How to plan an event in a national park

From getting a permit to catering, we’ve got the details on how to plan a wedding, family reunion, or special occasion in a national park.

A panoramic view of a lake nestled at the top of a mountain whose top collapsed some 7,700 years ago.

Crater Lake, located a little over 4.5 hours from Portland, is the deepest lake in the US.

Photo by Epmatsw

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If you’re planning a party — be it a family reunion, a wedding, or just because — we’ve got an idea that’s a breath of fresh air. Why not give your guests a gorgeous view by hosting an event in a national park? Follow these guidelines to make party planning a walk in the park.

Pick a park

Whether you want a local favorite like Crater Lake National Park or something a little more niche, there are 424 national parks to choose from.

Get a permit

Most parks require a permit for special events. Fill out the application well in advance to avoid any delays. Pro tip: Some parks grant a permit up to a year before the event.

Spread the word

If your festivities are open to the public, let the community know by submitting an event to our website. We’d be delighted to attend.

Provide the essentials

If you’ve ever borrowed sunscreen from a stranger, you know what we mean. Have on hand: sunscreen, bugspray, a first aid kit, and plenty of water — just in case.

Feed guests, not wildlife

Check the park’s rules about food (some require food to be stored in lockers). Either way, it’s a good idea to use airtight containers, and plan to eat in designated areas — like any of these picture perfect picnic spots.

Prioritize preservation

The golden rule of being in the wilderness? Leave no trace.

For example, most parks don’t allow anything to be driven into the ground — so stakes for tents and decor are out. You should also plan to clean up after yourself. Stock up on trash bags (we like these biodegradable bags) and leave the confetti at home.

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