Best places to elope in Michigan

There are so many amazing places to elope in Michigan! The Mitten State is one of the most bio-diverse states, with a wide variety of landscapes and unique venues to choose from for your elopement.

As an experienced elopement photographer in Michigan, one of the things I do is help couples choose the perfect place to elope. After getting to know them better, I provide a custom list of location recommendations with details such as how busy the location is, seasonal considerations, permits, and more.

If you’re planning an elopement in Michigan, I recommend researching potential locations in detail before you choose. Or work with an elopement planner and/or experienced elopement photographer (like me!) who can help you choose the perfect place to elope!

Outdoor places to elope in Michigan

Let’s start with outdoor places to elope in Michigan. Surrounded by the Great Lakes, Michigan is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and dunes. Inland, there are ancient forests, waterfalls, and even mountains!

Let’s explore some of my favorite outdoor places to elope in Michigan. These are locations that are NOT part of a venue.

Wedding portraits at the black rocks on Presque Isle

Presque Isle, Marquette

Presque Isle, near Marquette MI, is located on the shores of Lake Superior, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Just minutes away from historical downtown Marquette, this location features beautiful forests as well as the uniquely stunning black rocks at the northernmost end of the peninsula.

Pros: It’s location next to Marquette makes it convenient, with hotels and restaurants nearby. There are many beautiful spots that are easily accessible. Presque Isle has a few covered pavilions that could be a bad-weather backup.

Cons: Some of the most stunning spots are frequently busy with tourists, especially during peak summer times. I recommend planning your elopement in the off-season or during the week in the evening when there is less traffic. Sometimes the road on Presque Isle is closed due to inclement weather or other reasons.

Couple holding hands at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Michigan

Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Hart

The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are located on the western shores of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This location features miles of pristine, rolling sand dunes right next to Lake Michigan. It’s hard to believe this place is in the midwest- it could easily pass for the desert!

Pros: The scenery is absolutely stunning- a unique gem within the State of Michigan. Sunsets here are incredible. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes have accommodations and food available nearby.

Cons: The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are a VERY popular spot, so finding a quiet place to elope will be a challenge, but not impossible. It can be noisy here due to the ORV’s, even though there is a designated ORV area. During the summer there are often events held on weekends, so plan accordingly. The sandy nature of the dunes can lead to sand getting literally everywhere.

Elopement ceremony on Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette - Places to elope in Michigan

Sugarloaf Mountain, Marquette

Another great location to elope in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Sugarloaf Mountain offers epic views of Lake Superior. The mountain’s peak is a relatively easy 20-30 minute ascent (with no stops) consisting mainly of stairs. Sugarloaf Mountain is an adventurous elopement location in Michigan that doesn’t require long hours of hiking.

Check out this blog post to see an elopement on Sugarloaf Mountain.

Pros: Also located within minutes of Marquette, the location is close to conveniences. The top of the mountain features large, flat areas of rock that are perfect for an elopement ceremony. The views are spectacular, especially in the fall.

Cons: This mountain can be busy around sunset with people taking it all in, especially in the summer months. Plan accordingly. The steep stairways to the top can make it difficult for some people who have challenges.

Elopement at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire

The Sleeping Bear Dunes are located on the west side of the Leelanau Peninsula, in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. This huge national park features thousands of square miles of sweeping sand dunes, with views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands.

Pros: Gorgeous scenery and plenty of room to find a private elopement spot, regardless of the season. A uniquely beautiful location in the Midwest.

Cons: In the summer the Sleeping Bear Dunes can be busy with tourists. Take the time to scout out a private spot for your ceremony. The sand can get everywhere.

Elopement ceremony taking place on the beach in Glen Arbor, Michigan.

Glen Arbor Beach, Glen Arbor

Glen Arbor is a sleepy little village located on the west side of the Leelanau Peninsula, in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The best part of Glen Arbor is the beach that is quiet, beautiful and has views of the Manitou Islands.

Pros: Quiet beach location that’s minutes away from AMAZING food (Blu restaurant) and great accommodations (The Homestead, Falling Waters Lodge).

Cons: I don’t really have any cons for this location, other than during summer months Glen Arbor can be busier due to tourism. It’s relatively quiet, year-round, though.

Port Crescent State Park- Places to elope in Michigan

Port Crescent State Park, Port Austin

Port Crescent State Park is located at the tip of Michigan’s thumb, five miles south of the village of Port Austin. It features 3 miles of shoreline, grassy windswept dunes & scenic views. There are campgrounds and cottages available adjacent to or within the park.

Pros: One of the most beautiful locations located on the east side of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula that’s not usually busy. Easily accessible.

Cons: Modern conveniences like hotels and fine dining are not located nearby.

Proud Lake State Rec elopement- Places to elope in Michigan

Proud Lake State Recreation Area, Commerce Charter Twp.

This state park is located in Southeast Michigan, and features miles of tall, ancient pine forests, lakes and trails. There are several rustic cabins in various locations in the park, as well as campsites.

Pros: A beautiful location to elope in the lower part of Michigan. Overnight camping is available within the park. The park is located fairly close to nearby accommodations and conveniences. Most spots within the park are easily accessible.

Cons: In the summer the park can be busier, so be sure to plan accordingly. In warmer months mosquitoes can be bothersome.

View from Sugarloaf Mountain, Marquette- Places to Elope in Michigan

Other outdoor places to elope in Michigan…

Michigan has SO many amazing places to elope outdoors. Some other ideas for elopement locations:

If you’re planning an elopement in Michigan and need help finding the perfect outdoor elopement location, I would love to help you! I’m a Michigan Elopement Photographer and part of my services are scouting and recommending elopement locations, so you can narrow down the perfect spot.


Outdoor elopement venues in Michigan

Maybe you want to elope in Michigan but are looking for an actual wedding venue. Michigan is FULL of wonderful wedding venues that have outdoor ceremony options that are perfect for an elopement. There are just too many great outdoor elopement venues in Michigan to list here!

I’ll share some of my favorite wedding venues in Michigan that would be great for your elopement.

Couple eloping at Briar Barns, Sparta- Places to Elope in Michigan
Briar Barns, Sparta- Places to Elope in Michigan
Briar Barns, Sparta- Places to Elope in Michigan

Briar Barns Event Space, Sparta

Briar Barns is a privately owned venue and event space located in Sparta, Michigan, just north of Grand Rapids. The venue features a beautiful outdoor ceremony space, as well as a large rustic barn that’s perfect for getting ready or moving your ceremony indoors if needed.


Carp River Gardens Wedding.
Carp River Gardens- Places to Elope in Michigan
Lotus flower at Carp River Gardens- Places to Elope in Michigan

Carp River Gardens, Negaunee

Carp River Gardens is an outdoor wedding venue located west of Marquette, Michigan. The property features absolutely gorgeous garden landscapes, woods, and huge rock cliffs with trails throughout. There are local services to rent event tents and other supplies if needed.


Wedding at Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake, Michigan
Wedding at Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake, Michigan
Wedding at Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake, Michigan

Indian Springs Metropark, White Lake

Indian Springs Metropark, located in SE Michigan, is a unique wedding venue. They have a couple different outdoor ceremony spaces available- my favorite being under a huge old oak tree. There are miles of trails here, and the venue has a beautiful even space located inside their Environmental Education Center, as a backup for inclement weather.


Northern Michigan Wedding at Sojourn Lakeside Resort
Bride and groom in canoe at Sojourn Lakeside Resort, Gaylord Michigan
Northern Michigan Wedding at Sojourn Lakeside Resort

Sojourn Lakeside Resort, Gaylord

This privately owned resort is situated near Gaylord, Michigan and features beautiful pine forests and a peaceful lake. There are rooms and cabins available on the property, making it a fun getaway. Canoes are available and make for a great photo op!


Wedding at Sojourn Lakeside Resort in Gaylord, MI

Other outdoor wedding venues in Michigan…

The list of outdoor wedding venues in Michigan that would be great for an elopement or small wedding is too long to list in one post. But here are some links to more venues all over the state that are worth checking out:

Southeast Michigan

The Grand Belle, Holly

Belle Isle, Detroit

Stone Chalet, Ann Arbor

ANY of the area’s Metroparks, County Parks, State Parks or campgrounds!

Southwest Michigan

The Ponds, Coldwater

The Morris Estate

Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center, Watervliet

ANY of the area’s County Parks, State Parks or campgrounds!


The Milestone Barn, Bannister

Crooked River Wedding, Gladwin

Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, Bath Twp.

ANY of the area’s County Parks, State Parks or campgrounds!

The Thumb

Odin’s Owl, Millington

Good Tymes Barn, Melvin

Grice’s Tree Farm and Nursery, Caro

ANY of the area’s State Parks or campgrounds!

Grand Rapids Area

Weaver House of Pine Bend Park, West Olive

Post Family Farm, Hudsonville

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids

ANY of the area’s County Parks, State Parks or campgrounds!

Grand Traverse Area

Nature- A Michigan Retreat, Maple City

The Botanic Garden, Garfield Twp.

The Peninsula Room, Traverse City

Tall Ship Manitou, Traverse City

ANY of the area’s State Parks, campgrounds or resorts!

Lake at cabin in Upper Peninsula

Northern Michigan (Lower Peninsula)

Dhaseleer Farm, Charlevoix

Lavender Hill Farm, Charlevoix

Mackinac Island

ANY of the area’s State Parks, campgrounds or resorts!

The Upper Peninsula

Drummond Island Resort, Drummond Island

Keewenaw Castle, Copper Harbor

Munising Pirate Cruises, Munising

Black River Lodge, Ironwood

ANY of the UP’s State Parks, campgrounds or resorts!

If you personally know of any other amazing venues or spots to elope in Michigan, drop them in the comments below!

Planning an elopement in Michigan?

If you’re looking for the best places to elope in Michigan and need any help, I’m an experienced elopement photographer based in the great mitten state and I’d love to help you!

When you work with me you get a personalized experience including:

  • A completely customized list of location recommendations.
  • Details on permit requirements if needed.
  • Other vendor recommendations.
  • Help building your perfect elopement day experience.
  • A custom day-of timeline.
  • AMAZING photos documenting your day.
  • And sSO MUCH MORE!


Lume Photography is a documentary elopement and wedding photographer based in Michigan, traveling worldwide. Behind the camera you’ll find me (Andrea)- a girl who loves animals, the wilderness, and love stories. I believe in magic, soulmates, and the hidden forces of energy that connect everything and everyone in the universe. My favorite places are the woods, the mountains, and the ocean. My passion is documenting the moments, emotions, and connection between two souls in love, in wild places. I’ve traveled to Arizona, Colorado, Costa Rica, Scotland, and beyond to photograph wild elopements and small destination weddings.


I love that you included indoor venues/locations as well as outdoor ones as elopement locations. I also had NO idea there was so much variety in Michigan! Thank you for sharing your beautiful images of your beautiful state.

I’ve only been to Michigan once, but so glad Traverse City is on here! I fell in love with that spot, and the rest of these location options all look dreamy for elopements!

SO many beautiful places and they’re all so unique. It makes me want to come visit Michigan!

You are an experienced elopement photographer, it shows! Your blog post had multitudes of gorgeous locations for couples to choose from. How do they even decide. I especially loved your pros and cons. So helpful.

This is an awesome list you put together, thank you!!! I love the images you have along side as well <3

You’re welcome! And thanks!!! :)

Thanks for your feedback, Corey!!!

You should! Michigan is pretty rad…

Michigan is pretty awesome!!!

Woah I didn’t know Michigan had so many stunning places 😍 Love these ideas and all of your photos- gorgeous!!

I LOVE port austin!! Such an underrated place. Michigan is one of the most beautiful states!