California is a beautiful state with endless incredible locations to elope at. From the desert to the beach, there are plenty of options for couples looking to tie the knot in an intimate setting. But if you’re an adventurous couple wanting epic views and an unforgettable experience here are some of the best California elopement locations, along with what to expect for weather during each season and how to elope there!
California Elopement Locations
Palm Springs Wind Mills
If you’ve driven through the Southern California desert you’ve seen Palm Spring windmills! They’re hard to miss! Such a landmark backdrop that would add some flair to your elopement and be a fun and unique experience! Not only is it easy to get to, but there are also a few spots that give a great view of the windmills while providing space for you and a few guests to witness your nuptials. To get here, put in the Amtrak station in your GPS and follow Garnet Road to the windmills. You will see an open area on your right or pull-offs down the road!
The windmills provide a stunning backdrop for photos, and the desert landscape offers a peaceful atmosphere for your special day! Plus, eloping in Palm Springs is much more affordable than traditional weddings, allowing you to save money while still having a beautiful ceremony. Be sure to elope during the Fall or Spring as the summer heat can reach over 100 degrees making it uncomfortable for some couples.
Glamis Sand Dunes
How epic are sand dunes?! I’ve dreamt of shooting an elopement in the sand dunes for years and I finally got to in the Spring time! Eloping at the Glamis Sand Dunes is a unique and romantic way to get married. The dunes are located in Imperial County, California, and offer stunning views of the desert landscape going for as far as the eye can see. The area offers plenty of activities for couples looking to make their elopement extra special. You can take a romantic ATV ride through the sand, explore nearby ghost towns, or even take a hot air balloon ride over the dunes. Since this area is known for ATV riding make sure to be on the lookout for them!
When it comes to finding an elopement location to say your vows, you have several options. You can choose from one of the many scenic overlooks, or find a secluded spot away from the crowds. If you’re looking for something more unique, you can even rent an RV and get married on the beach!
The Glamis Sand Dunes are a really great option for couples looking for an adventurous elopement experience! The best time of year to elope at the Glamis Sand Dunes is from October through April when temperatures are a lot milder than during the summer. During the summer months, temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it really hot and sometimes unbearable so I’d highly recommend eloping during the Fall or Spring!
Joshua Tree National Park is an iconic elopement location in Southern California! Throughout this huge park, there are many beautiful spots to choose from. From the rock formations to the never-ending Joshua trees, you’ll get the desert vibes of your dreams! It’s no wonder it’s a popular destination for couples looking to elope in California!
The best time of year to elope in Joshua Tree is from October through April when temperatures are much milder. During the summer, temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it too hot for most couples, so I always recommend eloping in the “off” season! Although one of the many benefits of eloping in the Spring or Summer is the possibility of seeing the Milky Way! The best time of the year to see the Milky Way with the naked eye is August and September! No matter what you can almost always expect clear skies and warm days with cool nights in Joshua Tree!
If you’re more into beach vibes, Laguna Beach may be the perfect spot when choosing your California elopement locations! There are many beaches that line this coast. The rockery and beautiful blue water provide a simple yet eye-catching location to elope at. We adventured at sunrise and caught the most beautiful light perfect for exchanging vows!
The best time of year to elope in Laguna Beach is from May through September! During the winter months, temperatures can drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making it too cold for most couples. But one of the many benefits of eloping in the off-season at any beach in California is that there won’t be as many tourists meaning you may have the entire beach to yourself! Imagine eloping on the beach all by yourself while running around digging your toes in the sand with your loved one. Sounds like the perfect day to me!
Can you handle the heat? During the summer months, Death Valley temperatures can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit! When eloping in Death Valley, you can expect clear skies and warm days with cool nights. If youre not a fan of the heat but would really like to elope here I would suggest eloping during October through April when temperatures are milder and more comfortable!
Whether you stick out the heat or elope during the Fall you won’t be disappointed. Death Valley has some of the most unique mountain landscapes and terrain. Plus the gorgeous colors at Death Valley add such a different look. Truly a unique location for your nuptials. When we visited in May, there was a high of 102 degrees with high winds so come prepared. If you’re down to embrace the uniqueness of the epic location it’s meant for you!
Yosemite National Park
What’s so great about eloping in Yosemite National Park is that it provides MANY easily accessible spots. Do you like being high in the sky on a cliff at sunset? Got you! Epic waterfalls and open fields with huge cliff backdrops? Yep! The great thing is you can hit multiple different spots and views in one day for different backdrops for different parts of your day. From the ceremony, family portraits, and couple portraits! Yosemite truly has it all. A few of my favorites California elopement locations in the park are:
With its towering granite cliffs, lush meadows, and cascading waterfalls, Yosemite offers an unforgettable backdrop for your special day. Whether you choose to exchange vows in the valley or atop one of the park’s many peaks, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking views that will make your ceremony truly unique!
The best time of year to elope in Yosemite National Park is from May through September, although snowfall may occur during these months that’s another incredible experience to have in Yosemite! As long as youre bundled up and stay warm eloping in the winter could be the dreamiest day ever!
I’m not exaggerating when I say my jaw literally dropped on the drive down to Big Sur, CA! Big Sur is a stunningly beautiful destination for eloping. With its rugged coastline, towering redwood forests, and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, it’s no wonder why so many couples choose to tie the knot here! From the iconic Bixby Bridge to the secluded beaches of Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur offers an array of romantic settings for your special day. Whether you’re looking for a private ceremony on the beach or a more intimate wedding in surrounded by the redwood forests, Big Sur has something for everyone. With its natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities, Big Sur is sure to provide an unforgettable experience for your elopement!
The best time of year to elope in Big Sur is from May through September but this time of the year can be foggy so make sure to dress warmly as the weather on the beach is unpredictable! When eloping in Big Sur you can expect sunny days with cooler evenings as well as occasional rain showers throughout the day (so be sure to bring rain gear just in case!).
Things To Remember For your Elopement
Eloping in a new area that you’ve never been to can be confusing and hard to plan so make sure to remember a couple more things when figuring out your California elopement locations!
First, make sure to check on permits! Any California elopement location you decide to elope at will most likely require a permit. Look on the National Park websites and contact their offices to make sure you’re covered!
Secondly, when choosing vendors look for people you truly can connect with and trust! They will be with you during your whole elopement day and you want to be able to relax and feel comfortable with them!
Lastly, choose your location because YOU love it not because someone told you to! Remember it’s your day, it’s about YOU. Choose what you want and feel 100% at peace with it! Your elopement is all about you and your partner, I hope you enjoy every second of it and live your dreams in the most epic of places!
Looking for a destination elopement photographer for your California elopement? I’d love to be a part of your day! Let’s bring your dream photos come to life! Contact me through my website to get started and see more of my work on my blog!