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couple sits on a rock together in front of mt rainier on the dead horse creek trail in mt rainier national park for their engagement photos with seattle engagement photographer The Cardinals

THE BEST ENGAGEMENT PHOTO LOCATIONS IN WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | SEATTLE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | THE CARDINALS

seattle wedding photographer

Hi! I'm Natasha! Your intimate wedding and 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 a wedding that's all about those moments.

NATASHA CARDINAL

INTIMATE WEDDING +

ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

IN THIS GUIDE

Intro - Choosing Your Engagement Photo Location

The Best Engagement Photo Locations in Washington
Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
Cape Disappointment State Park, WA
The Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, WA
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, WA
Rosario Beach, Deception Pass State Park, WA
Kitsap Memorial State Park, Poulsbo, WA
Ebey's Landing, Whidbey Island, WA
Baker Lake, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, WA
Artist Point, Mt. Baker, WA
Cape Flattery, Neah Bay, WA

CHOOSING YOUR ENGAGEMENT
PHOTO LOCATION

So you're looking for the best engagement photo locations in Washington, but you're not sure where you should go? I get it! Washington state has so many beautiful locations to choose from that finding the perfect place can be utterly overwhelming. How can you possibly choose when every option is absolutely stunning?!

Washington is home to more diverse landscapes than any other state, from tall snow capped mountains to desert, sandy beaches, and rocky cliffs, to rainforest and waterfalls, to temperate forest! There's a landscape for any taste. So whether you want a quick day trip from Seattle or a full on engagement adventure, there's plenty of options.

In this post we'll talk about some of my favorite places for engagement photos and which one might be the right fit for you.

MT. RAINIER
NATIONAL PARK, WA

Even if you've never been to Washington, you've probably heard of Mt. Rainier (originally named Tahoma by the local Puyallup Tribe). World famous for it's wildflower meadows, up close and personal glacier views, and year round snowy peaks, Mt. Rainier National Parl is one of the most beautiful places in Washington hands down.

Distance from Seattle: ~1 hour 45 min.

Fees: requires an America the Beautiful annual pass or a $30 day pass per vehicle

Pets allowed: No. Because this is a National Park, pet's are only allowed on paved surfaces so it's best to leave them home for this spot!

Best Time of Year to Visit: July, August, September - the summer months are without a doubt the best time of year to visit Mt. Rainier at it's best. In July and August you'll be visiting at peak wildflower season, with mostly sunny days, mild temperatures and most of the snow on the trails will be melted by now. In September and October you'll be greeted with beautiful autumn colors and crispy air. What more could you ask for?!

Best Day and Time to Visit: Weekdays at sunrise is best to avoid the crowds. It sucks getting up super early, but Mt. Rainier National Park is one of the most popular parks in the PNW so crowds build up quickly. To avoid the bulk of the crowds and get some beautiful light, sunrise is the best! On a weekday is even better! If you can't make sunrise, right after sunset can offer some spectacular light still, but you'll definitely have more people around.

Best Trails for Photos: There's no shortage is beautiful trails here but some of my favorites are:

CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT
STATE PARK, WA

In my opinion, Cape Disappointment State Park is one of the most underrated engagement photo locations in Washington. A tucked away park right on the Oregon border, Cape Disappointment has those moody coastal vibes and stunning sunsets. You'll have everything from two historic lighthouses, to rocky cliffs, sandy beach (with a small sea cave!), and a hidden cove to explore. Not to mention some stunning forest to explore with funky cedars and spruce trees.

Distance from Seattle: ~3 hours

Fees: requires a Discover Pass or a $10 day pass (there are pay stations to drop cash in an envelope at most parking lots here)

Pets allowed: Yes! Pets must be on leash here but they're welcome to join you.

Best Time of Year to Visit: Anytime! Summer and fall are always crowd favorites in the PNW since we're known for our mild weather, but Cape Disappointment is beautiful any time of year. If you're willing to brave the risk of some rain, Winter and Spring will give you the quintessential PNW moody vibes with clouds and fog, perfect for snuggling up and getting those dramatic windswept feels.

Best Day and Time to Visit: Weekdays in the summer are usually the best time to avoid people, but honestly every time I've visited, no matter the day or time of year, it's pretty low key. You'll be able to explore without heavy crowds. Sunsets here are especially beautiful!

CLICK HERE TO SEE KAITLIN + SEAN'S CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT ENGAGEMENT

THE HOH RAINFOREST,
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, WA

If you're looking for an excuse to visit the Olympic Peninsula, having your engagement photos in the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park is it. Soft mossy forest, biodiversity to the max, crystal clear water, ELK. You could spend hours just looking at all of the different minuscule plants. Plus, it's one of the quietest places on earth!

Distance from Seattle: ~4 hours

Fees: requires an America the Beautiful annual pass or a $30 day pass per vehicle

Pets allowed: No. Because this is a National Park, pet's are only allowed on paved surfaces so it's best to leave them home for this spot!

Best Time of Year to Visit: There's some debate over this, but personally I think the best time to visit is in the spring or winter. In the summer there's often a drought, making things a little crispy and dusty. But in the winter with regular rain (ahem, RAINforest) everything is extraordinarily lush and green. You'll be able to see all of the interesting mosses in their lushy mossy goodness. In the spring new growth and blooms envelope the forest. It's really magical! In the winter you'll avoid most of the crowds too.

Best Day and Time to Visit: Weekdays at sunrise is best to avoid the crowds in the summer. Ordinarily by 9am the parking lot is filling up, so get there bright and early to enjoy the park pretty much alone! In the winter since you'll most likely have some cloud coverage and/or rain, early morning is best for fog, and mid-afternoon for some brighter light. Things get dark quickly in such dense forest!

Best Trails for Photos:

CLICK HERE TO SEE Kendall + steven's hoh rainforest engagement

couple silhouetted with rialto beach near seattle
bellingham wedding photographer at rialto beach engagement session

RIALTO BEACH,
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, WA

The iconic Rialto Beach is a must see if you're going to do a Washington Coast trip. With some of the best tide pooling in the state, giant beautiful sea stacks, crashing waves, seals and otters, it's one of the most majestic engagement photo locations in Washington. A large section of the beach is made up of rocks and the waves crashing makes the whole beach rumble in a crazy primordial way that you just feel in your soul. It's wild. Like most of the coast, you'll get spectacular sunsets, and if the tide is low enough you can visit Hole in the Rock!

Distance from Seattle: ~4 hours

Fees: requires an America the Beautiful annual pass or a $30 day pass per vehicle

Pets allowed: Yes! Dogs are allowed on the beach at Rialto Beach so long as they are leashed and you clean up after them. Rialto Beach is a unique part of Olympic National Park that IS dog friendly. (:

Best Time of Year to Visit: Anytime! In my opinion Spring and Winter are the best times to avoid the bulk of the crowds and get the moody coastal vibes if you're willing to brave the rain. Summer is warm, sunny, and beautiful, but is a VERY popular time to visit.

Best Day and Time to Visit: Weekdays at sunrise is best to avoid the crowds in the summer. In the winter since you'll most likely have some cloud coverage and/or rain, early morning is best for fog, and mid-afternoon for some brighter light. HOWEVER: Plan your trip in accordance with the tides. You'll want to visit at low tide for the most exploration potential, tides get very high here.

check out my ultimate guide to planning your rialto beach engagement

washington elopement photographer the cardinals photographs a couple eloping at rosario head deception pass
rosario beach deception pass state park

ROSARIO BEACH,
DECEPTION PASS STATE PARK, WA

One of my most requested engagement photo locations in Washington is Rosario Beach, and for good reason! You'll be greeted with sweeping views of the Puget Sound, the cliffs will be painted yellow by the Scotch Broom in bloom, warm sunsets and long evenings make it the perfect romantic day-trip from Seattle.

Distance from Seattle: ~1.5-2 hours

Fees: requires a Discover Pass or a $10 day pass (there are pay stations to drop cash in an envelope at most parking lots here)

Pets Allowed: Yes! Rosario Beach and Deception Pass State Park are both very dog friendly.

Best Time of Year to Visit: Hands down Summer is the best time to visit.

Best Day and Time to Visit: Weekdays at sunset is the best time to visit, although in my experience the crowds aren't too bad here. Deception Pass State Park often does evens here to teach people about tide pooling and the local critters, but visiting on a weekday will likely be the best bet for some pockets of alone time.

CLICK HERE FOR TALLY + KAILEE'S ROSARIO BEACH ENGAGEMENT

CLICK HERE FOR AUDREY + NATHANIEL'S ROSARIO BEACH ENGAGEMENT

KITSAP MEMORIAL STATE PARK, POULSBO, WA

If you're a Poulsbo local or just looking for a day trip across the Sound, Kitsap Memorial State Park is a great little gem for your engagement session. Just a few minutes from downtown Poulsbo, it has beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains, tall whispering trees, and some very cute cabins you can rent to make it a whole engagement getaway.

Distance from Seattle: ~1.5-2 hours

Fees: requires a Discover Pass or a $10 day pass (there are pay stations to drop cash in an envelope at most parking lots here)

Pets Allowed: Yes! Washington State Parks tend to be very dog friendly as long as they're leashed and you follow Leave No Trace principles.

Best Time of Year to Visit: Hands down Summer is the best time to visit. You'll have a better chance at clear skies to see the Olympic Mountains, the warm breeze off the water and little rocky beach to dip your toes in the water. Its the perfect little getaway.

Best Day and Time to Visit: Weekdays at sunset is the best time to visit, and though there aren't many trails to hike, this location would be great to pair with a visit to downtown Poulsbo for the best of both worlds!

check out ELANOR + RYAN'S KITSAP MEMORIAL STATE PARK INTIMATE WEDDING

EBEY'S LANDING,
WHIDBEY ISLAND, WA

My second most requested engagement photo location in Washington is Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island! This place is extra special to me too because it's where Brian proposed to me! So I can say from personal experience it's a pretty damn magical place for your photos. Beautiful lush farmland, views of the Olympics and the Sound. A bit like Coastal California in feel, but with Washington charm. And if you're a history buff there's a very old little cemetery just a short walk away if you're into that sort of thing.

Distance from Seattle: ~1.5-2 hours

Fees: Although this is part of a National Historic Reserve, there are no fees to visit.

Pets Allowed: Yep! Pets are welcome to join you on leash.

Best Time of Year to Visit: Hands down Summer or Fall is the best time to visit. Warm, sunny evenings, with glowing golden sunset. Even a little haze from the inevitable late summer wildfire gives a beautiful soft smoky glow, so you can't go wrong! Midsummer you'll be greeted by wildflowers and soft grass, cool breezes. It's

Best Day and Time to Visit: This is a popular sunset watching spot for locals, but you won't have much trouble finding a place to park or be overwhelmed with crowds. This is a low key day trip from Seattle.

check out KATIE + HAVEN'S EBEY'S LANDING ENGAGEMENT

couple walks in the riverbed of the baker river for the baker lake engagement photos for their engagement photos with seattle engagement photographer The Cardinals
couple dances in the lake bed at baker lake for a blog about the best engagement photo locations in washington

BAKER LAKE,
MT. BAKER-SNOQUALMIE NATIONAL FOREST

An amazing hidden gem in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is Baker Lake! A stunning manmade lake with blue as heck water, views of Mt. Baker herself if you're out on the lake, and plenty of beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. You'll have access to lush forest, the Baker River, and plenty of secluded foresty hideaways.

Distance from Seattle: 2-2.5 hours

Fees: Northwest Forest Pass ($30 annually)

Pets Allowed: Yep! Pets are welcome to join you.

Best Time of Year to Visit: In my opinion, this location is stunning just about any time of year. In the summer this place is bustling with campers (there are MANY national forest campgrounds in the area). You'll have ultimate PNW lake vibe with plenty of opportunities to canoe, kayak, fishing, and swim. In the winter you may see a light dusting of snow and you'll have the entire area pretty much to yourself! Because the lake is drained in the winter you can walk the lake bed and see some of the ancient tree stumps that you wouldn't ordinarily see when the water is high.

Best Day and Time to Visit: In the summer, a weekday sunrise is the best time to visit to avoid crowds. In the winter, sunrise or late afternoon is best and any day of the week is great.

ARTIST POINT, MT. BAKER,
MT. BAKER-SNOQUALMIE NATIONAL FOREST

One of the most beautiful and iconic mountains in all of Washington state is Mt. Baker! The third tallest in the state after Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, she stands at 10,786 ft., on a clear day you'll have up close and personal views with her at Artist Point with zero hiking needed. Artist Point is the perfect base for all levels of outdoorsiness, with trails that are ADA accessible, many very short trails, and plenty of long distance moderate difficulty trails. You'll have everything from alpine lakes, epic mountain views, wildflowers, lush forest, everything you could ever want!

Distance from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Fees: Northwest Forest Pass ($30 annually)

Pets Allowed: Yep! Pets are welcome to join you.

Best Time of Year to Visit: Summer is the most popular time of year to visit. Clear skies will give you sweeping views, tons of wildflowers line the trails, the alpine lakes are at their most blue, and all trails are open. In the winter, you'll have limited access as the road up to Artist Point closes, but you'll still be able to visit locations like Bagley Lakes and then snowshoe up to Artist Point.

Best Day and Time to Visit: In the summer, a weekday sunrise is the best time to visit to avoid crowds.

Recommended Locations:

click here to see a winter artist point elopement

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ELOPING AT ARTIST POINT

washington coast engagement at cape flattery

CAPE FLATTERY, NEAH BAY, WA

The westernmost point in the whole United States, Cape Flattery is easily one of the most beautiful coastal locations in Washington! Located on Makah Tribal land in Neah Bay, it's a trek to get to but absolutely worth the drive. As waves crash against the cliffs, mist rolls off the water that's filled with epic sea stacks, with plenty of view points and gorgeous trails through a mossy coastal forest.

Distance from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Fees: Makah Recreation Permit ($20)

Pets Allowed: Yep! Pets are welcome to join you on leash.

Best Time of Year to Visit: Summer is the most popular time to visit, however fall and winter days here are something spectacular too. Because of the Olympic Peninsula's mild winter temperatures ordinarily hover in the 40s and 50s, and you'll most likely have moody foggy vibes (that are great for photos!). If you're willing to brave the rain, consider winter as an option!

Best Day and Time to Visit: In the summer, a weekday sunset is always spectacular. Visiting on a weekday will help avoid some of the crowds.

MORE WASHINGTON ENGAGEMENT

PHOTO RESOURCES

MEET YOUR SEATTLE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHERS

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 Washington 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.

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