Michigan is such a diverse state to elope in, and has countless gorgeous locations that will take your breath away. If you’re wanting to elope in Michigan, but aren’t sure where, these are some of our top recommended locations that will give you an incredible experience and scenery!
Ludington State Park
Lower Peninsula – Mason County
Ludington State Park is an underrated jewel along Lake Michigan. It occupies 5,300 acres and 7 miles of shoreline, and features gorgeous dunes, forests, wetlands, and dozens of private spots overlooking Lake Michigan. With so much scenery and activity options, as well as an easy two mile hike to the iconic Big Sable Lighthouse, Ludington is a perfect spot to elope with plenty of activities!
Key Features: Three campgrounds, Big Sable Point Lighthouse, dunes, Big Sable River, Lake Michigan
Key trail Length: 1.8 miles (one way) to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, on a dirt/sand trail
Hours: 8am – 10pm
Upper / lower Peninsula
Mackinac Island is such a romantic island to elope at. Nestled in Lake Huron right in between the upper and lower peninsula, Mackinac Island requires a ferry to reach and is a no motorized vehicle island. Meaning you can only get around by walking, bikes, or horse drawn carriages. This island is seriously romantic, and features gorgeous locations and venues for your elopement!
Key Features: Island accessible by ferry, no motorized vehicles, lots of romantic shops, airbnbs, and venues, pets are allowed
Key trail lengths: There are over 70 miles of trails on this island with varying distance and difficulty.
Hours: Always open
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Upper Peninsula, Luce County
Tahquamenon Falls are two massive waterfalls along the Tahquamenon River. The Upper Tahquamenon waterfall is 200 feet wide, with a 48 foot drop, and features 13 miles of trails through remote woods, which gives you the perfect opportunity for a private elopement. Taquamenon Falls is also known for it’s breathtaking fall color, which usually peaks in early October. Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, five smaller waterfalls that cascade around an island. The smaller falls can be viewed from the river bank or from the island, which can be reached by rowboat.
Key Features: Large and small waterfalls, hiking, year-round camping, rowboat rental, forests, rivers, etc.
Key Trail Lengths: 1/2 mile from a parking lot to Upper Falls and 1/2 mile from a parking lot to lower Falls, or 4 miles of hiking from Lower Falls to Upper Falls.
Hours: 8am – 10pm
Presque Isle Park
Upper Peninsula, Marquette
Presque Isle Park, also known as Black Rocks, is an absolutely breathtaking location to elope at. Formed from volcanic rocks, this park is a 323 acre forest in it’s own little peninsula off Lake Superior, just three minutes from the adorable town of Marquette. A paved trail loops through the entire park, with several parking lots placed just a few minutes walk from incredible views like Sunset Point, or Black Rock Cove. There are specific times of the week when motorized vehicles are not permitted in the park, but the two mile paved loop can still be easily accessed by foot or bike. There is also a species of friendly and rare deer that roam the peninsula! This location is heartachingly beautiful, especially in the fall and offers dozens of gorgeous private spots to exchange vows and have an incredible elopement.
Key Features: Volcanic black rocks, cliff jumping (summertime only, ranging from 5-30 feet in height) biking, caves and coves, Sunset Point, forest trails
Key trail lengths: two mile paved loop of the entire park – several parking lots just a few minutes walk down a trail to reach Black Rocks, Sunset Point, etc. This location is great if you don’t want to hike much and still get incredible scenery!
Hours: 7am – 11am
Upper Peninsula, Ontonagon
The biggest park in the state, Porcupine Mountains state park is home to over 60,000 acres of wilderness, and features rivers, creeks, several peaks to hike, waterfalls, and views of Lake Superior. This mountain range offers plenty of locations for exchanging vows, having a picnic, and celebrating your love!
Key Features: Mountains, Presque Isle River, creeks, year round camping, multiple campsites, Ski area, Lake of Clouds, forest trails
Key trail lengths: This park features over 90 miles of hiking trails, ranging from short and breezy to multiple day hikes.
Hours: Open 24/7
Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Lower Peninsula, Mackinaw City
This park on the tip of the Lower Peninsula is perfect for stargazing and even viewing the northern lights! This remarkable park is one of nine worldwide, dedicated to preserving natural darkness so visitors can view the stars and northern lights without light pollution. It features a forest and several miles of Lake Huron shoreline, and is open 24/7 so visitors can enjoy the scenery and stars at any time, and is only ten minutes from Mackinaw City. There are also several centers to rent for an intimate wedding! Visitors are asked to use redlight flashlights to keep the park dark.
Key Features: Shoreline, forest, northern lights, stargazing, ten minutes from Mackinaw City
Key trail lengths: Main trails average between 1/2 a mile and two miles of hiking
Hours: Open 24/7
Manistee National Forest
Lower Peninsula, Manistee
Manistee National Forest is such an underrated gem of a location to elope at. This nearly one million acre forest has a plethora of trails, creeks, rivers, unique wildlife, and lots of privacy for your elopement. There is also plenty of sites for camping if you want to share a first dance around a campfire after your ceremony!
Features: Forest, creeks, rivers, panoramic scenery, camping, off-roading activities
Key trail lengths: Trails range from half a mile, to 23 miles in length
Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Lower Peninsula, Holland
With over a thousand acres along the shore, Saugatuck Dunes is a perfect blend of the shoreline, dunes, and forest for you to elope in Michigan. Imagine riding bikes along the shore, exploring Holland, and celebrating you!
Features: Dunes, shoreline, forest, close to Holland
Key trail lengths: The shortest hike to the beach is .6 miles one way, with most trails ranging around 2-5 miles
Hours: 8am – 10pm
Sugar Loaf Mountain
Upper Peninsula, Marquette
Just a few miles from downtown Marquette, Sugar Loaf Mountain boasts incredible views of the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior. There are several observation decks and an easy 1.4 mile loop hike, so you can elope with epic views and get dinner at one of the famed breweries in downtown Marquette after!
Features: Forest, creeks, mountain hiking (easy) panoramic views of lake Superior, Presque Isle, the Upper Peninsula, etc. Close to downtown Marquette
Key trail lengths: 1.4 mile loop
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Lower Peninsula, Empire
Sleeping Bear Dunes boasts sand dunes and bluffs that tower up to 450 feet over the shoreline, as well as miles of lush forest, inland lakes, and lighthouses. There are also several coastal towns along the shore with incredible restaurants and coffee shops. (The BEST chicken and waffles are at Birch and Maple!) There are dozens of cute airbnbs and campgrounds surrounding the park as well, to make for the perfect Michigan elopement.
Features: 450 foot sand bluffs, dunes, shoreline of Lake Michigan, forests, lakes, lighthouses, campgrounds
Key trail lengths: There are dozens of trails ranging in distance, with the shortest being .5 miles from parking lot to the beach, and the main trail, Sleeping Bear Point Trail, being a 2.8 mile loop.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Lower Peninsula, Hart County
Silver Lake Sand dunes will seriously feel like you’ve been transported to a desert planet (think Tattooine!) This park features massive sand dunes that stretch for miles, before looking out over Lake Michigan. You can even rent a dune buggy or jeep to drive across the dunes. This location is known for it’s epic sunsets and is a lovely place to elope in Michigan!
Key Features: Sand dunes, dune buggy / jeep rentals, lighthouses, Lake Michigan
Key trail length: 2.8 Mile loop around the park, often used with dune buggies, off road vehicles, or walking
Hours: 8am – 10pm
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Upper Peninsula, Alger County
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a beauty to behold at any time of the year, but especially in fall, as seen above. Take a kayak or boat tour of the rainbow colored cliffs, caves, see shipwrecks, and enjoy the crystal clear water of Lake Superior. Or hike iconic trails like Chapel Rock Loop and see dozens of waterfalls, creeks, rivers, cliffs, private beaches, and ancient rock formations. Hike peaceful white birch forest trails, see rare wildlife, and have an intimate and emotional ceremony overlooking cliffs with rich fall color.
Features: boat / kayak tours of rainbow cliffs and caves, white birch forests, ancient rock formations, private beaches, waterfalls, creeks, lighthouses, camping, and more.
Key trail lengths: 5 miles average for kayaking / boat tours. Chapel Rock Trail is a 7 mile loop, and Miners Falls is 1.5 miles round trip.
Hours: 24/7 for hiking, boat tours are seasonal
Choosing a Location
Hopefully this blog was able to give you ideas of where you should elope in Michigan! Narrowing down exact locations and figuring out the logistics for your elopement can feel overwhelming. Which is why as a Michigan elopement photographer, I location scout for all my couples and help you narrow down exact trails and coordinates, as well as back-up plans and figuring out all the details. I’m here to help guide you, bring your elopement vision to life, and document your love story with honest and emotional photography.
We also follow Leave No Trace practices and believe in keeping our Michigan parks safe and accessible for all. Always be mindful of LNT practices and ethics when deciding where to elope in Michigan. so we can preserve our national and state parks for generations to come!
Ready to start planning your dream elopement experience?
Deciding to elope in Michigan is so exciting! We’re here for you every step of the way to help bring your elopement vision to life.
If you’re interested in what activities you could incorporate into your elopement day, check out this blog post: Elopement Activities for a Unique Experience
You deserve a wedding day that is full of emotion and experience, and to celebrate your love in a way that’s authentic to you. We are so excited for you to have this elopement experience, and can’t wait to hear all your dreams and ideas to bring your vision to life!