Best Places to Elope in California (Updated 2022)

If you’re looking for an awesome place to elope, you’ve come to the right place! I’m a photographer based out of Carlsbad, California (North San Diego County, Southern California).  There are so many amazing options!

Where to Elope in California

In California, you could go from a mountaintop to the desert, to the ocean all in one day! The state is so large it could be broken up into 3 main parts – Northern California has cooler weather, redwoods, and mountains. Central California hosts beautiful cliffs and wine country. Southern California has palm trees and sandy beaches as well as cactus-filled deserts and sand dunes. Some of the most unique landscapes are found here. If you can’t decide on where to get married – I’d start with California. There’s something for everyone here!

17 Best Places to Elope in California

  1. Big Sur
  2. Catalina Island – Long beach elopement
  3. Lake Tahoe
  4. Joshua Tree
  5. Yosemite
  6. Sunset Cliffs – San Diego Beach Elopement
  7. Palm Springs
  8. San Francisco Court house (San Diego Courthouse or Santa Barbara courthouse)
  9. Crystal Cove, Laguna Beach
  10. El Matador Beach, Malibu
  11. Pismo Beach Santa Barbara
  12. Death Valley
  13. Imperial Sand Dunes, Glamis
  14. Alamare Falls
  15. Lake Elsinor – Poppies
  16. Anza borrega state park
  17. YACHT

When to Elope in California

California is one of the largest and longest states. Almost every climate can be found across the 6 figure miles of latitude.  The closer to the ocean you get, the more humid, chilly and overcast it can be. Beaches typically also get a lot more wind. The best time to elope in Northern California is after rainy season and while it is warm – May-September. For Southern California, almost anytime is great! The weather changes quickly. April-June tend to get the most rain and dreary skies. July and August tend to be pretty hot but it cools off fast by sunset. 

Another factor to think about is the crowds. Summer is the tourist season and tends to be the busiest. The specific location you want to elope at might host an event such as triathlons, concerts, conferences, etc. Best to check before settling on your wedding date!

How to Elope in California

Some couples prefer to take care of the legal stuff before their elopement day so they can focus on what matters and have no stress. Especially if you are traveling from another state (or even country) to elope in California. 

***I’m an officiant if you need one***

To legally get married in California, you will have to obtain a California Marriage License. You can google search “Marriage License + [County you want to get married in like San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego County etc]”. You can get your license the day before or the day of your elopement! They are good for 90 days. You’ll just need 

• Photo ID

• Fill out the marriage license application

• Payment $60-$150

• Schedule an appointment online

Check out this great article from The Knot on how to legally get married in California HERE.

Even More Places to Elope in California

This list is just the beginning of the best places to elope in California! There are miles and miles of beaches, mountains, lakes, and deserts not listed here. If you know an awesome spot to elope in California, please comment below. If you need help finding the perfect California Elopement Location (and photographer) for you, please contact me https://kacilou.com/contact



Kaci Lou


Best Places to Elope in California (Updated 2022)