Dreaming of an enchanted elopement in the great outdoors? You don’t need to travel far from the Magic City to get away from it all! One of my favorite things about being a wedding photographer in Alabama is the access we have to so much natural beauty without having to buy a plane ticket. From the coast to the foothills, there are magnificent landscapes just waiting to provide the perfect backdrop for your intimate I dos. The list below includes some of my favorite locations to photograph elopements.
Location: Winston County, Alabama | Distance from Birmingham: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Located in Winston County, Alabama, Natural Bridge Park features a 148-foot sandstone bridge towering 60 feet above winding pathways on the forest floor below. The natural formation dates back to two million years ago and is the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies. Once a shelter to the Creek Indians who called this area home for hundreds of years, the cave-like bluff below the bridge provides a romantic hideaway for an intimate elopement. Peaceful trickling sounds float on the air from a nearby stream and small waterfall.
While the natural bridge is the main attraction, it’s not the only beauty to behold. The lush ferns and hemlock, some varieties dating back to the Ice Age, form a tapestry of deep greens and golds along the short walking path. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?
Location: Near Double Springs, Alabama in Bankhead National Forest| Distance from Birmingham: 1 hour
Just a little under a mile from the nearby parking area, Caney Creek Falls in Bankhead National Forest is home to a twenty foot waterfall that spills into a mesmerizing blue pool below. This is a unique Alabama elopement location thanks to that deep blue water and the opportunity to easily walk behind the falls. And despite how easy it is to get to, this waterfall is perhaps one of Alabama’s lesser known falls, so it’s likely you will have the location all to yourself. The falls are breathtaking, but I also appreciate that there are many other shoot locations nearby, making this an ideal elopement destination if you are looking for a variety of natural backdrops.
Location: Oak Mountain Park in Pelham, Alabama | Distance from Birmingham: 30 Minutes
For those looking to stay close to the city, I recommend Peavine Falls in Oak Mountain State Park. This 65 foot waterfall is a 30 minute drive from Birmingham and a 30 minute walk from parking. It includes about five minutes of a steep climb (no climbing gear needed), so again, this is for the adventurous types. Though larger after a heavy rain, Peavine is the smallest of the waterfalls on this list at most times of the year. However, the creek and surrounding woods are always gorgeous!
Location: Fort Payne, Alabama | Distance from Birmingham: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Little River Canyon National Preserve is a beautiful spot in the Southern Appalachians. Millions of years ago, water carved one of the deepest canyons in the southeast into the sandstone flat top of Alabama’s Lookout Mountain. Here you will find two waterfalls, including the largest in the state, as well as the only river in the country that forms and flows almost entirely along a mountain top. It’s considered one of Alabama’s Ten Natural Wonders.
I recommend Little River Canyon for my most adventurous couples who aren’t afraid to hike and climb a little bit in order to discover thrilling views. With its bright, open vistas and cliffs towering some 600 feet above the river, you’ll truly feel like you eloped out west… but without the travel required!
Location: Near Oneonta, Alabama | Distance from Birmingham: 1 hour
Also known as Graves Creek Falls, Mardis Mills Falls requires one of the shortest and least strenuous walks on our list at just five minutes from the parking lot. Don’t let that fool you into thinking the location isn’t stunning! These serene falls are roughly 35-feet wide and drop 16 feet into a shaded natural pool below, complete with a swinging rope and lush surrounding woods that provide the perfect lighting. There are also several large creek areas that are easy to walk into if you’re down for a dip!
Location: Pinson, Alabama | Distance from Birmingham: 30 Minutes
The next location on my list offers yet another very simple walk that ends with a view like no other. Turkey Creek Falls, located in the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, is a must-see. While not the tallest waterfall you’ll find in the state, what it lacks in height it makes up for in beauty. Visitors enjoy using the “natural slide” created by the waterfall in the warmer months and there are multiple swimming areas that are easily accessible.
Natural beauty abounds in Alabama. These six locations are some of my favorites, but there are so many others in the state that I would love to explore with you. For example, Dismals Canyon in Phil Campbell, Alabama, provides a variety of backdrops, including two waterfalls and six natural bridges. Fairhope is another location on my Alabama elopement bucket list, with its beautiful beach views, piers, and charming downtown. Did your favorite location not make my list? Let’s hear it! I would love to dream up the perfect elopement with you!