Trying to pick the perfect location to elope in North Carolina?
Well you're in luck - I've spent hours (ok maybe days) doing research on the best locations so you don't have to. You're welcome.
This guide is constantly growing as I find new locations, but I also have a few private locations that I only share with couples who book elopements with me. If you're not seeing something you absolutely love quite yet, check back at a later date or feel free to contact me about finding the perfect location for your special day. All of my photography packages for elopements include complimentary location scouting.
Please keep in mind that many of these locations are outdoors and may require hiking, camping, etc. - In order to maintain the integrity of these places for future generations to enjoy it is important to adhere to the Leave No Trace principles to minimize negative environmental impact.
Need more information on HOW to elope in NC? Check out my full blog post.
Locations currently covered in this guide:
- Craggy Gardens
- Linville Gorge
- Lake Glenville
- Catawba Falls
- Chimney Rock State Park
- The Blue Ridge Parkway
- Elk Knob State Park
Scroll down to learn more about each location and what makes them great elopement locations in NC!
1. Craggy Gardens
Distance from the nearest hub city: Craggy Gardens is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway and is about 40 minutes outside of Asheville
Permits required: You will need a wedding permit to have a wedding at Craggy Gardens as it a part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The permit is $100 and is good for a 2 hour time slot. Permits are only issued for weddings with 25 people or less.
What makes it great: Beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and it's super close to Asheville so you could get ready at a hotel/AirBnb before heading out. There are also so many great restaurants in Asheville that would make for a great post-ceremony celebration!
Pro-tip / Important information: Wedding permits are not issued for any federal holiday, federal holiday weekend, or the entire month of October for Craggy Gardens (or anywhere else along the BRP). There are also areas within Craggy Gardens that you are unable to hold your ceremony due to the environmental impact (such as Craggy Gardens Pinnacle) but you can have your ceremony elsewhere and pictures other places along the trails.
2. Linville Gorge
Distance from the nearest hub city: Linville Gorge is one hour from Boone, NC and 1.5 hours from Asheville, NC.
Permits required: Most of Linville Gorge is located in the Pisgah National Forest so unless you plan to have more than 75 people present, you do not need a wedding permit. Any section of trails within Linville Gorge that intersect with the Blue Ridge Parkway will need an approved permit (wedding ceremonies are not allowed at Linville Falls).
What makes it great: Linville Gorge is one of America’s most amazing gorges and has been referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. Hawksbill mountain is located within the gorge and provides amazing views from it’s 4,000ft peak.
Pro-tip / Important information: Many of the trails within the area are not super well marked, so if you plan to get married here, make sure you have someone with you who knows what they are doing so that you do not get lost (cell reception is iffy)
3. Lake Glenville
Distance from the nearest hub city: Lake Glenville is a little under an hour from Sylva, NC and about one hour and forty-five minutes from Asheville, NC.
Permits required: No known permits
What makes it great: You can rent a private boat and explore the beautiful lake to find a secluded waterfall or cove for your ceremony and then explore the surrounding forest for more photo opportunities.
Pro-tip / Important information: Consider visiting during the fall to view the amazing fall colors of NC from the lake. From April - October you are also able to rent paddle boards for even more adventure!
4. Catawba Falls
Distance from the nearest hub city: The falls are only 30 minutes away from Asheville, NC!
Permits required: Catawba Falls is located in the Pisgah National Forest so unless you plan to have more than 75 people present, you do not need a wedding permit.
What makes it great: The hike to the falls isn’t a super hard one (only 3 miles round trip) but makes for a really awesome backdrop for your wedding ceremony. There are also many other locations nearby that could be explored before/after your ceremony if you want to do something a little more adventurous on your wedding day.
Pro-tip / Important information: Because of the ease of this hike, it’s a little more popular for tourism. Consider doing a weekday ceremony or visiting during an off month for increased privacy. The best time to visit the falls is actually in the winter or early spring when there has been plenty of rain.
5. Chimney Rock State Park
Distance from the nearest hub city: Chimney Rock State Park is only 40 minutes outside of Asheville, NC.
Permits required: You will need to contact the park to make reservations for your wedding day, as they have specific locations to choose from (prices vary) which you can find here. You may also need a film/photo permit for your photographer/videographer but it's only $35.
What makes it great: In addition to the great hiking and views offered in Chimney Rock State Park, another thing that makes it great is its close proximity to Asheville. It’s only 25 miles away so you could spend part of your day exploring the park before returning to Asheville for an evening of fun (they have some amazing restaurants and breweries).
Pro-tip / Important information: If you think you might like to get married in this state park, make reservations early. They have limited availability and weekends fill up quickly (I would recommend not choosing July or October as those are the busiest months).
6. Many locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Distance from the nearest hub city: It depends on which part of the parkway you choose. Many popular locations are within an hour or so of Asheville, NC.
Permits required: You will need to apply for a Special Events Permit to get married anywhere along the BRP. Applications must be submitted at least 90 days prior to the event date.
What makes it great: There are over 369 miles of trails along the BRP as well as countless overlooks, waterfalls, forests, etc. for exploring on your wedding day. You could have the ceremony at one location along the BRP and then spend the rest of the day driving and stopping at the best spots for photos taking in all the incredible scenery along the way.
Pro-tip / Important information: The best time to visit the BRP is definitely in the fall, but it is beautiful all year round. Spring/Summer bring blooming flowers/trees and winter brings snow-capped mountains. Additionally, weddings are only permitted at certain locations/dates throughout the year so be sure to double check that your location and/or date are available. Here is a list of locations that you ARE NOT allowed to hold wedding ceremonies at: Mabry Mill historic area (May be permitted in the grass area in front of the Mill pond), Blue Ridge Music Center, Bluffs Lodge and surrounding grounds, Bass Lake, Rough Ridge Overlook and boardwalk, Beacon Heights left fork trail (May be permitted at the end of the right fork trail), Linville Falls, Crabtree Falls, Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail, Pinnacle Scenic View, and Craggy Dome Parking Area (May be permitted at Craggy Flats Bald), Graveyard Fields, Devil’s Courthouse, Waterrock Knob
7. Elk Knob State Park
Distance from the nearest hub city: Elk Knob is only 20 minutes outside of Boone, NC
Permits required: It is likely that you will need a special use permit to get married within the park, but it does vary from case to case. Contact the park for more information. You may also need a photo/film permit, but again, it varies.
What makes it great: For those seeking something a little more adventurous on their wedding day, Elk Knob has some incredible hikes that offer rewarding views from the top. This would be a good location for a couple who wants to spend their wedding day exploring with just the two of them.
Pro-tip / Important information: If a wintery wedding is something that sounds fun to you (think snowshoes and cross-country skiing) Elk Knob is one of the few state parks that stays open despite wintery conditions that force other areas to close.
Have more questions about where to elope in North Carolina?
Don't hesitate to reach out! In addition to providing elopement photography in North Carolina, I also help all of my couples with planning every aspect of their elopement day including location scouting, creating a timeline, applying for permits and so much more. You can learn more about my process by reading my "How It Works" page or contact me by clicking the button below.