How to Elope in Joshua Tree National Park - Karen Agurto Photography

How to Elope in Joshua Tree National Park

There is nothing quite like gazing in the eyes of love. When the feeling of finally being married settles in and you both let those emotions soak into the moment, then, you completely surrender to your partner’s embrace. Saying “I do” to the love of your life is going to be one of the most extraordinary experiences ever, and will definitely feel otherworldly.

Charlie had the most dreamy and beautiful gaze, complimented with the softest smile. Eric was holding her in the most romantic way, and she returned her eternal affection with eyes full of love. Being a photographer and witnessing such moments is truly a blessing for which I cannot be more grateful!

Joshua Tree National Park is created by two desert landscapes- the Mojave and the Colorado. It’s home to the famous Joshua Tree that looks as if it popped out of a Dr. Seuss book. The geologic formations are popular amongst rock climbers and hikers. The sunrise and sunsets provide some of the best lighting across its neutral backdrop. This is the place for your elopement wedding if you’re looking for a dreamy southern California bohemian vibe!

1. Permits

You’ll need a “Special Park Use Permit” for any size wedding and it must be less than 25 people. The application is currently $120 and must be submitted at least 30 days prior to your date of choice. Your photographer will also require a separate permit to conduct photography within the park. View the park’s permit information here.

2. Best Time of Year to Visit

Joshua Tree is very hot during the summer months and hangs out over 100 degrees Fahrenheit often. Being in the desert, it can also get extremely cold in the winter. You’ll want to plan your elopement wedding during the Spring months of March through May or Fall from late September to November when the temperature is anywhere between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Elopement Locations

The park has a selection of beautiful locations to have your ceremony. The following locations are available for just you two or 25 or less:

Hidden Valley Picnic Area

Quail Springs Picnic Area

Cap Rock

Live Oak

Split Rock

Rattlesnake Picnic Area

Turkey Flats

Porcupine Wash

4. Accommodations

There is no shortage of Airbnb’s in Joshua Tree or its neighboring cities! From unique architecture to stargazing rooftops, Joshua Tree has a plethora of stunning homes for your stay. Just make sure to to let your host know your plans if you plan to have guests over. However, if you’re looking for a more rugged stay- camping and backpacking is available inside the park. Your campsite can be reserved up to 6 months in advance. For backpacking, there are first-come, first-serve locations available as well.

5. How to Get There

The two closest airports are Palm Springs International Airport and Ontario International Airport (usually more budget-friendly). I 100% recommend renting a car for your stay. Most Airbnb’s are at least a 10-15 minute drive to the park’s entrances. Once you’re in the park, it’s a short drive (and very long walk) to get to the first parking lot. If you plan to explore and check out as many spots as you can, a car is your best choice.

There you have it folks- your complete guide to having your dream elopement wedding in Joshua Tree National Park. This is truly one of my absolute favorite places to photograph. There is a magic to Joshua Tree unlike any other and it is one of the most unique places.

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