Everything you need to know about getting married in Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is one of my FAVORITE locations for elopements! It is such a dreamy desert with stunning cacti & rock formations. This guide covers everything you need to know about planning your Joshua Tree Elopement from permits & fees to where to elope within the park!
Wedding Permits + Fees
To get married in Joshua Tree, the park requires a ‘Special Park Use Permit’. It is important to obtain proper permits early on in the planning process to make sure you are completely covered for your wedding day
Special Use Permit: In order to get married in Joshua Tree National park you will need. to apply for a special use permit. The application is $120.00 and can be for HERE
Photography Permit: In addition to the special use permit, you will also need to apply for a separate photography permit. The cost is $120.00 and you can find the application HERE
Entrance Fees: Before entering the park you will be required to pay the parks entrance fee. It’s $30 per vehicle so keep in mind that any quests arriving in separate vehicles will also have to pay. The fee is valid for 7 days so definitely save your receipts if you plan on going back during your visit.
Marriage License: You will need a California marriage license to get married here. You can get your license in any county in the state, even if it’s not the same one you’re getting married in. The closest county clerks’s offices are in San Bernardino County. Costs vary by county but the average is around $90.
Where to elope in Joshua Tree
There are a handful of locations within the park to have your wedding at if you have under 25 guests, if you have more than 25 guests there is limited but still a few options.
Weddings of 25 & less
Cap Rock; No more than 25 people total and up to 8 vehicles. Rattlesnake Picnic Area; No more than 20 people and 8 vehicles. Quail Springs Picnic Area; No more than 15 people and 8 vehicles. Split Rock; No more than 15 people and 5 vehicles. Porcupine Wash; No more than 12 people and 4 vehicles. Queen Valley Mine Intersection; No more than 10 people and 5 vehicles. Lost Horse Parking Lot; No more than 10 people and 5 vehicles. Live Oak Picnic Area; No more than 5 people and 3 vehicles.
Weddings of 26 – 100
Indian Cove Amphitheater; No more than 100 people total and only 1 vehicle. You must shuttle your guest in and out of this location. Hidden Valley Picnic Area; No more than 35 people total and up to 8 vehicles. Turkey Flats; No more than 35 people total and up to 8 vehicles.
When to elope in Joshua Tree
The best times of year are the spring months (March-May) & fall (September-November) these are also the busiest times of year because of the weather. Joshua Tree is a desert so summer here can get very hot with little access to shade. Fridays & Saturdays can also be very crowded so considering eloping during the week or on a Sunday maybe something to think about.
How to get to Joshua Tree
The closest airport to Joshua Tree National Park is Palm Springs International airport but there are several other options nearby especially if you are planning multiple destinations during your trip or maybe cheaper to fly into more of a major airport
Palm Springs International (PS): 1 – 1.5 hours away
Los Angles International (LAX): 2.5 – 4 hours away
John Wayne Airport (SNA): 2.5 – 4 hours away
San Diego Airport (SAN): 2.5 – 4 hours away
I definitely recommend renting a car as public transportation is limited. Most of the roads in the park are paved & easily accessible.
Where to stay in Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree has some AMAZING Airbnb options! The modern aesthetic really can’t be beat! Many of the Airbnbs allow for events if you decide to have a small reception after you elope. Some of my favorite options are: