A Comprehensive Guide to How to Elope in Olympic National Park

Being based out of Seattle, WA, you can probably guess that I’m pretty obsessed with this stunning state I live in. Washington is home to not one, not two, but three national parks, all of which have so much to offer and feature some of the most incredible landscapes in the northwest. Today, I wanted to talk about one of my favorites, Olympic National Park, and to walk you through everything you need to know about choosing it as your elopement location. Hope you enjoy this comprehensive guide to how to elope in Olympic National Park!

FAQ’s About Olympic National Park

Let’s start off with answers to some questions you may have about Olympic National Park if you’re not too familiar with it – especially if you’d be traveling in from out of state for your elopement. 

Where is Olympic National Park?

Olympic National Park is located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, about 2.5 hours north of Seattle (depending on the part of the park you visit). It encompasses nearly a million acres of stunning land filled with lush rainforests, vast mountain valleys, alpine meadows, lakes, beaches, and even waterfalls. It’s seriously one of the most epic locations in the Pacific northwest that you could choose for your elopement because of how much diversity it has to offer!

Why should we elope in Olympic National Park?

Oh man, the list of reasons to elope in Olympic National Park is endless.

You should consider eloping in Olympic National Park if you:

  • Want a diverse location with many types of landscapes to explore

  • Love breathing in the fresh air of the mountains

  • Enjoy the moody Pacific Northwest beaches (and aren’t expecting sunny California beaches)

  • Want the opportunity to say your vows on a lake, hike into the mountains, walk through a lush rainforest, and enjoy sunset on the beach – all within the same trip

  • Love doing outdoor activities such as paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, or biking, and want to incorporate them into your elopement

  • Want to stay in a unique cabin/Airbnb in the middle of incredible scenery

What’s the best season to elope in Olympic National Park?

The best season to elope in Olympic National Park definitely depends on what type of atmosphere you’d like for your elopement. 

If you’re looking for the best chance of a warm, sunny day to go hiking and enjoy some time on the lake with your friends, July & August will be your best bets.

Fall in Olympic National Park offers absolutely stunning autumn scenery, with lush rainforests & red and orange foliage filling the park. Early fall (September-October) is a beautiful time to elope in Olympic National Park, as long as it doesn’t snow early and block off any trails or locations!

Winter is not the best time to elope in Olympic National Park simply due to the high mountain elevations & winder conditions the park usually gets – especially up at spots like Hurricane Ridge, which become inaccessible except by skis in the winter months. If you really want to elope in the winter here, stick to lower spots like Lake Crescent, the Hoh Rain Forest, and the beaches!

Spring is an absolutely beautiful time to elope in Olympic National Park, too, with temperatures getting warmer and the lush canopy becoming even more vibrant. Just be prepared to experience a good amount of rain, especially at spots that get lots of precipitation like the Hoh Rain Forest!

What town is closest to Olympic National Park?

Port Angeles is the town many people stay in when they visit Olympic National Park, as it’s close to the northern part of the park along the coast. It’s a super fun town to explore, with lots of unique Airbnb’s and delicious local restaurants. If you’re looking to stay on the west side of the park along the peninsula, I recommend finding a place in the Forks area – yes, that is the Forks for all you Twilight fans!

8 Best Places to Elope in Olympic National Park

1. Ruby Beach

First up is one of the most well-known locations along the Olympic Peninsula, Ruby Beach. You’ve likely seen photos of Ruby Beach before with its iconic large sea stacks, driftwood-covered beach, and of course all the best moody PNW vibes. 

Located on the southwest coast of the peninsula in the Kalaloch area, Ruby Beach is super easy to get to via an entrance road, parking area, and brief beach access trail. As soon as you arrive on the beach, you’ll find yourself surrounded by stunning coastal scenery, with massive rock formations highlighting the sandy beach, large pieces of driftwood, beautiful rocks, and plenty of seashells. 

I highly recommend exploring Ruby Beach in the evening on a sunny day, because the way golden hour hits the sea stacks & reflects in the ocean is absolutely killer! Ruby Beach is also a great spot to visit if you’re eloping during a rainier season, as it gets less rain than most other parts of the park. But even if it does rain, I love when couples embrace it and enjoy the beauty of the fog + rain that the Pacific Northwest is known for.

2. Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach is another popular beach along the Olympic Peninsula, located near La Push, about an hour north of Ruby Beach. Just like Ruby Beach, Rialto gives you stunning shoreline views, plenty of tidepools + sea stacks to walk around, and awesome hiking opportunities such as the 3.3-mile roundtrip Hole-in-the-Wall Hike! This is a moderately-challenging hike that starts from Rialto Beach and takes you about 1.5 miles to a beautiful arch and a ton of tidepools. I do recommend visiting Rialto when the tides are low to make sure you can pass through all the areas you want to, and don’t get stuck on the way back due to rising tides

3. La Push

La Push is a series of three beaches as well as a small coastal community along the peninsula, just 20 minutes south of Rialto beach. The three beaches are easy to remember – First Beach, Second Beach, and Third Beach.

First Beach is a popular one for surfing, and is actually the home of the Quileute Nation – make sure to learn about the proper etiquette that they ask you to observe when you visit the beach!

Second Beach features a great 4-mile hike called – you guessed it – Second Beach Trail that takes you to a stunning beach area. The sunsets here are phenomenal with dramatic sea stacks, cliffsides, and views of the natural arch to the north.

Third Beach Trail starts off from the parking area just off Highway 101 and takes you on a 1.3-mile journey through the forest. You end up on a beautiful shoreline that’s great to explore at low tide, and plenty of amazing scenery, of course!

4. Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent is a super popular spot within Olympic National Park because of how absolutely stunning it is + how easy it is to access. It rests in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains, offering phenomenal views of the mountains, pristine blue waters, and an overall super peaceful atmosphere. The lake is only about 30 minutes from Port Angeles, so it’s a great option for an elopement ceremony if you’re staying in town and want an easy-to-access, gorgeous place to tie the knot!

Whether you want to relax by the water with a book, head out onto the lake on kayaks or paddle boards, or take a short hike into the forest along the shoreline to get to Marymere Falls, Lake Crescent is filled with opportunities for fun outdoor adventure. You can even stay right on the shore of the lake if you want to, at the beautiful Lake Crescent Lodge.

5. Hurricane Ridge

Another stunning location in Olympic National Park that’s crazy easy to access! All it takes to get to the fantastic scenery at the top of Hurricane Ridge is a drive up Hurricane Ridge Road, off Mount Angeles Road. 

Located just 40 minutes south of Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is known for its scenic mountain + alpine meadow views, great hiking opportunities, accessible scenic viewpoints, and awesome skiing in the winter months. This is not a spot you’ll want to elope in the winter because of road closures due to winter weather!

6. Cape Flattery

Next up is Cape Flattery, an awesome hike that actually takes you to the furthest northwest tip of the entire country! The hike is just 1.5 miles in total, and takes you to dramatic views of the peninsula. It’s an absolutely unreal experience getting to look out at the huge sea stacks, blue water, tree-covered shoreline, and the little coves that sit between the beaches. I can’t recommend this hike enough, especially if you’re able to do it around sunset on a clear day! 

While you’re in the area you can also visit Neah Bay, a super stunning part of the Makah Reservation with rugged cliffs and great ocean scenery. 

7. Hoh Rain Forest

Probably one of the most iconic locations in Olympic National Park, the Hoh Rainforest is a freaking dream come true as far as rainforest elopement locations go. Filled with some of the most vibrant green foliage you’ll ever see, this forest is truly a magical experience from start to finish. Simply take the easy 0.8-mile roundtrip Hall of Mosses Trail loop and you’ll get to witness the lush mosses & ferns, crazy beautiful shades of green, and uniquely-shaped trees + massive roots. The Hoh Rain Forest is probably one of the most incredible forest elopement locations in the country for any couple looking to say their vows under an otherworldly canopy of breathtaking foliage!

8. Sol Duc Valley

Finally we have the Sol Duc Valley, located in the northwest part of the park about 40 minutes west of Port Angeles. The valley is filled with beautiful scenery and tons of opportunities for outdoor adventure, including a chance to relax at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, take a hike to Sol Duc Falls, and visit the Salmon Cascades overlook. It’s an underrated area of the park that many couples don’t consider exploring for their elopement, but definitely should!

Olympic National Park Wedding & Elopement Permits

Olympic National Park Entrance Fee

The first fee you’ll need to worry about for your ONP elopement is simply the park entrance fee, which is $30 per car for a 7-day pass. If you plan to visit the park more than once in a year, I’d recommend opting for the $55 annual park pass instead! You can get your park entry pass either online before you go, at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, or at park entrance stations via debit or credit card.

Your other option is to get an America the Beautiful Annual Pass, which is an $80 annual pass that covers your entry into any national park in the country for a year!

Olympic National Park Special Use Permit

To legally get married in Olympic National Park, you’ll also need to obtain an Olympic National Park Special Use Permit beforehand. Special Use Permits are required for all special events including weddings, and typically take up to 3-4 weeks to process. I definitely recommend starting your permit process as far in advance as you can to ensure the park office has plenty of time to issue your permit & get all the necessary information from you! It can be super stressful if you wait till the last minute and end up worrying if you’ll get your permit on time, or potentially not having your application accepted at all.

Here’s how to get your Olympic National Park wedding permit:

  1. Download & fill out the Special Use Permit application.

  2. Send your completed application to the office via email or to the address below:

c/o Olympic National Park

600 East Park Ave

Port Angeles, WA 98362

  1. Pay your nonrefundable application processing fee (ranging from $50-100) using the link sent to you by the office

  2. If your permit is approved, you’ll receive your permit in the mail.

  3. Sign & return your permit, along with any necessary additional payments, to the park office.

You can contact the park office if you have any clarifying questions about your Olympic National Park wedding permit!

Where to Stay in Olympic National Park

One of the best parts of choosing Olympic National Park as your elopement destination? The incredible amount of unique places to stay in the area. From weird, one-of-a-kind Airbnb’s in Port Angeles to a gorgeous lodge on the lake to glamping retreats in the lush forest, there are options for every couple. Check out some of the top-rated Airbnb’s, lodges & hotels below!


Lodges & Resorts

United States Elopement & Wedding Location Guides

I hope this Olympic National Park elopement guide was helpful to you, and that you feel ready to plan your dream elopement in this stunning national park!

I’ve photographed countless couples in Olympic National Park, so I would be stoked to be considered to be your Olympic National Park elopement photographer. You can learn more about me here, see my starting investment, and say hello here if you’d like to start chatting – excited to hear from you!

Be sure to also check out some of my other elopement & wedding guides to more of my favorite locations in the United States below if you’re still deciding where you want to host your big day.

Arizona Elopement & Wedding Guide

California Elopement & Wedding Guide

New Mexico Elopement & Wedding Guide

Wyoming Elopement & Wedding Guide

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