Best Elopement Locations on the North Shore of Minnesota

January 4, 2024

It may surprise you, but Northern Minnesota has many hidden gems that are perfect locations for your intimate wedding or elopement. Starting in Duluth, Minnesota – the gateway into the magical North Shore – moving all the way up to Grand Marais, Minnesota – there are so many spots that I could name. I want to focus on these, though, as they are some of my favorites.

Palisade Head

This was one of my very first elopements that I photographed, and it was seriously beyond magical! We showed up when it was still dark, and due to this, we had to hike the way up to the top instead of drive (usually there are parking options at the top). These two were committed, and dressed up in their wedding attire, we took the trek. Setting up a breakfast picnic, we watched the sun rise over Lake Superior while they exchanged stories together. Palisade Head does tend to get a little on the busy side, but if you aim for middle of the week times, you are more likely to have more of the area to yourself, and more private. If you are extra adventurous, there are a lot of cliff climbing that happens at this location, and how amazing would that be – to tie the knot, and then climb down the cliffs?! EPIC!

Black Sand Beach

This location holds a really special place in my heart, because this is actually where my husband and I eloped over five years ago. I’ve since captured several couples at this location, and it continues to be a highly requested spot! Black Beach also has a campground, which is very spacious, ADA, and dog friendly, and did you know there are so many local side-by-side and ATV trails nearby too? Imagine saying “I do” and then hopping on the trails and and getting a little muddy, before having a bonfire back at your campground with your closest family and friends, laughing, drinking beer, and eating smores.

Gooseberry State Park

You may be thinking, this one is soooooo overrated. And you may be right? However, if you venture to the far side of the park, I promise, it’s MAGICAL! That falls are great, and would make a great backdrop for photos, but if you want more of an intimate and private place, the back side of the park where it meets the shore of Lake Superior is where it’s at. Gooseberry State Park offers some options for building rentals and also has some options for seating if you’d like to have a small gathering. It’s important to remember, no matter where you elope, to practice Leave No Trace – meaning you take out what you take in, and leave nothing but footprints. This practice allows for these special places to be experienced by generations to come.

The Gunflint Trail

This is probably one of the more UNDER-rated locations along the North Shore. The Gunflint Trail takes you away from the shores of Lake Superior, but it still gives such amazing northern Minnesota options for eloping. There are so many hiking trails, and if you are really diligent, you may even stumble across a moose, or if you stay up late, the Auroras/Northern Lights may come out to play.

Now that you have some fun location ideas, it’s now time to start thinking about the rest of your details of your elopement – and I can help! Part of booking ALP for your elopement means you get support with each step of the way, which includes creating a mood board and brainstorming specific ideas for activities to do during your special day. If you are interested in elopement services, please reach out!

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