Best Places to Elope in Washington

Ready to see the best places to elope in Washington? Get excited! There’s a reason we, as elopement photographers, live in this beautiful state. Washington is home to three National Parks, countless beautiful areas outside of the National Parks, and has a wide diversity of landscapes to explore! You could be whale watching on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and then an hour later be hiking at 5,000 ft in the Olympic Mountains. Washington is one of the places to elope and we’re excited to show you what your adventure elopement could look like!

Marriage License Info for Washington State

No matter where you elope in Washington, you’ll want to file for your marriage license! So here’s what you need to know:

  • You are required to have an officiant and two witnesses. We have several amazing officiant recommendations for the Pacific-Northwest.
  • There is a 3 day waiting period to pick up your marriage license, and it has a 60-day expiration. It’s pretty straightforward and we can help explain the logistics of that in the planning process with us.
  • It costs between $57-$67 with a $3 fee for certified copies. You can pay with cash or credit card in most counties.
  • We always advise calling the County Clerk Office in the county where you’re eloping to see if they do things differently (for example: prefer cash payments).

More information can be found on the King County website.


What’s the weather like for eloping in Washington?

The Washington weather is fairly moderate and varies based on whether you’re exploring the Washington Coast or trekking in the North Cascade. We do get lots of sunny days in the summer season, but we also get moody days even in August. So there’s never a guarantee you’ll see the mountains, but you’ll have the best chance from late July through early September.

You can expect warm summer days in the mountains (70-85 degrees) and cool mornings for any sunrise hikes (35-45 degrees). While the Washington Coast tends to be about 10 degrees cooler than other areas in Western Washington. July and August tend to be the driest months, with clouds being more prominent in the Spring, Fall, and Winter (due to the marine layer from the Pacific Ocean).

Early July elopement in the North Cascades on a clear day.

When should we elope in the Pacific-Northwest?

The mountain weather in the Pacific-Northwest is basically a mild version of Alaskan weather. We often have snow in our mountains until early August, and we get fresh snow again starting in October. You heard us right on that! So there’s about a 7-10 week window of snow-free trails out here in Washington every year. It’s quite wild if you’re traveling here from anywhere else to imagine snow on the ground even in August. Mt. Hood near Portland, Oregon even has year-round skiing if you’re into that!

Our coastal areas are accessible year-round and super green even in the winter (hints why we have rainforests here)! However, just like the mountains, your best bet for mild weather is July – September. We get moody days year-round on the Washington/Oregon Coast but the summer is still the driest season. And if you decide to elope or visit the Coast in the Spring, Fall, or Winter just expect the mountain areas nearby to be inaccessible and covered in snow. But you can also enjoy the peace and quiet of our moody offseason!

Best Time to Elope: Late July through early September. While you can elope any time of year in the Pacific-Northwest, we usually recommend Late July through early September to have more trails accessible. We build our travel schedule around the best time windows to elope in Washington or Colorado.


Best Places to Elope in Washington

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Best Time of Year to Elope: Late July – Late September

Distance from Seattle: 3 hours

Permit Required: Yes, a permit is required even for elopements despite the website’s outdated information. We’ll help you get in touch with the permit coordinator to secure a permit in the planning process (more information here).

Bordering North Cascades National Park (and Canada) is the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. This area is popular with locals and for good reason. Panoramic mountain views are easy to find here with forest roads leading to trailheads and stunning views. This is the most visited National Forest in the US, with easy-going hikes to multi-day backpacking adventures.

Olympic National Park

Best Time of Year to Elope: Late July – Late September (and in the winter months!)

Distance from Seattle: 3 hours

Permit Required: Yes (more information here)

Since we used to live on the outskirts of Olympic National Park, you can bet this is one of our favorite places to explore! A lot of people don’t realize just how huge it is. There are three different ecosystems, stretching from subalpine forests to the Pacific coastline. It offers adventure for any experience level, whether you’re wanting a quiet ceremony at a gorgeous lake, or you’re ready for a multi-day backpacking trip to get up close to a glacier.

North Cascades National Park

Best Time of Year to Elope: Late July – Late September

Distance from Seattle: 2-3 hours

Permit Required: Yes (more information here)

The North Cascades are considered the “American Alps” for good reason. This place is full to the brim with jagged peaks and cascading mountains, split by the Skagit River. Bordering Canada, this National Park has so much to offer for adventure lovers. Stunning lakes, forested valleys, and epic mountain views. The hikes here are a little steeper, but they lead to some of the best mountain views in the country. So if you’re up for an adventure, we’ll pack the bags and meet you there!

Washington Coast

Best Time of Year to Elope: July – September (although it is accessible all year round)

Distance from Seattle: 4 hours

Permit Required: Yes (more information here)

The Washington Coast is absolutely breathtaking with dramatic rock formations hugging the Pacific Ocean. As we mentioned earlier, Olympic National Park is huge. So a lot of the stunning places to explore on the Washington Coast are part of Olympic. You’ll be able to explore stunning beaches like Ruby Beach and Rialto Beach. While you can also meander through the lush Hoh Rainforest and adventure to nearby lakes. This area is the farthest away from Seattle, and it just feels more remote. Whether you want to explore an iconic beach or find a hidden gem, eloping on the Washington Coast is straight out of a fairytale.

Leavenworth

Best Time of Year to Elope: Mid-July – Late September

Distance from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Permit Required: Check with the National Forest (more information here)

Nestled into the Cascade range in Washington is a cute, well-known Bavarian town: Leavenworth. If you like schnitzel, German beers, and beautiful mountains–this might be your type of place! Surrounded by National Forest trails, including some of the best hikes Washington has to offer–we love exploring Leavenworth. It’s also a great place to explore after you elope too!

Mt. Rainier National Park

We no longer book elopements for Mt. Rainier. More information is below.

Best Time of Year to Elope: Mid-July – Mid-September

Distance from Seattle: 2-3 hours (depending on location)

Permit Required: Yes (more information here)

Mt. Rainier is a 14,441 ft stratovolcano that seems to come out of nowhere, rising on its own and surrounded by forest meadows and mountains. It’s an iconic peak visible from the Seattle area, and on a clear day, it’s visible from other portions of the Cascades and even the Olympic Peninsula. The first time we actually saw Mt. Rainier in all of its glory was at 4 am. And even in the dark, we could see just how massive Mt. Rainier was. It’s just something you have to experience. And if a huge stratovolcano wasn’t enough, you’ll be able to explore alpine scenery, waterfalls, and rushing rivers for your elopement in Mt. Rainier.

Mt. Rainier is split into three major areas: Paradise, Longmire, and Sunrise. And we have various Airbnb recommendations for the quaint towns surrounding these areas. So we’ll be sure to help you find the perfect cozy cabin for your elopement!

Mt. Rainier Update: In 2022, Mt. Rainier introduced a new special-use permit restriction that heavily limits wedding activity within the park boundaries. For this reason, we prefer to book elopements for other destinations where we have more flexibility. It’s up to each couple to decide whether or not their elopement or wedding day can still work under the new guidelines! ๐Ÿ™‚


Other Great Places to Elope in Washington

While this guide goes in-depth about the best places to elope in Washington, there are even more spectacular places you can elope here! Whether you’re wanting an easy-going ceremony with family or a backpacking adventure to an alpine lake–Washington has it all.

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