Elopement Inspiration, Planning Resources, and Past Adventures

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Overland Elopements

Incredible Places to Elope Near Portland, Oregon

March 10, 2024

Hi! We're Anna and Trevor.

We're a fun (and maybe a little dorky) couple of elopement photographers, traveling all over the country to help people get married in the most beautiful places mother nature has to offer.

We thrive with cameras in hand, and nothing resonates with us more than the intimacy & freedom of an elopement. We get that big events and old school traditions aren't for everyone, and that's totally cool! We're all about embracing our uniqueness and throwing tradition out the window.

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Where to Elope near Portland, Oregon

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most diverse landscapes anywhere in the world, so it’s no surprise that this has quickly become one of the most popular areas in the world for adventure elopements!

Portland may be known for its eclectic culture, world-class coffee, and delicious food scene, but it’s also settled in close proximity to some of the most stunning elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Don’t tell anyone up in Seattle, but I think Portland is even more perfectly situated with epic places to explore in every direction.  If you’re ready to trade in the traditional wedding-planning fuss for an unforgettable experience, here are some amazing elopement destinations within driving distance of Portland, Oregon that will leave you and your partner in awe.

I’m here to share with you my top locations to elope within a few hours from Portland International Airport, as well my favorite things to do in each area and any important factors to consider before visiting!

And for Overland Elopements couples, every single location on this list is available for booking year-round. Okay, let’s dive in:

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Driving Distance from Portland: 20 Minutes

The Columbia River Gorge offers a stunning backdrop for couples looking to elope, with its picturesque waterfalls, lush forests, and stunning mountain views. It’s incredible proximity to Portland makes it one of the most easily accessed locations on this list!

As you explore further east along the Columbia River gorge, you will see the full rain shadow effect of the Cascade mountains on display. The rushing waterfalls make way for dramatically drier conditions, and the lush forests quickly transition to windswept grasslands. Perhaps at no other place on earth can you experience cliffside overlooks, waterfalls, meadows of wildflowers, fern-filled canyons and more in such close proximity to each other. To top it all off, for my geology enthusiasts out there, the signs of volcanic activity and the ice age floods that formed this gorge are evidenced at every turn.

A perfect day visiting the Columbia River Gorge begins with a leisurely drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway, stopping at scenic viewpoints and charming towns along the way. Multnomah Falls is the most photographed place in the state of Oregon, but this is just one of the over 90 waterfalls you can find here. In the spring, incredible displays of wildflowers can be found all over the gorge, but one of my personal favorite places to spot them is Rowena Crest Overlook. Sit along the waterfront in Hood River to watch dozens of wind surfers taking advantage of perfect conditions, and grab a beer or a bite to eat at one of the many incredible eateries in town. I can confidently say that Grasslands Barbecue has some of the best food in the state, but be sure to get there early! In the morning, pick up some incredible pastries and coffee just across the river at White Salmon Baking Company.

Eloping in the Columbia River Gorge

Most locations within the Columba River Gorge do not require a permit for elopements unless there are more than 75 guests. Both the forested waterfalls and the cliffside views would make an incredible backdrop for your vows. If you are bringing on a larger number of guests, a wedding venue would be your best option! The Griffin House is a personal favorite venue of mine. With truly remarkable views of the river down below and a dream team of folks behind the scenes, a wedding here will elevate your celebration to the next level in more ways than one.

The best time to visit the Columbia River Gorge is during the spring and fall seasons. Spring, from April to June, brings blooming wildflowers, vibrant greenery, and cascading waterfalls at their peak flow. The temperate weather during this time allows for comfortable outdoor adventures and stunning photography opportunities. Fall, from September to November, showcases the gorge in a palette of reds, oranges, and yellows as the foliage changes color. The crisp air and fewer crowds make it an ideal time for a romantic elopement in this picturesque setting. To avoid the summer heat and tourist crowds, consider planning your elopement during the quieter seasons of spring and fall.

Oregon Coast

Driving Distance from Portland: 2 Hours

The first thing I should mention is that it was incredibly difficult not to go on for ages about all of the unique locations that you can find along the Oregon Coast. The Northern Oregon coast can be accessed in less than two hours from Portland, but I implore you not to just stop there. Every small town, state park or random roadside beach parking lot has it’s own personality that just cannot be missed. This coastal wonderland is considered, by me at least, a bucket list road trip destination.

Along the northern stretch of the Oregon coastline, you’ll find the world famous town of Cannon Beach. Even if you don’t recognize it by name, if you’ve seen Twilight, The Goonies, Point Break, or even Kindergarten Cop…you’ve seen this place. Seasonally home to puffins, other seabirds, and sometimes cougars, Haystock Rock is the famous sea stack that towers over the rest of the beach and is the most defining feature in the area. The nearby Ecola State Park and Oswald West State Park both feature beach access as well as scenic views from higher elevations.

As you drive south along the coast, you’ll pass through many small towns, over many art deco style bridges, and gradually, the landscape will begin to change. As you pass through the central coast, the Florence Sand Dunes will stand out as a unique and ever-shifting landscape. This is a popular destination for ATV rentals, so those of you lovebirds who are feeling especially adventurous may want to experience the thrill of a dune buggy adventure together!

Tide pools, towering sea stacks, and solitude can be found all along the Oregon Coast, but if these are the features that intrigue you the most…the south coast is where its at. There are dozens of locations that check these boxes, but I’m going to call out Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor for exemplifying absolutely everything that makes this tiny corner of the world so special. From spots like Arch Rock to Lone Ranch Beach, this rural landscape along the border between California and Oregon is somehow not done justice by the photos online (and that’s really saying something).

Eloping on the Oregon Coast

Incredibly, almost all of Oregon’s coastline is on public land! If you have fewer than 50 guests, you do not need a permit to elopement on the Oregon coast. The coast is a great place to visit any time of year, but does experience quite a bit of inclement weather. You can experience sunshine, rain, fog, or wind on any given day (and often all in one day). But don’t let this discourage you; It all feels welcome and fitting in the moment, since this place has a habit of making folks feel grounded and profoundly connected with the natural world. For the best chance of clear skies, the summertime is a wonderful time to be here.

Because many of the towns along the coast are super small or hard to reach, wedding vendors usually need to travel from other parts of the state to serve this area. However, even the rural southern coast has some truly unique wedding venues! Crook Point in Pistol River sits on 3,000 acres of pristine coastal property and is a true family-run operation, with 8 different venue options on property. For something a little more low-key and intimate, you can rent this pretty little chapel right in the heart of Brookings, Oregon.

Silver Falls State Park

Driving Distance from Portland: 1.5 Hours

Silver Falls State Park is the largest state park in Oregon, featuring many waterfalls that flow year-round, miles of hiking trails, onsite lodging and its very own wedding venue! This park is primed and ready to be a truly incredible setting for your elopement.

The main attraction of Silver Falls is the Trail of Ten Falls hike. This loop trail will even take you behind four out of the ten waterfalls along the way. As you wind through an incredible canyon on a moderately difficult trail, every turn will leave you wondering if another picture perfect view is just around the corner.

The nearby town of Silverton, Oregon has a charming small-town feel, while sitting on the eastern edge of the Willamette Valley. Explore the local wineries, visit the antique shops or just simply take a stroll in a quaint setting. With the gorgeous Silver Creek running right through town, its only fitting to explore this place in combination with your Silver Falls elopement.

Eloping at Silver Falls State Park

Planning an elopement at Silver Falls couldn’t be easier, as the park offers essentially all that you could need to host an intimate celebration! There are numerous ceremony sites to choose from that offer a quiet setting away from the crowds. While there’s no bad time to visit the park, Spring snowmelt means that the waterfalls are raging at their fullest during this season. The lodging onsite at Smith Creek Village offers private cabins, campsites, group sites, dining options and event spaces to host a reception. Silver Falls State Park is the perfect blend of natural beauty but with all of the amenities for those that love a little extra comfort or accessibility for a celebration with guests.

Olympic National Park

Driving Distance from Portland: 3 Hours

Olympic National Parks covers almost one million acres, making it Washington’s largest National Park by a large margin! This park offers a little bit of everything, with lush rainforests and an iconic coastline, snow-capped mountains, natural hot springs and more. The Hoh Rainforest is a temperate rainforest full of towering trees, prehistoric-looking ferns, and moss-covered everything. For the full experience, visit in the Winter or Spring when the forest is at its wettest and most vibrant. Visiting in the winter means fewer crowds, and incredible misty, moody conditions.

There are also numerous beaches along the Olympic Peninsula that would make incredible elopement locations, each with their own distinct features. They are almost all worth visiting at least once. Ruby Beach is accesible right off of Highway 101 and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches on the peninsula. Stroll along several pristine miles of smooth-pebbled beach, with abundant driftwood, towering sea stacks and plenty of room to find a quiet spot for a wedding ceremony. The beaches are also an excellent place to spot abundant marine life and explore tide pools up close.

The Olympic peninsula is also home to its very own mountain range, aptly named the Olympic Mountains. One of my favorite elopement locations is situated right in the heart of it all, at Hurricane Ridge. Totally snow-covered in the winter, and brimming with a rainbow of wildflowers in the summer…Hurricane Ridge is one of the most famous elopement locations in the entire park for good reason.

Eloping in Olympic National Park

Currently, you do not need a permit to elope in Olympic National Park if there will be fewer than five people present. Your vendors, such as a photographer or officiant, count towards this limit, but the process for acquiring a special use permit from Olympic National Park is very straightforward! Many locations on the coast can accommodate groups, although I recommend keeping a limited group under 10 or so for most areas.

Mount Rainier National Park 

Driving Distance from Portland: 2.5 Hours

I cannot tell you have many people I have met who visited Mount Rainier National Park on vacation and immediately felt a calling to move to the Pacific Northwest. Honestly, that’s how my partner and I ended up here in Portland! Mount Tahoma has that effect on people…so imagine this as the backdrop to one of the most significant milestones in your life. Mount Rainier National Park is one of the most impressive mountainous regions within driving distance from Portland.

The closest entrance from Portland is the Nisqually Entrance, located in the southwest section of the park. From here you can drive up to an area called Paradise, which is a truly fitting name. Sitting at 5,400′ elevation, Paradise features subalpine meadows full of wildflowers and an abundance of wildlife in the summertime. Myrtle Falls is one of most iconic places to take photos and just a short hike away from Paradise Inn, where you can stay onsite! This area is covered in very deep snowpack for most of the year, but this road is still accessible for folks looking to backcountry ski and snowshoe their way down the slopes of an active volcano.

The White River Entrance in the northeast corner will take you the highest point in the park accessible by car, Sunrise. At a remarkable 6,400′ elevation, this is my personal favorite area for sunrise elopements. It’s pretty wild to think that this is less than half of Tahoma’s elevation! With an incredible network of easy to challenging trails, all featuring in-your-face views of the mountain…this is where you come to feel on top of the world. One of the most iconic hikes in the park takes you to this iconic fire lookout tower, and overall the trails tend to be slightly less trafficked than the Paradise region. It’s important to note the road to Sunrise is only accessible in the summer. The road is usually only open between early July through mid-October, but this can vary year to year.

Eloping in Mount Rainier National Park

The best time to experience snow-free trails and sunny weather for your Mount Rainier elopement would be to plan for mid July through September. Wildflower season typically lasts only a few weeks each year, usually late July through early August. This is also the busiest time of year for tourism at the park, but don’t be discouraged! Visiting midweek and eloping in the early morning are two great ways to avoid some of the crowds.

To get married within Mount Rainier National Park, you will need a special use permit. Depending on how many people will be joining you on your elopement, there are specific trails and viewpoints that are approved for ceremonies depending on group size. The NPS website features an interactive map with a ton of useful information about each location. I would recommend no more than eight people total for an elopement within the park for the most flexibility when choosing a location.

Starting with the 2024 season, Mount Rainier National Park also requires you to secure a Timed Entry Reservation for peak dates and times. Your special use permit will allow entry for the specific location and time of your ceremony, but you will need to acquire reservations for any other days or areas of the park you plan to explore. Reservations are released about three months in advance, so be sure to set a calendar reminder for when they become available!

Portland Oregon Elopement Photography Packages

Whether you call Portland home, or are just passing through, there is so much beauty beyond this list for you to discover. As a Portland, Oregon based elopement and wedding photographer, this is an area I know and love like no other. If you are drawn to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest or if any location in this guide is calling your name, I would love to help you plan your greatest adventure to date. From a few hours, to multiple day adventures, Overland Elopements offers elopement and wedding packages to match any and all of your wildest daydreams! Are you ready to get started on this journey together? Contact me today to beginning planning your very own elopement celebration.


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