September 7, 2019
Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend NP
Texas is not exactly a top contender when folks are considering epic places to have their destination wedding. It’s true. But I’m determined to help change that for you and shine some light on the jaw dropping locations the lone star state has to offer! I’m a born & raised Texan. I’ve learned to see the beauty and love the unique aspects about it and I want to share them with you!
For instance, it is almost always warm (hot). If you’re looking for a place, especially in the winter months, where you won’t have to worry about your toes freezing off… Texas is the place! While I wouldn’t recommend eloping in the heat of the summer (but if you do, here’s a blog post with a few tips for not dying). The rest of the year you’ll find yourself pretty comfortable or warm, as far as temperature goes.
Another cool thing (that I didn’t even know) about Texas landscape is it’s actually really, REALLY, diverse! If you look hard enough, there’s mountains, rivers, sand (with or without the ocean), desert, and a variety of forests! So whatever your favorite scenery is, chances are, you can find it in TEXAS, and I can help you find the perfect spot! Take a look below at the top 5 destinations you should totally consider for your wildly different Texas wedding… be sure and read to the end, I’m saving the BEST for last!!
Also known as, Texas’ wedding capital!
There are SO. MANY. THINGS. I love about Texas Hill Country. Especially Austin. One day, if I don’t end up in Colorado. I’ll be in Austin! I love the people, the food, the outdoor activities, and the vibes, man, the vibes. I think mostly it’s the outdoor activities. There’s so many trails and I’m always astonished at the amount of people that are outside, all the time. It’s very different from Houston…. where it’s flat as can be and seems as though no one ever goes outside, haha.
There are a lot of river and lake options in Texas Hill Country. To name a few, Pedernales Falls State Park, McKinney Falls, Hamilton Pool, Enchanted Rock, Wimberly, Colorado Bend State Park, Gruene, and Pace Bend Park… just to name a few!! Besides locations there’s a lot of options for activities. Floating the river, camping & hiking, horseback rides, SUP boards, and vinyards to tour. How amazing would it be to stay in a cute cabin with your boo in Wimberly, go zip-lining and say your vows at Krause Springs, sip some wine and watch the sunset over the hills.
As tiny living, minimalistic lifestyles, and glamping are becoming more of “a thing.” There are so many cozy-cute locations you can stay in. Your honeymoon suite is something you should definitely not skimp on. I don’t know about you, but I’d be picking a cozy tiny home over a fancy hotel, especially one with views and trails on site!
Aren’t beaches a first thought when finding an amazing destination wedding location?
While South Padre gets most of the attention when it comes to famous Texas beaches… Rockport is a similarly beautiful, less expensive, and more secluded option. It may also be a shorter drive for some! Besides the obvious salt water adventures, it’s also home to Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge and Goose Island State Park with one of the largest coastal live oak trees you have to see to believe.
Rockport is one of the only “blue wave beaches” in Texas, which I think is super important. What is a blue wave beach? It’s a beach that prioritizes human and environmental health. They are managed responsibly, are litter free, public restrooms, have handicap accessibility, and swimmable waters! Being in such close proximity to Galveston and hearing several times a month about the bacteria levels in the water, that last feature is a breath of fresh air for this Houstonian!
Coastal sunrises and sets are beyond breathtaking. I love that Rockport seems to be one of the best kept secrets for Texas beach-goers. This makes it a great option for an intimate vow reading experience. Adorable bed & breakfasts, 5 star resorts, airbnbs, and camping make for some great lodging options.
Also, am I the only one who has horseback riding on the beach on their bucket list?
Who knew Texas had sand dunes??
I couldn’t believe this place was in Texas!! Almost as far West as you can go, there’s over 4,000 acres of sand dunes! Mountains of sand. You can go horseback riding, camping, and sledding at this park. They rent sleds for hours of fun, you can also roll down. The park has no marked trails as the dunes are always changing shapes with the wind. Some of the hills are over 70 feet high! So, you’re free to explore the park whichever way the wind takes you.
There’s a 2-3 day trek through the dunes (or even to Big Bend!) by way of camel back! Yes, I said CAMELBACK. You could pretend you planned your destination wedding far, far, away from Texas with this exciting adventure! You are expected to be in good shape and able to hike 5-10 miles on various terrain. You’ll camp in the park and have amazing stargazing opportunities! Learn more about Texas Camel Corps here! That alone makes this a top contender in my mind.
An amazing intimate wedding location to include your closest friends & family!
Texas Garner State Park is another gorgeous option to consider when planning your destination wedding or elopement. It’s one of the most scenic camping destinations in Hill Country area. If camping is your thing, I highly recommend Garner State park in the spring or fall. There are many hiking trails and crazy views at the top of Old Baldy Trail. The breathtaking views of the Frio River Canyon are well worth the trek. So many options for amazing places to say your vows.
Great camping spots, hiking, kayaking, SUP boards, explore caves, and horseback. This iconic park has so many amazing options for an adventurous duo…. or family! Garner State park is very family friendly. There are easily accessible hikes that still offer great views, people of any age can make. They even have a few paved trails for handicap accessibility. So if you have kiddos that either you’re carrying on your back or that might be too young for a 3 mile hike, or it’s super important for your grandparents to be there with you but hiking is a concern, Garner’s got you covered 🙂
Go Big (Bend) or go home. The mother of what Texas has to offer for destination weddings, in my opinion!
I saved the best for last (sorry not sorry, I’m a little bias about this one). This is one of the largest, most remote, and least visited national park in the continental U.S. I think that speaks volumes for why you should consider choosing Big Bend for your Texas elopement or small wedding destination. Because it’s one of the most remote national parks, that makes it kind of difficult to get to (Texas is so big and can be a hard state to drive through), but it also means it has the least light pollution of any other national park and offers some amazing views of the night sky. Not only that, but often times you’ll have entire trails to yourself, talk about a wedding experience that’s ONLY about you!
There are SO MANY options at Big Bend. The picture above is an iconic spot at Big Bend but there is a lot of variety, mountain views (yes. MOUNTAINS. in Texas! What?), canyons, thriving wild life, hot springs, desert, rivers, and an unbeatable view of the night sky…. to name a few. You could easily make this a two (or more) day elopement adventure and explore the variety Big Bend has to offer! Learn more adventures you can consider with this amazing post HERE.
Even if you don’t camp inside the park itself, there are a lot of fun nearby options for lodging. Basecamp Terlingua is about 20 minutes from the park and has a variety of unique places to stay the night and begin your wedding adventure. From tipis to an RV trailer, yurts, casitas, and their newest addition is an inflatable bubble that provides amazing views of the night’s sky! Basecamp Terlingua also offers guided 4×4 Jeep tours. Learn more HERE!
Marfa is another “nearby” city that has some really fun and alternative lodging as well, about an hour and a half drive (and probably on your way back home)! The renovated RVs at El Cosmico has been on my bucket list for years now! They host music festivals and workshops that elevate mind, body, and creative spirit. This unique RV park provides a space to fully unplug and recharge.
Remember to always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures!