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February 9, 2024

Oregon Coast Elopement Guide

FILED IN: Elopements

The Ultimate Guide to Eloping on the Oregon Coast

So you want to elope on the Oregon Coast? Of course you do! This picturesque region, home to soaring sand dunes and wind-swept shorelines, is the perfect place to tie the knot. It’s a beautiful collision of serene nature plus bustling harbors, giving you that effortlessly wild and imaginative backdrop for your incredible experience of eloping. So, as a destination wedding photographer, I myself have visited this incredible part of Oregon on a number of occasions. I’ve also been lucky enough to see couples shine in moments that are perfectly imperfect, candid, and raw, capturing the very essence of their soul. There’s a sense of magic in the air when you choose an Oregon coast elopement.

With that, I’m keen to tell you about this wondrous location. What I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced, and what I love. You can consider this your go-to newlywed’s guide on how to elope on the Oregon coast.

Why Elope on the Oregon Coast?

The Oregon Coast has a little bit of everything, giving you so many options for an intimate and unique elopement. If you’re the adventurous type, or maybe just the “adventure-ish” type, then the Oregon Coast will be a dream come true. The beach is filled with fierce waves one moment then calm and tranquil ones the next, secret sea caves spoil you with more up-close and personal vibes, and the moody forests set a mystical tone. The Oregon Coast is also made up of gorgeous desert dunes, majestic waterfalls, and all sorts of wildlife.

Needless to say, there is a crazy amount of diversity here, so you can be sure to find a number of locations with striking views to make your heart melt. And let me not forget to mention all of the amazing places to celebrate with drinks and some nibbles after your Oregon elopement. Trust me, you’ll definitely not have a hard time finding a place to celebrate.

How to Legally Elope in Oregon

Now for the nitty gritty! You know, the logistics of how to elope on the Oregon Coast. If you’ve got your sights set on eloping in this incredible area, you’ll need:

  • A marriage license from the county, which, at the time of writing this, will cost $60 and will last for 60 days. You can find more information here.
  • An officiant to marry you plus two witnesses to sign your marriage license
  • Permits, depending on if you’d like to include decor such as arches, chairs, arbors, etc. (for more information on this you can contact the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department)

When to Elope on the Oregon Coast

wildflowers at samuel h boardman state park

The best time of year to elope on the Oregon Coast

The best time to elope on the Oregon Coast is June to early October. This is when there is the least amount of rain and the temperature is warmer (sometimes reaching the upper 80’s F). On the other hand, if you choose a month outside of the ones mentioned above, you’ll have reduced crowds. The downside to that however, is that there’s a higher chance of rain. The rainiest months on the Oregon Coast are January, February, March, April, November and December—December being the rainiest.

Source: Weather Spark

Oregon Sunrise and Sunset Times

As a general rule of thumb, the best time of day for photos is sunrise and sunset. When it comes to getting those picture perfect moments during the elusive golden hour here’s a nifty guide. Or, check out my cheat sheet below, which tells you the sunrise and sunset times for each month.

The best time to elope on the Oregon Coast is June to early October. This is when there is the least amount of rain and the temperature is warmer (sometimes reaching the upper 80’s F). On the other hand, if you choose a month outside of the ones mentioned above, you’ll have reduced crowds. The downside to that however, is that there’s a higher chance of rain. The rainiest months on the Oregon Coast are January, February, March, April, November and December—December being the rainiest.

January sunrise is between 07:51 and 07:35
January sunset is between 16:48 and 17:25

February sunrise is between 07:34 and 06:55
February sunset is between 17:26 and 18:03

March sunrise is between 06:53 and 06:59
March sunset is between 18:04 and 19:42

April sunrise is between 06:58 and 06:09
April sunset is between 19:43 and 20:18

May sunrise is between 06:08 and 05:37
May sunset is between 20:19 and 20:51

June sunrise is between 05:36 and 05:36
June sunset is between 20:52 and 21:03

July sunrise is between 05:37 and 06:03
July sunset is between 21:03 and 20:41

August sunrise is between 06:04 and 06:38
August sunset is between 20:40 and 19:54

September sunrise is between 06:39 and 07:12
September sunset is between 19:52 and 18:59

October sunrise is between 07:14 and 07:51
October sunset is between 18:57 and 18:07

November sunrise is between 07:53 and 07:30
November sunset is between 18:06 and 16:39

December sunrise is between 07:31 and 07:51
December sunset is between 16:39 and 16:47

The Best Oregon Coast Elopement Locations

HUG POINT STATE RECREATION SITE

Known for its sea caves carved into the sandstone, cute tide pools with starfish, and its incredible seasonal waterfall along the rugged coastline, Hug Point State Recreation Site is an absolute gem. I highly recommend this spot for your Oregon Coast elopement if you’re looking for a small and intimate location. 

Interestingly, this site used to be a stagecoach road that ran along the beach, but after time, a coast highway was put in. I love the name of this spot too as it has some history. The stagecoaches literally had to “hug” the rocky coastline in order to avoid the incoming tide. Today, you can hug your favorite human as you elope in the midst of absolute natural bliss. Aww! cute, right?

One thing to watch out for at this location? The tide! If you’re walking the half mile to Hug Point State Recreation Site, be sure to check the tide schedule. Your carefree Oregon Coast elopement may not be so carefree when the tide is high! 

The Sur House is an upscale spot with a terrace offering ocean views and is one of the most popular restaurants in Big Sur. Includes an upscale menu of interesting takes on American cuisine.  

CANNON BEACH

Cannon Beach is a must-see when on the Oregon Coast, whether you’re eloping there or just visiting. It’s actually been named one of the 100 most beautiful places in the world by National Geographic! Trust me when I say, it’s worth the visit just to see the Haystack Rock, a 235 ft. sea stack that juts out along the coast. 

But there’s way more to love about Cannon Beach… 

It’s got waterfalls that fall effortlessly onto the sand at Hug Point, great views of the Tillamook Lighthouse, and you’ll be amazed at the marine life that peeks out at low tide. Plus, the beautiful view of the Pacific… dreamy.

To elope at Cannon Beach means to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, splash around in the waves, and possibly even enjoy the surrounding town that has so many art galleries, restaurants, boutiques, oceanfront lodging, and some of the best lattes I’ve ever had. One thing to keep in mind however is the fog. On foggy days, the Haystack Rock is barely visible, and this piece of nature is one of the selling points that makes this spot unique. However, if you’re a fog lover like me, then you have nothing to worry about!

CAPE KIWANDA

Found about halfway between Tillmook and Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast, you’ll find Cape Kiwanda. It’s the smallest cape of three along the Three Capes Scenic Route, and is a popular spot for a variety of different people. From hikers to those who enjoy more chilled vibes, surfers and hang gliders, it’s fair to say that Cape Kiwanda is for the wild, the nature lovers, the adventurer seekers and/or the beach bums.

Honestly, getting eloped at Cape Kiwanda means to enjoy some spectacular waves and to see some incredible views of Nestucca Bay to the south and Cape Lookout to the north. This spot also boasts a huge hill made up of mudstone, sandstone, and drifting sands. And, if you go during low tide, you can spot some of the wonderful tide pool creatures.

Some things to note, however. If you’re planning on driving on the dry sand with a two-wheeler, don’t! You will most certainly get stuck. And lastly, for those who want to get to the top of the dune, you may need a decent level of fitness, as it’s quite a climb.

ECOLA STATE PARK

Spectacular views await you at the popular Ecola State Park, such as the inspiring coast and Cannon Beach. In fact, it’s one of the most scenic and wild state parks on the Oregon Coast with a ton of walking paths… the perfect spot for a bit of nature watching.

And while I highly recommend this location, there may be a lot of people there because of its beauty. However, I still believe that Ecola State Park should be on your Oregon Coast elopement list.

The above mentioned views aside, you’ll also be treated to the entrance road that meanders through a lush Sitka spruce forest. And this is a great thing, because you’ll get the best of both worlds when it comes to your Ecola State Park elopement photographs.

Hot tip: If you plan to go in late April, you’ll be met with lots of mud. Be sure to have your waterproof shoes with you!

MANZANITA BEACH

Manzanita is an adorable oceanside village tucked in between three distinctive landmarks: the Pacific Ocean, the sublime Neahkahnie Mountain, and the sheltered Nehalem Bay. It’s here that you’ll find Manzanita Beach, seven miles of white sand and utter charm. And even though it’s arguably the most photographic beach on the Oregon Coast, it’s still considered a hidden gem. Basically, it’s hardly ever crowded, which will work in your favor if you’re after an intimate elopement.

What’s also great about this location is that it’s easily reachable by car. Parking is available along Ocean Road and Beulah Reed Road for easy access to the beach. Once you’ve arrived, you could opt to hike a mile or two for other little nooks and crannies. Or, if you fancy it, you could organize horseback riding in Nehalem Bay during the summer!

On a side note: this beach does tend to get very windy, so a tight updo is a must. But if you’re a free spirit with a playful heart, take your “wild hair, don’t care” attitude with you during your Oregon Coast elopement photoshoot.

SAMUEL H. BOARDMAN STATE SCENIC CORRIDOR

Saving the best for last? Quite possibly! To have your elopement at the Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor is almost like a mashup of the entire Oregon Coast. It’s an awe-inspired 12 miles of sea stacks, amazing viewpoints, sand dunes, and secluded beaches located between Brookings and Gold Beach along Highway 101.

There are so many treasures to be enjoyed here. And honestly, each has their own unique aesthetic and natural beauty. The Secret Beach, for example, is so serene with its cliff’s edge covered with wildflowers. And when it gets foggy, it really sets a dramatic scene for some incredible elopement photographs. Whaleshead Beach is another captivating area that got its name from the prominent rock formation just offshore, resembling a whale’s spout.

If it’s sand dunes, breathtaking views, and sea stacks you’re after, take a peek at Indian Sands, found between Thomas Creek Bridge and Whaleshead Beach. But be cautious where you walk and what shoes you’re wearing, as the area isn’t covered with beach sand but rather, eroding sandstone cliffs from above.

And then, of course, there’s the Natural Bridges. Yes, it’s a sight to behold, and the small trail which takes you there does include an adorable forest, but honestly, it may not be worth it. This trail is very steep and slippery, and can be very dangerous in wet weather. It also includes a bit of a balancing act before you finally get to a flat part. I usually don’t advise people on the trek, but to do so is, of course, at your own risk.

How much does it cost to Elope on the Oregon Coast

Have your heart set on a spot to elope on the Oregon Coast? Here’s some of the not-so-fun details you’ll need to know (aka how much is it going to cost!). The good news is, there’s a lot of wiggle room. So you can anticipate spending anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000. It all depends on your budget! Here is a small breakdown of what things could cost:

  • Photographer: An Oregon Coast elopement photographer: anywhere between $4,000 to $12,000
  • Videographer: An Oregon Coast elopement videographer: anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000
  • Hair and Makeup: A professional hair and makeup artist: anywhere between $300 and $500 (excluding the trial)
  • Florals: Flowers and flower arrangements: for a simple bouquet and boutonniere, you can budget for around $200. If you’d like a flower arch, petals, and other flower arrangements, your budget could be over $1,000
  • Officiant: An officiant for your elopement: anywhere between $200 and $800
  • Lodging: Nearby lodging and accommodation: anywhere between $300 and $1,500 per night
  • Travel expenses: this of course depends on where you are coming from, and can range anywhere between $150 and $1,500
  • Your elopement permits: anywhere between $50 and $300
  • Small eats & drinks: things such as a charcuterie board or picnic spread, cake, and/or champagne, anywhere between $50 to $500
  • Celebratory activities: such as bike rides on the beach, building a campfire, renting

Elopement Activity Ideas on the Oregon Coast

So, my dudes, are you ready to commit to an Oregon Coast elopement? If so, I seriously recommend making the most of the location. Whether you’re with a dozen friends and family members, or you’re planning something intimate for just you and your partner, here are my favorite things to do in Oregon…

Fun things to do on the Oregon Coast

  • Take a peek at some of the runner up elopement locations I’ve mentioned above that you’ve decided not to elope at.
  • See some of the incredible beaches and have a picnic, pop champagne, or sunbathe beside the sea.
  • Explore the caves, such as the Sea Lion Cave, the Devil’s Punchbowl Caves (4 caves in total), Hug Point Beach (4 caves in total), and/or the Secret Beach (2-4 caves in total).
  • Go on a hike at Tillamook Head near Ecola State Park.
  • Explore the nearby beach towns, such as Tillamook Bay, Coos Bay, Astoria, Yachats, and Newport.
  • Hit up a local candy or ice cream shop and satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Visit one of the 11 lighthouses on the Oregon Coast, such as the Heceta Head Lighthouse, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, or the Umpqua River Lighthouse.
  • Talk a brisk or breezy walk along the pier and feed the birds.
  • Go on an adventure to find historical shipwrecks, such as the Peter Iredale Shipwreck, located near Fort Stevens State Park, west of Astoria.
  • Go wine tasting at Nehalem Bay Winery or the Winery at Manzanita.
  • Visit one of the local breweries, such as the Beachcrest Brewing Company.
  • Taste some delights at some of the Oregon Coast creameries (the Tillamook Creamery is a favorite for many).
  • Rent a kayak or canoe for a splash of fun.
  • Rent a hot air balloon for a romantic elopement celebration.
  • Go sand sledding or off-roading at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
  • Venture into Portland!

And there you have it, your go-to guide on getting eloped on the Oregon Coast! I hope you’ve learned a thing or two, and that you’ve chosen to have your special day in this magnificent location.

If you need any more advice or are ready to hire an elopement photographer, please get in touch! I love meeting fellow-adventurers and people in love! 

Thinking of getting Married on the Oregon Coast?

I’d love to be considered as your Oregon coast elopement photographer! Simply fill out the contact form to get started!

Hey there, I’m Sierra! I’m your travel guide, dress floofer, and wedding day wingman. When you work with me, you can expect to dance, run, piggyback, motorboat, swear, laugh, and get messy. So what I’m saying is: wear comfortable shoes, throw the rulebook away, and don’t take life too seriously (none of us get out alive).

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