How to Elope at Acadia National Park in 10 Easy Steps

How to Elope in Acadia National Park in 10 easy steps

If you and your love have been considering eloping in Acadia I don’t blame you! 

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine is hands down one of the most beautiful places to get married in Maine… and even all of New England! With the rocky coast line that Maine is famous for combined with the mountains sitting amongst the forest this place really has each scenic piece of Maine that you have come to love all in one place. 

Before jumping on a plane or in your car to tie the knot on Sand Beach you should first know some of these important steps to getting married here: 

Here are 10 steps to getting married in Acadia National Park! 

  1. Get your park pass 
  2. Get your extra car pass (if necessary) 
  3. Get your wedding permit 
  4. Get your marriage license 
  5. Get someone to marry you 
  6. Pick your perfect time of year  
  7. Set up your timeline 
  8. Packing your bag   
  9. Find your vendors 
  10. Choose your location 

1. Get your park pass  

This is a great starting point for your journey! If you don’t already have the All Parks Pass, you can get a specific pass for Acadia. Follow the guide below for more information and links to the respective resource: 


Park pass breakdown: 

All Parks Pass $80 

Acadia Annual Pass: $55 

Acadia Weekly Pass: $30 

2. Get your extra car pass (if necessary) 

Certain locations at various times of year will require an additional car pass to access that location. Check out if your spot will need an extra car pass for your date by clicking the link here: Additional Parking Pass Information

3. Get your Wedding Permit for Acadia 

Depending on how many people you plan on having at your ceremony and where you want to have your marriage take place will depend on if you will need a wedding permit for the park. If you have under 10 people and meet the restrictions the park requires you can skip this step! If you have 10 or more people, check out the location and group size limits below for 2022 

“The following locations and group size limits have been established for simple wedding ceremonies of more than 10 people within Acadia National Park:

  • Cadillac Mountain – 20 (No ceremonies during sunrise or sunset.)
  • Blue Hill Overlook – 20
  • Sand Beach – 30
  • Ocean Drive – 30
  • Otter Cliff – 20
  • Otter Point – 30
  • Fabbri Picnic Area – 30
  • Little Hunters Beach – 20
  • Seawall Picnic Area – 35
  • Thompson Island – 50
  • Schoodic Point – 25
  • Frazer Point Picnic Area – 50”  – National Park Service Website 

Pro Tip: Please note that this does not ensure your location will be available in terms of parking or that your specific spot will be reserved for you. If you want a specific location, have a friend or family member scout the spot before you arrive and enjoy some time in that location before you arrive! 

4. Get your marriage license

A marriage license is necessary for all elopements in Maine. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to file your intentions form if you’re from out of state. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to do in order to make sure you have all forms necessary on your big day! 

Pro tip: You will need witnesses for your ceremony! You will need 2 witnesses to sign off on your wedding license for it to be valid. 

5. Find someone to marry you 

Well, the person who will be marrying both of you! Getting an officiant is not only necessary in this process, but is also super important! Finding someone who can not only legally marry you but will also give you a ceremony that you’re going to remember is so important. Since this ceremony will be so small, an officiant has a huge impact on the overall feeling of this moment. Choose wisely and make sure to get someone who understands you as a couple for this major milestone in your life. 

Acadia National Park Elopement with dogs on Sand Beach in Bar Harbor Maine. Bride and groom on the beach with dogs adventurous elopement in Maine

6. Pick your perfect time of year 

Let’s be real, Acadia has amazing scenery in every season of Maine. But here are some major factors that can impact your day based off the time of year you decide to get married. 

Winter: This is the off season of the park and most of the park is closed due to heavy snow. Some major locations are accessible this time of year though. Sand beach is open year round and in the off season pets are allowed on the beach with you (September – June). Check out pet restrictions here Also look at the massive waves that can happen at that time of year! 

Bride and groom on Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park during their elopement in Bar Harbor Maine waves crashing against the rocks by Thunder Hole

Spring: Things start to thaw in Acadia in the springtime and the park loop road reopens each year around April (depending on ice and snow conditions). This is mud season!! So bring your rain boots and get your clothes absolutely wrecked for a fun twist on elopement photos. You can beat a lot of traffic as well by eloping between April – June in Acadia! 

Wedding bride and groom on top of Cadillac Mountain and sunset in Acadia National Park with Bar Harbor downtown and Echo Lake in the background Emily Leonard Photography Maine wedding and elopement photographer

Summer: One of the most beloved times in Maine. Summers are known for lobster rolls and beating the heat by getting close to the coast (both things Bar Harbor is amazing for!). Although the foot traffic becomes more apparent this time of year the sunrises and sunsets are truly out of this world. Just take a look! 

Lesbian LGBTQ Acadia Wedding photography woodsy couple standing under trees hugging at Acadia National Park picnic spot

Fall: Ahh, this is really what you came here for isn’t it? 😉 Fall in Maine is considered the peak season in Acadia. The foliage and a crisp break in the summer heat brings out all the leaf peepers to the area! Bring your flannels and bean boots bub and make sure you get your additional parking passes for this time of year and enjoy what Acadia really can offer. 

Couple on top of Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor Maine at Acadia national park during their fall elopement in Maine at sunset candid documentary style photographer

7. Set up your timeline 

With Acadia being a large park and the one way road it’s super important to have someone who knows all the ins and outs of the park (oh hey! I’m Emily!!) and what it takes to plan a timeline around all the moving factors such as the park layout, sunset and what parts of the park are best at each time, best places to park, and maybe some hidden gems that not everyone gets to see while they visit Acadia

Emily Leonard Photography

Emily Leonard: Augusta Maine Elopement and Wedding Photographer

8. Packing your bag 

Making sure you have all the things you need doesn’t stop at paperwork! 

Acadia has a lot of diverse landscapes and it’s important to pack things that will make your experience the most enjoyable experience! 

Make sure to pack the following: 

  • Hiking boots/comfortable shoes for walking between locations 
  • Layers! Jackets, sweaters, blankets, etc.
    • Even in the summers, being on top of mountains can get chilly! 
  • Water 
  • Snacks 
  • A map 
    • Most cell phones don’t get reception in Acadia 
  • A go with the flow attitude 
    • The biggest mistake you can make with any sort of elopement is micromanaging each minute of your day. Remember this is what eloping is all about! Let the day take you where it wants to. Chase the sunset, follow a cute path you didn’t expect to see, jump in the water, whatever your heart wants is totally within bounds on your elopement day. 

9. Find your vendors 

Say it with me: Elopements are just as special as big wedding days!! 

Even though you’ve decided to keep your day intimate doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be allowed to hire some people to help make it super special for you. 

Here are some vendors that you should consider for your elopement: 

  • Hair and Makeup Artist 
  • Florrist 
  • Officiant 
  • Photographer (hi again!) 
  • Videographer 
  • Event Planner 

Feel free to reach out to me with any recommendations you may be looking for. I’m happy to help you sort out the details of your special day! 

10. Choose your location 

On top of a mountain? 

Cliffside? 

On a sandy Beach? 

In the middle of the woods? 

Next to a lake? 

Yup. Acadia has it all. There are some amazing spots in the park to get married and one is no better than the next. Just take a peek at all the spots that you could tie the knot: 

Cliff elopement photos on the coast of Maine at Acadia National Park by Schooner Head Point in traditional Indian dress bride and groom standing with ocean in the background in Bar Harbor Maine
Young couple in fancy, dressy, luxury dress black and white photo intimate couple in Bar Harbor Maine at Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park Emily Leonard Photography
Couple facing each other pose at Acadia National Park in wedding dress and suit at Sand Beach with ocean in the background on the coast of Maine nature elopement intimate and documentary style wedding photography candid authentic
Couple standing on a cliff at Schooner Head Outlook at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor Maine with ocean and woodsy vibes. Maine elopement and wedding photographer

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EMILY LEONARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Southern Maine Wedding Photographer 

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