When you think “adventure elopement” you likely don’t think about the state of Alabama. But, I am telling you to consider Alabama an adventure elopement hotspot. There are endless beautiful places to get married in Alabama!
Keep reading to hear about how incredible this state is (and a list of wonderful places to elope in Alabama!)
The essence of Northern Alabama is dictated by the Tennessee River. Commonly referred to as “the Tennessee valley,” Northern Alabama is filled with natural beauty. There is river kayaking, canyons and caverns, waterfalls, gardens, state parks, and immeasurable nature to explore. When choosing a location for your elopement, Northern Alabama would make a great choice.
Delano Park – This park is over 130 years old, and well recognized as a 28 acre historic garden. The rose garden is an ideal setting for a beautiful small wedding with its extensive collection of flowers and shrubs. This would make a whimsical backdrop for your “I dos.!
Noccalula Falls Park– This park (and campground) is 500 acres of land at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. Black Creek runs through this park, giving us a 90-foot waterfall to be amazed by, creek-side trails to explore, and an exquisite fly-fishing spot. There is a 50 guest chapel located here, if that’s your thing….but if not, there are copious intimate nooks to elope in!
The best part? With a little adventure to access, the area around waterfall puts you at eye level with the amazing cascade! Want the waterfall version of “more cowbell”?!?!? Well, you’re in luck! Behind the water fall is accessible for a misty, windy, muddy adventure for a brave couple! 😜
Desoto State Park – This mountainous state park sits on top of Lookout Mountain in Northeast Alabama. There is a vast amount of sights atop the mountains, rushing waterfalls, fragrant wildflowers, and lush woods. If you’re a nature hobbyist, outdoor enthusiast, or a sporting fanatic, Desoto is the perfect place to get married and cap it off with an adventurous celebration in Alabama!
Central Alabama is mountainous with its tallest peaks in the eastern part of the state. The Coosa River runs through the center and this part of Central Alabama is a bit more rugged. In West-Central Alabama, there is a flat region with fertile black soil. There are some surprising gems that I think would make spectacular places to get married in Alabama. The following list are options that show the heart of Alabama and exposes why Sweet Home Alabama would be an incredible place to take your love story to the next level.
Cheaha State Park– This park is the oldest park in Alabama. It is located on the southernmost tip of the Appalachian mountains. People consider this one of the most unique parks in the whole nation! The state park website describes its uniqueness well, “imagine 2,799 acres of granite boulders and wind-warped ancient trees at 2,407 feet above sea level, often above the clouds, and surrounded by 392,567 acres of the Talladega National Forest including 7,245 acres of Cheaha Wilderness.”
TLDR version: this park is a beautiful spot in the rocks!
This park feels far from civilization but is actually just 30-minutes away from some historic towns. Your experience could include a scenic, windy drive on Cheaha Road!
Dismals Canyon – This natural national landmark is a Natural Conservatory and privately owned. The easy to access canyon floor contains old-growth splendor, vibrant moss, a labyrinth of slot canyons, and a glistening stream, all with tuck in spots perfect to exchange your vows!
Want to make it an experience for your elopement? They also have woodland cabins for rent and spaces for camping!
Want to know the secret though??? One thing that makes Dismals Canyon extra special is the night life! 😉 On a guided night tour, you get to see how the canyon lights up with tiny bioluminescent creatures. These creatures are “close cousins” of rare glowworms found in Australia and New Zealand. So cool!
Just a heads up- as beautiful as it is with the terrain, there is no repelling in the canyon though. But if you’re looking for some great rock-climbing spots, keep reading!
Moss Rock Preserve– Moss Rock Preserve is an extremely special location. This is because of the intense natural preservation that has happened there, despite it being not far outside of Birmingham. This preserve is one of the only 35 known surviving examples of Little River Sandstone Glade in the world.
With grand boulders, some waterfalls, an assortment of beautiful trails to choose from, your elopement ceremony vibe can so many different directions! (And Moss Rock is the location to some great sandstone boulders to climb if looking for some adventure!)
Although there are cool places to elope all over Southern Alabama, I want to share the delight of the coast!
The coast of Alabama is 32-miles long. It has sugar-white sand beaches, pristine blue waters, and all the classics of a beach destination. For your adventure elopement vows, Alabama’s coast has options if your vibe for ceremony and/or adventure is relaxed and laid back, or, if you’re looking for some water sports, nature trails, and dolphin cruises, to pick up the speed a bit!
Most people overlook Alabama as a beach destination, but they say that once you go, you’ll keep coming back. 😉
I think a perfect adventure elopement itinerary here would include the romantic hand-in-hand beach strolls to a beautiful elopement spot at Gulf State Park, the fun of checking out The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, indulge in the fresh caught seafood, and the let loose with a boat adventure at Orange Beach Beach Cat Boat Tours!
Another great organization to check out is WildNative Tours! A one-stop-shop if you’re looking for a guided tour on kayak or boat charter!
If you’re wanting to include rock climbing in your wedding experience, this one’s for you!
I’ve already mentioned a couple of wonderful climbing locations as great spots to blend fun vows AND rad post-ceremony adventures, but I wanted to share this site to find all the best climbing in Alabama!
I also have to share about Hospital Boulders…
Hospital Boulders is an awesome, easily-accessible boulder field, despite its interesting name! The Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) owns the property and has preserved a spectacular experience with over 200 boulder problems for rock climbing across 39 acres.
With huge boulders, tucked in corners, and hidden little alleys, with the right use permissions, “Hospital” could be an amazingly unique place to celebrate your elopement!
Last thoughts –Plantations as wedding locations
Living in the South (I’m Atlanta, GA-based), the idea of a plantation wedding is deeply engrained as a “desirable” place to get married.
But, for many, the treasured visual beauty of the location, grounds, and buildings are justification to ignore the brutal history of these places that still echoes in our society today. So, in short, plantation weddings in their traditional sense are not ok, and Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas all have their share of these venues.
As complicated as this history is, I recently read an article about this new initiative that the Southwest Georgia Agri-Tourism Trail is leading to reclaim plantations by entrusting a major historic slave plantation to the care, advancement, and profit of a collective of Black farmers.
Using marketing through well-known brands like Airbnb, they are aiming to boost local tourism AND celebrate black farmers by encouraging visitors to come to these previous slave plantations for more than just vacation purposes. Shirley Sharrod, the leader of this initiative in Georgia, wants these locations to be an opportunity for healing, education, and raise social awareness.
So, being aware of the history of the place you may be considering is key. And, if you must absolutely marry at a plantation in Alabama or elsewhere, please do so responsibly. Ensuring the one you choose that, like the Resora property in Georgia, accurately speaks to the history, provides financial gains to Black communities, and honors and amplifies Black history, voices and excellence, is critical.
Still curious about other gem locations to elope at in the South of if looking to elope and could use support in planning the ultimate elopement experience, I’m your gal! Let’s talk! 🙌