The Best, Most Beautiful Places to Elope in Arkansas

The Best Places to Elope in Arkansas | 2024 + 2025

Arkansas was given the name “The Natural State” for its vast variety of sightseeing. From mountains to waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and more. It’s a state full of plenty of hiking, kayaking, caving, camping, and just enjoying the outdoors. All of the beautiful sights and the fact that it’s not a very populated state makes it a hidden gem when it comes to elopements!

Most of the couples I photograph Arkansas elopements for come from out of state. Mostly from the surrounding areas like Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma, but I’ve had couples travel from as far as Washington to elope here! I always ask what made my couples choose Arkansas over their own local area, and many of them say they just happened to stumble on it while researching nearby destinations online and got pulled in by the beauty, or that they drove through the state one time and were shocked at how beautiful it was. Some grew up here and always had a fondness for the outdoors of Arkansas and knew from the start this is where they wanted to marry their partner. Whatever their reason, it makes my heart happy to see couples come from far and wide to wed in Arkansas. It truly is so beautiful here and there’s so many different backdrops to choose from.

Planning an Arkansas Elopement; Choosing a Location

I’ve been photographing couples all around Arkansas and helping them pick the perfect location for their special day since 2015. Below you’ll find some of my favorite places for elopements. One of my favorite things about Arkansas is that so many of our beautiful sights are easy to access. You don’t need to be a skilled hiker for most of the best views here, because they’re just a short walk from the parking lot, or a flat easy trail. I love that you can choose one small general area of Arkansas that will give you a plethora of scenic backdrops, like mountain overlooks, waterfalls, caves, and rivers, all of which you can fit into a full-day elopement timeline! Even if you’re only planning to explore for a few hours on your elopement day, there’s so many areas that will still provide multiple sceneries for you to visit and experience.

If you’re interested in eloping in Arkansas, reach out and I’d love to help you find the perfect spot. One of my favorite parts of the elopement planning process is helping couples discover all the cool places to see and things to do for their elopement day!

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Petit Jean State Park

Petit Jean State Park is full of unique rock formations, caves, waterfalls, a lake, and stunning views of the Arkansas River and valley. Most locations on the mountain are just around 15 minutes apart, easily accessible, and most of the views are right by the parking lots available. There’s an open-air chapel and reception hall at Camp Mitchell for small weddings, and pavilions and party rooms available through the park, or you can apply for a special use permit to have your ceremony at one of the many overlooks, like Stouts Point. Mather Lodge has rooms or cabins to rent, and there’s Airbnbs on the mountain as well.

Steel Creek Campground | Buffalo National River

Steel Creek Campground is located on the Buffalo National River in the small town of Ponca. The campground is best known for Roark Bluff, which is a large cliff with natural ‘painting’-like marks that overlooks the Buffalo. This location is absolutely stunning year-round, but especially in the fall. There’s a large field looking into Roark bluff that makes for a perfect ceremony backdrop, or you can elope directly by the river. The Buffalo Outdoor Center is a great spot for accommodations, and they even have a space to host your wedding if you need something a little less primitive than Steel Creek.

Eureka Springs

Eureka Springs has many beautiful spots for elopements, and is one of the best places in the state for your honeymoon. This is a tourist town tucked away in the mountains in the far Northwest part of Arkansas. The ‘Pig Trail’, one of the prettiest drives in Arkansas during the fall, runs up into the area! A considerably famous venue is here, Thorncrown Glass Chapel, and there’s so many scenic spots around the lake, throughout downtown, and all of the natural springs. This is a great quirky town with lots of things to do and see, like the ghost tours at Crescent Hotel (a GREAT place to stay for your elopement adventure), Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, shopping downtown, eating at some of the local favorites like Ermilio’s Italian, Local Flavor, and Rowdy Beaver. The queer community also has a strong presence here, so it’s perfect for any LGBTQUIA+ couples looking for a friendly getaway in the South. It’s hard to NOT have a good time while visiting here.

Lost Valley Trail | Buffalo National River

Lost Valley Trail is another location in the town of Ponca, a few minutes from the Buffalo Outdoor Center mentioned above. It’s also located just across the road from the elk viewing area, which is one of the few areas outside of the Western portion of the USA where you can find wild elk! Lost Valley Trail is a 2.3mi out-and-back that can either be easy or moderately challenging, depending on how far in you go. The easy part of the trail will take you about a mile in to a waterfall that pours from the mouth of a cave that you can crawl up into and explore. This makes for a beautiful spot to exchange vows. If you feel adventurous, you can continue further into the trail, up a lot of stairs (this is where the challenge comes in), to another very large cave that previously sheltered Native Americans. At the end of the trail is a waterfall inside a cave. Once you reach the mouth of the Eden Falls cave, it’s a short crawl that takes just a couple minutes to get to the falls. It isn’t for the claustrophobics, and does require a good rainfall to be flowing, but makes for an awesome and unique experience!

Twin Falls | Ponca

Twin Falls is located about 30 minutes from the Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca. The falls requires a very short and easy walk that takes just a couple minutes, but the road to the trailhead is a bit rough – 4WD or AWD with high ground clearance is strongly recommended. This is a small secluded area that I usually recommend adding as a pit-stop during an adventure elopement in Ponca, if there’s been a good rainfall recently, because these falls can really get going, and a third waterfall even can make an appearance!

Mt. Magazine State Park

Mount Magazine draws in couples for the fact that it’s the tallest mountain in Arkansas at 2,753ft. The mountain hosts stunning views of rolling hills and jutted cliffsides. Cozy cabins can be rented with great views, or rent a room in the lodge, on the second floor, for a view from higher up. Cameron Bluff, the most common area to hosts elopements and weddings, is just 4 minutes from the lodge and cabins. There’s also an outdoor space for ceremonies on the back patio of the lodge, as well as large conference rooms to host a gathering.

Mt. Nebo State Park

Mt. Nebo is tucked right between Petit Jean State Park and Mt. Magazine. It takes a whopping five minutes to get from one side of this mountain to the other. It may be smaller in size compared to the neighboring mountain parks, but it’s just as beautiful, and typically less busy than the others. There’s a sheltered pavilion that can be used for indoor ceremonies or receptions, or an overlook out back that can be used on a nice day. For couples not expecting guests (or just bringing a few) you can say your vows at Sunset Point or Sunrise Point for stunning views of the valley below. Cute red cabins can be rented through the park, and there are a few other accommodations on the mountain.

Sam’s Throne

Sam’s Throne is a scenic area and campground in the Ozarks. It’s an easy hike that takes under 10 minutes to get to the views. This will lead you to the “chickenhead wall”, named for the unique texture of the cliffside that resembles a chicken’s comb. This is a nice location to enjoy the views from the drive through the Ozarks and to get away from civilization, and it’s also a popular area for outdoor rock climbing. There are Airbnbs in this area, and Ponca is just under an hour drive where you can stay at the Buffalo Outdoor Center.

Heber Springs

Heber Springs is one of my favorite hidden gems when it comes to Arkansas elopements. Waterfalls, cliffsides overlooking the lake, forested-trails, and even a couple of small mountains you can hike up, are just some of several spots here that are worth adventuring to for an elopement. Lindsey’s Resort is a local place you can stay at on the Red River, and they offer wedding packages for ceremonies and receptions, if you have guests to accommodate. There’s loads of other unique places to stay since this is a tourist town in the summer.

The Glass Chapels of Arkansas

Thorncrown Chapel – Glass Chapel (pictured above)

The glass chapels of Arkansas are known worldwide and have been recognized in magazines, articles, TV shows, and more. They’re a hot spot for weddings and elopements! These are great options if you want a controlled environment that the outdoors can’t give you, but still want to feel close to nature. Each chapel has its own unique personality and perks that differs it from the other chapels, but all three are absolutely beautiful and so peaceful for elopements and small weddings.

Anthony Chapel – Glass Chapel (pictured above)

Mildred B. Cooper Memorial – Glass Chapel (pictured above)

Hot Springs National Park

Fun fact: Hot Springs is the only city in the USA to also be a national park. There are many places to get married at in this city – like Garvan Gardens (home of Anthony Chapel, mentioned within the Glass Chapels section), Whittington Place (a quirky chapel in downtown turned event venue, pictured in some of the above images), and Hamp-Williams Building (a beautiful  garden venue with industrial vibes blended in), or you can elope right in downtown along the pretty trails and streets of Bathhouse Row. There is a lot of history in this town surrounding the natural hot springs, and even the mafia (you can stay in Al Capone’s old hideout called Capone’s Loft in downtown!), ghost stories are also common here, so it’s a great place to stay for your honeymoon immediately after the wedding if you like tourist towns with lots of things to do and history to learn about.

Final Notes

Arkansas is loaded with amazing indoor and outdoor options for elopements and intimate weddings. If you’re certain you want to elope in Arkansas, but haven’t figured out the right place yet, I always recommend making a list of your favorite types of scenery (mountains, waterfalls, etc.) and where you visualize yourself saying your vows, exploring, and enjoying a fun and intentional day with your partner. Using that list of general ideas, reach out and I’d be glad to help you find the perfect spot that fits the criteria. ♥

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Let’s Plan Your Dream Day!

Read the Arkansas Elopement Guide

Don’t know where to begin with elopement planning? Check out my Arkansas Elopement Guide for all of the tips and info you’ll need about eloping in the Natural State! There’s a lot of important info to know that I go over:

  • Obtaining your special use permit to elope
  • Obtaining your marriage license
  • Best times of the year to elope
  • and more

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