Some couples know exactly where they want to elope ... If that’s you, skip over directly to the next section that is all about what to wear when eloping ... Hint: there is no rule, thats the beauty of eloping !! But I do have some friendly advice.
For my other couples who have no clue, I have two sets of advice. One is a little dare devilish, the other is based on my lengthy travels and my love for nature and national parks.
For the DareDevils who have a passport and are feeling extra adventurous, take a globe, hold hands, spin the globe, point together, and voila, you found your elopement destination. Whether I have been there or not, I will be happy to help you plan, and I am down to go anywhere!!
For the adventurous souls who need inspiration, but have a specific scenery in mind, here is as much knowledge as I could pack in while hopefully not making this painful to read.
PS: all these locations are also amazing for vow renewals, anniversary adventures or maternity in some cases.
For my MOUNTAIN LOVERS:
Washington, Colorado, and Wyoming are my go-to spots. There is a multitude of different parks in those states with easy to moderate hikes and the views will just take your breath away.
The Grand Tetons in Wyoming hold a special place in my heart because of how beautiful the range of mountains is, but also because it is where my hubby and I eloped.
Mt.Rainier in Washington also holds a special place in my heart. I was 5 months pregnant when I discovered the park for the first time and thankfully, there were some beautiful easy hikes. And when the fog lifted and Mt.Rainier showed itself, it was magical. The mountains in North Cascades were also very impressive, especially at sunrise when most of the park was asleep.
And if you are a fan of skiing and snowboarding, and want to incorporate your shared passion into your dream day, Colorado’s mountains are fantastic, the powder is awesome and the little ski towns are full of charm. My fave: Breckenridge because of less crowds.
For my TREE LOVERS:
California, Washington and Oregon win the prize on the West Coast.
Sequoia National Park is where I go when I need some BIG BIG TREES. It’s nice to feel tiny sometimes and it’s so peaceful.
As for Washington, there is a reason why it is called the Evergreen State: between Capitol State Forest, Mt.Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park, you will find what you are looking for, and more.
Oregon also offers a lot of national forests and with over 238 waterfalls, it is definitely very green in Oregon.
PS: if you are a cheese lover, the Tilamook Creamery is located 20 minutes from the Tilamook State Forest and 20 minutes from the Bayocean Peninsula Park. You can say your vows surrounded by the lush forest, eat some cheese at that factory and end your day on the Peninsula with an epic beach sunset.
On the East Coast, the Catskills are beautiful no matter what season, but Fall is my fave and you can enjoy a relaxing hot tub experience after saying I do in a cute A-frame cabin surrounded by nature. The perfect end to a perfect elopement day.
For my WATERFALL chasers:
Oregon wins it all when it comes to as many waterfalls as your heart desires. When driving to Crater Lake (also an epic elopement location), we stumbled upon at least 9 waterfalls with Toketee Falls and Clearwater Falls being my personal two favorites. Another impressive waterfall, just a short 30 min drive from Portland airport is Multnomah Falls, but keep in mind that because of how close it is, it does get crowded.
Again, California and Washington also have their share of waterfalls, Bridalveil is my favorite in Cali and Snoqualmie in Washington is definitely epic too.
As for the East Coast, Niagara Falls is not to be left out, it is after all the largest waterfall in volume in the US and really impressive to visit, but my favorite is Kaaterskill Fall in the Catskills. It is a short hike but much less busy than Niagara Falls and the highest cascading waterfall in New York state.
For my DESERT Lovers:
I will start with a location very close to my heart even though it’s very far from the US: TUNISIA. This is where I was born and it is also home to the Sahara Desert. I can help you plan every little detail and be your tour guide and official translator and there is a special discount because I get to see my parents at the same time :-)
If that’s too far, not to worry, I have a long list of desert like scenery that I love in the US. Joshua Tree and the Imperial Sand Dunes in California, Zion and Bryce Canyon in Utah, Valley of Fire in Nevada, and Sedona and MonumentValley in Arizona.
For SUPER COOL ROCK FORMATION fans:
Arizona probably wins it all with beautiful Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Chiricahua National Monument, Monument Valley and Spiderrock.
Utah also offers many breathtaking rock formations at the Arches National Park and the amazing Zion National Park as well.
And as for California, Joshua Tree offers some pretty cool rock formations as well as Alabama Hills, especially if you are into rock-climbing. And Mono Lake is really cool too.
For some LAKE VIBES:
On my elopement road trip, I stumbled upon Sylvan Lake in South Dakota, and let me tell you: pictures don’t do it justice. It is so pretty and surrounded by cool rock formations and you can rent a boat and have a true Notebook moment. Extra Bonus, you can spot some cool wildlife at this park with a beautiful 18 mile wildlife loop.
Other pretty lakes I have had the chance to visit are Lake Tahoe in California / Nevada, and more recently Diablo Lake in Washington. Much less busy than many other lakes.
And for my all time favorite Lakes: check my CANADA section below:
BANFF is the ultimate when it comes to Lakes. All of it! Every time I visit, I keep falling in love with this place over and over and over again. Not just because of it’s famous Lake Louise, which is as splendid and as blue as Google shows, but all the other lakes such as Moraine and Minnewanka and Peyto and Johnson and Emerald and Agnes. Each one of them are a piece of magic in their own way, and even though it gets cold as early as September, the fall foliage is totally worth it and Lake Agnes offers some yummy teas and amazing hot chocolate (add Baileys and you are set) and the views from Larch Valley are just breathtaking; fall colors and snow capped mountains is a beautiful combination. I promise.
HAWAII and ALASKA are also some of my favorite destinations:
Kauai and Maui are probably my favorite, probably because I have explored them the most compared to Oahu and Honolulu.
Kauai is the most rugged of the islands in my opinion and the least crowded and I love that. When exploring the Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast, it literally felt like we were the only ones on the island. And it wasn’t too hard to find beaches that were completely secluded.
Maui is a little more crowded the road to Hana is for sure touristy but finding secluded places along this beautiful road is feasible and totally worth it.
Another very secluded island is Sitka, a little island part of Alaska that you’ve probably never heard of. It was the most scenic in my opinion and it felt like it was just us and probably a lot of bears. The landscape and the view of Mt.Verstovia and other mountain ranges were just out of this world.
Experiencing the aurora borealis in Fairbanks was also pretty spectacular, especially when a moose came up to our car whilewe were trying to shoot in the dark. I am not quite sure who was more scared, the moose or us -:)
The Seward Highway in Anchorage was also a beautiful drive, and if you are into winter sports, the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood is a must-see and maybe the most beautiful place to elope surrounded by snow.
NOW SINCE I AM AN INTERNATIONAL BUG, here is a little info for OUTSIDE THE US, but please contact me for specifics because this is not a comprehensive list, more of a short list.
If FOOD and WINE are important to you,
I highly recommend Italy, France and Spain. All three countries offer scenic landscape for those beautiful elopement photos you have been dreaming of, and you will be sure to enjoy a fabulous meal and drink some extraordinary wine on your special day.
Some of my favorite spots in Italy: the Bellagio area and Lake Como. If you imagine yourself saying I do and then switching into swimsuits for a kayak adventure followed by pasta, I highly recommend this location. Other spots that I loved exploring in Italy are the Prosecco Road, the Dolomites and the entire Chianti area with it’s beautiful little towns, wineries and olive tree fields if relaxing sounds better than hiking.
Some of my favorite spots in France: the French Riviera with it’s beautiful crystal clear water and sandy beaches, the Meneham beach in Brittany because of it’s really cool rocky outcrops, white sand and rugged look, and my favorite: Corsica, a little Paradise-like island off of Nice. You get all the charm of little French villages, beautiful sandy beaches, breathtaking viewpoints and amazing food!
As for Spain, the tapas alone are worth making the trip there, but also the mix of beautiful churches, art and pretty landscape is an added bonus. Montserrat has a beautiful hiking trail with gorgeous views of not only the mountain range itself, but also a pretty view of Barcelona. Added bonus you can do a wine tour when up there. Siurana is another beautiful and picturesque village, also not too far from Barcelona, that is equally beautiful and extremely photogenic.
IF LANDSCAPE IS YOUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY... AND A LITTLE RAIN DOESN’T SCARE YOU:
ICELAND, SCOTLAND AND IRELAND blew my mind. I literally want to go back to all three and I am usually one of those people that always wants to see something new. Just breathtaking landscape all around and very little crowds and adorable little Bed & Breakfasts along the coast in both Scotland and Ireland.
IF YOU FEEL LIKE SOUTH AMERICA is calling your name ...
Argentina and Chile are my personal favorite. Probably because Patagonia is smack dab in the middle and I am obsessed with going there again and how breathtaking the nature is in that area of the World. The Calafate Glaciers in Southern Argentina were mesmerizing, the sunsets in Chile were truly the most dramatic I’ve ever seen and horse back riding through Patagonia will forever be a highlight of my travels.
IF YOU WANT TROPICAL WEATHER and SCUBA DIVING:
Palau, Mauritius and French Polynesia are my recommendations. I have been to all three and can give you very specific recommendations.
In Palau, there is even a little island that you can book for you and about 14 other people -in case you were thinking about inviting a few friends to elope with you -and you basically can have the whole place to yourself. How amazing does that sound? And I promise you don’t have to be a millionaire to do it.