The 5 Best Locations to Elope in Oregon
For the adventurous, nature-loving couple, Oregon has it all. Its diverse landscape and striking scenery make this Pacific Northwest state a dream elopement destination. From the pristine beaches of the coast to the old growth forests of the interior, the rugged wilderness and natural beauty is enough to leave you breathless. If you’re looking for the best locations to elope in Oregon, look no further. Not only are these places amazing to explore for personal adventures, but they offer a unique and memorable way for you to get hitched!
1. Central Oregon & Smith Rock State Park
Located in Central Oregon, Smith Rock State Park is a magical place for your Oregon elopement. Central Oregon’s high mountain desert terrain offers a stark contrast to western Oregon’s lush green rainforest.
With its breathtaking jagged rocks towering high into the sky, it’s no surprise that this state park is considered to be one of Oregon’s seven wonders. An outdoor-loving couple’s dream, the park is a wonderful place for an intimate elopement. With a deep river canyon surrounded by rugged terrain, this place is simply majestic.
Tips for Eloping in Central Oregon & Smith Rock State Park
Best Time of Year to Elope: Spring and Fall
Although the park is wonderful year-round, the temperatures are generally milder with less crowds in the spring and fall. Summer is peak season with highs reaching the mid-90s. While spring weather can be unpredictable, fall weather patterns are usually more stable. For your best chance of fewer crowds and pleasant weather, I recommend October! Check out this adventure elopement inspiration at Smith Rock State Park last year.
Getting There: About a 35 minute drive from Bend (a great place to stay close to the park) and about a 3 hour drive from Portland.
Things To Do:
- Rock Climbing – Known as the birthplace of U.S. sport climbing, Smith Rock State Park is a popular climbing spot and a great place to get your adrenaline pumping.
- Explore the Park’s Hiking Trails – Take in the amazing views as you traverse one of the 12 official hiking trails located in the park. Don’t miss Misery Ridge Trail, one of the most popular trails in the park. It’s a workout, but the views are totally worth it!
- Go Horseback Riding – For a more leisure activity, try a relaxing trail ride on horseback and take in the scenery as you stroll along the banks of the Crooked River.
- Kayaking on the Crooked River – If you’re more of a water-loving adventurer, you’ll love kayaking through the deep canyons of the river.
- Spend Time Exploring Bend – This charming mountain town is home to over 17 craft breweries and some adorable shops. Bend is definitely a must-visit, especially for beer lovers!
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2. The Oregon Coast
With 363 miles of scenic coastline, the wild and rugged Oregon Coast is an ideal elopement destination. From north to south, this diverse coastline boasts pristine sandy beaches, towering sea stacks, and lush green forests. Along the north coast, you’ll find vast stretches of beach as far as your eye can see. As you head south towards the central coast, sandy beaches give way to rocky sea cliffs lining the edge of the Pacific. Keep driving and you’ll soon reach the jagged, mountainous terrain of the southern coast. No matter what style you’re going for, the diversity of the Oregon Coast means you’ll have ample elopement locations to choose from.
Keep in mind that the well known, popular locations can be very busy with tourists which means your elopement won’t be very private. I’ve done a lot of adventuring along the coast and have found some secret spots, so definitely let me know if you’re interested in a more intimate location.
Tips for Eloping on the Oregon Coast
Best Time of Year to Elope: September to mid-October
Early fall is considered to be one of the best times to visit the Oregon Coast, referred to by locals as the “second summer.” With temperatures hovering in the 60s and 70s, you’ll find that the days are sunnier and less windy during this season. Plus, the summer crowds have decreased and accommodations are less expensive.
Where to Stay: Florence, Cannon Beach, Pacific City, Lincoln City, or Brookings. Check out Airbnb or Vrbo for unique, authentic options. There are a lot of campgrounds sprinkled along the entire coastline, so check out the Oregon State Parks website for more information and to make reservations. They fill up quickly during peak season. Yurts are also available to rent. Let’s get ready at your campsite or private yurt before your elopement! It adds such a rad perspective for your getting ready photos!
Things To Do:
- Take a Road Trip along the Coast – Spend a few days driving the iconic Highway 101 down the Oregon coastline, and be sure to make plenty of stops along the way (keep reading for a few favorites!).
- Visit Haystack Rock – Located in the quaint town of Cannon Beach, it’s hard to miss this infamous basalt stack jutting out from the beach as it rises over 200 feet into the sky. This is a beautiful place to visit during sunset!
- Explore Oregon’s Sand Dunes – With miles of sand dunes lining the central coast, the Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreation Area is an incredible spot to visit. Dune buggy, sled, sandboard, or explore the area by foot.
- Visit Heceta Head Lighthouse – One of the most popular lighthouses in the U.S. and the most photographed in the state, Heceta Head Lighthouse consists of a short hike and absolutely stunning views overlooking the Pacific. It also makes for a gorgeous elopement location!
- Explore Samuel H Boardman State Park – This rugged stretch of coastline is truly incredible. You can hike along the coast or drive to several of the most popular viewpoints including Arch Rock, Secret Beach, and the Natural Bridges. I am dying to shoot an elopement here! Contact me nowww. Let’s do it! 🙂
BOOK YOUR OREGON COAST ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT – CONTACT ME
3. Mt. Hood National Forest & The Columbia River Gorge
Visible from almost any point in Portland and towering 11,240 feet into the sky, Mt. Hood is a sight to be seen. Another one of Oregon’s seven wonders and the state’s tallest mountain, its snow-capped peak lies in the heart of Mt. Hood National Forest. In the winter, its slopes are covered deep in snow, but in the summer its foothills are blanketed in colorful alpine wildflowers.
Just north of the national forest, and equally as beautiful, lies the Columbia River Gorge where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains. A deep canyon surrounded by grand scenery, this place will leave you speechless. Home to countless waterfalls and a lush, old growth forest, the Columbia River Gorge is a perfect location for your Oregon adventure elopement.
Tips for Eloping in Mt. Hood National Forest & the Columbia River Gorge
Best Time of Year to Elope: Late July to August
Summer provides the best opportunity for nice weather and the least chance of rain, but if you’re hoping to elope in a field of wildflowers, spring is your best bet with the flowers making their appearance from late April to June. Just as beautiful in the fall, from mid-September through October, the foliage is simply stunning and the weather is usually still nice.
Getting There: Both within close proximity to Portland, Mt. Hood National Forest is located just 1.5 hours away and the Columbia River Gorge just over 30 minutes from downtown Portland.
Where to Stay: Portland or cabins and lodges in Mt. Hood National Forest and the Columbia River Gorge. Check out Airbnb or Vrbo for unique, authentic options. There are a plethora of campgrounds in the National Forest and backpacking is always a great option for those that want to get off the beaten path! A backpacking adventure elopement perhaps?!!
Things To Do:
- Hike to Trillium Lake – With Mt. Hood as its backdrop, this lake is the perfect place to take in the incredible landscape. A fairly easy hike, the two mile trail loops around the lake providing breathtaking views of Mt. Hood along the way.
- Take a Scenic Drive on the Fruit Loop – Set in the Hood River Valley, the 35 mile long Fruit Loop takes you through the valley’s orchards, flower fields, and farmlands where you can stop at local fruit stands, lavender fields, and wineries.
- Look Out over Crown Point – Standing over 700 feet above the Columbia River, Crown Point is a drive-up lookout that offers a spectacular panoramic view of the gorge.
- Explore Portland – Spend a few days soaking up city life in Portland, exploring its quirky neighborhoods, microbreweries, and amazing food. I often joke that I eat my way through Portland when I visit! They really do have incredible locally sourced, organic food with a creative twist. Be sure not to miss popular spots like the Pearl District and Washington Park.
- Visit Oregon’s Waterfalls – With over 26 waterfalls in the area, there’s plenty to explore. A few must-see waterfalls include Multnomah Falls, Elowah Falls, Latourell Falls, and Fairy Falls.
BOOK YOUR MT. HOOD NATIONAL FOREST & THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE
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4. Willamette National Forest & Waterfalls
Stretching over 100 miles along the western edge of the Cascade Mountains, lies Willamette National Forest, a mix of old growth forests, narrow canyons, tall mountains, and cascading waterfalls. Deep amongst the douglas-fir trees, you’ll find the Mckenzie River with its crystal clear blue water winding its way through the forest. The Willamette is the epitome of Oregon wilderness. One of the special things about Oregon is there are waterfalls everywhere! There are hundreds to choose from and I know some secret spots that aren’t as busy as the well known locations, so you’ll have an intimate elopement experience.
With a rich natural history, you’ll find it’s easy to get lost in the magic of it all, and at any given moment, you might feel as though you’ve drifted off to some far away, fairytale-like forest. It’s easy to see why this majestic place tops the list of Oregon elopement locations.
Tips for Eloping in Willamette National Forest & Waterfalls
Best Time of Year to Elope: Mid-June to Late September
Weather within the forest can vary. Generally, the summer months of July and August produce the warmest days with temperatures reaching up to 90 degrees with little precipitation. Spring and fall usually see more moderate temperatures in the 50s and 60s with less crowds than in summer, and the weather can be unpredictable during that time. It is a rainforest after all!
Getting There: About an hour drive from Eugene, 1.5 hours from Bend, and just under a 3 hour drive from Portland.
Where to Stay: McKenzie Bridge, Eugene, Sisters, Camp Sherman, or Bend. Check out Airbnb or Vrbo for unique, authentic options. There are a few campgrounds in the McKenzie Bridge area nestled along the McKenzie River and surrounded by lush rainforest. A little farther down the road towards Bend there are campgrounds in Camp Sherman along the Metolius River. I highly recommend booking your camp spot early, since they tend to fill up quickly!
Things To Do:
- Go Whitewater Rafting – Set out on a guided rafting tour for an exhilarating adventure on the McKenzie River. A fun activity if you’re looking for a little adrenaline rush!
- Hike the Water Falls Loop Trail – Discover hidden waterfalls as you walk the three mile trail, passing through dense forests and making your way to Sahalie and Koosah Falls.
- Visit Tamolitch Blue Pool – Located on the McKenzie River Trail lies the clearest, glistening blue water. Once a waterfall, the river now runs underground before reaching the pool giving the water its vibrant color.
- Take a Dip in the Hot Springs – Located in Willamette National Forest, Terwilliger (Cougar) Hot Springs are geothermal springs that line a small hillside with temperatures reaching up to 112 degrees. There is a $7 per person day use fee. Clothing optional!
- Explore Clear Lake – This pristine, blue-green lake is actually home to an ancient forest perfectly preserved beneath its waters. You can hike, bike, kayak, or even scuba dive, gaining a whole new perspective from what lies under its surface.
BOOK YOUR WILLAMETTE NATIONAL FOREST & WATERFALLS
ADVENTURE ELOPEMENT – CONTACT ME
5. Crater Lake National Park
Oregon’s only National Park and another one of the state’s seven wonders, Crater Lake is an awe-inspiring and truly fascinating place to behold. An explosive volcano formed this impressive caldera and the deep blue lake that surrounds it.
A vibrant, indigo blue, the lake is bordered by jagged cliffs. Standing along the edge of the caldera, overlooking the clear water below will no doubt take your breath away. There truly aren’t many places like this in the world, making it a unique and one-of-a-kind elopement location.
Tips for Eloping in Crater Lake National Park
Best Time of Year to Elope: July to Mid-September
Although open year round, summer is often the best time to elope in Crater Lake National Park due to milder temperatures and little precipitation. It’s best to avoid eloping at the park from October to June as these months often see more unpredictable winter weather conditions.
Getting There: Located about a 1.5 hour drive from Bend, 2.5 hours from Eugene, and about a 4 hour drive from Portland.
Where to Stay: Crater Lake Lodge at Rim Village (open mid-May to mid-October), The Cabins at Mazama Village (late May to late September), or Bend. There are two campgrounds inside the park called Mazama and Lost Creek. Check out Airbnb or Vrbo for unique, authentic options.
Things To Do:
- Drive the Rim Road – About 30 miles long, the Rim Road circles around the cliffs of the caldera with amazing viewpoints throughout. Highly recommended!
- Take a Boat Tour of Crater Lake – Choose between a two hour boat tour around the lake or a longer tour that allows you to explore Wizard Island (the small island on the western edge of the lake).
- Explore Wizard Island – Witness the untouched natural beauty of Wizard Island and hike to the summit (which is also an active volcano!) or around the edge of the island.
- Swim in Crater Lake – Take a dip in the pristine, stunningly clear blue water. The two places to swim are off Wizard Island or at the bottom of Cleetwood Cove Trail. The water remains a brisk 55 degrees all year round.
- Hike the Park’s Trails – For some incredible views, hike Discovery Point Trail, or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, hike up to Watchman or Garfield Peak.