Nothing adds to the thrill of a wedding more than a prime location. If your ceremony will be an intimate event, consider moving the party beachside — there are infinite ocean views in the world to amp up the intensity of your nuptials. All of the following beaches are in countries that allow same-sex marriage.
Top Beaches for Destination Weddings
1. Waimanalo Beach, Oahu, HI
The beaches of Hawaii, especially those with powdery white sand, look just as unreal in person as they do on a computer screensaver. The traditional, elegant beauty of Waimanalo Bay stretches for about five miles along the southeastern end of Oahu, where farms and wineries offer a respite from the busy metropolis of Honolulu. You and your party can choose from a bevy of rental homes in the area. A ceremony would look most unique with the backdrop of Rabbit Island and a smaller Kāohikaipu Island State Seabird Sanctuary, located next to Sea Life Park.
Trip Tip: Swim carefully, as jellyfish lurk in the waters.
2. Moonstone Beach, Cambria, CA
Halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this getaway in San Luis Obispo County near Hearst Castle and elephant seal observation lookouts is a lesser-known gem of the Pacific Coast Highway, and even offers gems of its own. Famed for the opalescent minerals on its shores, Moonstone Beach also boasts whales, dolphins and birds that might make an appearance during your wedding. With the high standard of architecture in Cambria, one can expect their accommodations to be just as impressive as the scenery, and surprisingly affordable to boot.
3. Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Nestled near Clearwater and St. Petersburg, FL, the Tampa Bay splendor of Indian Rocks Beach, situated on a barrier island, showcases mangroves, snowbird populations and vibrant sunsets. Coupled with reasonable accommodations, free parking and fewer tourists, this white sand paradise will feel like yours to enjoy.
4. Playa Esperanza, Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico
Looking for excitement? The lively Playa Esperanza, home to sea turtles, is more of a cove than a proper beach, but the nearby snorkeling islands of Cayo Afuera and Cayo de Tierra are a short kayak away. Along the promenade, the sunset comes down beautifully on a boardwalk with exceptional food, drink and shopping. By hiking to the west, one can access a black sand beach.
5. Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada
A beach wedding doesn’t have to mean sunny or tropical: the ice-cold waters of Vancouver Island leads to better seafood than snorkeling. In the friendly town of Tofino, fine cuisine, whale watching and wine makes this remote area of the Pacific Northwest unforgettable—especially if you’re one of the many tourists who sees a bear running down the street! Those making arrangements can decide between a view of smaller islands in the Tofino Inlet, or a beach cottage on the endless western shores.
6. Tunnel Beach, Dunedin, NZ
Add to the drama of your dream wedding by having it atop this arch on New Zealand’s south island in Dunedin. The walk to this site takes a short while, but attendees will enjoy the fossils and rock formations along the way, especially the final 72-step tunnel hand-carved by a mourning father in the 1870s. Be mindful of weather conditions, though: the spot sometimes closes after a storm.
7. Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Check out a somewhat remote view in east South Africa to celebrate your new life. With lush vegetation and Silaka Wildlife Reserve, this overlooked wedding destination not only has great residences available, but beaches with lifeguards, waterfalls, nearby shipwrecks and geological wonders harking back to the breakup of the original landmass Pangea. Gather here for an enviable ceremony for a setting anyone can enjoy.
8. Praia de Genipabu, Natal, Brazil
Rent a stylish, modern apartment in town and get hitched on the beautiful sands of Genipabu Beach and Dunes, where you can drive a buggy or ride a camel along this gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s also a lagoon in which to cool off desert sweat. With all the offerings of Natal and the local bars and restaurants of Genipabu, you and your guests might not want to leave this uncrowded pocket of Brazil.
9. Azenhas do Mar, Sintra, Portugal
For that couple in love with not only each other, but the finer things in life: tie the knot in style with a trip to Sintra, Portugal, where it’s hard to avoid palaces, castles or delicious wine. In the village of Azenhas do Mar, a swimming pool carved out of the natural rock formation sits underneath a splendid collection of white houses. Local wedding services specialize in “vintage” ceremonies, which fits in with the timelessness of the atmosphere.
10. La Balconada, La Paloma, Uruguay
La Paloma’s landmarks, such as the El Faro del Cabo Santa Maria lighthouse, contrast with the contemporary villas for rent in town: something old, something new, something borrowed. A protected wildlife area flanks the village's left side with black-neck swans, storks, and other rare fowl. Free concerts and nightfishing happens on the beach during the summer months of December, January and February.
Planning your wedding?
This article was written by Juliana Cohen and written by Tripping.com Content Specialist, Lexi Perman.
Hero image credit: Wilson Sanchez