When couples start planning their elopement there’s always certain places that immediately come to mind. Some of the big name locations include Yosemite National Park in California, Moab National Park in Utah, the Oregon Coast in Oregon, or Olympic National Park in Washington. But a slight problem with all of them…they’re all on the West Coast. There are lots of couples on the East Coast who would like to elope but feel that the challenge of going to the other side of the country is a daunting task. The great news is that there are so many amazing places to elope at on the East Coast. I put together a list of 5 national parks to elope at on the East Coast that you should definitely be taking advantage of!
Acadia National Park
Maine is one of the most beautiful states I’ve ever visited and is already an extremely popular place for elopements which is great! The majestic scenery is gorgeous and at certain times of the year it is the first place that the sun’s light touches at sunrise in all of the United States. Acadia is super versatile in the sense that you can hike and walk around the park on a more adventurous level but you can also drive around and find locations that won’t be too strenuous to reach. One of my favorite things about Maine though, it’s a bit cooler in temperature due to its northern location which is great if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy the heat or is worried about your makeup sweating off.
Congaree National Park
Located in South Carolina Congaree National Park is less traditional spot one might think of or even know exists. Congaree is great for those interested in camping and being a little more on the rustic side. It has some hiking trails and walking loops that can be followed on the boardwalk that extends around the park but one of its greatest features is the ability to kayak or canoe for miles. Waters run heavily through the park from the Congaree River so it does tend to flood and due to its common watery nature the park is sometimes referred to as a swamp. One of the other great features of the park is the trees. There could be some really unique opportunities for photos in Congaree National Park by incorporating the use of water activities but also using the backdrop of some of the oldest and largest growth of trees in the United States that can evoke a very old feel for your photos.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Did you know that the Great Smoky Mountains is actually the most visited national park in the United States? I lovingly refer to it as the Yosemite of the East Coast. The Smokies are really unique because you can experience the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and parts of the Appalachian Trail so if you’re looking to cross off a few things on your bucket list it’s a great place to visit! The Smokies offer a really great diversity. You can choose waterfalls, mountains, forests, or epic sweeping landscapes as the backdrop of your photos. With 150+ hiking trails in the vicinity and 34 of them being considered “day hikes” you’ll have no shortage of problems picking an amazing location for your elopement! Also, I’d be doing a total disservice if I didn’t mention at least once the great color palette that the Smokies give off in the fall time.
Shenandoah National Park
When I visited Shenandoah I absolutely adored it. The backdrop of the park is so serene and just like the Smoky Mountains it also encompasses the Blue Ridge Mountains. Shenandoah is a fantastic choice for couples who want the epic sweeping backdrops but very little effort into getting them. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that! With its famous Skyline Drive you’re able to drive all around the park and take advantage of the pull-overs and walkouts that allow you some of the most gorgeous scenery on the East Coast. It’s a great choice if you want fields of flowers, wooded hollows, and even some waterfalls. You could definitely have a worthy Julie Andrews “The Hills are Alive” moment in Shenandoah!
Cape Cod National Seashore
Don’t discount what the beach can offer you in terms of views. It’s easy to think what’s the big deal, the only thing that will be in the photos is the ocean. Wrong. What I love about shooting at the beach is that intimacy and closeness become such a central and integral part to the photos. Imagine wind swept hair, a blowing dress, sand graduals stuck to your skin as you and your partner hold each other close. Shooting at the beach can also be incredible if you’re lucky enough to catch a storm coming in. One of my favorite sessions to date was a beach session in which it was slightly raining and then stopped but the sky rolled with dark clouds against a blue backdrop followed by an amazing sunset. Cape Cod National Seashore is a really quaint option if you’re a beach lover. It’s open year round and it also boasts 12 walking trails so you can get a variety of scenery in your photos and not just a shore line.
You don’t need to fly across the world, or even across the country to find amazing places for your elopement. There are endless possibilities and choices of place you can go. The East Coast is largely underrated in terms of beautiful places you can elope at but I hope by my sharing these 5 national parks to elope at on the East Coast your choices and possibilities are expanded!
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