May 4, 2020
If you’re a lover of the outdoors, then eloping in a wild location probably speaks to you. If you’re looking for a unique, epic elopement location, you can find it in Michigan. Michigan gets to claim the UP, a magical peninsula that’s filled with nothing but cute Midwestern towns, Lake Superior lakeshore, forests, hidden lakes and insane views. But the Lower Peninsula has amazing spots too, thanks to being sandwiched between two Great Lakes: Michigan & Huron. If you’re looking for an outdoor, adventurous elopement location, here are the top 15 places to elope in Michigan.
Michigan has something for everyone:
For most people, the UP is a bit of a trek to get to. But the effort is rewarded with some of the best views the Midwest has to offer. So if you’re looking for a remote, ‘out-there’ spot to elope, the UP’s got you covered.
Isle Royale is one of the country’s least visited national parks. So maybe you’re thinking, “uhh, why would I want to elope somewhere people don’t want to visit?” BUT. The reason for its small tourist numbers is because of how remote it is. You may have guessed from the name, but the national park is actually an island, so it’s only accessible by plane or boat.
If you’re looking for a remote wilderness to kick off your marriage, Isle Royale National Park is it.There’s no shortage of rock faces overlooking Lake Superior throughout the island, which would be a stunning spot to exchange vows. Talk about feeling on the edge of the world! The island is best known for its wolf and moose populations, so maybe you’ll even have a surprise guest or two! So, where do you stay when you get married on a remote island? While there are plenty of backcountry campsites, there’s also a lodge within the park if you want a little more newlywed luxury than camping (is there such a thing?! jk). And of course, there’s tons of great trails to hike and channels to kayak, so it could also be the perfect honeymoon (or mini-moon) spot if you want to extend your stay!
Maybe venturing all the way to a remote National Park on an island is a little too much for your wedding day, but you’re still looking for a beautiful spot overlooking Lake Superior. Check out the Keweenaw Peninsula (yes, it’s a peninsula on a peninsula), home to the northernmost point of Michigan (other than Isle Royale). More specifically, Copper Harbor is a small resort town with plenty of options for your ceremony, reception and guest accommodations. It also has a stunning view of Lake Superior, complete with the perfect spot to take some epic lakeside cliff photos
Pictured Rocks is probably the Upper Peninsula’s biggest draw, and for a good reason. It’s home to 40+ miles of stunning Lake Superior lakeshore, rock formations, forest, and plenty of hiking trails. This is the perfect location for water sport fans, there are lots of great opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, fishing and even scuba diving. Yes really, scuba diving in the Midwest… shipwrecks and all! While it’s important to manage expectations in terms of crowds, that doesn’t mean we can’t find a trail less traveled if that’s what you’re after.
Sure, there are a lot of awesome spots on the Great Lakes. But if you’re looking for something a little different, check out Michigan’s most remote state park: Craig Lake State Park. Just because it’s not on one of the Great Lakes doesn’t mean there’s no water around… this state park actually has six lakes! Which means so many options for a secluded ceremony right on the water. It also means plenty of awesome waterfront rustic camping sites, great fishing and kayaking. If you’re looking for a little more glamour on your big day than tent camping, you can rent one of the yurts on park grounds! Okay, so maybe ~glamour~ isn’t the right word, but still a fun adventure that’s one step up from a tent!
Fun fact: this state park was once the property of Fred Miller (of Miller Brewing Company)!
Kitch-iti-kipi is Michigan’s largest fresh water spring. The Native Americans called it “Mirror of Heaven” because the crystal clear water creates beautiful reflections. It gives me some Emerald Lake (Yoho Nat’l Park, Canada) vibes, right here in Michigan. The spring itself is pretty small and a popular spot, so this probably wouldn’t be the best ceremony location, but definitely a great spot for photos before or after. Luckily there are a ton of other amazing nearby spots for a ceremony.
I told you there were mountains!! Sure, the elevation is less than 1,500 feet, but hey, it has the word in its’ name! Porcupine Mountains (or the Porkies, as they’re affectionately called) is another popular destination, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Home to miles of river, waterfalls, over 90 miles of hiking trails, and some spectacular views of Lake Superior, The Porkies provides an unrivaled wilderness. And if you’re a snowbird, there’s even a ski area (it is a mountain, after all)! Whether you’re looking for a brisk autumn elopement overlooking the colorful trees, or if you want a shot of you and your new spouse on a chair lift going up a snow covered mountain, Porcupine Wilderness has got you covered!
The Lower Peninsula may not have mountains or a view of Lake Superior, but don’t let that fool you into thinking these aren’t some of the most epic places to elope in Michigan! The great thing about the Lower Peninsula is that it tends to be much easier for people to get to, and also has a ton of picturesque small towns that you can incorporate into your day. Here are some of my top locations, starting from up north and working our way down the state:
Sleeping Bear is perfect for couples who want to incorporate some hiking on their big day. There are a ton of awesome trails with views of Lake Michigan, which would make for stunning ceremony locations. If you’re feelin’ adventurous, there’s even a couple islands you can venture out to! The park also has some amazing, more accessible locations too, so this would also be a great location if you’ll have any elderly or handicapped guests. Whether you decide to trek up a sand dune or drive to a roadside lookout, the view overlooking Lake Michigan will make the perfect backdrop for exchanging your vows.
One of Michigan’s lesser known gems, Valley of Giants is a section of the North Country Trail. It’s an enchanting forest filled with giant trees (hence the name) with a river that winds through it. Imagine getting married in a hushed forest with only the giant pines as your witness…it’s like something straight out of a romance movie *swoon*
Don’t want to journey all the way to the UP, but still looking for a lush pine forest? Want to exchange vows in a log chapel snuggled in the middle of the woods? Or perhaps on a dock overlooking a beautiful lake? Check out Hartwick Pines State Park! This park is the whole package: accessible, yet still surrounded by nature, and even has a chapel for your ceremony! It’s a win-win (win).
Looking for a combo of forest & waterfront? Check out Ludington State Park! This park offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan, complete with a picturesque lighthouse. It’s also a great spot if you’re looking for an accessible location with amenities.
If you’re looking for Sahara Desert vibes without the trek to Africa, Silver Lake Sand Dunes is the spot for you. Look, sand dunes aren’t for the faint of heart…climbing up those bad boys is no joke! But running/falling/rolling down them is well worth the effort. Not to mention the views!
Want to elope somewhere closer to a city? Look no further than Provin Park, a wooded sanctuary about 15 minutes outside of Grand Rapids. This spot combines the best of both worlds: accessible to, well, civilization, while still being surrounded by nature.
Glamping, anyone?! When I was thinking of places to elope in Michigan, this is the first spot that I thought of.
The property has the cutest canvas tents that you and your guests can stay in, and there are common areas where everyone can spend time together (fire pit, covered shelter with games, etc). They host weddings regularly, so they have a chapel for ceremonies and a large reception tent. If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for your ceremony & reception, this is it. Bonus: the property is also home to a u-pick blueberry farm, so there’s a fun (and delicious!) activity for guests!
Another great sand dune option is Warren Dunes. This is a personal favorite of mine, which may have something to do with the fact that I always stop at a local burger joint when I visit (in my pre-vegan days, sigh). Burgers aside, Warren Dunes is a great location for couples who want a show-stopping location in the southern half of the state. A sunset ceremony on top of the dunes overlooking Lake Michigan would be so dreamy!
If none of the spots above make you think ‘I NEED to elope there!’ have no fear! We can talk about the vision you have for your wedding day and I will scour the earth (or just places to elope in Michigan, if that’s what you want!) until we find the perfect location for your day.