Reasons to Elope in Brookings, OR
10 reasons why Brookings is the best elopement spot on the Oregon Coast
There’s Cannon Beach, Newport, and many other Oregon Coast spots that are much better known…so why elope on the last beach on the coast before California? In my opinion, Brookings is the prettiest spot on the Oregon Coast. This hidden gem has endless opportunities for your perfect elopement. I could list a hundred but here’s 10 reasons why you should elope in Brookings.
1. Epic Rocky Coastline
You know how Cannon Beach has Haystack Rock? Brookings has around 50 rocks just as epic. This opens up lots more options for ceremony and photo locations. If one cool rock has too many people, you just move on. Brookings has miles of epic coastline to pick from.
2. Ocean Overlooks
The whole coast has epic beaches but what about overlooks? You have to have a certain topography to get those vast views over the ocean. Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor has just that. A coastal trail runs through the whole park, which takes you from epic view to epic view. It weaves through the forest and over rolling hills of grass. You can hear the crashing ocean the whole way. Bonus points when it’s foggy so you can watch the fog roll over the hills and still get a beautiful view below.
3. It’s the “Banana Belt” of the Oregon Coast
Because it’s the southernmost part of the Oregon Coast, it has the best climate. Granted, you still get massive fog banks rolling off the cool ocean breeze, but you’re more likely to snag one of those elusive, sunny coast days. Brookings gets a relatively small amount of rain from April to October. On average, July and August only have one rainy day a month. The temperature rarely gets below 40 degrees even in the dead of winter.
Even when the weather is foggy, you have lots of options to work around it. Often, Brookings isn’t entirely fogged out. Even if it were, it’s easy to get up close to sections of rocks so the rocky coastline is still visible. Weather can’t ruin this epic landscape!
4. The Redwoods are Down the Road
Not only is this spot have insanely beautiful coastline, it’s only 30 minutes from the entrance of the Redwoods! From the town of Brookings, you can get to Jedidiah Smith Redwoods in 25 minutes. You can get to the famous Lady Bird Johnson Grove in an hour and a half and the stunning Fern Canyon in an hour and forty minutes. You can reasonably do your first look in the Redwoods in the morning and catch sunset at the beach for your ceremony with plenty of time to relax in the middle. Check out my blog post on some timeline examples for an epic Brookings elopement for more ideas.
5. In Town Amenities
I love roughing it in the wilderness as the next person but I also love being able to pick up a coffee in the morning. Brookings has a population of almost 7,000 so it has a lot of the town amenities that make travel more comfortable. There’s a Fred Meyer, fast food, coffee, mechanics, and other bigger town amenities along with the usual coastal tourist town cafes and gift shops. Those little shops are the fun part but there’s something comforting about knowing you can solve a problem that may come up on a day as important as your wedding day.
6. Fewer Crowds
It’s still a coast town frequented by tourists but it’s not nearly as popular as places like Seaside. It takes some more driving to get here, depending on where you come from, but it also prevents a lot of tourists from making their way this far south. It’s a heck of a lot easier to beat the crowds here. And if it helps, the additional drive time is on the 101 which is arguably one of the best drives in the country.
7. Dog Friendly
I know, I know, I should’ve listed this one first! Oregon beaches are super dog friendly! On many beaches, they have to be on a leash but otherwise, they’re welcome to tag along. My dogs love digging in the sand and barking at the waves. Don’t your pups deserve the perfect wedding experience too? ; ) Also Brookings is home to the delightful Woofs Bakery which has little snacks for your pups so they can enjoy some wedding dessert as well.
If you think the pups below are cute, I have good news. Here's a link to more photos of them and some info on them. As a crazy dog mom, I feel obligated to show them off whenever possible.
8. All Oregon Beaches are Public
This is one of my absolute favorites about Oregon. Every inch of coastline is state park which means it’s all public land! I know I’ve spent some time on other coastlines where I can’t even find a sunset spot because there’s miles of beach owned by millionaires. They’re also really easy going about using the land for elopements! As long as you’re under 50 guests and don’t set anything up, you don’t even need a permit. Even if you do want more people or to set up some chairs and an altar, the permit is only $150 (plus $1 for each additional person over 50). I just love when natural lands are so easily accessible to the public! For a for sure correct answer for permits, check out this resource from the Oregon State Parks on special use permits. I’d highly recommend you also call and talk to a person (not just use the internet) for this. In my experience, speaking with an expert on the permits makes things much easier.
9. Marriage Licenses are Pretty Easy
In terms of hoops to jump through for legal marriage, Oregon has a pretty standard setup. First off, you need to pick a county to pick up your license. It doesn’t matter if you get married in that county but you do have to return it to the original county you got it from. You don’t have to be an Oregon resident to get a marriage license but you do have to actually have to get married in Oregon for it to be valid.
When my partner and I eloped on the coast, we picked up our marriage license in Hood River County, on our way to our elopement in Tilamook County. Then on the way back, we stopped by to drop it off. It was easier for us to pick a county on the way so we could catch them on weekdays and not the weekend. Then there’s a 3 day waiting period until the marriage license is good. It’s only $10 to get that waiting period waived so we chose that. You also have to have a reason for waiving the waiting period- we just had to tell them we were traveling from Idaho. Then you just need someone with some proof of being an ordained minister and two witnesses. There’s no medical exams or blood tests that need to be done.
If you want more information on Oregon marriage licenses, check out this link. This one is to Hood River County, but each county has their own page for this. Make sure to check their site for up-to-date information!
10. Places to Stay
When my partner and I eloped, one of the AirBNB’s we rented was really far from our wedding spot. You won’t have that problem in Brookings! There are lots of amazing places to stay. If you want an adorable place to get ready for your elopement, AirBNB has multiple options with an ocean view. There’s lots of RV parks, cool Hipcamp sites (I even found a Redwood treehouse), and multiple hotels and motels in town. Regardless of your preference, you won’t have to drive an hour just to get to the beach from where you’re staying.
Are you in love with Brookings yet? It took me around 10 minutes to fall in love with it. If this sweet, little coast town sounds like your perfect elopement location, check out this sample timeline for an elopement here and an actual elopement session.
Still not sure on eloping in general? Here’s some sources to help you dig into whether this kind of wedding is for you.
And last but not least, if you’re a fan of my work, reach out and we can start planning your perfect Brookings elopement.