Despite the stereotype of only having cornfields, the Midwest is home to some seriously beautiful geography, and you don’t have to travel far to experience breathtakingly beautiful nature for your elopement. This is the 7 best places to elope in the Midwest, from roaring waterfalls and towering sand dunes to rocky canyons and lush forests!
The Upper Peninsula, Michigan
The Upper Peninsula is a favorite when it comes to diverse locations to elope at in the Midwest. The UP is best known for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, miles of stunning cliffs, caves, and sand dunes along the Lake Superior shore. Elope here in the summer and experience beautiful waterfalls, take a boat tour through the lakeshore, kayak with your partner through beautifully clear water, or picnic at the volcanic black rocks while watching the sun set. The UP also has Huron Mountains, with stunning vistas overlooking Lake Superior. There are incredible wineries, restaurants, and little lakeside shops to explore within small towns like Marquette as well!
Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
Ohio might feel like the land of wind turbines at times, but Hocking Hills feels like you’ve transported to elope in the magical world of Middle Earth. With massive rock structures and a plethora of waterfalls to explore in 2300 acres of forest, this state park is hard to beat. There’s a ton of gorgeous cabins, campsites, glampsites, and even treehouses surrounding Hocking Hills as well. This is the perfect location to elope under the magical mist of a waterfall, take a horseback trail ride together, and have a romantic dinner and campfire first dance at a cabin during golden hour!
Turkey Run State Park, Indiana
Turkey Run is known for breathtaking fall foliage in October, making this for certain one of the best places to elope in the Midwest. With deep rocky ravines and canyons to explore, a suspension bridge, and the beautiful Sugar Creek flowing through the park, your elopement experience is sure to be in a peaceful space here. This park has an Inn within the park to stay at, as well as a ton of beautiful campsites within and surrounding the park as well. Explore canyons, take a kayak or tube down the creek together, make smores over a fire and cut a cake while toasting to your marriage in the serene peace of the woods!
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Nestled outside Cleveland, this National Park has over 100 incredible waterfalls, as well as forested trails, canyons, and rock formations. There’s plenty of campsites within and around this park, as well as horseback riding, bike trails, kayaking the river, picnic spots, and even questing! (think Geocaching, but made specifically for this park.) Exchange vows at the beautiful overlook of the BrandyWine Falls, take a bike ride together through a stunning forest, and share your favorite foods and drinks while watching the sunset at one of the gorgeous picnic spots! This park makes for an amazing midwest elopement experience.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes is certainly one of the best places to elope in the Midwest, with unbelievably epic views overlooking Lake Michigan and incredibly diverse geography. Sleeping Bear has massive sand dunes with beautiful 360 views, hiking trails through the old growth forests, and the cutest little lake towns along the coast that you will ever see. This area has tons of incredible local wineries, coffeeshops, and restaurants, as well as plenty of cabins, airbnbs, campsites, and glampsites! You could get ready together at a cute lakeside cabin, grab coffee and brunch at a local restaurant, and then explore the dunes before exchanging vows at sunset overlooking Lake Michigan.
Brown County State Park, IN
Nicknamed the Lil Smokies (absolutely adorable) Brown County is known for breathtakingly beautiful fall foliage, making this one of the best places to elope in the Midwest if you want all the autumn vibes! Brown County has over 20 miles of tree lined roads and impressive vistas overlooking rolling hills and forests, as well as hiking trails, horse trail rides, picnic spots, and campsites within and around the park. There is also a Lodge within the park to stay at, and plenty of cabins and airbnbs within the surrounding area. Get ready together at a cabin, take a horse trail ride through the beautiful fall foliage, and have a picnic at a vista before exchanging vows as the sun sets!
Huron-Manistee National Forest, Michigan
If you want your elopement to have whimsical fairy forest vibes, look no further than the Huron-Manistee National Forest. This beautiful protected forest is made up of nearly one million acres, with pretty hiking trails, rivers, bridges, and plenty of space for 4×4 off road activities. There are plenty of secluded campsites, and places to rent bikes, dirtbikes, ATVs, or Jeeps if you’re feeling adventurous! Hike through beautiful forests, share a charcuterie board on a vista, and exchange vows at sunset overlooking the Midwest’s own Horseshoe Bend.
That’s all for now folks! If you’re still searching for a place to elope in the Midwest or need planning help, let’s connect and I’ll answer all your burning elopement questions!