Thinking about eloping in Upstate New York? Consider eloping in the Catskills and getting married at Minnewaska State Park.
Minnewaska is true gem in Upstate NY! Unique rock formations, epic day hikes, and multiple waterfalls are just some of the reasons it's one of my favorite places to spend time. It's a lovely year-round destination. Personally, I've spent quite a bit of time rock climbing in the summer, hiking in the fall, and cross country skiing in the winter. And one the best parts about Minnewaska is that you can legally get married here with up to 15 people AND it's dog friendly!
Before we dive into Minnewaska State Park, let's talk about the Catskills!
The Catskills are a wonderful place to elope or get married because it is beautiful and there are so many activities! Whether you want to go on an outdoor adventure, hunt for antiques, or visit art museums, the Catskills have it all.
The Catskills are home to a 600,000 acre state park with mountains, meadows, forests, lakes, and rivers. Oh, and the waterfalls! Did I mention the waterfalls?
The Catskills are an easy 2 hour drive from New York City, making it the perfect location for a getaway. If you want to read more about the Catskills, how to get here, and why it's a great place to elope, check out the Catskills Elopement Guide!
Things I Love About Getting Married in the Catskills
* Great forested mountain hikes
* Lots of waterfalls
* Fantastic bouldering and rock climbing activities
* Quiet country roads for biking
* Wild blueberries next to lakes
* Art museums
* Cute villages with local shops
Now, let's talk about Minnewaska State Park!
Where is Minnewaska State Park and Why is it Awesome?
Minnewaska State Park is situated in one of the most unique areas of New York State- the Shawangunk Mountain Range. The park rises to about 2,000 feet and dramatic cliffs and ledges lead you to gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape.
Minnewaska State Park is located about an hour and a half north of NYC...but let's call it 2 hours with traffic. If you are coming from the north, it's about an hour south of Albany. Even if you are coming from further away, like Boston or Philadelphia, the trip is worth it! The surrounding towns have local breweries, distilleries, farm-to-table restaurants, homemade ice cream, and more! And I didn't even mention the art galleries for rainy days.
There are two distinct areas- the area around Lake Minnewaska and an area known as Sam's Point. Sam's Point was acquired by the park in 2014 and is home to new growth forest, Verkeerderkill Falls, and epic cliffs. If you do visit Sam's Point, reservations are required during the high season since parking is limited. If you are afraid of heights, this might not be the place for you. If you don't mind heights, this spot should move to the top of your list as a place to check out!
The area around Minnewaska Lake has 50 miles of hiking trails and 35 miles of carriage road trails perfect for mountain biking. In the wintertime, this is a popular place to go cross country skiing. The areas are about 30 minutes away from each other, so you can definitely see them both during a weekend getaway!
Requirements to Get Married at Minnewaska State Park Preserve
If you want to get legally married in Minnewaska State Park, permits are required. Permits are only issued for weekdays for groups under 15. The fee to get married at Minnewaska is $200.
Getting Married at Sam's Point
Sam's Point was recently incorporated into Minnewaska State Park. As such, the rules to get married there are the same as the Preserve (above). Sam's Point is located on the highest point of the Shawangunk Mountains (pronounced SHON-gum) with views of rocky cliffs, lakes, and forests.
Personally, I love the Sam's Point area. One of my favorite Catskills hikes starts here! To reach the viewpoint, you walk about a gentle carriage road for about a mile. That said, this area tends to be very crowded, especially during the summer and on weekends. If you want some privacy, the best option would be to hike the 8.3 mile loop along the ridgeline.
Wedding secret handshakes? Yes please!
Parking and Entrance Fees at Minnewaska State Park
Both Sam's Point and the primary Minnewaska State Park Preserve areas are gated. The park opens at 9AM and closing times vary by season. A $10 fee is required to park and visit the area. If you have a NYS Parks Pass like I do, then parking is free.
Check Out Some Pictures From Sara and Beau's Upstate New York Minnewaska State Park Elopement
Molly is a small wedding and elopement photographer who is always up for a new adventure!
Interested in talking to me about your New York elopement or intimate wedding? Let me be your guide to making the best of your perfect day! P.S. I'm also a licensed hiking guide, so I know all the best off-the-beaten-path locations!
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