Most Unique Adventure Elopement Locations in California

California's Most Unique Elopement Locations || California Adventure Elopement Photographer

California has so much to offer in adventure elopement destinations beyond the fan favorites. Yosemite, Malibu, Big Sur, Tahoe, and Joshua Tree have well-earned merit in the elopement sphere; but if you’re looking for something a little less Instagram famous but still as gorgeous, the options are endless! Here is some inspiration from some of my favorite places from a decade of living and road-tripping these golden lands to get your gears turning. There are also so many more even beyond this, so feel free to share your wildest ideas when you reach out about your California adventure elopement! 

Inland, Desert, and Mountainous: 

Mono and Inyo Counties in the Eastern Sierra
Pioneer, CA
Donner Lake
Red Rocks
Death Valley

On the Coast:

The Lost Coast
Patrick’s Point
Point Reyes National Seashore
Bodega Bay
Cambria, CA

Mono and Inyo Counties in the Eastern Sierra

This area starts at Lone Pine on I-395 and stretches upward. It’s got glacier blue lakes that look straight out of Canada, dramatic gorges, the most beautiful hot springs you ever did see, and more. This is my favorite part of the world to share with couples. I’m going to have to do an entire blog post just about this area since there are so many options, but here are a few snapshots of my favorite spots! Also check out this Mammoth Lakes area engagement session to get a full picture for how wildly amazing the fall colors are. 

Carson Pass Area in Pioneer, CA

Another mind-blowing home away from home. I used to spend my summers working at a family camp in Pioneer, and it is a hidden heaven on earth. There are innumerable high Sierra lakes, pristine views, big sunsets, towering mountains, and more. An incredible place to have a wedding or elopement is The HideOut at Kirkwood Resort. 

Red Rocks National Park

If you needed further proof of California’s incredibly diversity of landscape, did you know Utah exists in California This is for the desert lovers looking to elope in a truly unique and rare landscape, and it’s only a few hours outside of Los Angeles. 

Death Valley

Death Valley is massively underrated as an adventure elopement destination. It has expansive sand dunes, vibrantly colorful mountainside, iconic salt flats, and more. There’s *so* much you can do here, but it does require a bit of planning since it is fairly remotely located and can be an extremely harsh environment. Make sure you visit during temperate weather months –– the summers are scorching to an unsafe degree. The thing I love most about this location is the artful minimalism and diversity of landscape. For a little luxury, stay at the Oasis at Death Valley. 

Donner Lake

Another sweet little sister to neighboring Tahoe! Tahoe is expansive and has tons of amenities, nightlife, etc, but Donner is for those seeking a more laid-back vibe. 

The Lost Coast

This is the perfect place to elope for those who consider the adventure to be in the journey. There are no easy shortcuts to adventure through this beautiful stretch of mostly undeveloped coastline. The story goes that the Lost Coast was too difficult to build saline-hugging Highway 1 through, so they decided just not to. There are a couple roads that get you into the few small towns of the Lost Coast, and it’s truly like stepping inside another world. This is the ideal elopement location for those looking for seclusion, adventure, and a bit of the unknown. 

Patrick’s Point

Patrick’s Point is practically Oregon. You can take the gorgeous drive or fly into Eureka-Arcata airport and rent a car. From this area, you can explore the rugged coast or take a jaunt through the nearby Redwood National Park. I absolutely love the neighboring town of Trinidad; it’s so quaint and I felt like I was on the Mediterranean Coast of Italy.  

Point Reyes National Seashore

Just north of San Francisco is Point Reyes National Seashore. There are endless options for gorgeous spots to exchange vows in this area, and it’s way less busy than San Francisco proper. I get a lot of inquiries for San Francisco City Hall elopements, and I always offer this as an alternative to those who don’t know you can easily elope in the outdoors. 

Bodega Bay

Another beautiful area right about Point Reyes! There’s something about that Northern California coastline. 

Cambria, CA

Cambria is like the sweet little sister to Big Sur. It’s rugged, secluded, and, while a little less dramatic than Big Sur, drop dead gorgeous. I highly recommend the Cambria Pines Lodge for a sweet stay during your elopement. 

Did all that scrolling get you jazzed to reach out? I'd love to hear from you!

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