I mayyy be a little biased given that I was born and raised in Seattle, but I truly believe that Washington is the absolute best state for outdoor elopements, PERIOD. It’s impossible to deny the magic that the wide variety of landscapes across the state has to offer, from waterfalls, to snow-capped mountain peaks, to lush greenery, all the way to epic coastlines. And yes, Washington even has a desert (although, admittedly, it’s not quite as talked about as the rest of the state). If you’re planning a Washington elopement, it can honestly be a little overwhelming trying to choose the perfect place, because there are just too. Dang. Many. That’s why I’ve put together this list of the top 22 places to elope in Washington state, complete with every one of my favorite locations + the deets you need to know about each spot!
Ready to fall totally in love with this incredible state like I have all my life?!
Of COURSE we have to start off with Mount Rainier – it’s only one of the most majestic locations in the whole freaking country. Conveniently located just two hours south of Seattle (depending on what part of the park you visit), Mount Rainier is an iconic Washington gem that you absolutely cannot miss during your time here. You’ve probably seen the dreamy wildflower meadows and picturesque mountain views featured on many a postcard in your lifetime!! And not only is it literally HEAVEN for anybody who loves exploring the great outdoors and going on epic hikes, it also has plenty of easier trails for anybody who doesn’t want to go more than a mile. Your girl is notttt a big hiker, but I crave those epic views just as much as the next Washingtonian – so I love that Mount Rainier has hikes that can accommodate nearly every fitness level (though there are not many wheelchair-friendly trails at Rainier, unfortunately).
Here are four locations at Mount Rainier that are definitely worth considering for your elopement!
Paradise is the side of Mount Rainier that has those magical wildflower meadows bursting with color that feel like, well, paradise – aptly named, right? 😉 It’s the most busy area of the park most of the year, since there are a variety of trails that leave from the Paradise Visitor Center. This is the place to go if you want to check out easily-accessible spots like Myrtle Falls, get gorgeous views of the mountain everywhere you look, and you want to see the wildflowers blooming in the summer.
Sunrise is the more barren side of the park, located on the east side of the mountain that gets a lot less rain than the west side. You won’t get as many wildflower meadows or lush green meadows as you do in Paradise – it’s a bit drier, with more wide-open views of the surrounding subalpine valleys, as well as usually fewer crowds!
Tipsoo Lake is definitely one of the most popular destinations on the eastern side of Mount Rainier, thanks to the fact that there is literally no hiking required to get to gorgeous views – you just drive, park your car, and walk a little bit and bam: beauty everywhere!! Being that it’s SO dang easy to access, Tipsoo does get super crowded especially in the summer, so be aware that you won’t be the only ones exploring. But it’s a must-visit if you’re in the Paradise area and want a quick, easy adventure that won’t make you break a sweat!
Can you guess how Reflection Lakes got their name?😂Located along Stevens Canyon Road, these lakes are super popular for the gorgeous views of Mount Rainier that are reflected in the water! With those gorgeous views and the beautiful subalpine meadows surrounding the lake, this is a super easy spot to visit if you’re looking for a short hike with magical scenery.
Want some more stunning Mount Rainier inspo? Check out Teagan + Mitch’s Sunset Mount Rainier Engagement Session!
Next up is Olympic National Park, home to some of the most diverse landscapes that Washington has to offer. It literally has it all: beaches, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and forests – and it’s ALL absolutely spectacular!! It’s more of a trek from Seattle, depending on what part of the park you visit, but it’s so worth every minute of the drive.
It’s always hard to choose favorites because there are SO many amazing locations in Washington, buuut Ruby Beach is definitely up there! Ruby Beach is one of the most iconic beaches along the Washington Coast, located in Olympic National Park & boasting the coolest sea stacks, driftwood piles, and wildlife-filled tidepools. You can’t go wrong at Ruby Beach no matter what the weather is – if it’s foggy and overcast, you’ll get a true, moody PNW experience. And if it’s a clear day, you’ll experience the most magical golden hour!
Rialto Beach is another of my fave spots along the coast, also part of Olympic National Park. It’s further north than Ruby Beach, located near Forks, with JUST as stunning of coastline views: driftwood galore, rocky shores, massive sea stacks, and the iconic “hole in the wall!” It’s super easy to drive up to Rialto and start exploring the rugged coastlines right away without having to hike at all.
Moving away from the coast and into the forest, the Hoh Rainforest is probably one of the most magical places in Washington! I know I say that literally about every spot in this list, but it’s just TRUE every single time – except the Hoh Rainforest probably really is one of the most iconic of them all. With bright green, moss-covered trails, mystical old-growth trees, massive tree roots, and more ferns than you can count, this forest gives allll the Lord of the Rings vibes in the best way possible. You literally feel like you’re in the middle of a fairytale or fantasy movie of some sort! The best part about the rainforest is that it looks gorgeous in all weather: with overcast skies, soft light, and rain, or with sunlight peeking through the trees from above. 10/10 recommend walking through this forest at some point in your life, even if it’s not where you actually end up tying the knot – it’s an otherworldly experience!
Alright, where are all my fellow want-to-see-beautiful-mountain-scenery-but-don’t-want-to-hike friends at?! This is the spot for you! Hurricane Ridge is the EASIEST mountain area to reach in Olympic National Park, because you literally just drive up Hurricane Ridge Road to get there. The views on clear days are absolutely unbeatable, and you won’t sweat on the way to take photos – win-win!
Take a look at Kendall + Connor’s Olympic National Park Engagement Photos for a peek at Hurricane Ridge on a sunny day😍
Lake Crescent is another must-visit destination in Olympic National Park, a super deep, glacier-carved lake offering amazing views of the Olympics & easy access to lots of trails. Take a quick hike to Marymere Falls, rent a kayak for a day out on the water, or relax on the shores with your friends & fam! It’s the perfect spot to spend a summer day, but it’s also superrrr magical in more overcast weather.
P.S. A fun (slightly morbid) fact for all my fellow true-crime-podcast-fanatics: ever heard the story of the “Lady of the Lake?” The woman whose corpse was strangely preserved and found floating in a lake? That was Lake Crescent🤯This lake is so deep that there are actually MANY stories of bodies being found in it. . .sooo that’s fun! Perfect for a spooky Halloween elopement? 😅
The North Cascades are probably one of the most underrated parts of Washington – everybody automatically thinks of Mount Rainier & Olympic when they think of national parks in WA, but there’s a third one! North Cascades National Park stretches across the north-central part of the state (who would’ve guessed?), and boasts some of the most breathtaking alpine lakes & picturesque mountain scenery in the entire PNW. You can also find plenty of locations that are a bit more off-the-beaten-path with fewer crowds, which is perfect for elopements!
If you’ve ever seen any photos of the North Cascades, I can almost guarantee that Diablo Lake was in at least one of them! Famous for its stunning bright blue water & mountain scenery, Diablo Lake is located right on the Skagit River, between Ross Lake and Gorge Lake. You can take in the iconic views of the lake from the Diablo Lake Overlook up above, or head down to the base for a different perspective. The overlook used to be super popular for elopements, but unfortunately the prettiest spots up there are actually off-limits now for photos of any kind. So we can definitely look at the gorgeous scenery from above, but if you want to take elopement photos or have your ceremony somewhere at the lake, I recommend either finding a nearby trail with similar views (such as Thunder Knob Trail) or just making your way down to the water!
Skykomish is a super pretty little town in the Cascades (technically part of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest) that I love for elopements! There are a few popular spots nearby that you can easily check out, including Deception Falls, the Steven Pass Ski Area, and the Skykomish River, plus plenty of more challenging trails if you want to add a longer hike into your elopement itinerary.
Mount Baker is one of the top elopement locations in Washington not only because of its sheer beauty, but also because it’s a lot easier to find less-crowded trails here than in places like Mount Rainier! Baker is known for having the BEST fall and winter landscapes in the state, and I can say that is 1000% accurate: whether you elope in the fall, when the trees turn golden and the temperatures are super comfortable, or in the winter, when the mountains are capped in snow & it’s the perfect time to go snowshoeing or skiing, your experience will no-doubt be magical. Although it’s important to keep in mind that because it IS a mountainous landscape, many locations are inaccessible in the winter – so I’d recommend eloping closer to fall & spring than in the middle of the snowy season!
Artist Point is one of those can’t-miss spots at Mount Baker! Located at the very end of the Mount Baker Highway, Artist Point offers the most insane 360-degree views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan, along with lush wildflower meadows, trees galore, and a wide variety of trails to explore. I personally LOVE Artist Point because – can you guess? – it doesn’t take much work to get there 😉 All you gotta do is drive up the highway, park your car, and you’ll be at a stunning spot without an ounce of effort! You can walk around as you please and check out the different views from different parts of Artist Point, or you can take one of the many trails that Artist Point serves as the start of. It’s important to note, though, that the last stretch of the highway up to Artist Point DOES close down in the winter, so you’ll want to visit Artist Point in the summer (unless you’re okay trekking up the last portion of the road)!
Macy and West chose Artist Point for their engagement photos and the sunset was a total dream come true – check out their photos here!
Picture Lake is another easy-to-get-to location at Mount Baker, accessible by just a quick, flat hike around a lake with the most spectacular views of Shuksan mirrored in the water. On a clear day without much wind, the reflection is seriously magical, but even if it’s a little breezy and you don’t get the ideal reflection, those views of Shuksan are still sooo worth it! Plus, it’s close to a bunch of other pretty spots, so you can explore the whole area with ease.
Heather Meadows is technically the area where Picture Lake is located! It’s a stunning area of Mount Baker further down the road from Artist Point, making it great for spring or fall elopements if the last part of the highway is still closed and you can’t get all the way up to the top. The scenery is just as majestic, with bright green meadows, lakes, wildflowers, and plenty of mountain views – it’s seriously an alpine wonderland year-round!
Last but not least are the Bagley Lakes, two dreamy alpine lakes at Heather Meadows that you can access via an easy 2-mile round trip hike. It’s typically less crowded than the trails at Artist Point, and the views of the sparkling lakes are amazing, so it’s definitely a spot I’d recommend if you want to avoid crowds as much as possible!
Snoqualmie & North Bend are two amazing areas to elope, as they’re just 30 minutes from Seattle and have a TON of incredible places to explore. From alpine lakes to scenic mountain views, you can easily find a location that accommodates your fitness level – whether you’re looking for an 8-mile hike or a quick 1-mile walk along a paved trail (my personal adventure of choice)!
Located at the top of Snoqualmie Pass, Gold Creek Pond is one of my all-time faves! It’s super easy to get to, with a 1-mile loop trail available if you want to walk around the pond (which actually looks more like a lake, in my opinion), plus there’s the cutest picnic area where you can sit & enjoy the views with some celebratory champagne. It does get pretty crowded, so it’s best to visit on a weekday or earlier in the morning if you can!
Rattlesnake Lake is yet another GORGEOUS lake near North Bend, with epic views of the mountains and vibrant blue water that you can swim in, kayak on, or have a picnic beside. It’s really easy to get to the lake and it doesn’t require a hike to get to, but there are a variety of trails you can check out if you’re looking for more of a walk around this beautiful area!
Snoqualmie Falls had to be on this list – duh! It’s one of the most popular attractions in the state, being that it’s easy to get to from Seattle and it’s a super beautiful waterfall, cascading over massive granite cliffs. You can take the easy, less than one-mile trail from the upper falls viewpoints down to the lower falls viewpoint, and if you’re lucky you might even get a sparkling rainbow at the falls if the sun hits the water just right!
And one more waterfall for ya before we move on from the Snoqualmie/North Bend area: Franklin Falls! Franklin Falls is an easy, one-mile hike with a gorgeous viewpoint to check out before you even reach the falls, but you can also get down to the base of the falls (which I highly recommend). The trail follows the Snoqualmie River, and the rocky base of the falls in front of the granite cliffs makes for SUCH epic photos!!
I wanted to include one location near the Leavenworth/Wenatchee area, because it’s such a cool part of Washington & is amazing for elopements! Not only is Leavenworth a really unique place to visit (it’s a Bavarian town near the mountains!), it’s also a dream come true for outdoor enthusiasts. Leavenworth is about 2.5 hours from Seattle, so it’s a great day trip from the city – or you can just stay in Leavenworth for your whole elopement and explore the area!
If you’re looking for a state park with great views of the Cascades, easy access to the Wenatchee National Forest, and awesome opportunities for swimming in a glacier-fed lake, then you’ll love Lake Wenatchee! There’s a sandy beach, a swimming area, multiple campgrounds, and a few different trails to check out. It’s a really great spot if you want a spot for outdoor activities that’s easy to access, and is also close to Leavenworth – as long as you’re okay with it being crowded (especially on sunny days)!
Lastly, I wanted to throw in a couple of island locations to wrap up the list! I could spend MUCH longer talking about Whidbey Island & the San Juan Islands, but I’ll save that for another guide.
Deception Pass connects the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and offers super cool coves to explore, amazing cliffs, and the best sunsets! You can visit Cranberry Lake nearby, take a hike on the bluffs, see some wildlife (like seals and sometimes whales!), or check out Goose Rock Summit for incredible views.
And finally, I had to include the San Juan Islands on this list! San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island are the three most popular islands in this archipelago, located between Washington & Vancouver Island. All of these islands have SO many things to do: hiking, whale watching, boating, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, cycling, and more. You have to check out the manyyy delicious local restaurants, state parks, mountains, and the cozy hotels + Airbnbs!
Oh hey, that’s me! Now that you’re a total pro when it comes to where to elope in Washington state, you’re definitely going to want to hire the right Washington state elopement photographer to come document it all for you – enter: yours truly 😉
I’m Claudia, a Seattle-based wedding & elopement photographer who is obsessed with adventurous & crazy in-love couples who are dreaming up a one-of-a-kind elopement in an epic place. I know this damn state like the back of my hand, being that I grew up here and have photographed COUNTLESS elopements across Washington, so you bet I’m ready to help you pick your perfect Washington elopement location + bring your unique vision to life. Take a peek at my Washington state elopement packages and pricing, and then reach out to me here so we can start getting to know each other! Can’t wait!
If you loved this Washington elopement location guide, I’ve got plentyyy more similar resources I know you’ll also adore – here are a few of my faves!