So. You’re thinking of eloping in Arizona. Friend? That is the BEST FREAKING DECISION. Arizona is stuffed full of amazing places to elope- some super familiar and some that are total hidden gems. The whole western United States are basically a candy store of stunning elopement destinations. You could probably throw a dart at a map and wherever you hit is almost guaranteed to be a epic location. It’s interesting to me though, because it often seems like AZ is not usually the first location that pops into people’s mind but there are SO MANY places to elope in Arizona.
This may have something to do with the infamous summers here, and the (incorrect!) belief that it’s always hotter than hell here. Here’s the truth though- Arizona has such a wildly diverse landscape. Arizona is home to six different biomes and I love each and every one. You’ve got cactus covered hills, snow capped mountains, stunning red rocks, deep canyons (The deepest canyon!), sloping sandstone walls, towering pine forests, I know I’m hopeless biased here because I love this quirky state- so I’m here to set the record straight on Arizona, all this place offers, and show you what a great place Arizona is to Elope.
AZ does not want for beautiful spots to elope. There are three national parks (The Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro), 34 state parks, 6 national forests, and over 20 National Park Service units in the state. I actually wrote a whole post specifically on how to elope in National Parks so if you’re interested in a NP in Arizona (or any state!) check that out.
Whether or not you are native to Arizona you’ve probably heard of one if not all of these places. And for good reason. They’re amazing and lovely places to consider for your elopement.
Plopped right between Flagstaff and Phoenix is our Red Rock Country. I dare you to drive down the looping switchbacks of 89A and not fall in love with this totally bananas place. There’s countless amazing hikes here (like Fay Canyon Trail, Devil’s Bridge, and Cathedral Rock ranging in difficulty from easy to hard), off-roading (also ranging from easy to… quite difficult), swimming, horse back riding, shopping, relaxing, etc etc etc. Downtown Sedona is quite the tourist attraction but this allows for a very solid home base (complete with grocery stores, spas, and a top rated Mexican Restaurant). Sedona is where I first fell in love with the desert and has seen a massive boom in popularity over the last year or so. It is definitely possible to have an adventurous, private experience here but you definitely have to venture off the beaten path (and DEFINATELY want to elope on a weekday). You can check out one of my Sedona adventure sessions here, an adventure elopement here, and even check out a whole flippin’ guide on How to Elope in Sedona here.
Also, PRO TIP. If you love the look of Sedona but are keen to avoid crowds, there are some truly amazing locations in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona that are drop dead gorgeous… but with a fraction of the crowds of Sedona. It’s for sure something to consider!
For the wow factor. I saw pictures of Horseshoe and honestly thought it was part of the Grand Canyon…which is not accurate though it is part of the Colorado River (the river that runs through the grand canyon). Horseshoe Bend is really spectacular AND it’s also very popular. It used to be one of the best secret spots in the region but from increased geotagging and social media buzz, this place has recently been commercialized and is usually pretty crowded. It’s definitely possible to be strategic and have a more private experience. Want to see more of Horseshoe? Check out this post! Or, if you’re a fan of Page Arizona (like I am), check out this epic slot canyon elopement.
For those of you who are not super fans of the crazy heat of the valley (Hi… most people), Flagstaff is a great option. It doesn’t even look like what most people think of when they think Arizona. Flagstaff is a super cute city with great food, great vibes, and GREAT views. Lot’s of hiking (the aspens in the fall are INSANE) and there’s even snow in winter time if that’s your thing. It’s also a stone’s throw from places like the Grand Canyon and Page, AZ if you still grave some traditional desert vibes.
The Salt River is a great place for an Arizona Elopement. It kind of turns your typical thought of the desert on it’s head, right? You’re in the middle of the desert surrounded by cacti… and also hanging out next to a river. If you get super lucky, you even may get to see the herd of wild horses that call this area home. The best thing; this awesome place has tons of options for amazing elopement locations and it’s under an hour drive from Phoenix. It can get a little crowded on weekends in some spots, but there are plenty of off the beaten path spots if you want a more private Salt River Elopement.
Yes, this is Arizona, no I will not tell you where it is. I stumbled upon this place totally by accident by visiting a lesser known Arizona monument and the scenery blew my socks right off and is one of my favorite hidden places to elope in Arizona. This place is empty and gorgeous AND super remote (nearest gas station is a 45 minute dirt road drive). There’s plenty of camping, some fun dirt roads to drive on, and lots of hiking. If staying in a cabin is more your jam, they’ve got those, too. Really I can’t sell this place enough. It stole my heart instantly and I’m sure it will steal yours.
For those of you who when you say you want to elope in the desert, you mean the freaking desert! Saguaros, prickly pear, cholla, you name it, we’ve got it. Just a (super) short drive from Phoenix, the Superstitions offer stunning views, hikes ranging from the easy to the hard (looking at you Siphon Draw Trail), and all the cacti you could ever want. Check this blog post out if you want to see more of The Superstitions!
If standing on the edge of the earth is your thing, the Mogollon Rim is for you. Also there are a lot of trees and some SUPER gorgeous lakes. Parts of the Rim can be pretty busy (popular spot for Phoenicians to escape the heat) but there are parts that are super, super quiet and private. The rocky road getting up there can be pretty fun too ☺ Lots of camping (some literally on the cliffs edge), fishing, hiking, and soaking in the amazing views. For more Mogollon Rim inspiration, check out this adventure engagement session or this cliffside elopement shoot.
Forgive the vague nature of this name: this spot in particular is off the beaten path and not a place that could handle a mass influx in visitors. It’s a stunning place, amazing sunset vistas, golden fields, mountains lit gold at sunset. It’s not too far from Phoenix (just a two drive) and one of my favorite hidden gems. It’s why I love location scouting and exploring this great state- it is FULL of surprises. You can see more of this amazing spot in this blog post.
Or want to learn more about how to Elope in Phoenix? Here’s a Phoenix Elopement Planning Guide to answer all your questions!
And this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. I could fill a book with epic places to elope in AZ. Here’s a few more pics, just to get those gears turning.
Want more resources for how eloping in Arizona? Here’s my Sedona Elopement Guide, What you Need to Know About Eloping in a National Park (did you know Arizona has 24 National Park Service Units?), and How to Beat the Heat During your Arizona Elopement.
Or, if you want to see more desert outside Arizona, check out this blog on the best places to elope in our neighboring state, Utah!