How to Elope on the Oregon Coast in 2024

Coming from a local, you’ve got better locations than Cannon Beach to consider.

Digging the resources? You ain’t seen nothing yet…

From a local Oregonian, let me show you the best hidden gems and tips for getting the most out of your Oregon Coast elopement. @samstarns

Why Elope on the Oregon Coast?

If you’ve seen images of the Oregon Coast, you probably know why. The rugged coastline is varied, with beaches, sandstone cliffs, and jagged basalt rocks jutting out from the sea. It’s a sight to make Ariel from the Little Mermaid swoon. I know you’re hearing “Mysterious Fathoms Below” in your head right now.

As a former park ranger on the Oregon Coast, I’m fortunate to be able to share the best tours, activities, wildlife resources, and locations with my couples.

Top Oregon Coast Elopement Info to Know

While sunset is a popular time to elope on the Oregon Coast, you’re going to need to know several other things aside from what time the sun sinks below the horizon. From permits to tides, you’ll be set up for success with some more information.


There are 4 tides in roughly a 24-hour period, 2 high and 2 low. One high tide is higher than the other, and one low tide is lower than the other. The highest high tide and the higher low tide appear coupled, typically, as shown in the graph below:

Why are tides important? Because you could literally be up a creek without a paddle. Some locations that are desirable on the Oregon Coast (like the now famous Hug Point) are only accessible at low tides and have a limited timeframe they’re accessible.

In other instances, if you’re wanting to elope on the cliff sides with the epic King Tides in the background (image below), you’ll want to anticipate the high tide times.

The very small pixellated dots on the cliff outcropping are people – yes, the waves can get that huge.

What are king tides?

King tides are especially high and violent tides that occur during new moons, when the sun and the moon’s gravity are pulling the oceans in the same direction (i.e. having much more of a tidal force).

Oregon Coast Elopement Permits

While the Oregon Coast is fairly elopement-friendly, if you’re having an intimate wedding with certain circumstances, a permit may be required.

If your wedding has a guest count of 50+, or has any type of setup (including arches, chairs, tents, etc.), it will require a permit.

How to Apply

You must call the regional office at (541) 563-8500 to discuss your plans and possible permits, fees or insurance requirements. Events on the beach are first-come, first-served and are not exclusive (meaning you cannot expect someone to move out of the way and they do have the right to refuse – though most people are accommodating).

The following locations do not issue permits between Memorial Day and Labor Day:

Arcadia Beach (near Cannon Beach)
Hug Point (near Cannon Beach)

Ecola State Park (Indian Beach included)
Oswald West State Park
Devil’s Punchbowl (south of Depoe Bay)
Beverly Beach (Newport)
Heceta Head (Florence)
Harris Beach (Brookings)


Sunset is usually fairly easy to figure out. Google the nearest beach town to your elopement and the sunset time will be the time the sun hits the horizon. If your backdrop has sea stacks or other topography, the sun may disappear earlier. And if you’re anticipating sunrise, the hills and low-lying mountains will cause the sun to directly hit the beach much later than what Google will say.

TOP TIP: Book a photographer who knows and has apps that will help calculate true loss of direct light by taking into account topography.

Oregon Coast Elopement Locations

If you’re wanting to find locations to elope on the Oregon Coast, it’s best to divide the coastline into 3 regions. The most popular is the north coast, followed by Samuel H. Boardman on the south coast.

North Coast

The North Coast includes the range from Astoria down to Lincoln City or thereabouts (depending on who you ask). It’s the most trafficked portion of the coast and while beautiful, I would avoid the region if you have privacy as a high priority.


How do you elope in Cannon Beach, Oregon? This is almost inarguably the most popular elopement location on the Oregon Coast because of its beauty and the looming Haystack Rock. It’s also the most popular location to visit on the coast in general. It’s easily accessible from Portland, is near Astoria, and has a quaint town with several lodging options.

What makes it charming it also its downfall. Lodgings can be very expensive, traffic on weekends can be congested going to and from Portland. It also makes it difficult to get Cannon Beach all to yourself without multiple people in the background of your images.



This location is just minutes from Cannon Beach and used to be a somewhat hidden gem (at least what you could consider a hidden gem on the popular North Coast). Now, on weekends in the summer, you’ll find cars illegally parked along the highway trying to experience this beach.

Sunset Oregon coast Elopement, adventure elopement photographer


Just north of Cannon Beach, there are multiple beach options as well as some forested areas here. One of the highlights is a great view of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse (aka Terrible Tilly) perched on a large rock a mile out to sea.


This beautiful cliffside area is near the hamlet of Manzanita. There are a couple of expansive views that you can hike to, though the most popular (image above) is steep at points and is not recommended for couples or guests who have mobility issues (replaced hips, sciatica problems, asthma).


Home to Pelican Brewing, the Cape Kiwanda area is known for its dory boats and their unique way of heading out to sea directly from the beach. Cape Kiwanda was the site of the now-destroyed Pedestal Rock.

There are multiple other locations to explore, like several of the images below. I encourage you to book a local photographer who has experience on the coast and consideration for Leave No Trace principles. Want the bonus of a park ranger to show you the best tidepools, locations, and wildlife info as you explore the rugged coastline on your day?


The Mid-Coast of Oregon includes Newport, Florence, and Reedsport. Based purely on epic backdrops, this section of the coast might have the least impressive topography, but it makes up for it in lighthouses and a few beautiful beach areas.


The Newport area is home to multiple lighthouses, tidepools and nearby Depoe Bay has the most options of whale watching excursions on the Oregon Coast. Fun fact: I used to work as a park ranger in this area!

Image courtesy of Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association


Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the coast. It’s located just a short drive north of Florence and is near to formations like Cape Perpetua and Thor’s Well. This lighthouse has a BnB that is open for events and overnight stays.


“The Dunes” are a haven for dune buggies and offroaders that want to get away for a weekend to the coast. Buggies are for rent if you want to include that in your elopement! Umpqua Lighthouse was the first lighthouse built on the coast, before it had to be rebuilt several years later due to it being too close to eroding shoreline.

Sam has such an intimate knowledge of the area that is SO special & important & it really showed. Sam has photographed numerous weddings in the redwoods and Oregon Coast, but they all look different and unique. That is because her lens reflects her nature, Sam truly sees every couple for what makes them special.

Jessie & Fernando

South Coast

The South Coast spans from North Bend and Coos Bay down to the Oregon/California Border. It includes the Insta-famous Samuel. H. Boardman Scenic Corridor.

This region has the ability to be combined with the California Coastal Redwoods just over the border. Many couples choose to combine Jedediah Smith Redwoods with Samuel H. Boardman. It’s a beautiful combination, but I always suggest to my couples that we make their day extra special by visiting little known coast locations so their day can feel unique.


A hidden gem along the Oregon Coast and the nearest to me. Few couples elope in this area, though it is not short on beautiful cliff sides and drastic rock formations jutting out of the ocean. It is also one of the best locations to elope during King Tides in the winter.


A midstop before Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, this is another unsung location on the Oregon Coast. While being slightly more remote, there are multiple attractive lodging options and several locations that offer secluded vistas where oftentimes you will be the only visitors. This is a great location to include a kayak whale watching tour.


If you’ve seen dramatic cliffs and Redwoods in one elopement (you can do both in an 8-hour day), you’ve seen Samuel H. Boardman. Known for Natural Bridges (no longer LNT-friendly and not an ethical elopement location) and Secret Beach (no longer secret), this 18-mile span of coastline has plenty of other locations to consider, as well as kayaking options through sea arches. Want to include whale watching, horseback riding, or kayaking through sea arches as part of your day?

Sam is amazing! Not only does she take the best photos, but she makes the day so comfortable and special. She is an awesome human who will quickly feel like an old friend!!

Marilyn & Ryan

Your Oregon Coast Elopement Photographer

As a lifelong Oregonian, I couldn’t be more stoked to show you the little-known spots, the quiet vistas that belong on the cover of National Geographic.

As a local, and one of the closest elopement specialists to the central and south coast, I’ve got the inside scoop on locations and current or potential conditions.

With your own custom planning portal, you’ll be ready to plan your greatest adventure yet, with custom vendor referrals, location resources, marriage license info and a helluva lot more.

Are you ready to experience all of what the Oregon Coast has to offer?

Ready to Capture your Adventure?
Let’s connect!