Eloping on the Northern Oregon Coast | Complete Guide

Dreaming of eloping on the Northern Oregon Coast? Not sure where to begin? Or looking for insight on how to elope on the Oregon Coast? Then you are in the right place! This blog post will be focused specifically on locations on the Northern Oregon Coast with general ‘How To’ information that can be applied to any area along the Oregon Coast.

Couple eloping on the Oregon Coast, complete guide header

The Northern Oregon Coast is comprised of long stretches of sandy beaches, rocky cliffsides, sand dunes, and forests. When eloping on the Northern Oregon Coast, you really can have it all! From forest to sandy beach to beautiful views – trying to decide which beach to get married at can be hard. They are all so gorgeous! And the good news is you don’t have to choose just one beach to spend your day. It is common to choose two to three locations for your elopement experience! As a native Oregonian, I have so many fond memories on the coast and love sharing these beautiful places with others.

Where: The Northern Oregon Coast

For this blog post, the Northern Oregon Coast stretches from the mouth of the Columbia River at Astoria/Warrenton to the sandstone cliffs and sand dunes at Pacific City. This area includes some of the most visited beaches of Oregon and most iconic vistas we all love. From Cannon Beach with Haystack Rock, to Hug Point and its seasonal waterfall, and further south with Cape Kiwanda and its one-of-a-kind sandstone headland. The Northern Oregon Coast is not to be missed!

Travel: Accessing the Northern Oregon Coast

If you are eloping on the Northern Oregon Coast and flying in, you will want to fly into the Portland International Airport (PDX) located in Portland, OR. From there, the easiest route is to head west and either travel on Highway 26 for the Cannon Beach area or take Highway 6 for the Cape Kiwanda or Tillamook area.

Travel from PDX to Cannon Beach via Hwy 26 is approximately 2 hours. Travel from PDX to Cape Kiwanda area via Hwy 6 is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. These highways are also mostly two lane, winding roads through the hilly coast range before getting to the two lane Hwy 101 that runs North to South on the coast. All that to say – always allow extra time for slow travel especially from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day Weekend when it is busiest.

Lodging: Where to Stay on the Northern Oregon Coast

Lodging on the Oregon Coast is highly recommended when eloping on the Oregon Coast for best convenience. There are also many great lodging options depending on what amenities you desire and what area you will be celebrating in. If you are unfamiliar with the Northern Oregon Coast, I recommend booking your lodging after you have decided which beaches you will be enjoying on your day. I often make personal recommendations as well for my couples to make their planning easier.

Timing: When is best to Elope on the Northern Oregon Coast

Eloping on the Oregon Coast should come with its own weather elements warning – it can often be windy, chilly, rainy and please be mindful of the tide. Summer on the Oregon coast is great but don’t forget a coat or sweater for that evening chill. And Summer on the Oregon coast can still mean rain, wind and cold but it is less common. Winter weather varies drastically and if you are ok with the possibility of getting wet and you have a warm & cozy place to escape to immediately after then great! If planning for an elopement in the winter please be cautious of king tides and storm weather conditions. Storms can also cause road closures and more so do have a backup option as well.

Spring and Fall can offer some great options with a chance of good weather and less crowds. For those blue sky optimal weather days, I would recommend between June – September. However each year and season is unique and be sure to do your own checking to see what is best for you. It is, after all, the rugged Pacific Northwest and that’s part of what makes it so special.

By Season:

Winter: As noted above, beware of King Tides and even when planning around them, know that the tide chart measurement is going to be impacted by recent King Tides. Be prepared for wind, rain, cold and have backup plans and nearby cozy lodging.

Spring: Early Spring can be very different than late Spring. Late Spring can be a great time for good weather and less crowds. Early Spring will still feel like winter. Be prepared with layers for the chill, and potential rain.

Summer: The ideal time for great weather, but also not a guarantee. Still have layers available for the wind and chill. Also choose a weekday and timing for your elopement that will help you enjoy your day with less crowds.

Fall: Looking for great weather but less crowds? Fall can be a wonderful option! September into October can offer some amazing weather still. If thinking of November into December… have a rain plan and come prepared for wind, chill and rain.

My personal favorite months on the Oregon Coast are: June, September and October. This has to do with weather but also crowds which I will get to in the next section.

When: Best Days of the Week to Elope

When eloping in a public space, such as a beach on the Northern Oregon Coast, weekdays (specifically Monday – Thursday) are recommended. If around a holiday weekend, choosing a Tuesday or Wednesday would be optimal. Summer months can mean more crowds at the beach, for your travel, when trying to find parking and more. If eloping not during the Summer busy season, having a weekend elopement on the Oregon Coast can be a great option but let’s chat about options if concerned about having a private ceremony.

When: Time of Day to Elope

When eloping on the Oregon Coast, including sunset on your day is something I generally recommend. However many locations are tide dependent so the timing of your actual day is best determined during the planning process. Overall, it is best to be as flexible as possible and as your elopement photographer I am here to help plan your day so you can have the best experience possible on the Oregon Coast.

Marriage License: What do you need to legally be married in Oregon?

In order to legally be married in Oregon, you will need an ordained officiant, two legal age (at least 18) witnesses and your Oregon marriage license in hand. Since 2020, more counties have allowed for online applications for getting your license, but don’t take my word for it. Please see the most up to date information for Multnomah County (the county of the Portland International Airport) here.

You can get your Oregon marriage license from any county courthouse within the state. There is a 3 day waiting period or pay the small fee to waive the waiting period. Many courthouses require an appointment and I recommend contacting them directly so you both have all the info needed to get your license. After the ceremony, once all the paperwork has been completed you can mail it in or return to the same courthouse to turn it in.

I am ordained and can sign as either your officiant or a witness for your elopement. Interested in how this works? I am happy to chat more about it!

Permit: Do you need a permit to elope on the Oregon Coast?

If having less than 50 guests, no structures and not prohibiting the public from also accessing the area used, then you probably do not need a permit. However, it is always best to check and review the rules by Oregon State Parks as they may change. If planning on using chairs or structures you can contact the Coastal Region Office at (541) 563-8500 to learn more about a special use permit for your specific elopement. When in doubt, it’s always best to ask if unsure.

LNT: What is LNT (Leave No Trace) and how can I implement it on my elopement day?

Practicing Leave No Trace’s Seven principles when out enjoying the great outdoors and especially while eloping allows for minimum impact. We all love the Oregon Coast and want to keep it awesome for many years to come. For elopements specifically this can mean no tossing/littering of items on the ground to celebrate your marriage, no bouquet toss from a sea cliff into the ocean and in general please pack out what you pack in. When in an area that has designated paths, please stick to the path. You can read more about the seven principles and how they might apply to your day here. This is a great way to do your part to keep the Oregon Coast gorgeous for all!

Top Three Beach Locations for your Elopement on the Northern Oregon Coast

Eloping on the Northern Oregon Coast at one of these favorite beach locations is bound to be a wonderful experience! These top three elopement locations are based on natural beauty, accessibility and having multiple options for an intimate ceremony at each beach. Most elopements on the Northern Oregon Coast incoporate at least one of these top three locations.

Not sure of what locations are best for your day? I would love to make a personal recommendation! Feel free to reach out here and I’d love to chat with you.

Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area

Cape Kiwanda is a one of kind, gorgeous area that you will never forget. There are many aspects and options to this area depending on tide and what you have in mind for your day. From sandstone cliff views, to beautiful beach options.

  • Location: Pacific City, Oregon which is a 2.5-3 hour drive from Portland International Airport.
  • Features: Unique Sandstone sea cliffs, seamount offshore, dunes
  • Favorite Local Brewpub: Pelican Pub Brewing Co. , 33180 Cape Kiwanda Dr, Pacific City, OR 97135. Also an option if wanting an Intimate Wedding or Wedding instead.

Fun Facts: The seamount visible offshore is the primary reason the iconic sandstone cliffs of Cape Kiwanda have lasted as long as they have. Without it protecting this unique sandstone headland, erosion would have taken its toll much more. This important seamount is named after Chief Kiawanda; a very prominent Chief of the Nestugga Tribe who originally inhabited the area in the 1800’s. While some people simply call it ‘Haystack Rock’ due to its similarity to ‘the’ Haystack Rock located offshore of Cannon Beach, this can be very confusing and I wanted to share its actual name and origin. #keephistoryalive

Hug Point State Recreation Site

Hug Point is best experienced at low tide and has multiple options for your elopement. This is an iconic beach and if you take the time to enjoy the entire stretch of sand you get to enjoy multiple coves, seamounts, small caves, the seasonal waterfall, hug point itself and more. Parking is unfortunately limited so do plan accordingly.

  • Location: Arch Cape, Oregon which is a 2 hour drive from Portland International Airport.
  • Features: Seasonal waterfall, rock faces/small seamounts, small caves, multiple coves accessible at low tides, hug point headland
  • Favorite Nearby Breakfast: Yolk, 503 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130

Fun Facts: Before Highway 101 was built in 1926 the beaches were the highway. Pioneers would have to wait until low tide and ‘hug’ headlands when traveling along the coast. The headland at Hug Point is unique as there are still stagecoach tire ruts that can be seen in the basalt ‘road’ that was blasted out of the headland to make early travel easier along this stretch. You can also see more info at the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum.

Cannon Beach

Everyone loves Cannon Beach! From Chapman Point on the north end, to the iconic Haystack Rock and finally Silver Point on the south end – it is a large stretch of beach to explore. This is also probably the most visited beach on the Oregon coast and something to keep in mind when planning to elope here. Do check with the state park department if wanting to do anything other than a simple elopement here.

  • Location: Cannon Beach, Oregon which is a 1 hour 45 minute drive from Portland International Airport.
  • Features: Haystack Rock, other smaller seamounts, great sandy beach and close proximity to Portland.
  • Favorite Fish & Chips Restaurant: Tom’s Fish & Chips, 240 N Hemlock St, Cannon Beach, OR 97110

There is so much history that comprises Cannon Beach and hopefully you have had the pleasure of making your own memories there as well. As one of the most visited coastal towns in Oregon, this small town often swells with tourists in the summer so do have patience with traffic and crowds when visiting and check out the local Cannon Beach History Center & Museum for lots of great fun facts!

Check out this Cannon Beach Micro Wedding on the Blog HERE!

Locations: Other beach locations to consider

There are many other great locations on the Norther Oregon Coast that can also be included in your day and I am happy to provide more specific and detailed recommendations for you. Other Northern Oregon Coast beach locations to consider for your elopement might be:

Activities: Unique activities for your Northern Oregon Coast Elopement Day

Elopements are wonderful for so many reasons – including the fact that you get to include whatever fun events and activities you want into your day. Looking for inspiration? Check out 100 Activities for your elopement day on the blog HERE! Here are some special things that are unique to the Oregon Coast that you may want to include:

Campfire on the beach in Cannon Beach, OR

Planning: Your Dream Elopement

Planning your dream elopement and putting all the pieces together, in my professional opinion, should be done with your local, experienced elopement photographer. (That could be me!) Here at Myrtle Creative Co., Planning Assistance is provided for all couples for this very reason. On the Oregon Coast especially, planning needs to take into account the tides, the season, sunset times and more. If you are at this stage and in need of your photographer, you can reach out directly below:

Looking for more insight for eloping on the Northern Oregon Coast? You can find more information about our Elopement and Wedding Photography at Myrtle Creative Co. and you can also reach out via our longer contact form HERE!

Ann Marie of Myrtle Creative Co.

Myrtle Creative Co. is your Elopement Photographer for love + adventure. Ann Marie provides custom planning assistance, vendor referrals, itinerary creation and so much more so you can have the day of your dreams. Reach out today for your Elopement needs!

  1. Raini Rowell says:

    Oh wow! This is such a fab resource for couples!! And the images are stunning. Makes me wish I’d married there!

  2. The Oregon Coast is beautiful, but you make it come even more to life with all these incredible photos! Thanks for sharing all this amazingly helpful info!

  3. Ariel says:

    Your images are absolutely stunning & showcase the beautiful Oregon Coastline so well! An incredible resource for any couples looking to plan their elopement in Oregon.

  4. Wow this is a very thorough, wonderful guide – extremely helpful for anyone that wants to elope on this beautiful coastline. And your images tells the beauty of the Oregon Coast so well. Great post!

  5. wow! This blog post is packed with information! THE guide!

  6. there you go again making me all jealous im not in Oregon. these are all so beautiful

  7. Julia says:

    This blogpost is so great! I am dying to get to Oregon and do some shoots and this post is just enhancing that urge. I love how you included brewpubs with some. This is a post I will have to save for the future!

  8. Naomi Levit says:

    So much great info about Oregon elopements! Excellent guide.

  9. This is such an informative blog, and the photos are GORGEOUS! This is definitely a one stop shop for information for planning, and I love everything about it! What an awesome way to be helpful to your couples.

  10. Will Khoury says:

    Saving this blog for my Oregon trip!! Your photos are so beautiful and make me want to visit all these amazing places!!

  11. Christine Dopp says:

    So much rad information for couples eloping in Oregon!

  12. Julia Maass says:

    This is such an in-depth guide! Amazing work!

  13. Sydney says:

    Love this guide! The Oregon Coast is absolutely beautiful, I know all this information is going to help couples with their elopements!

  14. Clarissa says:

    This is such an informative guide for anyone looking to elope on the Oregon Coast! Great info on remembering tides – super important!

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