The crystal clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe straddle the border of California and Nevada, drawing visitors from all over to its beaches in the summer, and ski resorts in the winter. With parks and recreation areas scattered around the 72 miles of the lake’s shoreline, there are countless places to elope in Lake Tahoe – it might seem impossible to narrow it down!
But don’t worry, my husband and I have spent a ton of time exploring Lake Tahoe, so we’ve got the scoop on all the best spots! Here are the 7 best places to elope in Lake Tahoe
In order to legally get married, you will need to obtain a marriage license! Because Lake Tahoe lies in both California and Nevada, the process will differ a little, and you must get your marriage license in the state where your ceremony will take place.
To get a marriage license in California, you will need to visit any county clerk’s office in the state. There is no waiting period, but the license expires after 90 days – so if you’re local to California, it is usually easiest to find a county clerk’s office close to home! But, if you’re traveling from out of state, make sure to arrive early and give yourself enough time to get this done. The closest county clerk’s office to the lake is the El Dorado County Recorder-Clerk’s Office, located at 3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd, and you can fill out an application in advance here. Make sure to bring a photo ID and a way to pay for the license fee, which costs $80.
If you’re eloping on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, you can fill out a marriage application online here! Afterwards, you must appear in person at the county clerk’s office, located at 175 Highway 50 in Stateline, Nevada. If you live in Nevada, you can do this at any office in the state! If you’re traveling for your elopement, make sure to arrive at Lake Tahoe with enough time to grab your marriage license. There is no waiting period, so you can go right from the county clerk to your ceremony, but it’s always best to give yourself an extra day or two! You can apply for a marriage license up to a year in advance, and will need to bring a photo ID and $60 when you visit the county clerk.
Towering overlooks, blue-green water, and even a century old castle can be found at Emerald Bay! Located within Emerald Bay State Park, this area holds tons of overlooks that you can drive right up to, as well as hikes of varying lengths that offer different vantage points of the bay. An Emerald Bay wedding has so many options for great photos! There are waterfalls views, forest views, high up mountain views and of course amazing lake views! On the beach, you can rent a kayak or a stand up paddle-board and explore the water! Sunrises and sunsets at Emerald Bay will take your breath away, and this is just one of the many amazing places to elope in Lake Tahoe.
To elope in Lake Tahoe, you will need to obtain a special use permit. Even if your ceremony is just the two of you! You definitely don’t want to be hassled by a park ranger on your elopement day, so make sure to apply with plenty of time left before the big day. You can find permit information for Emerald Bay here, along with a phone number to call for more info!
The rocky coves, clear blue water, and sandy beaches of this elopement location, Sand Harbor make this an amazing place for couples who want to spend some time by the water on their elopement day. If you’re up for some adventure, the coves are incredible for snorkeling, and even exploring by paddle-board or kayak will give you a peek at the vibrant ecosystem beneath the surface of Lake Tahoe.
Sand Harbor only allows ceremonies at the Ramada – but that doesn’t mean you have to get married in the hotel! There is a small pocket of beach where you can say your vows. A permit costs $400, plus $10 per car, and the application can be found here. And don’t worry, you can explore the beach and take photos in all the amazing locations after (or before) your ceremony!
This city-owned beach on the California side of Lake Tahoe is popular for kayaking, swimming, and picnics! This beach is spacious, so though it is popular, you can often find a private spot on the grassy knoll overlooking the shoreline. This area is shaded by pine trees, but the views and natural beauty of this panoramic backdrop of the water makes this an incredible place to elope in Lake Tahoe. Or, you can elope right on the beach! This is also a very family friendly location so feel free to bring all your friends and family!
A permit to elope at this gorgeous spot costs $189 per hour (with a 2 hour minimum) Monday through Thursday, but increases to $244 per hour on Fridays and Sundays, and $298 per hour on Saturdays. Permit information can be found here!
On the east side of Lake Tahoe is a small, private overlook above the lake. It’s location on the east side makes this one of the best places to elope at sunset in Lake Tahoe, as the sun sets in the west and the mountains surrounding the lake light up in hues of red. Logan Shoals ceremony location is easily accessible, yet private as it is tucked away, and perfect for an elopement with just a few guests!
You will need a special use permit, and information can be found here! The special use office can be contacted at (530) 543-2636.
Kings Beach is a quirky beach town on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, with easy access to the lake along with local shops, hotels, and restaurants. Elope at Kings Beach, and you can tie the knot by the blue waters of Lake Tahoe, then end the night with a relaxing dinner and try out a local brewery!
As I’m sure you’ve realized, most places to elope in Lake Tahoe require a permit, and Kings Beach is no exception! You can read a little bit about special events here, and contact the Special Events office at (530) 550-6165 or NorthTahoe.SpecialEvents@parks.ca.gov.
Sugar Pine Point State Park is located on Lake Tahoe’s western shores. With incredible views of the lake and the tallest pine trees in the world, the park is easily accessible, and is even popular in winter for skiers. From miles of lake to the dense forests, this is one of the best places to elope in Lake Tahoe!
The park hosts small elopements and larger weddings, and even offers a mansion as a backdrop! Permit information can be found here, and the Special Events Coordinator can be contacted at LSSEC@parks.ca.gov or by phone at (530) 525-5060 for an application.
This is one of the most secluded places to elope in Lake Tahoe. The Sierra Nevada Mountains peek over the forest, and the peaceful Lake Barron is located in the upper section of the park, where you can kayak, paddle-board, or take the short loop trail around the lake.
An application for a permit can be filled out online here, and once the form is filled out with the details of your elopement, you will be contacted with information and next steps!
While this list features 7 of the best places to elope in Lake Tahoe, I save the best information for my couples! As an elopement team, my husband and I have explored every corner of Tahoe, and lucky for you, we love to share! We specialize in adventure elopements, and along with photography, music, and officiating, we’re here to guide you to your customized, unique day – including off the beaten path location recommendations. If you’re looking to elope in Lake Tahoe and are ready to start planning, contact us!
If you're thinking about eloping or getting married in NorCal, our blog is an excellent resource for inspiration. We've got sneak peeks of recent weddings, tips for eloping in Northern California, and more. Let The Adventure Begin is the perfect place to start planning.
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