Six Best Places to Elope on the Northern Oregon Coast
You're eloping!! CONGRATS! Elopements are the hottest wedding trend this year, and you must be SO excited! I know planning is hard, especially if you're not from the area, so I thought we'd help out by putting together a list of six of the best locations on the Oregon Coast for your upcoming elopement! The Oregon Coast has over 360 miles of beautiful beaches, and I can't wait to share with you some of my favorites! I might be biased, but I think Oregon is the most beautiful place on earth. Just have a look, for yourselves and I think you'll probably agree.
1. Cannon Beach
An hour and a half west of Portland is Cannon Beach, one of Oregon's most popular coastal locations. Having been in movies like the Goonies and Twilight, and named "One of the Best Beaches in the World" by National Geographic, Haystack Rock would be the perfect backdrop for your big day! The shoreline stretches for nine miles, and the glassy like reflections on the wet sand, are just a few reasons why everyone loves Cannon Beach! Haystack Rock is a National Wildlife Refuge, and is covered with nesting seagulls, and during low tide all kinds of sea creatures can be seen in the tide pools. Cannon Beach is a very popular tourist destination, but finding a secluded spot for your elopement shouldn't be difficult. The town is full of local charm and has plenty of beautiful resorts and Airbnb homes that could be used as your ceremony or reception site.
Cannon Beach is free to use. Public parking can be found along the road, or in two free parking lots located near The Sleepy Monk Coffee, and Mo's Restaurant. Several public restrooms can be found along the main street.
2. Hug Point State Recreation Site
Located about fifteen minutes south of Cannon Beach is Hug Point. While it's significantly less popular, Hug Point offers much more landscape diversity. There are hidden caves for exploring, heavily forested areas filled with hiking trails that lead to the top of cliff sides, and during low tide you can even walk around the cape to find a waterfall that flows right into the ocean! If you're looking for a more private location, filled with epic views, Hug Point is it!
Hug Point is a free park, with a large public parking lot and restroom facilities.
3. Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
Located in Pacific City, Cape Kiwanda is one of the most unique areas on the Oregon Coast. Cape Kiwanda has wide open shorelines, gigantic sandstone coves and bluffs, and a second Haystack Rock called Chief Kiwanda Rock. The cape is home to the famous Pacific City Dory Fleet, and you will often see the fishermen launching their boats into the Pacific Ocean right off the beach. Pacific City is also known for being one of the best surf spots on the Oregon coast.
The best views are found after a short hike up the dune. From the top you'll see Nestucca Bay to the south and Cape Lookout to the north. At the top of the dune you'll see fencing and warning signs posted. There have been several accidents in the past few years, and some areas can be dangerous due to the cliff's edge, and high tides, but because Oregon beaches are public, despite the signs, crossing the fence is not illegal. Ultimately it's your decision, but if you do cross the fence, please be extremely cautious.
Cape Kiwanda is a free, with hiking trails, a large free public parking lot and restroom facilities across from Pelican Pub.
4. Ecola State Park and Indian Beach
Just north of Cannon Beach, high on the edge of the cliff is Ecola State Park. To get to Ecola, you'll drive on a winding road through the beautiful spruce forest, which opens up to a grassy bluff, and one of Oregon's most stunning panoramic views. The coastline stretches out as far as your eyes can see, you'll see Haystack Rock, and the huge coastal mountains ranges. While in the park you may even see the herds of Roosevelt Elk that like to hang out in the area.
An easy one mile hike, or a quick two mile drive through the park and you'll find the more secluded Indian Beach. Much less popular, but equally as beautiful, Indian Beach is filled with tidepools, coves, and rocky shores for exploring, and on a clear day you can see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse just offshore.
Ecola State Park requires a $5 day-use fee if you drive in and plan to park. You can also use an annual Oregon Pacific Coast Passport. The park has plenty of picnic areas, hiking trails, a huge parking lot, and restroom facilities.
5. Arcadia Beach
Located right between Hug Point and Cannon Beach is Arcadia Beach. With large dramatic rock formations, views of Haystack Rock, tons tidepools, and nesting birds, Arcadia Beach is often overlooked, due to the popularity of the other locations in the area, which is one of the reasons we love it so much. Often times we'll have the entire beach to ourselves
Arcadia Beach is a free park, with a picnic area, free public parking and restroom facilities.
6. Manzanita Beach
An hour south of Cannon Beach sits the town of Manzanita. Manzanita is truly a quaint and beautiful oceanside town, with stunning views of the Neahkahnie Mountain, and seven miles of white sandy beaches filled with driftwood. The small town charm is second to none, and it is quickly becoming known for its many delicious dining options. Manzanita is perfect for those looking for the most private elopement location of all those listed so far.
Manzanita Beach is free to use and has parking on the side of the road all throughout town.
Some Helpful Info for your Oregon Elopement:
All Oregon beaches are public land, which means areas cannot be reserved, and the public cannot be excluded, however finding a nice quiet spot isn't too difficult.
If your group is smaller than 50 people, and you don't plan to set up any structures, you will not need a permit. Contact the State Park Coastal Office for more info.
The Oregon Marriage License fee is $60, and is valid for 60 days after a 3 day waiting period. To get married in Oregon you'll need two witnesses, but don't worry, your photographer's count!
The Oregon Coast is notorious for its rainy, windy weather, occasionally even in the summer, but don't worry, any local Oregon Wedding Vendor will be used to this, and will have no problem working in these conditions. Also, while exploring the Oregon Coast, always be aware of tide changes, and sneaker waves.
Not like you need it, but here's a little more proof that Oregon is the most amazing place on earth, and I just know your elopement here is going to be perfect! If you have any questions, or if you're interested in having capture your day, I'd love to chat!
Are you a photographer dying to visit and photograph the Oregon Coast, check out my workshop, Let's Go!