Donna Marie

PHOTO CO.

Best Places to Elope in New York

Best Places to Elope in New York

New York at a Glance

No matter what you decide the best place to elope in New York is, there is a location for just about everyone. Stunning mountain views, dense forests, sandy beaches, colorful cliffsides, and gorges with stories tall waterfalls—all found within New York. New York may be known for NYC, but it has more than it’s fair share of nature to be enjoyed. With nearly 200 state parks, and thousands of acres of public land with trails for all skill levels, New York is a diverse wonderland for both the adventurous and adventure(ish). New York is everything a couple wanting some adventure for their wedding day could ask for. Here, I’ve compiled the best places to elope in New York for you to consider.

Choosing your New York Elopement Location

If you’re here, you’ve likely decided or are deciding on whether you should elope. (Psst: you totally should.) One of the things you’re considering in this possibility, is where to elope. While there are numerous elopement packages in upstate NY through venues or planners, sometimes it’s just not personalized enough for you. Sometimes, you just have to take the bull by the horns and start planning your own elopement package (with the help of your trusted photographer, that is).

New York has so much to offer in regards to scenic locations to have your elopement. From lakes, to mountains, to gorges and waterfalls—you absolutely have no shortage of options all within a day’s drive. And if you’re a local to northern, NY, even better because most of these stunning locations are within a 2-4 hour drive. Regardless of what type of location you choose for your elopement, NY will deliver on the amazingly epic views.

When planning your elopement details, one thing I always educate my couples on is that if you’re aiming for an elopement during the summer months, it’s always easier to plan on a weekday. This is because it tends to be less crowded, and in most cases you can save a bit on expense if you’re concerned about going over budget.


Donna Marie Photo Co. | Watertown, New York | Wedding Photographer

The Best Time of the Year to Elope in New York

In New York, you absolutely get to experience each season, but some seasons start earlier than others, or last a little longer that others. So if you’re planning on eloping in New York, make sure you really research the time of year that you want to have your celebration. Weather can be highly unpredictable the further north you find yourself in the state, especially during the winter and spring months.

Watertown, NY Elopement PhotographerDSC_2829.jpg

How the Seasons Fall in New York

  1. Spring—New York spring is stunning in both the city, where you have cherry blossoms blooming, or in the northern area of New York where the apple blossoms start to bloom. Fields come alive with all kinds of wildflowers and grass, but do be aware that spring in northern New York tends to be wetter than the rest of downstate due to melting snow. Also be aware that the weather can be volatile in the northern areas with cold snaps returning, and in some cases bringing with it snow flurries.

    Months:
    Southern NY: March, April, May
    Northern NY: End of April, May

    Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, visiting botanical gardens

  2. Summer—Northern New York is known for it’s short-lived summers. Whereas southern New York has a bit of an extended summer in comparison. Temps rarely breech 95 degrees in the north, but it does get humid. Summer weather can also be rather unpredictable with lots of rain and/or cloudy days. In the mountains expect cooler temps, but not necessarily less humidity.

    Months:
    Southern NY: May—October
    Northern NY: June—September

    Activities: Fishing, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, geocaching

  3. Fall—The Adirondacks are a prime locale to see the abundance of colors that come with the changing of the leaves in the fall. The temperatures cool, and humidity tends to drop. Depending on where in New York, you may get a month with beautiful colors, in others a couple weeks at most. In regions of northern New York, it’s not unheard of to see snowfall as early as mid-October.

    Months:
    Southern NY: September—Mid November
    Northern NY: September—End of October

    Activities: Visiting apple orchards, pumpkin patches, the ADK for stunning mountain views filled with autumn colors

  4. Winter—In New York, winter can be a beast. Further south, winters can be significantly milder, but in the north, preparation is really required if you intend on going on an adventure. Lake effect snow comes swiftly and heavily and often times with little warning, and if you’re not careful it can leave you stranded or in a very dangerous situation. But, with careful planning, a winter elopement can produce some of the most stunning views and experience.

    Months:
    Southern NY: Mid-November—April
    Northern NY: November—May

    Activities: Ice skating on Lake Placid, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing


check out more activity ideas for your elopement

The Best Places to Elope in New YorkNY Elopement Photographer

  1. Chimney Bluffs State Park

    Near Wolcott, NY, Chimney Bluffs is truly a little hidden gem. It features colorful sandy cliff faces that jut out against Lake Ontario and a rocky beach. There are a number easy of out and back trails along the clifftops, and you can follow the cliffs along the shoreline for some stunning sunset water portraits. This location makes for one of my favorite places on this list of best places to elope in New York.

  2. Letchworth State Park

    This state park is 17 miles long, following the Genesee River as it flows through a deep gorge and over several waterfalls. If you’re drawn to waterfalls, this may be your elopement location. You can also take a hot air balloon tour with Balloons Over Letchworth that float over the park to get some amazing sky-high views. You have the option of exchanging vows in the gorge, or overhead in a private hot air balloon ride!

  3. Indian Head

    Probably one of the most iconic views in the ADK, this hike does make you work for the views. It is a 9-mile round trip hike, but a good portion of it is on a relatively flat road. The location is popular, but there are many different hikes so the hardest part is usually finding a parking spot at the trailhead. Even so, this is not a hike for you if you’re not in relatively good shape (pls make sure your photographer can handle it too) and make sure you bring a headlamp for the hike down if you stay to take in the epic sunset.

  4. Rocky Mountain

    Near Inlet, NY is Rocky Mountain. I love this location because it has stunning views with an easy 1 mile round trip hike. So if you’re mostly adventure(ish) like yours truly, this may be the perfect option for your elopement: short walk, breathtaking views. The view is spectacular anytime of the year, but especially so in the fall because of how easily all the rolling hills can be viewed from the peak. This location is definitely the easiest to reach mountain on this list of best places to elope in New York.

  5. The Catskills

    A little more of a drive for us northern NY locals, but 100% worth it for the views. Cascading waterfalls, great hikes, and beautiful rivers and streams. One of the most known places is Kaaterskill Falls, in which the river falls 231 feet into pools below. What makes it even more awesome is that it’s a free-hanging waterfall, so you can walk underneath it. Because this location is close to NYC it does tend to serve as an escape for city-dwelling folk and is often busy through the week. Make sure to plan for a morning venture if you want to avoid crowds.

  6. Heart Lake

    This location near Lake Placid has absolutely stunning views, a short hike, and private cabins at the base of the mountain hosted by the Adirondack Mountain Club. You’re also able to rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards to have fun out on the water. Make your elopement a retreat for a few days, and enjoy being in nature. This spot is one of the more popular locations on my list of best places to elope in New York.

  7. Marcy Field

    If you’re looking for a gorgeous mountainous elopement but hiking’s not your thing, Marcy Field in Keene, NY offers an incredible view without the difficult climb. The ease of access also makes this an ideal location for elopements that want to incorporate a few close friends and family. To book this venue, contact the Town of Keene to set up your elopement time.

  8. Mount Jo

    If you’re not an advanced hiker but still yearn for the summit views, Mount Jo is a perfect location. The trail is under 1.5 miles and the elevation stands at 700 feet, making this an amazing choice for adventure(ish) couples. Added bonus, the trail also passes along Heart Lake making for a stunning photo op along the way.

  9. Whiteface Mountain

    During the summer months, Whiteface Mountain is a hot spot for adventure elopements and it’s adventure(ish) friendly. The summit can be reached by hike, car, or gondola. The gondola can take eight people up to the top of the mountain in roughly 15 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about breaking a sweat. That being said, since this is a popular area, make sure to really research the day and time should you want to elope here to minimize crowds.

  10. Paradox Lake

    Paradox Lake is somewhat of a paradox, as it changes direction in its flow for part of the year. It is a much less popular and thus less crowded option than some of the others on this list, but it still affords an adventure(ish) couple some killer lakeside views without a hike.

Were you inspired by this list of best places to elope in New York? New York is absolutely an incredible place to plan your elopement or have a small outdoor wedding. From thick forests, to mile high mountains, to crystal blue lakes and rivers, you will not have a shortage of options to choose from. If taking control of your wedding day and planning to see some epic views sounds like your cup of tea, get in touch. I’ll guide you and help you plan your amazing adventure elopement day from sunrise to sunset.

"The moment I spoke to donna I knew we'd made the right choice by reaching out—she was instantly so invested in capturing our lovestory and couldn't be more pleasant to work with."

Claire + Justin