Northern Oregon is absolutely breathtaking. Even during the rainy season, I’m obsessed with the melancholy-yet-romantic feel. The jutting rocks, lapping waves, and endless stretches of pristine beach keep me coming back again and again. If you’re drawn to beachy boho vibes, an Oregon Coast elopement may be just what you need.
Several years ago, National Geographic listed Cannon Beach “one of the world’s most beautiful places” because of its unique and otherworldly rocky sea stacks that tower above the waves. This is no ordinary beach! Yet Cannon Beach is easily accessible and just a scenic two-hour drive from Portland International Airport, making it the ideal place to elope. But before you head out on your grand adventure, there are a few things to know.
Top Tips for Oregon Coast Elopements
1. You may need a permit to elope on the coast.
You will need to obtain a permit if:
- You have 50 or more guests.
- You will be using chairs or setting up any kind of structure, such as an arch.
- Short-term event vending services that involve monetary transactions on-site.
- An activity that requires park staff to be available.
- An activity that restricts public access. (This typically applies to large or commercial events; you probably will not be allowed to restrict public access for a private elopement.)
In general, a small elopement does not require a permit. Click here for additional information on Oregon Coast permits.
2. Wear appropriate attire.
Cannon Beach is the perfect chance to go barefoot! The sand is soft—not ideal for wedges or heels, and the waves feel amazing washing over your feet. (These barefoot sandals and shell sandals are beautiful.) You’ll probably get wet and sandy, but It’s a very romantic experience if you go with the flow. Plus, it can get a bit windy, so these flowy boho dresses and coordinating hats fit the bill for a beach wedding.
*The parking lot is very small, so there’s a chance we may have to park off site and walk.
3. Stay aware of your surroundings, and keep a healthy respect for nature.
Cannon Beach is a lovely elopement spot, but Mother Nature’s beauty never comes without some risk. The most significant threats to watch out for are the “sneaker waves”—disproportionately large waves that occur without warning. You may not be swimming out in the ocean, but they can even cause injuries for those wading in the shallows. Sometimes the sneaker waves shove large logs and pieces of driftwood onto shore. Driftwood makes for some really cool natural props, but it’s important to stay aware and mindful. Locals like to remind tourists to “never turn your back to the ocean.” Read more about sneaker waves here.
4. Plan around the rainy months.
These dark and moody bridals are breathtaking, but I’d imagine you don’t want to elope in the pouring rain. Oregon’s rainy season typically lasts from November to March. You never know what the weather will do, so the best option is to plan around the rainy season and stay flexible. You can still book in the rainy months; you’ll just have to be ready to get up and go when the rain lets up. This article gives a summary of what you can expect in the way of weather.
Cannon Beach is one of my favorite places in the US to catch stunning views. Learn more about the area and things to do during your elopement getaway here.