I’ll let you in on a secret: you don’t have to go out West to have an epic adventure wedding elopement.
Though Pinterest and Instagram might have you believe the only place to elope is atop Yosemite, beneath Utah’s arches, or amidst Washington’s Olympic forest, the truth you can find epic adventures almost anywhere. For Atlanta couples, stunning adventure wedding destinations are hardly more than a few hours away.
If Georgia is where you call home, take a closer look at the Peach State for your adventure wedding elopement. Make your elopement more meaningful with a place that is special to your love story.
Georgia is home to epic vistas, untouched beaches, deep canyons, towering cliffs, and rushing waterfalls. But don’t forget, an adventure wedding elopement is more than just the pretty pictures. The allure of adventure weddings also lies in the exciting journey of camping, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors. After all, it’s the memories created on this intimate experience that couples remember forever.
Georgia also boasts mild temperatures, offering an almost year-round schedule for planning an epic elopement. Plan your adventure for the Spring for a shoot surrounded by wildflowers in bloom. A late Fall elopement in North Georgia will deliver the earthy, brilliant tones of Fall leaves changing color. A Summer elopement will be warm, perfect for a wet and playful waterfall shoot. Winter elopements, though chilly, guarantee quiet trails and the stunning background of still forests and moody blue light.
Below are some of my favorite scenic spots in the state of Georgia for adventure wedding elopements. But, if you have a secret overlook or undiscovered waterfall on your radar, let’s chat and plan a unique day all your own. No matter where you plan your special day, I can’t wait to get dirty capturing a love for nature and each other.
This North Georgia Alpine town is a notable tourist destination, unmistakable for its German influence that characterizes the gingerbread-looking main street. But, it’s also a great jumping-off point for exploring some of the most beautiful corners of the Southern Appalachian mountains. Setting up basecamp near Helen means an easy fifteen-minute drive to the Yonah Mountain trailhead. The Yonah Mountain summit is a moderate four-ish mile hike, with stunning rock outcrops along the way boasting incredible views. At the top expect panoramas in all directions. In the Springtime, this rocky hike is dotted with wildflowers. Grassy fields on this trail offer opportunities to primitive camp for the truly adventurous couples.
Panther Creek Falls
Ideal for a Summer elopement, Panther Creek Falls Trail is a hearty out-and-back hike that features one of Georgia’s favorite waterfalls and swimming spots. A little over three miles in, hikers are rewarded with a multi-tiered waterfall that pools in a tranquil swimming spot with a sandy beach. In order to be at the falls as the sunlight breaks through the forest at sunrise, camping overnight is best. Primitive campsites dot the trail, available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
If you can’t get your mind off a desert wedding, but don’t want to trek out to Utah, you are in luck. Georgia has its own “Grand Canyon,” and it’s only a two-hour drive from Atlanta. The orange, pink, red, and even purple sandstone cliffs make an elegant and epic backdrop for adventurous couples. Expect your wedding dress to get red and muddy (in the most beautiful way) as you hike through the canyon. The trail system takes hikers along dry canyon river beds, and atop vistas where the canyon’s ridgelines meander crookedly into the distance. Backcountry campsites are available to book on Providence Canyon’s Reserve America booking platform.
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Just East of Atlanta lies this protected piece of land so breathtaking in beauty it’s hard to believe the city is less than an hour away. With over 40,000 acres to explore, there are endless opportunities for a custom elopement backdrop. In the Spring, wildflowers blossom atop Panola mountain and Arabia mountain. Granite outcrops covered in moss and lichen await on the Mile Rock and Mountain Top Trail. Fall colors reflect in the lake on the easy Forest Loop Trail. This ancient heritage site is diverse in landscape and beauty.
Cloudland Canyon State Park
This state park describes itself as “home to thousand-foot deep canyons, sandstone cliffs, wild caves, waterfalls, cascading creeks, dense woodland, and abundant wildlife.” With nature like that, there are endless possibilities for adventure. Get ready for your special day in the comfort of a yurt or cottage, available to rent at this state park. Cloudland Canyon sits on the Western edge of Lookout Mountain, an awesome peak for views. Venturing over the border slightly will reward you with the hike to “Sunset Rock,” boasting (you guessed it) a pastel sunset worth hiking for.
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
Venture to North Georgia and explore the big green swath of the state that sits at the South end of the Appalachian mountain range. There is so much to explore within the forest, but some of my favorites for photos are the peaks that offer the best views in the State of Georgia. The hike to Blood Mountain takes you along the Appalachian Trail. It’s a strenuous hike to ascend to the summit, but the rewarding views at the end are worth it. Autumn atop Blood Mountain looks like a soft amber blanket is draped gently over the hilltops.
Brasstown Bald holds the torch for the highest peak in the state of Georgia. It’s easy to get to by car and doesn’t require a difficult or long hike to access. In fact, a short paved trail takes visitors to an old fire tower overlook. Other hikes spur off of this peak for more privacy.
Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island
If eloping in the mountains isn’t your style, Georgia also has a beautiful coastline. I love the look of a long empty beach and two sets of footprints in the sand. One of Georgia’s Southern border islands, Jekyll Island, is home to an ancient “maritime forest.” Today, erosion has made this beach into a tangled web of soft, gnarled giants that look legendary in photos. Don’t forget to plan your elopement around low tide to have the most room to roam around.
Cumberland Island National Seashore
For a truly remote beach elopement, venture out to Cumberland Island National Seashore at the Southeast corner of Georgia. Only accessible by boat and with few amenities on the island, an elopement here is a real adventure. With over seventeen miles of untouched beach and empty forests of oak and pine, Cumberland Island National Seashore feels off the map.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
If heights are your thing, consider eloping at Tallulah Gorge State Park. This two-mile-long canyon is nearly 1000 feet deep. Overlooks are magnificent, but the real treat is snagging a permit to scramble over boulders on the gorge’s floor. Only 100 permits are granted per day, and access is contingent upon fair weather conditions. Fall colors illuminate the granite cliffs here with blazes of yellow, orange, and red.
Have questions about how to plan an epic adventure wedding elopement in Georgia or beyond? Let’s talk. I would love to help plan and perfect your special day.