The Best Places To Elope In California
The Best Places To Elope In California – We’re all about the little joys in life: traveling to new places with our dog Sequoia, cozy home decor, and good food + drink.
California is definitely the most Instagrammed state, so grab some fries and enjoy this list of 22 places to get away in California! We are Bree and Stephen, photographers who have lived in California for 4 years, and we hope this California elopement article helps inspire you to say your vows somewhere beautiful!
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With so many locations to choose from, how do you choose the best one for your elopement or engagement photo session? We’d say pick a location that’s beautiful (duhhh) and far enough away that tourists aren’t in the background of your shots!
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. We hope this blog post helps you find the most photogenic (and affordable) spots from San Diego to Yosemite!
Remember to research proper permits/access and practice “leave no trace” when traveling to California. Leave the environment better than you found it! Now let’s take a look at this map and look at these 22 locations:
Should you take your dog on a run? This is a question many people ask before planning a getaway to California. Your dog is a member of the family, so it only makes sense to bring him on a run. However, dogs have their own individual levels of obedience and anxiety, so you should take this into consideration before running off with your dog to the ceremony!
Pro tip: If your dog has travel anxiety, ask your vet if CBD approved for dogs can help with their anxiety!
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Joshua Tree National Park is more than 700,000 acres of desert landscape in southeastern California. It is famous for Joshua trees, also known as Yucca palms, which dominate the landscape for miles around.
Many people stop by the Natural Sisters Cafe for a fresh juice or smoothie before heading to the park to take photos! A trip to California wouldn’t be complete without a fresh / healthy drink!
Pro tip: watch out for cacti!! It seems kind of obvious, but we’re going to say it anyway!! There are really sharp cacti EVERYWHERE and you don’t want to ruin the fun at the park because you stuck your toe in a cactus!!
Next on the list is El Matador State Beach! This beach is one of 3 that make up the Robert H. Memorial Beach. Meier in North Malibu. The sunsets here are truly to die for, just like the one we photographed for this engagement!
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This beach is easy to get to, so it’s crowded! Make sure you come on a weekday during sunset to get the most out of your experience. And don’t forget to grab some sushi at Nobu Malibu’s Ocean Terrace!
Pro tip: Check the tide before you go! The tide was only +2 feet during this engagement shoot and we all got wet shoes! Aim for 0 or even lower tide for the best experience!
The Glamis Sand Dunes are over 250 square miles of sand hills that stretch as far as the eye can see! If you are thinking of going to California but want to stay close to Los Angeles, this is the place for you because Los Angeles is 3 hours away!
Located in the quiet town of Brawley, California, Glamis is a landscape you wouldn’t believe in America! These dunes, which include the nearby mountains of the Anza Borrego Desert, are the perfect place to take photos, as we did in this epic session!
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I wish I had a great food recommendation for you, but alas, you’re on your own! This location is 60 miles from any gas stations, cell service, or dining options, so plan accordingly!! Summer is also 120+ degrees Fahrenheit, so only shoot at sunrise if your engagement is that time of year!
Pro tip: Enjoy free time without phone service!! If you run away from California and spend all your time on the phone, you’re doing it wrong!
You’ll sweat hiking sandhills together and have sand in places you never knew existed, so have fun and make it a memorable experience instead of basking in the little negatives!
Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited landscapes in California, and it’s easy to see why! Internationally known for its granite mountains and roaring waterfalls, this is a park you don’t want to miss! With many different views of El Capitan and Half Dome, taking romantic photos in Yosemite is a must!
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If you escape to California and decide to go to Yosemite, shoot the sunrise at the meadow or Glacier Point! You can then enjoy lunch at the Majestic Hotel, conveniently located in the valley.
Pro tip: Check the park website to see which trails are open before you go! The road to Glacier Point is closed until May due to snow, and in some years with heavier snow it can be closed until June!
Anza Borrego Desert State Park is over 600,000 acres of desert landscape east of San Diego County! With over 500 miles of dirt roads and over 100 miles of hiking trails, there are plenty of photos to take in California!
Font’s Point is a popular place to watch the sunset, as we did for this session! Make sure you bring your 4WD vehicle with plenty of room to spare or you will be without cell phone service.
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Pro tip: Don’t wear black summer, we have no idea what we were thinking!! Made for beautiful photos though 🙂 Thanks K+N for being warriors!
Located in Lake Elsnoir, California, Walker Canyon is a flower lover’s dream!! Occasionally, winter rain causes the canyon to explode with flowers, resulting in beautiful photos like the ones captured in this session!
Walker Canyon’s super poppy bloom attracts 50,000 tourists a day, so be sure to plan your getaway for sunrise to avoid the big crowds!
Pro tip: Watch out for snakes! This applies to ALL California locations. Be sure to stay on the trails and watch your every step!
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San Diego is well known for its beach rocks, so we did the work for you and found the most photogenic rock in all of San Diego! The Ho Chi Minh trail is full of beautiful scenery, but you’ll be smiling when you land at Black’s Beach – A NUDIST BEACH!!
Also be prepared to climb more than 10 steps to get up from the beach! But it’s totally worth it, you’ll get amazing photos like these!
California is amazing for elopement photography because there is so much variety to choose from! So far we have seen beaches, cliffs, deserts, etc. t., but check out this SNOW only 1 hour from downtown LA!!
Mount Baldy is a popular hiking spot for Southern Californians due to its convenient location in Los Angeles! Check out these romantic photos on Mount Baldy!
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Often referred to as Mount San Antonio, Mount Baldy is the highest point in Los Angeles! For couples who want to say they were “the best couple in Los Angeles” for their elopement, this is the place for you! 😜
Pro tip: The weather here changes in a flash! We scouted the area 4 days before the shoot to make sure the track was safe. Between then and the day of our session it snowed and we ended up with snow boots!
Most likely downtown, the Griffith Observatory is close to downtown Los Angeles! With stunning views of the sunset over Los Angeles, you can’t go wrong planning your elopement or engagement session here!
You’ll want to see some views of the Hollywood Sign from the top of the observatory while you’re here! This place is full of tourists, but it makes for amazing photos like this engagement! Just be patient and wait for the opportunity to shoot when no one is behind you – it’s worth it!
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Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to politely ask someone to excuse a photo or two of you!! Your escape only happens once, people are usually nice and will get out of your picture if you ask nicely!
Sequoia National Park is amazing!! Here’s a photo of us exploring before the sequoia session. Some of the trees in this park are over 2000 years old and over 35 feet in diameter!!
Thanks to 25 million years of uplift activity on the San Andreas Fault, Vasquez Rocks is an exotic location 1 hour from Los Angeles for getaway photos! It’s dog friendly, so bring your pup 🙂
This place is perfect for outdoor couples who enjoy climbing. In other words, heaven is for monkeys like Stefano! This session at Vasquez Rocks was so much fun because we literally got to hike/climb/enjoy the beautiful scenery!
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Pro tip: Plan for Los Angeles traffic — don’t
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