5 Best Locations in Southern California to Elope in Fall - oliveandoath.com

5 Best Locations in Southern California to Elope in Fall

So you want to elope in Southern California this fall season? 

I agree… YOU TOTALLY SHOULD. Eloping in California can look like literally anything you want it to.

We have beautiful cliff sides with raging seas below, trees so big that your car can drive through them, mountains so lush with greenery that everywhere you look is a new type of fern. There are desert landscapes covered with cactus so aesthetic even your Pinterest board is jealous. 

Today I want to share my FIVE FAVORITE PLACES TO ELOPE in Southern California during the fall. Get ready to Pin your night away with all this juicy inspo. 


Technically this is borderline Central California. Since I can drive there and back in a day, while still enjoying the area, I am including here. Sequoia National Park has some of the world’s largest and oldest living trees!

This creates an almost otherworldly ambiance that you can’t experience anywhere else. When eloping here you can find even more than these humongous trees. There are lush meadows, rocky viewpoints, winding roads, and wooden bridge trails.

While you can’t elope anywhere you want, there are a few viewpoints that I love and recommend checking out: Sunset Rock and Crescent Meadow.

Due to all the California fires, permits for a lot of National Parks are becoming limited, so make sure you start the process with plenty of time. Here is the permit info to get the ball rolling!


If you love the desert, Joshua Tree is a MUST to check out. From CRAZY rock formations to the unique, wild look of Joshua Trees, this National Park is sprawling with beauty.

Each wedding/elopement location they have available is beautiful, but my personal favorite is Split Rock. Not only do you have the iconic look of the very large rock split down the middle, but you have beautiful lookouts that are perfect for getting some breathtaking sunset bridal portraits.

Plus the fall weather is the best time to go to Joshua Tree. Warm and sunny for the day, cool and breezy as the sun sets. The permit is only $120 for one, but you do need to obtain one for the event and a separate one for having a photographer there.

Make sure you file with as much notice as possible. Here’s where you can start your permit process


Maybe you’re more of a beach kind of gal and you’ve always dreamed of eloping with the wind blowing your dress wild and waves crashing on the cliffside below. This location never fails to leave me BREATHLESS because of exactly that.

No matter the time of day, sitting on these cliffs and watching the waves crash is mesmerizing. While the light can get a little harsh as the sun sets across the water, there is no time of day that doesn’t work for an elopement here.

For only $187 you can purchase your permit from the San Diego City Park Department and begin planning away. 


As an Inland Empire local who grew up going to Big Bear regularly, I didn’t fully realize the beauty it has to offer until I got married a few short years ago.

Sometimes it’s easy to get used to the beauty around us and lust for something less familiar, but inside the forests of Big Bear, there are pockets of pure magic.

From overgrown meadows to forests dappled with trees of all varieties, Big Bear has hidden gems throughout the mountainside. Though I keep all my favorite locations private for my clients’ use – I definitely suggest taking a day to explore and find your hidden sanctuary.

While a wedding experience in Big Bear is probably best planned at a venue, an elopement can be processed through the San Bernardino National Forest.

Permits and applications can be purchased here and the price is on a scaled system.  At the time of writing this, you can expect to pay anywhere from $86 for one day to $438 depending on how many people are attending.


If you want that wide open meadowed look that you can find at the Sequoia National Park, but don’t want the drive, Idyllwild is the elopement option for you.

While it doesn’t have the Sequoia trees, it does have an array of idyllic pine trees that line open meadows throughout. The Idyllwild Park in particular has a gorgeous, easy access meadow and trail.

You can also hike a little farther into the camping portion of the park to the trailhead for a different trail that has a beautiful lookout.

You can start the application process for your permit here. (Note: This permit process is slightly different. First, you apply for a specific location, then for the actual permit.)

Isn’t Southern California freaking perfect for eloping?! If you’re ready to elope in any of these locations and want more information on how to make that happen- send me an email here. Happy planning!



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