Three months into dating each other, Caleb told Bethany they would be married by the end of the year. She wasn’t quite convinced it would happen that quickly but sure enough Caleb would follow through. On December 31st of that year, he surprised her with the perfect gift—an engagement! When you know, you know.
Caleb and Bethany chose to elope among the ever-so-beautiful redwoods in Jedediah Smith State Park. The day was perfect with an abundance of sun that seeped through the lush canopy of trees. Their ceremony was held amongst the gentle giants surrounded by a few of their closest friends and family.
After the ceremony, we snuck away to take some couples photos of the bride and groom. The Redwoods is one of my absolute favorite places to shoot. It truly never gets old. There’s something about being surrounded by something so ancient and tall that makes you feel so small but so connected to each other and the Earth. The soft sunlight that made its way to the forest floor made for some incredible shots.
From there, we headed down to the beach to take some more couples photos along the coast. If you want the best of both worlds—magical forest and moody coast—redwoods is definitely the place! As the sun set over the ocean, we soaked up its golden glow as we laughed, danced, and celebrated their perfect day.
Eloping in Redwoods National Park
Moody and majestic—it’s hard not to fall head over heels for the Redwoods. Dramatic coastline, grassy meadows, fern-covered forests, and of course, the ancient trees that call this place home. Here, in Northern California, the infamous redwoods stand over 300 feet tall with some more than 2,000 years old! It’s like getting married in a fairytale forest.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Redwoods consists of four parks co-managed with the state of California. They include Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (where Caleb and Bethany eloped!), Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and Redwood National Park. Each park is just as beautiful as the next.
Where to Elope: Jedediah Smith State Park
Although each of the four parks offer a close up of the magical redwoods, Jedediah Smith State Park is definitely a favorite. It’s the northernmost park of the four, covering over 10,000 acres of old-growth forest and home to seven percent of the world’s redwoods. Just a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, you can walk beneath the gentle giants before heading to the rugged coast. It really is the best of both worlds!
Where to Stay: Crescent City or Brookings
There are a few towns to choose from that are close to the Redwoods Parks, but two that I recommend are Crescent City and Brookings. In Northern California, Crescent City is the largest city near the parks and is just a short drive from Jedediah Smith State Park. However, Brookings is another great option! Although located in southern Oregon, it’s not far from the Redwoods Parks and is also nearby to the beautiful Samuel Boardman State Park located along the southern Oregon Coast. Other towns to consider are Eureka and Arcata which are south of Redwoods National Park and sit just across each other on opposite sides of Humboldt Bay.
When to Elope: May to October
Although temperatures are fairly consistent year-round, ranging from the mid-40s to the low 60s, the summer months bring slightly warmer and drier weather. Much of the rain falls between November and April, making May through October the best months to elope. Just be aware that you may experience some coastal fog rolling in, especially during July and August, which is perfect if you’re going for those moodier vibes! If you’re hoping for nice weather without the crowds, September is your best bet!
Are the redwoods calling your name? Find everything you need to know about eloping in the redwoods in my post, How to Elope in Redwoods National Park.