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Your Guide to Eloping in Joshua Tree National Park

The Journal

Which beautiful national park has over 700,000 acres of desert and is located in southeast California? If you guessed Joshua Tree, you’re correct! Joshua Tree is the best place to be for your boho chic desert elopement. From the unique trees to dreamy sunsets, you’ll never want to leave! There are a few things to prepare for when eloping in this beautiful place, so we’ve put together this guide to eloping in Joshua Tree National Park to help prepare you for everything you can expect!

The Best Time to Elope in Joshua Tree

Spring, fall, and winter are the best seasons for a Joshua Tree elopement. Avoid traveling here from May to August if possible – the summer desert temperatures are brutal! During the day, it’s around 100 degrees, which is not pleasant when you’re trying to get married. In contrast, winter in Joshua Tree is usually in the 60s, which is much more pleasant and bearable. Plus, you’ll still get amazing sunsets and beautiful views no matter the season. The park is busier during these cooler months, since everyone is trying to avoid that desert heat, but it’s easier to deal with crowds than heat stroke!

Permits, Fees, Etc. for Eloping in Joshua Tree

First let’s talk about getting into Joshua Tree – there’s a fee of $30 per car to enter the park! As with other national park elopements, we recommend carpooling with your family and other guests that are coming to keep those costs down. The pass you’re given is good for seven days, so you can extend your elopement past your ceremony if you have a lot of exploring you want to get done here! Of course, you can always get the America the Beautiful Pass if you’re a frequent national parks visitor. This pass is an annual fee of $80 and gets you into all the national parks in the US! 

You’ll also need a special use permit to get married in Joshua Tree. The application for a special use permit can be found here. You’ll have to check with the Special Permits Office to find out about gathering restrictions and group size limits, since these can change, but the permit cost is $120.

Your photographer will also have to obtain a special permit to be able to take photos or video for your wedding! Make sure you coordinate this with your photographer.

Do’s and Don’ts While Eloping in Joshua Tree 

National parks are special land. We believe you should always be respectful of the nature around you when celebrating your elopement outdoors, but the parks have special rules to help make sure you’re protecting the ecosystems around you. Here’s a list of the approved and non-approved items you can have at your Joshua Tree elopement:

Items that are permitted:

  • A free-standing arch
  • A small table for a guest book, etc. 
  • A cooler for water
  • Live flowers
  • Battery-powered candles
  • Runner
  • Rug
  • Cake
  • Champagne

Items that are not permitted:

  • Drones
  • Dried flowers
  • Candles with a real flame
  • Bubbles
  • Live animals
  • Confetti, rice, and birdseed
  • Balloons
  • Smoke bombs

You can still have an epic elopement here even with these restrictions; we love Joshua Tree for an elopement with full desert boho vibes, which usually doesn’t require elaborate details! 

Other Things to Consider

  • Bring good hiking/walking shoes for your trip to Joshua Tree! During your actual elopement you can change into your chosen wedding shoes, of course, but we recommend bringing an extra pair of sturdy walking shoes. Not only does this keep your wedding shoes clean and photo-ready, but keeps your feet from getting sore and saves you from slipping or tripping as you explore.
  • Consider the following when choosing your location spot for your elopement: 
    • How hot will it be? (Even in the cooler months, the desert can be unpredictable!)
    • What is the surrounding cacti like? 
    • Is it likely there will be snakes nearby?

Places to Stay

After your dreamy and romantic elopement, why not stay and get the honeymoon started in Joshua Tree? Here are a few of our recommendations!

Around $400/night

Sleeps up to 8 people (4 bedrooms)

  • Miracle Manor Boutique (in Coachella Valley, about 40 minutes from Joshua Tree)

Starting at about $200/night

Adults only and pet friendly!

  • Oasis Inn and Suites Joshua Tree – 29 Palms

Average cost about $104/night

Just one mile from Joshua Tree National Park!

We hope this guide helps you plan your elopement at Joshua Tree! If you’re ready to reach out to us, or have any more questions about the details, contact us here! We would love to chat.


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