Wedding Road Trip Ideas: Northern California
Wedding Road Trips.
I’ve worked with two couples so far who planned a big road trip to celebrate their wedding. They both stopped along the way. in a special place on the planned route, to say their vows and seal the deal.
One couple included some family and friends in the celebration, and the other couple just brought their pups along. These couples have really inspired me to encourage others like you to make your wedding a longer celebration, full of memories and experiences that last more than just one day.
The wedding road trip is a honeymoon and wedding, all in one.
This state is full of so many different things to see, and therefore is an awesome option for a wedding road trip. California is a VERY big state, so splitting it up into sections for future road trips is a great way to get to experience more of each place rather than just rushing through. We knew we really wanted to visit places that were further north, and therefore picked that as our destination for the summer.
One of the main reasons we booked a trip to California was to visit Yosemite National Park, but unfortunately our campsite reservations (that were very difficult to get) were cancelled at the beginning of our trip due to the wildfires that shut down the entire park this past summer. Therefore, we didn’t get to Yosemite at all, but we made the best of it and explored even more of the coast.
Tip #1- Know that California has a lot of wildfires in the summer and they drastically effect things.
Tip #2 - To get reservations in Yosemite Valley you have to book months in advance and they sell out within seconds. Be prepared and have backup options.
First Stop: Fly into San Francisco & explore a bit of city life
Head North on Highway 1 to Mendocino
You’ve got to drive Highway 101 while in California. The views are incredible, just know the road is very windy (so if you get car sick, be prepared). You ride along the coast and pop into coastal towns along the way. You also get to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge as you leave San Francisco!
Mendocino would be an incredible place for an elopement or small wedding. There are tons of beautiful outdoor locations nearby: hiking trails, beaches, kayaking on the river, etc. Mendocino Grove is lovely and is such a cute little spot with all the right amenities to make a super comfy camping experience for you and any family or friends you want to invite.
Wow, what to say about the redwoods? There is nowhere like this place. It is an absolute must to stop and walk through the trees with no rush. The space demands quiet, as you pass under these giants, filling the space amidst massive green ferns. If you are looking for a place for your wedding ceremony, the Redwoods are a magical place.
If you like Mountain Biking, Downieville is the place to go next. If you aren’t that into mountain biking, it’s also a cute, tiny town right by a river, secluded in the mountains. It’s a great place to stop in and enjoy the camping in the area and get some river swimming in.
Truckee + Lake Tahoe
Truckee is one of my favorite towns we saw along the way. The downtown area has lots to see and and places to eat. The lake nearby is beautiful and has public docks all around one edge of the lake that allows for public usage and access to the lake. It would be a great spot to swim, bring floats and tubes, and kayak around.
Lake Tahoe was massive, and a bit more touristy feeling. There were SO MANY people there in the summer, so I would suggest going sometime in the spring or fall to enjoy it more. Lots of beautiful areas around there to hike and bike and explore.
Carmel & Big Sur
Carmel is fancy! But it has adorable little hotels that are right downtown and everything is walkable to the beach. If you want a more upscale place to stay while explore around Big Sur, this is the place to do it.
Northern California is an incredible place to road trip for a wedding. We had a blast, saw lots of very different but all incredibly beautiful sights, and would go back in a heartbeat.
If you get a chance to add Yosemite in the loop of this trip, I would definitely do it.
Renting a camper van, little RV, or just good old fashioned tent camping is the way to go, making sure you are amidst as much natural beauty as possible, for a majority of the trip.
If you have any more questions about eloping in Northern California, reach out and I can help you plan the perfect place, as well as create a film to help you remember the experience by.