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THE BLOG

25 best places to elope near seattle

seattle elopement locations

seattle wedding photographer

Hi! I'm Natasha! Your Seattle elopement photographer, dog petter and donut eater. While photography is my first love, connecting with people is my love language. You'll find me lovin' on the big moments, the quiet moments, the silly moments – but especially the in between moments. The moments that are unadulterated and unfiltered. The ones where you are the real you. Here on the blog you'll find all of my favorite tips, tricks and resources for planning an elopement that's all about those moments.

NATASHA CARDINAL

SEATTLE ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

IN THIS GUIDE

Why You Should Elope Near Seattle
How to Elope Near Seattle
The Best Places to Elope Near Seattle
Mt. Rainier Elopement Locations
Deception Pass State Park Elopement Locations
San Juan Islands Elopement Locations
Whidbey Island Elopement Locations
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Elopement Locations
Stevens Pass / Leavenworth Elopement Locations
What To Do After Your Choose Your Seattle Elopement Location
Seattle Elopement Planning Resources
Meet Your Seattle Elopement Photographers

WHY YOU SHOULD ELOPE NEAR SEATTLE

If you've ever been to Seattle, you probably already know that it's a haven for people who love the outdoors. No matter where you look in the city you'll be greeted with views of the Cascade Range, the Olympic Mountains, Mt. Rainier, the beautiful Puget Sound. With incredible food (especially for seafood lovers), and easy accessibility to tons and tons of hiking, there is no shortage of amazing places to elope near Seattle to get the best of both worlds.

Because of Seattle's central location between multiple mountain ranges, it's an easy place for people to visit and elope without the major hassle of trekking off into a remote part of the state. As soon as you land in SeaTac Airport, you'll have the option to go straight out to the mountains, head into lush forest, or go straight into downtown for some of the best ramen and sushi you'll have outside of Japan.

In this blog we'll be covering all of the best places to elope near Seattle that are between 1-4 hours away, depending on what sort of feel you're going for. For all of these locations we have plenty of recommendations for places to stay, eat, hike, and play too, so no matter which place you choose you'll have tons of options to make your day unbelievably spectacularly YOU.

HOW TO ELOPE NEAR SEATTLE

  • Choose what time of year you want to elope
  • If you haven't already, your first step to eloping in Seattle should be hiring your Seattle elopement photographer, we know all of the best locations that can be customized to exactly what you're looking for, and all of the best tips and tricks for planning a stress-free elopement. Not to mention, we guide you through the whole thing from start to finish so you always know exactly what happens next!
  • Pick your Seattle elopement location
  • Book your stay at an Airbnb, boutique hotel, campground, or resort
  • Book your Seattle elopement vendors (we have plenty of florist, officiant, hair and makeup, private chef or catering, recommendations no matter where you get married in Washington)
  • Apply for your Special Use Permit for your location (don't worry, we'll help ya out with this)
  • Book your flights + travel
  • Apply for your Washington Marriage License (check out our guide here!)
  • Get married! Woohooooo!

THE BEST PLACES TO ELOPE NEAR SEATTLE

MT. RAINIER ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

Distance from Seattle: 2-2.5 hours
Permits Needed:

  • special use permit needed for elopements of any size (you can find it here!) $175
  • Mt. Rainier NP entrance pass needed ($30) or an America the Beautiful pass ($80 annually for all national parks) 
  • ******As of Summer 2024 Mt. Rainier National Park will now require timed-entry reservations for visitors who will be arriving at the park between 7am and 3pm. You can find more info on the NPS website here. You won't need to make a reservation if you have a Special Use Permit, but keep this in mind if you're visiting the park to scope out places before your elopement****

Recommended Locations (all very popular trails but worth it if you're willing to brave some crowds):

couple silhouetted by the sun at rosario beach for their engagement photos with seattle engagement photographer The Cardinals

ROSARIO BEACH / DECEPTION PASS STATE PARK

Rosario Beach is an amazing area of Deception Pass State Park that's a little hidden gem. Often even during the height of summer, this area of the park has fewer visitors than some of the busier and more popular spots in Deception Pass. You'll have gorgeous views of the headlands, the other islands in the sound, in the summer bright yellow Scotch Broom flowers bloom all along the shore, wonderful beaches to go tidepooling, with beautiful coves to explore during low tide and spectacular sunsets. One of our favorite things to do here is watch the seals play in the water below the cliffs as the sun sets! And the best part? It's just a short day trip from Seattle.

Distance from Seattle: 1.5-2 hours

Permits Needed: Washington State Park Special Use Permit ($45)

Best Elopement Locations Here: The park itself is relatively small, so if you're visiting Rosario Beach and Rosario Head are the main areas, but you can take these short trails for some beautiful views!

CHECK OUT A ROSARIO BEACH ENGAGEMENT HERE

CHECK OUT A ROSARIO HEAD ENGAGEMENT HERE

EBEY'S LANDING NATIONAL HISTORIC RESERVE

Majestic bluffs overlooking the Salish Sea, sprawling historic farmland, views of the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Rainier in the distance, rocky driftwood covered beach, and amazing sunsets all make this one of our favorite Seattle elopement locations. Plus, you'll have plenty of Whidbey Islands local farms to visit, like Green Bank Farm (that also is home to Whidbey Pies!! If you haven't had a Whidbey pie you're missing out). Annnnnd you can stay the the iconic Captain Whidbey for some cozy vibes and a romantic dinner.

Distance from Seattle: 1.5 - 2 hours

Permits Needed: Ebey's Landing is unique in the sense that it has multiple land owners, so if you're planning on eloping on the bluff or the beach you'll need a Washington State Park Special Use Permit ($45), land further up the bluff is owned by the Nature Conservancy and will require a permit through them – however the farm fields are privately owned and do not allow private events.

Best Elopement Locations Here: Ebey's Landing is a pretty simple location with only one trail to walk along. You'll have the option to have your ceremony right on trail or on the beach down below.

Ebey's Landing Summer engagement

THE CAPTAIN WHIDBEY INN

Ordinarily I don't include venues in my location recommendations, but I couldn't leave out one of the most charming stays in the whole Puget Sound. The Captain Whidbey is a 110+ year old historic inn and restaurant that is one of the coziest, most well curated places to stay near Seattle. Locally it's well known as a romantic weekend getaway, but they also host events! On their website they detail info about renting the property for a whole wedding, but for elopements just ask about their accommodations and recommendations. They're no strangers to elopements so they know all of the good spots. The sprawling 6 acre property has plenty of little nooks to say your vows in, beach access, a lagoon, a chefs garden, beautiful cabins and rooms in the inn, and adorable inclusions like bike and row boat rentals. They even offer a unique charter plane experience to fly you in from Seattle!

Distance from Seattle: 1.5-2.5 hours

Permits Needed: None

Best Elopement Locations Here: This is the whole damn thing!

SAN JUAN ISLANDS ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

The San Juan Islands is one of the most spectacular whale watching, island life, farm-to-table, hiking/biking areas in the Pacific Northwest. A gorgeous (a large) archipelago in Northwest Washington, the San Juans are know to locals as the summer destination to getaway. With sprawling grassy headlands overlooking the Salish Sea, whales seasonally making an appearance (it's one of the best whale watching areas in the Washington!), incredible food, and cute towns to explore, it's a unique experience that is perfect for an island-y summery getaway elopement. Each island is uniquely different, but some of the most popular are Orcas Island, San Juan Island, and Lopez Island. This is also a world class kayaking area and kayaking on your elopement day here would be pretty damn spectacular.

Distance from Seattle: 2.5-3.5 hours depending on which island you visit.

Permits Needed: Permits depend on the location here. Some natural areas are national parks or reserves, some are state parks.

Best Elopement Locations Here:

MT. BAKER-SNOQUALMIE NATIONAL FOREST ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

It's no secret around here that we LOVE the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Since we live in Bellingham, it's our local wilderness area, but we don't just love it for how convenient it is. It's truly a spectacular place to visit no matter what time of year you're eloping! From gushing waterfalls to glacier covered peaks, to alpine lakes, lush old growth forest and towering mountain views, it's one of the most beautiful and diverse ecological areas in Washington (and one of the most underrated in our opinion)! We've listed a handful of locations below, but we're full of recommendations for every location from untouched old growth forest, to mossy 4x4 roads to hidden alpine lakes.

Distance from Seattle: Depends on location – but range from 1 hour to 2.5 hours

Permits Needed: No special use permit is needed if you have under 50 guests. However you will need a Northwest Forest Pass to visit.

Best Elopement Locations Here:

STEVENS PASS / LEAVENWORTH ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

A popular destination for those living in Seattle, the Stevens Pass/Leavenworth area is a stunning place to visit for your elopement, not to mention an incredibly scenic drive from Seattle. The village of Leavenworth is a small town created to mimic the mountain towns in Bavaria, and they definitely didn't skimp out on authenticity. With mountain views right from Main Street, it's also one of the most beautiful in the Cascades. Around the holidays it's also known for being a Christmas getaway (literally known as one of the most Christmassy towns in America). In the summer and fall, you'll have tons of gorgeous trails to hike for all activity levels, with granite peaks soaring above you, and plenty of Gatorade blue alpine lakes to choose from. It's perfect for couples that want to explore some of the best hiking in the PNW and then hop over to a cute town for dinner and a cozy night in.

Distance from Seattle: 2-2.5 hours

Permits Needed: Depends on location, but you'll need a Northwest Forest Pass for most locations on this list. Most of the locations below are in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest that doesn't require a permit for elopements with less than 50 people.

Best Elopement Locations Here:

WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU CHOOSE YOUR SEATTLE ELOPEMENT LOCATION

  • If you haven't already, one of the FIRST things you should do is book your Washington elopement photographer. As experts in the area, we know all of the best places to hike, stay, eat, and all of the best activities to do! We'll know exactly how to create a custom itinerary to make your elopement day exactly what you've always dreamt it would be.
  • Book your stay! If you're looking for recommendations on the best Airbnbs and boutique hotels to stay at in each of these areas, DM us on Instagram @thecardinals.co and we'll be happy to share our lists of top stays for each location!
  • Book your elopement vendors! Officiant, florist, hair and makeup artists, catering if you're having a small gathering, private chef if you're feeling fancy, etc.
  • After you book your stay, apply for your Special Use Permits as early as you can! Popular locations like Mt. Rainier National Park are busy busy so it's always better to apply early. Typically they require you apply at least 6 weeks before your preferred date, but I always recommend at least 90 days minimum.
  • Plan your activities! Book any badass adventures like kayaking tours, helicopter rides, snowmobile rentals, whale watching tours, in advance so day-of you can take it all in.
  • Note: Ordinarily your elopement photographer will guide you through this process, but you can always reach out if you need some extra tips and advice!

And that's about it! Choosing a place to elope near Seattle is one of the hardest parts of eloping (because there's so many beautiful locations!), but once you nail down where you want to be, everything else falls into place. As usual, if you have any questions or need some extra inspiration you can head over to our Instagram @thecardinals.co for even more tips!

seattle elopement planning resources

hudson valley wedding photographers the cardinals

We're Natasha and Brian! Your Seattle elopement photographers, dog petters, and donut eaters focused on creating the dreamiest and intentional photos of your elopement. But we're so much more than just photographers. When you work with us, you get built in Seattle elopement planning experts, guides for all of the parks most beautiful trails, snack holders, dress fluffers, tissue providers, and...friends.

We know exactly what it's like to elope, because that's what we did too! We eloped on a misty August day on Mt. Baker with our sweet dog Fern, 7 of our closest friends, and it couldn't have been more us. Creating an experience that's undeniably you and honors your relationship is what we know best.

SEATTLE ELOPEMENT PACKAGES

We get it. Planning an elopement is...a lot. You have to figure out the perfect itinerary, find the best ceremony location, figure out what you want to do all day, the cutest airbnb to stay at, find the yummiest food in the area, on top of figuring out permits and how to legally get married. And you've never eloped before, so how the heck should you know how to plan any of this stuff? Well, that's what we're here for! Not only do we take the dreamiest photos of what your relationship is actually like, but we plan your whole elopement from start to finish. Sound like a dream? We think so too.

SEE OUR SEATTLE ELOPEMENT PACKAGES HERE!

LET'S START PLANNING YOUR PERFECT STRESS-FREE

SEATTLE ELOPEMENT DAY

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