how do I elope in acadia

Acadia Elopement Resource Guide


Acadia Elopement Guide

If you came here lookin for info on how to elope in Acadia National Park – I’ve got ya covered! I’m your go-to-gal for all things elopements in Acadia. I’ve compiled tons of free resources for couples looking to get married in this epic Maine destination! Arguably one of THE BEST PLACES to elope in New England! With stunning mountain ranges, rugged coastlines, enchanting forests, and views for days – you will fall in love with this elopement location! In this guide, I will go over tons of helpful resources that will help in planning an elopement in Acadia! Thing like:

The BEST places to elope in Acadia

Where to Stay near Acadia

Elopement and wedding venues in Bar Harbor

+ links to more of my Acadia blogs with even more helpful tips!

About Acadia National Park:

acadia map

Located near Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia is considered the Jewel of the East Coast. I mayyyy be biased because Maine is my second home, but once you visit you will surely agree! It’s one of those national parks that has such a variety of landscapes and terrains. You can go from the ocean to the mountaintops, and still have time to grab a drink in the charming town of Bar Harbor by sunset. Like every National Park the standard rules, regulations and fees apply to your elopement. And it’s always at the mercy of mother nature, so be sure and check the weather forecast before planning your visit!

When to Elope in Acadia

Any time of year is gorgeous! Avoid busy season if you can (Memorial Day through Indigenous Peoples Day). In 2022, 3.7 million people visited Acadia National Park and that was post pandemic. Imagine the number of visitors last year! They are expecting 4 million.

If you want to visit Acadia from May to October, I suggest a weekday sunrise elopement to beat the crowds and see a magnificent sunrise. Then you have the whole day ahead of you to explore, go on hikes, bike rides, kayak, whale watch and so much more!

Maine elopement photographer

What to Pack for an Acadia Elopement

I’ve been to Acadia in April, June, July, August, September and October. I always suggest wearing warm clothes, packing layers, gloves, hats and rain gear. Hiking boots or shoes with rubber soles are essential for your safety hiking on wet rocks.

Being prepared for the elements is essential if you want to have a pleasant experience while visiting. I pack this wool shawl for brides to keep them warm. We didn’t see the sunrise on top of Cadillac Mountain this summer morning. The mountain was covered in a thick layer of fog and very windy. We were cold even in the height of summer and soaking wet. Wool is a natural fiber that can keep you dry! As they say, ”there’s not bad weather, just bad clothes!”

Keep snacks and water in your backpack as well. I keep an emergency kit and all the essentials including hand warmers and tissues should you need them. When hiking before sunrise, don’t forget your headlamp.

I also provide my clients with a packing checklist and reminders as we plan for their elopement!

How to Elope in Acadia

Best Places to Elope in Acadia

First things first, always check the Acadia National Park website for permits, rules and closures. They update their website constantly and it’s wise to do your research when planning and before you go. Since the amount of visitors has increased to nearly 4 million people a year, if you want to access Cadillac Mountain, you need to make a vehicle Summit Road Reservation and still show your park pass.

If you have more than 10 people at your elopement, you will need a permit and pay $50 fee. Couples are responsible for acquiring the cost and any other permits or fees that are required by the National Parks service. I’m all about keeping things above board and following all the rules! That also means keeping a close eye on the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace which I provide a guide to all my couples.

1) Marriage License

Maine residents must apply in the town/city where they reside. The license is valid in any community in Maine for a period of 90 days from the date the intentions are filed. Out-of-state residents may apply in any town/city in the state of Maine. The license is valid for a ceremony performed in any community in Maine for a period of 90 days from the date the intentions are filed. Remember to plan your trip so you can make it to the Town Hall to acquire your license at least 1-2 days prior to your elopement.

2) Officiant

My husband, George is an officiant and he also assists me on elopements. I also happen to be ordained and can sign your marriage license if he’s not available. You can also have a best friend or relative get ordained through Universal Life Church. You will need your officiant and two witnesses to sign the marriage license in black ink only.

3) Park Pass

You can get your U.S. Park Pass here that gets you into any national park for only $80 a year. Or you can buy a 7-day pass for $30 or yearly, $80– Acadia National Park pass here.

You only need a park pass to Acadia from May through October! All other times, the park is free (check for road closures before going).

4) Book Your Vendors + Lodging

Dates and availability fill up quickly, I cannot stress how important it is to book your Acadia National Park Elopement Photographer first. I supply all of my couples with local vendor recommendations, as well as lodging that saves you time when planning. I’ve worked with Maine creatives that support the local community. I am passionate about preparing you for the most adventurous, meaningful and unforgettable experience by providing you with all the resources, location scouting, timeline preparation, guides and more.

5) Create Your Dream Day

I will share my Elopement Planning Guide with you when you book me to begin thinking about what’s most important to you. What kind of experience do you want to have? How do you want to feel? Imagine who you are surrounded by and what does that look like? This is where the magic begins! Get your Pinterest board ready to create your vision. I love getting creative and sharing ideas with you.

I’ll even provide amazing accommodation recommendations and favorite restaurants and activities to enjoy on your elopement and honeymoon.

Where to Elope in Acadia

Acadia National Park is breathtaking and faces East, it’s the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise. Hey Cadillac Mountain, I see you! The first thing you want to ask yourself is, do you want the rocky cliffs by the ocean, a lake, the woods or on top of a mountain? The cliffs overlooking the ocean are the easiest and quickest to access.

Acadia is not known for sunset elopements. Want to know why? It doesn’t face west, but lucky you, I know a few spots in the park where we can catch the sunset! I have even more breathtaking locations to add to my elopement location list with stunning views and more private areas.

Something else to consider when planning, Acadia has a heavily traveled, one-way 20 mile road, called The Park Loop Road. Know where you want to go, otherwise, it will take you 30-45 minutes to drive around the park loop road. Planning your route and day besides being the early bird is your best bet.

If you are having a group larger than 15 (which may require a permit); the following locations and group size limits have been established for simple wedding ceremonies of more than 10 people within Acadia National Park:

How To Elope in Acadia National Park

Acadia Elopement Locations

You will need to reserve a special use permit for groups larger than 10 people and for these areas as well:

1) Cadillac Mountain (20 cannot have ceremonies during sunrise or sunset)
2) Blue Hill Overlook (20 max)
3) Sand Beach (30 max)
4) Ocean Drive (30 max)
5) Otter Cliff (20 max)

I also provide my clients with an exclusive list of locations and trails that we can utilize for their Acadia elopement! I’ve been there soo many times, I have a ton of secret locations!

Where to Stay in Acadia:

There are TONS of amazing places to stay near Acadia or in Bar Harbor (the closest town to the park.) If you want to bring your dog with you, some even accomodate pets as well! Even if you live in Maine, and are considering just doing a day trip; I highly recommend extending your adventure! There are soo many places to explore in and around the area, you won’t regret it!

I encourage my clients to book at least 2 nights at their accommodation! That way you have somewhere to get ready the day before, and not have to worry about check-in times the day OF your elopement. AND you will have somewhere to crash after your elopement, and no need to worry about rushing to pack up and get out of the space by check-out! 

In order to capture the full elopement day story, I like to capture those moments of preparation. The little details are so important. Whether you get ready together or separately. There are so many cherished memories leading up to the vows. When choosing where to stay at your elopement, pick somewhere you feel the most at peace. Somewhere that matches the vibe you want for your day. Check out this All Day Elopement in Acadia for a look at what an all-day adventure with Super 8 could like like!

Here’s a List of the Best Places to Stay in Acadia:

Terramor wedding

Terramor Resort

The perfect Acadia elopement accommodation if tent or van camping is a little too rugged. Terramor turned glamping into the ultimate adventure-styled resort. With cute and cozy “tents” (you really have to see them to understand they are NOT your boy scouts tent.) They seamlessly intertwine the stunning landscape with comfortable accommodations. Making this the best immersive camping resort around. Just imagine coming back from your ceremony in the mountains to a cozy firepit and comfy bed!

Walden campervan


There are three campgrounds in Acadia: two on Mount Desert Island (Blackwoods and Seawall), one campground on the Schoodic Peninsula (Schoodic Woods), and five lean-to shelters on Isle au Haut (Duck Harbor). There are 1000 campsites around Acadia you can choose from! These do need to be reserved in advance (up to 2 months) as there’s no first come first serve! If you want an adventurous camping elopement, this may be a fun idea to consider! There are some RV spots available as well. You could even rent a camper van and enjoy a 200 billion trillion star accommodation. 

Under Canvas Acadia.

Waterfront Glamping?!? YES PLEASE!! Combing adventure with a little luxury, this 5-star accommodation is the perfect place to book for your Bar Harbor elopement or wedding. Located so close to the Acadia park entrance, it is the prime spot for being first into the park for sunrise! Check out Under Canvas and imagine how incredible it would be to get ready for your adventure elopement in a safari-inspired tent!

Hotels in Bar Harbor

The inn on Mount Desert

The Inn on Mount Desert offers modern amenities in a historic setting on tree-lined Mount Desert Street. Relax on the front porch, enjoy a game of bocce in th garden, and walk to the waterfront less than 10 minutes from the hotel!

Elmhurst Inn

Elmhurst Inn. Surrounded by large gardens and lawn, the inn is set back on a quiet street a few steps from the heart of Bar Harbor. They offer home-cooked breakfasts and decadent B&B style feasts.

The Acadia Hotel

The Acadia Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Bar Harbor! Originally built as a ship captain’s house in 1880, the Main House and attached Boat House offer a wide variety of rooms, all tastefully renovated with modern amenities. Check out this boutique hotel!

Check out my blog on How to Rent the Perfect Camper Van for your Acadia Elopement

Airbnbs around Acadia

Acadia National Park ocean front & garden cottages

Bar Harbor Shorefront Home

Townhouse in Bar Harbor

Oceanfront on Somes Sound

Home in Mount Desert

Iris Ledge House

Cabin in Bar Harbor

Elopement or Intimate Wedding Venues in Bar Harbor

An elopement can mean a variety of different things, depending on who ya ask! Luckily we are at a point in the wedding industry, and in society where you get to choose how to define the day you get married. There are all kinds of terms that can be used interchangeably to describe or define your day. From the traditional wedding to commitment ceremony, to an intimate wedding, minimony, micro-wedding, or my favorite – the elopement! 

Not only do you get to define what to call your day, but you also get to DESIGN it exactly how YOU want to! That means choosing what to do, who to invite and cultivating a celebration that truly reflects you as a couple. 

If you want to book a wedding venue for your elopement – that’s great! You don’t have to hike 5 miles in the mountains to earn the “elopement” badge! (But if you want to include some hiking in Acadia I know of the BEST views.) 

Here’s a list of the top 5 wedding venues near Acadia in Bar Harbor!

Terramor. I already mentioned this one for where to stay, but it has to make the top of the list here because you can host your wedding or elopement on the grounds! Just imagine how fun it would be to host a glamping-styled celebration with all of your loved ones staying in tents nearby?!

Bar Harbor Inn

Located right on the literal harbor, this quaint inn dates back to the 1800s! They’ve updated it to give you a luxury experience, while still including some timeless charm. You can take a walk along the historical grounds and then go and get a massage at the spa!

Atlantic Oceanside Hotel

Boasting a private 12-acre oceanfront resort, this hotel has lots of options for big and small weddings alike! You can even reserve the entire historic Willows mansion!

Harborside Hotel

Another stunning oceanfront option! The Bar Harbor Club can host wedding parties of up to 300 people! They also offer wedding planning services so it’s not a DIY kinda affair.

West Street Hotel

This cute Boutique Hotel is located downtown Bar Harbor, and also gives you some waterfront views!

Acadia Elopement Photographer

As your experienced, Acadia Elopement Photographer, exploring and adventure are my middle name. In addition to capturing love stories there, I have been to Acadia National Park several times in my life camping, staying at local Airbnb’s, hiking, bike riding and more. It’s not just a cool spot for photos – it’s an incredible place I truly enjoy experiencing over and over! I love sharing Acadia with my couples and helping them plan for their unforgettable elopement experience.

SO, are you ready to elope in Acadia??

Acadia National Park is one of the dreamiest places to elope in New England! With a breathtaking coastline, forests, mountains and wildlife, you have so much of natures abundance to choose from. I’m excited to connect with you and share all my resources. I cannot wait to hear from you and photograph your dreamy elopement!
Contact me to get the party started!

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