As an Oregon elopement photographer and videographer team, we’re definitely biased when we say that an Oregon coast elopement is one of the most epic and breathtaking places to get married. Saying ‘I do’ against the backdrop of Oregon’s breathtaking coastline is a breathtaking choice for couples who want an intimate and memorable elopement. From the iconic shores of Cannon Beach to the rugged cliffs of Ecola State Park and the serene landscapes of Samuel H Boardman area, Oregon offers a diverse array of stunning locations to exchange vows. In our How to Elope on the Oregon Coast guide, we’ll share a few of our favorite places to elope in Oregon, give details about the permitting process and more.
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When planning how to elope on the Oregon coast, there are several state parks and cities that are worth considering for your elopement location – the top places being Cannon Beach, Cape Kiwanda Sate Natural Area and Brookings. Those locations boast the rugged Oregon coastline with spectacular views. For a more complete list of place to elope on the oregon coast:
Known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast,” Depoe Bay provides a charming and scenic setting for an intimate elopement.
Permitting and Licenses
To have an Oregon coast elopement you do need a wedding license, an officiant and two witnesses over 18. This being said, the officiant can be whoever you hand the paperwork over to at the courthouse if you would rather have the ceremony be a little more intimate.
It’s also essential to check with the relevant authorities to determine if any permits are required in order to hold your ceremony at specific locations. Permit requirements can vary depending on the location and the size of the event. Here’s a general guideline, but keep in mind that this information may change, so it’s important to also personally verify the local rules:
Many of the beautiful coastal locations are within state parks. In Oregon, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages state parks. You may need a special use permit for events like weddings. Contact the park directly or visit the Oregon State Parks website for information on permits and regulations.
National Parks and Recreation Areas:
If you’re considering a location within a national park or recreation area, such as Cape Perpetua or Ecola State Park, you’ll need to check with the National Park Service for permit requirements. Each park may have its own regulations.
Some locations may fall under the jurisdiction of local city or county authorities. Check with the city or county offices to inquire about any necessary permits for events or gatherings on public land.
Certain attractions, like the Heceta Head Lighthouse or Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, may have their own regulations and permit requirements. Contact the managing entity of the specific attraction for guidance.
Beach Use Permits:
In some cases, if you’re planning an event directly on the beach, you may need a beach use permit. Check with the local city or county offices or the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for information on beach permits.
It’s important to contact the relevant authorities well in advance of your planned elopement date to allow time for the permit application process. Additionally, they can provide you with the most up-to-date information on regulations and any fees associated with permits. Keep in mind that rules and regulations can change.
Accessibility can vary widely among the different locations along the Oregon coast. Some areas are easily accessible, while others may require more effort and may not be suitable for individuals with mobility challenges.
Cannon Beach is generally accessible to all visitors. The main beach area has wide, sandy shores that are easy to walk on. The iconic Haystack Rock is visible from the beach, and while getting close to it may be challenging for those with mobility issues, the view from the shore is still stunning.
Ecola State Park:
Ecola State Park has some paved and gravel trails, but the terrain can be uneven and steep in places. The viewpoints provide breathtaking views of the coastline, but not all areas may be easily accessible for those with mobility challenges.
Heceta Head Lighthouse:
The Heceta Head Lighthouse is accessible via a short walk from the parking area. The trail may have some inclines, but it’s generally manageable for most visitors. The beach area below the lighthouse may be accessed by a separate trail that could be more challenging.
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area:
Cape Kiwanda has a large, sandy beach that is easily accessible. The sand dunes and some rocky areas may pose challenges for those with mobility issues.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor:
Accessibility varies among the viewpoints and trails in the scenic corridor. Some viewpoints are easily accessible from parking areas, while others may involve more strenuous hiking. Check specific trails for their level of difficulty.
Thor’s Well and Cape Perpetua:
Thor’s Well is located near the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center. The visitor center is accessible, and there are viewpoints that provide stunning views of the coastline. Some trails in the area may have steep sections.
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area:
The Yaquina Head Lighthouse area is accessible, with paved paths leading to the lighthouse and viewpoints. The beach area may be more challenging for those with mobility issues.
Depoe Bay is a small town with accessible viewpoints along the seawall. The town itself may be easier to navigate for individuals with mobility challenges.
Best Time of Year
The best time of year to elope along the Oregon coast depends on your preferences and priorities. Here are some considerations for different seasons:
Spring (March to May):
Spring offers milder temperatures, blooming wildflowers, and potential for clearer skies. It’s a lovely time when nature comes alive, and the weather is generally pleasant. However, keep in mind that spring can also bring some rain, so be prepared for variable weather.
Summer (June to August):
Summer is the peak tourist season along the Oregon coast. The weather is typically warmer and drier, making it a popular time for outdoor activities. However, crowded beaches and higher accommodation prices can be drawbacks.
Fall (September to November):
Fall is a great time for elopements if you prefer fewer crowds. The weather is still relatively mild, and you may experience beautiful autumn colors. September can be particularly pleasant, with the summer crowds beginning to thin out.
Winter (December to February):
Winter is the off-peak season, offering more solitude and potential for dramatic storm-watching scenes. However, the weather can be unpredictable, with cooler temperatures and increased rainfall. If you’re prepared for the possibility of rain and chilly conditions, winter can provide a unique and romantic atmosphere.
Keep in mind that Oregon’s coast is known for its coastal fog and mist, which can create a mystical and enchanting atmosphere, especially in the cooler months. Additionally, the specific location along the coast may influence the weather conditions, as the northern and southern parts can experience slightly different climates.
Before finalizing your elopement date, check the weather patterns for the specific area you’re interested in, and be prepared for the possibility of rain, especially in the cooler seasons. Regardless of the time of year, the Oregon coast offers stunning landscapes, so you’re likely to find a picturesque backdrop for your special day.
Things to Do for Your Oregon Elopement
What can you do on for your Oregon Coast elopement? Here are some things that you can add to your adventurous elopement activities:
Exchange vows on the sandy shores of iconic beaches like Cannon Beach or Cape Kiwanda. The sound of the waves and the expansive ocean make for a romantic setting.
Plan your elopement near a picturesque lighthouse, such as Heceta Head Lighthouse or Yaquina Head Lighthouse, and incorporate the scenic views into your ceremony.
Take a scenic hike in locations like Ecola State Park or Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. Choose a trail with breathtaking viewpoints for a private ceremony surrounded by nature.
Time your elopement to coincide with the magical golden hour and sunset. Cape Kiwanda, Cannon Beach, and many other coastal locations offer spectacular sunset views.
Beach Bonfire Celebration:
If allowed and safe, consider having a beach bonfire celebration after your ceremony. Enjoy the warmth of the fire and the sound of the waves under the starry sky.
Dinner with a View:
Plan a romantic dinner at a seaside restaurant or pack a picnic for a private meal on the beach. Enjoy local seafood and the sound of the ocean.
The Oregon coast is rich in wildlife. Consider incorporating some wildlife watching into your day, whether it’s observing sea lions, seals, or migratory birds.
For those seeking a more adventurous elopement, consider activities like kayaking, surfing, or exploring sea caves. Depoe Bay is known for its whale-watching opportunities.
Relaxation and Reflection:
Take some quiet moments to reflect on your commitment to each other. Find a peaceful spot to enjoy the sounds of the ocean and the beauty of nature.
Remember to check local regulations and obtain any necessary permits for your chosen activities. Whether you prefer a serene and intimate ceremony or a more adventurous celebration, the Oregon coast offers a variety of options to make your elopement day truly special.
As you begin to plan your Oregon elopement, we have no doubt that your chosen location, whether it’s the iconic Cannon Beach or the rugged coastline in Brookings, will be one of beauty and intimacy.
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