss, elegant mansions, and warm temperatures. Apparently we’re on a roll with bed and breakfasts, but we’d be remiss to exclude a few in Savannah – they really just make your experience so much sweeter! Check out a few of our favorite Savannah Bed and Breakfasts – where would you stay?
california winter elopement locations
Wine country. Rolling hills. Crisp air. Need we say more? OF COURSE, we will! We love Napa Valley. The quiet pace, the lower off-season costs, the WINE. Let us tell you, Napa in the winter is a great spot for a winery elopement! Picture it – you wake up, go for a winery tour, get married amidst rolling hills and grapevines, drink a bunch of delicious wine (and hello, champagne!!), go out on the town for some delicious food, and heck – you can even go for an adventure elopement hike if you’re up for it! Lots of options in Napa.
With Redwood forests, an epic rugged coastline, and sandy beaches, Big Sur, California is a stunning location for your elopement. There are many private elopement locations we can help you access, as well as a few public land options. Our favorite Big Sur elopement location is Garrapata State Park, as it offers two miles of beachfront, a 50-foot climb to the best view of the Pacific Ocean, and trails for miles where you can see diverse vegetation, sea lions, and even California gray whales during their yearly migration.
I mean, San Diego was MADE for this list! From The Del to Torrey Pines, we freaking love San Diego. Below are just a few locations you can elope in San Diego during the winter – head over here to review permits needed, more location details and fun restaurants and bars we recommend while eloping in San Diego – especially if you’re looking for a winter elopement location!
Coronado: Home of Hotel Del Coronado (“The Del”), sand dunes that spell ‘Coronado, and a charming town to explore, Coronado Island is an absolutely gorgeous place to elope. Coronado is a small island town located across the bay from downtown San Diego offering pristine white sands and clear ocean waters.
Silver Strand State Beach: In between San Diego and Coronado on the peninsula lies Silver Strand State Beach. The beach stretches for 2.5 miles and can be a quieter option if you’re looking to avoid crowds during your elopement. Camping is available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and several large parking lots make for an easy-access beach. Heads up: Dogs are not allowed on the beach, in the tunnels, or on the bay side, but they are allowed on leash during day use and at the camping area parking lots. Imagine: you, your honey, watching the tide come and go, the ocean air, and being MARRIED! What more could you want for an elopement?
Torrey Pines: Absolutely perfect for an adventure elopement, Torrey Pines State Reserve provides hiking opportunities, golfing, sunbathing, and of course: eloping! Known as a ‘wilderness island in an urban sea,’ Torrey Pines is a 2,000-acre nature preserve located atop a cliff providing a view that stretches west out over the Pacific Ocean and across the canyons to the east. Not only does it offer multiple hiking trails and a wide beach, Torrey Pines features picturesque spots along the cliffs and access to the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course.
Where to elope in Torrey Pines? North Overlook, South Overlook, and High Point are all fantastic elopement locations roughly 15-20 walking distance from the parking areas. While you cannot camp or picnic in the Reserve, you can certainly enjoy its high broken cliffs and deep ravines on headlands overlooking the ocean. Hike the famous Torrey Pines Beach Trail Loop, an easy 2.3-mile route along the coast to see incredible wildflowers, or enjoy the 3.3 moderately difficult Torrey Pines State Beach and Broken Hill Trail Loop.
Pro-tip: Stay away from the bottom of the cliffs. Rockslides and cliff collapses occur frequently. Plan your time on the beach a minimum of 2-3 hours before or after high tides when more sand is available between the cliffs and the waves.
Sunset Cliffs: Located in Ocean Beach (OB), Sunset Cliffs’ name is no joke – you really do want to be here to watch the sunset! We love this elopement location for its beautiful views and nearby beach city with a relaxed, fun vibe to enjoy for your post-elopement celebration. You’ll definitely want to plan ahead for eloping at Sunset Cliffs if you’re planning a beach ceremony – the beach practically disappears during high tide! Check out tide times here so you can have that picturesque beach wedding you’re dreaming of! You can also elope along the cliffs overlooking the breathtaking ocean view.
Presidio Park: One word: tacos. If you’re like us and will do just about anything for a taco, eloping at Presidio Park, then celebrating in Old Town, San Diego is for you. With beautiful white arches and brick steps, this elopement location is a historic landscape surrounded by green lawns and trees. There are four elopement location options in Presidio Park: Inspiration Point, Palm Canyon, The Padre Cross, The Arbor, and Mission Hills Park. You can elope with the iconic Junipero Serra Museum in your background, then cheers to being married and drinking margaritas down the street in the afternoon!
If you’re looking to elope in a desert, Joshua Tree National Park is the place for you (and we can’t WAIT to join you there!) You can hike, camp, and elope in front of stunning desert landscapes. Temperatures in the winter range from low 30s to mid 50s so by no means is this a true ‘warm winter elopement location’, BUT it rarely snows on the valley floor. Bundle up if this temperature is cold for you, but people from the midwest and east coast will likely eat this winter elopement location right up! Let’s be real: there are sooooo many hikes at Joshua Tree, we recommend checking out this epic list of best joshua tree trails to find which trail is best for you and your soon-to-be spouse!
That tropical vacation wasn’t too good to be true – Hawaii’s weather really is that nice all the time. Honolulu’s island location is the perfect spot if you want to avoid freezing lows at night while experiencing just a handful of days above 90 degrees. Oahu Island has the most pleasant weather in Hawaii with temperatures – even in winter, the highest temperature in Oahu is around 77 degrees F! If the quietness of Kauai is more your vibe, you’re in luck – winter is the best time for whale watching in Kauai! Imagine sailing along the Napali Coast while toasting to your future together!
While this is a ‘best winter elopement locations in the US’ guide, we’re going to toss Mexico in here because it’s simply perfect for a winter elopement! We have it all written down in our Where to elope in Mexico guide – go check it out!
Rocky Mountain National Park is FULL of fun winter activities! Whether you want to go snowshoeing, cross-country ski, or watch wildlife, winter in this colorado national park is beautiful. Depending on the time of year, many of the lower elevation trails stay open providing the perfect opportunity for you to snowshoe to your winter elopement location! We love the beautiful peaks and jagged rock formations, the opportunity to access your own space at one of the most popular national parks, and the adventures you can have!!
If you’re looking for more of a ski resort, we cannot recommend Breckenridge and Aspen enough. While Vail offers a great resort town and ski options, Breckenridge and Aspen offer a quieter, less party vibe. Enjoy hitting the slopes before or after your elopement – heck, you can even elope ON the slopes!!
We’re talking waterfalls, canyons, ARCHES, mountains, lakes, and cliffs provide a gorgeous and memorable location to marry that sweet partner of yours. Moab, UT is one of our favorite places to visit, explore, and share with our couples – we’re full of ideas if you need any help navigating this incredible winter elopement location! From Moab, the infamous Arches National Park is just 6 miles away, while Canyonlands National Park is 32 miles away.
Dubbed a “red-rock wonderland”, Arches National Park has the highest concentration of natural stone arches found anywhere in the world – over 2,000! The Arches are also the most visited area in Moab, so winter is a great time to elope in Moab. Make sure to leave the Arches (and all of Moab!) the way you found it – avoid scrambling, walking or standing upon, or rappelling off any arch in the park.
Grand Teton National Park is a goorrrrrrgeous winter location! You can enjoy staying in the artsy town of Jackson Hole where you’ll find a great community and hip restaurants ready to treat you to a night on the town! The jagged peaks of the Grand Tetons are really what get us going – though you might enjoy one of the three ski resorts, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee Mountain Resort! While the majority of the park’s accessibility by car is closed, you can see winter wildlife and photograph some amazing scenery at your own speed (aka on cross country skis, snowshoes, skate skis)!
Okay so obviously we’re going to include Montana as a winter elopement location – the snow is so gorgeous and there are frozen rivers to explore! You can even elope (or hang out post elopement) in romantic Igloos at Moonlight Basin! One of our favorite winter locations in Montana is Ousel Falls thanks to the out-of-this-world frozen icicles the falls create! Truly it’s something out of Game of Thrones and there’s no better place for a winter elopement adventure. Check it out for yourself!
Cannon Beach is one of our absolute favorite elopement locations. Home of Haystack Rock, one of Oregon’s most recognizable landmarks, Cannon Beach offers a truly unique space to marry your honey in winter. We’re specifically partial to sunsets at this location, not to mention “The Needles” just south of Haystack Rock. The best way to access Haystack Rock is through Cannon Beach’s Midtown area, just a block west of the public parking lot at Gower Street. Because this area is so famous, try to plan for a weekday elopement or come ready to walk on the gorgeous beach until you find a spot of your own. Check out our Cannon Beach Adventure Session here!
Oswald West State Park
Just two hours outside of Portland, Oswald West State Park offers both miles of beach coastline and forest hikes – perfect for a winter elopement adventure. This location is specifically cool because it provides a little of everything Oregon has to boast about. Do you have a furry friend? They can be part of your elopement! Dogs are allowed at Oswald West State Park – just make sure you keep them on a leash and pick up after them. If you’re planning to include more than 50 people, you’ll need to request a permit. (Reason number 534,290 we love elopements, less red tape!)
No permit needed to get hitched here (as long as you fall within these guidelines, of course). Latourell Waterfall can be accessed by hiking a moderately difficult 2.4-mile loop hike. Pro-tip: this trail can get very crowded – even more reason it’s a perfect choice for a winter elopement! That being said, you can always plan a sunrise or sunset hike to see this beautiful waterfall with your honey! Did someone say sunset elopement adventure hike?
Panther Creek Falls
Featuring a 130-foot waterfall, Panther Creek Falls offers an easy hike and a waterfall so unique, it’s listed as one of the best waterfall hikes in the PNW. While you can access the viewing platform from about 450 feet from the trailhead, you can also get to the base of the falls with a bit of maneuvering – about 75 feet to the left of the viewing platform. Be careful – it is a very steep (read: dangerous) path if you’re not used to climbing or going off-trail.
Loving the Oregon vibe? Check out more Oregon elopement locations and permit details!
From epic hikes, to cascading waterfalls, Yosemite National Park offers simply incredible backdrops and endless adventures! Not to mention, check out the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite – a romantic resort where you can relax together after your adventure elopement! Note: many of the roads close during winter, so make sure to read about Yosemite road conditions, specifically Tioga Pass if you’re planning a winter elopement (during the months of November to May).
Lake Tahoe is a truly unique winter elopement location where the fresh mountainous air meets a sandy beach (or rocky if that’s your vibe!), and the sunrises and sunsets are unparalleled. We love this area, especially for the hikes and adventure opportunities – almost everything is easy to access! Click here to view more Lake Tahoe elopement locations, what to do after you GET MARRIED IN LAKE TAHOE (!!), and the permits needed to elope by location.
Sand Harbor Beach: Located on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe, Sand Harbor Beach is stunning. Rocks peek out from under the water to create amazing photos for your special day. Elopements are allowed at the Ramada, which cannot be reserved but instead operates on a first-come, first-served basis. You cannot elope on the beach any time of the year, but you can absolutely elope at the Ramada and then take epic photos on the beach!
From kayaking/stand-up paddleboarding at Sand Harbor Rentals to hiking up a short half-mile trail on Memorial Point Trail to swimming and snorkeling underwater (did someone say underwater photoshoot?!), this is the perfect adventure elopement location in the summer. If you’re thinking of a winter elopement, check out the horse-drawn sleigh rides with Sand Harbor Sleigh Rides!
Donner Lake: Located just 30 minutes away from North Lake Tahoe, Donner Memorial State Park offers a camping and elopement adventure opportunity at an equally stunning lake! Extra plus if you have furry friends: dogs are allowed on the Lakeside Interpretive Trail, Zig Zag Trail, fire roads, and along the shore of Donner Lake except for China Cove Beach. It’s one of our favorite winter elopement locations just because fur babies can be involved! Vehicle costs are $5-$10, depending on the time of year.
You can elope overlooking Donner Lake, hike Donner Summit Canyon (a 3.6-mile loop – show up early as it’s heavily trafficked!) or head down to the public piers for a private ceremony on a dock! Piers are enjoyed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Other hikes you won’t want to miss: Azalea Lake and flora lake via donner summit lakes trail, which is a 2.7-mile out-and-back trail, and Monkey Rock which offers 2.6 miles of a steep climb which, in our opinion, is totally worth it.
Check out our Lake Tahoe elopement, which features Monkey Rock trail and Donner Lake!
Emerald Bay State Park: Really, there’s nothing like Emerald Bay and Emerald Bay Overlook in South Lake Tahoe. With absolutely the best view of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay is located on the California side of South Lake Tahoe and features the iconic Inspiration Point. You can even stay at Meeks Bay Resort for easy access to be married at Emerald Bay!
If you envisioned you and your partner at any of these winter elopement locations, let us know! Whether you’re looking for a two-day elopement experience (think: two 8 hour days of documentation, or mix it up and do a 12 hour day and a 4 hour day), a full day elopement experience (up to 12 hours of coverage), an 8 hour elopement experience, or a partial day elopement experience (up to 4 hours of coverage), we can’t wait to plan your dream winter elopement experience. Reach out today and let’s dream together!
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