If you dream of a small, intimate wedding ceremony surrounded by natural beauty, consider a Big Sur elopement in California. With its stunning coastline and towering redwoods, Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places to say “I do.”

This blog post will provide information on everything you need to know about planning an elopement in Big Sur. We’ll cover costs, permits, locations, and everything else you need to cross off your checklist to make your dream wedding a reality.

How To Plan An Elopement In Big Sur, California

So, you’re planning an elopement in Big Sur, are ya? Congratulations!

This is going to be an amazing day and we’re here to provide a few tips to make sure your elopement goes off without a hitch:

Step #1: Location – Where To Elope In Big Sur

There are so many unique places to elope in Big Sur, but we’ll narrow it down to a few of our favorites:

Pfeiffer Beach

With its dramatic cliffs, crashing waves, and secluded setting, Pfeiffer Beach is one of the most popular places to elope in Big Sur.

Pfeiffer Beach is one of the best places for an elopement in Big Sur.

The cliffs and crashing waves make for a dramatic and beautiful setting, but be aware that it can be pretty loud. If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, we recommend finding a spot further down the beach.

Pfeiffer Beach is also one of the only beaches in Big Sur that allows dogs, so if you have a furry friend you want to include in your ceremony, this is the place to do it.

Note: There is a $20 parking fee per vehicle.

✅ Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Another one of our favorite places to elope in Big Sur is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. This state park is home to the famous McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that flows from the cliffs directly into the ocean.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park with her majestic waterfall cascading onto the beach.

The falls are accessible from a short trail that leads down to an overlook. From here, you’ll have a front-row seat to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of California.

Note: There is a $30 parking fee per vehicle.

✅ Keyhole Arche

This iconic location is one of the most photographed spots in Big Sur. The Keyhole Arch is a natural rock formation that has been carved out by the ocean over time.

Keyhole Arch is a great place for your Big Sur elopement.

This dramatic spot is perfect for couples who want to elope with a view. The arch is located on a cliffside, so there is a bit of a hike to get down to it. But we promise it’s worth the effort.

There is no fee to access this location.

Garrapata State Park

One of the jewels of this incredible stretch of coastline. With towering redwoods, wildflower-filled meadows, and sweeping ocean views, Garrapata State Park is a truly magical place to exchange vows.

Garrapata State Park located along the coast of Big Sur.

And because it’s located just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Carmel-by-the-Sea, it’s the perfect place to elope if you’re looking for a bit of privacy and solitude.

There is no fee to access this location.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Often called the “crown jewel” of California’s state parks, and it’s easy to see why. This stunning stretch of coastline is home to towering cliffs, sheltered coves, and pristine beaches. It’s no wonder why Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is one of the most popular places to elope in Big Sur.

A cove in Point Lobos State Park

The views are simply unbeatable. Whether you exchange your vows amidst the crashing waves or atop a sweeping cliffside, you’re guaranteed to end up with breathtaking photos.

Note: There is a $10 entrance fee per vehicle.

Andrew Molera State Park

For couples looking for a truly unique and memorable elopement location, Andrew Molera State Park is hard to beat. With its pristine coastline and lush greenery, it truly is a stunning setting.

Along the coast of Andrew Molera State Park

There are plenty of hiking trails to explore, making it the perfect place for nature-loving couples. And due to its relatively remote location, you’ll likely have the place to yourselves.

There is a $10 entrance fee per vehicle.

Note: There is a $10 entrance fee per vehicle.

Step #2: Timing – When To Elope In Big Sur

You really can’t go wrong with Big Sur, it’s an enchanting elopement destination year-round. So the best time of year for your ceremony depends on what you’re looking for.

For guaranteed nice weather, Spring or Fall are generally the best times of year to elope in Big Sur. Springtime in Big Sur is absolutely stunning, with the California poppies blooming in the hills and wildflowers lining the roadsides.

Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur.
A cove in Big Sur.

Fall is also a beautiful time of year when the air is crisp and fresh, the leaves are changing color, and the light is perfect for capturing all the beauty of Big Sur on camera.

April and May tend to offer the best weather and climate. If you’re more interested in avoiding the crowds, October and November are typically quieter months to travel.

December through March is typically the wet season in Big Sur, so couples looking to elope during these months should be prepared for some rain.

Step #3: Set A Budget – How Much Does An Elopement Cost In Big Sur?

Big Sur is one of the most popular elopement destinations in the United States. With its dramatic coastline, towering redwoods, and idyllic villages, it’s easy to see why. But how much does it cost to elope in Big Sur? 

The answer depends on a number of factors, including the time of year and the size of your wedding party, but a good rule of thumb is to set a minimum budget of $2,500.

The beautiful cliffs of Big Sur are the perfect backdrop for your elopement.

The average cost of a Big Sur elopement package ranges from $2,500 to $5,000. This price includes photographers, officiants, floral arrangements, and a romantic dinner for two.

If you’re looking to elope on a budget, Big Sur is definitely a place to consider. But regardless of your budget, Big Sur is sure to provide a setting that will make your elopement an unforgettable experience.

Step #4: Do I Need A Permit To Elope?

If you’ve always dreamed of getting married in Big Sur, you may be wondering if you need a permit to elope. The answer is that it depends on where in Big Sur you want to get married.

If you’re planning on getting married at a state park or beach, you will need to obtain a permit from the California State Parks Department. Don’t worry, the process is actually quite simple.

To obtain a permit, simply submit an application at least four weeks in advance of your planned wedding date. Once your application has been approved, you’ll be able to pick up your permit at the Big Sur Visitor Center.

The bridge across Big Sur.

Also, be sure to check with the land management agency to see if there are any restrictions on where you can have your ceremony. 

However, if you’re planning on getting married at a private residence or on private property, you shouldn’t need a permit. But it really depends on the property owner. Some owners may require you to obtain a permit in order to use their land or rental accommodation for your elopement, while others may not.

Big Sur is a beautiful and romantic place to elope, and with a little planning, you can make your dream wedding a reality.

Step #5: Hire An Officiant

Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and it’s the perfect place to elope. But how do you go about hiring an officiant for your Big Sur big day?

The first step is to decide what kind of ceremony you want. Do you want a traditional religious ceremony, or something more non-traditional?

Big sur elopement

Once you’ve decided on the type of ceremony you want, you can start contacting officiants in the Big Sur area. You can search online, or ask friends and family for recommendations.

Look for officiants who are based in Big Sur or who have experience performing elopements in Big Sur. This will ensure that they’re familiar with the area and can help you choose the perfect spot for your ceremony. 

Finally, once you’ve found a few possible officiants, take the time to interview them and choose the one that’s right for you. Be sure to communicate your specific needs and wants, this will help them understand your vision.

Then all that’s left to do is pack your bags and head off to Big Sur for your dream elopement.

Step #6: Hire A Photographer – Big Sur Elopement Packages

There are a few things to consider when hiring a photographer for your Big Sur elopement. 

First, decide what style of photography you are looking for. Do you want traditional posed shots, or candid moments, or a mix of both?

The craggy shores of California.

Second, think about your budget and what kind of package you are looking for. Are you interested in a full day of coverage, or just a few hours?

Third, take a look at the portfolios of different photographers and see if their style matches your vision. Make sure they’re familiar with the area, so they can recommend the best locations for your photos. 

Once you have a good idea of what you are looking for, start reaching out to Big Sur photographers to see if they are available on your date and within your budget.

If you need help doing your research, please get in touch with us at: [email protected]

We’d love to help you plan your big day and make sure everything goes smoothly.

Step #7: Book Accommodations – Where To Stay Near Big Sur

Big Sur is one of the most popular tourist destinations in California, and there are plenty of amazing places to stay to make the most of your trip. Here are six of the best accommodation options in Big Sur:

➡️ Ventana Big Sur

This intimate boutique hotel with just 36 rooms is situated on a clifftop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It offers stunning views, an infinity pool, and a spa. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day exploring Big Sur.

➡️ Big Sur Campgrounds & RV Park

If you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, then consider staying here. This campsite is located in Big Sur State Park, and it offers plenty of activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing. You can also head down to the beach for some surfing or kayaking.

➡️ Big Sur Lodge

The lodge is situated in the heart of Big Sur, perched on a cliff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Guests can choose from a variety of room types, all of which are clean and spacious. In addition, the lodge offers a number of amenities, including a restaurant, bar, and swimming pool. 

➡️ Post Ranch Inn Big Sur

This clifftop inn offers a variety of accommodations, including rooms with private balconies that offer breathtaking views of the coastline. In addition, Post Ranch Inn Big Sur features two restaurants that serve exquisite California cuisine, as well as a spa offering a variety of treatments.

 ➡️ Bernardus Lodge & Spa Big Sur

One of the most romantic resorts, located in the heart of Big Sur wine country. The lodge offers a variety of accommodations ranging from rooms to suites to villas, all of which are beautifully appointed and feature stunning views.

Bernardus Lodge & Spa Big Sur also features a world-class spa, as well as two restaurants serving farm-to-table cuisine.

➡️ Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn

A historic bed and breakfast that has been welcoming guests since 1933. With its rustic charm and spectacular location, Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn is a perfect place to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Things To Do In Big Sur, California

Big Sur is a renowned natural wonderland, offering visitors a chance to experience some of the most beautiful and unique landscapes on Earth. Here are six of the best things to do in Big Sur:

Keyhole Arch Along The California Coast

✔️ Go hiking

Big Sur offers an endless network of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging all-day adventures. Big Sur is home to several mountains, including Mt. Luberon, Mt. Pinos, and Pine Ridge Benchmark.

Hiking to the top of any of these peaks is an unforgettable experience, and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views. Whether you want to explore Big Sur’s redwood forests, canyons, waterfalls, or coastal cliffs, there’s a perfect trail waiting for you.

✔️ Camping

Big Sur is home to some of the most spectacular campgrounds in the world, and nothing beats spending a few nights under the stars. Perched atop rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean or nestled in peaceful meadows surrounded by towering trees, these campsites offer incredible views and an unforgettable experience.

✔️ Whale watching

Big Sur is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. Every year, thousands of whales migrate along the coast, and there’s no better place to see them than from Big Sur. So grab your binoculars and head to the coast for an unforgettable experience.

Whale watching in California

✔️ Beach days

Big Sur’s beaches are definitely worth a visit. Soak up the sun on golden sand beaches like Pfeiffer Beach or take a refreshing dip in the water at McWay Falls. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy your time by the ocean.

✔️ Kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding

This is a great way to explore the dramatic coastline, get some exercise, and get up close and personal with the crashing waves and beautiful sea life.

✔️ Scenic drives

Big Sur is home to some of the most iconic scenic drives in California. For something truly special, take a drive down Highway 1. This winding road takes you along the coast, with breathtaking drop-offs and ocean views.

Stop at one of the many lookout points to stretch your legs and take in the scenery. Other inland roads wind through redwood forests and past rolling hills. No matter which route you choose, you’re sure to be in for an unforgettable experience.

Conclusion: Planning Your Perfect Big Sur Elopement

Big Sur is an incredible place for your elopement for so many reasons.

First, its natural beauty is unmatched. The towering cliffs, crashing waves, and redwood forests create a truly magical setting.

A panoramic view of Big Sur.
Sunset is the perfect setting for a Big Sur elopement

Second, Big Sur is extremely private and secluded, making it the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Third, there are a number of amazing venues in Big Sur that are perfect for intimate elopements. Whether you’re looking for a rustic cabin in the woods or a luxury villa overlooking the ocean, you’re sure to find the perfect place to say your vows.

So if you’re looking for a place to elope that is both breathtaking and totally private, Big Sur is a perfect choice.