13 Unique Beach Proposal Ideas for a Romantic Getaway

Popping the big question on sandy shores can be both romantic and timeless. Read on to find out our favorite beach proposal ideas.

By Jennifer Prince

Most Unique Beach Proposal Ideas
Photo by Heidi Bee Photography

There’s just something about the beach that screams romance and makes it the perfect place to pop the question. Whether on Bora Bora’s white sand or visiting a coastal US town, our beach proposal ideas will have you well on your way to making lasting memories of your own. Not to knock urban environments like New York City or snowy places like Alaska, but the beach holds a special treasure all its own when it comes to romance.

A Note About Beach Proposals

Before we get into locations—and before you experience despair—ensure that the wedding ring is safe. As with all outdoor proposal ideas, keeping valuables protected is essential. Store the jewelry in its box until you’re ready for the wedding proposal to ask the love of your life to marry you.

Also, ensure that the ring will be safe if it accidentally falls. Proposing on a pier or by the waves may seem romantic, but it’s important to consider other areas that won’t pose a danger to a precious piece of jewelry. An intimate moment can quickly turn to heartbreak if you’ve lost the engagement ring among the seashells and sandcastles. An impromptu treasure hunt for a dropped and buried treasure is something you need to avoid.

When you start planning your surprise proposal idea, make sure you consider all the logistics. Depending on your location, check the weather and tides at the time of day you plan on having the big moment. It’s best to be prepared for any circumstance when you’re trusting in nature. High tide and pop-up storms can thwart the most romantic beach proposal in a hurry. To get a fabulous start to the rest of your life, here are some romantic proposal ideas for you to take your ask to the next level.

Most Unique Beach Proposal Ideas | Zola Photo Credit // Unsplash

Where to Propose at the Beach

If you grew up going to the beach, you might envision crowds of people lying on blankets for miles. Of course, you can propose in such a location, but other places are a bit more private.

  • On the dunes: Natural dunes are an attraction all their own. When you look out and only see water and mountains of sand, it emphasizes the two of you.
  • In the amusement park: Areas that have rides make for adorable photos. They often have romantic alcoves for the perfect proposal.
  • On the boardwalk: Boardwalk areas lend themselves to romantic walks, getting ice cream, and viewing the ocean. Consider popping the big question with beautiful beaches in the distance on both sides of you.
  • Under a pier: While others are viewing the water from above, steal a moment below the stately pylons.
  • Above the water: Helicopter rides can give a different vantage point to a proposal.
  • While at a restaurant: Quaint eateries abound by the seashore. Have a romantic meal, then get down on one knee for your special moment.
  • In a boat: Take a boat tour of the area. Find a private spot and ask, “Will you marry me?”
  • On the sand: Your rental is behind you, and all that is in front of you is the ocean. No matter who else is around, asking on the sand is one of the most romantic marriage proposal ideas.

13 Unique Beach Proposal Ideas

1. Have a beach picnic proposal

Find a secluded area and set up a picnic. Have a caterer cook a meal and set the scene, or pack a large basket with wine and charcuterie. Eat, enjoy the ocean sounds, and then pop the question. Take a hand-in-hand walk on the beach after the beach picnic proposal to add to the romantic vibe.

2. Discover a message in a bottle that contains a proposal

Have a friend place and watch over a bottle containing a special message for your partner to find. Take a walk, and when your significant other happens to discover the container, get down on one knee. Ask the question while your watchkeeping friend takes a few photos.

3. Be an early bird and take a sunrise walk on the beach to propose

The world—well, the beach—is your oyster if you’re willing to get up early. To beat the crowds and have a bit of privacy, set an early alarm and head out on the beach. Wear your bathing suit, PJs, or loungewear if you must. Whatever it takes, grab a few private moments and start your partner’s day with an early surprise.

4. Write your proposal in the sand

Something as simple as writing, “Will you marry me?” in the sand can be a memorable way to ask. If you or a friend has time, you can also use driftwood or shells to spell it out. Either take a walk and happen upon the saying, or write it while they’re napping on their beach towel.

5. Find a Ferris wheel and propose during a ride

You’re in luck if the beach has a Ferris wheel. Quite often, the cars hold two people perfectly, so you can steal a few moments of privacy. Wait until you reach the top where the view is at its peak, then ask. The pods’ secluded nature also allows for a few post-proposal kisses to celebrate a “Yes!”

6. Hire a sand sculpture artist to design a masterpiece

Beautiful sand art captures attention, and sculptures are a favorite among beachgoers. Quite often, folks encounter several while they are walking on the beach. Take advantage of this, and hire an artist to design a piece that’s uniquely you. Have the art represent a memory you have together. Then, pop the question after you and your SO view the installation.

7. Schedule a beach photo session

Most Unique Beach Proposal Ideas | Zola Photo Credit // Unsplash

Beach photos for couples and families are standard. It’s no wonder, as the scenery makes the perfect backdrop for pictures. Hire a photographer to take images, and then pop the question when the time is right. Of course, your photographer will be ready to snap away as you ask and they say, “Yes!”

8. Go snorkeling and pop the question under the water

Remember the safety point made above? Keep that top of mind if you choose any underwater beach proposal ideas. Go snorkeling, and have someone capture your special moment with a water-safe camera. Not only will you have unforgettable memories, but you’ll also have a unique story to tell. If you’re scuba-certified, you could take it to the next level and go diving during the marriage proposal.

9. Make a sunset fire and propose under a colorful sky

Sunset proposal ideas are some of the most romantic. Get a secluded beach involved, and it’s doubly exciting. Check your local area to see if they allow fires—skip this idea if they don’t. Build a cozy fire before sunset, watch the sun go down, and ask when the sky is in full color. Night beach proposal ideas create such fond memories. Plus, this surprise marriage proposal will be a complete shock to your partner.

10. Head to a destination resort and propose

Get the all-inclusive resort you’re staying at involved in your proposal. Have your bartender slide the ring on the straw of your partner’s drink while they’re sunbathing, or ask the restaurant to arrange a romantic sunset meal for two on a secluded beach. There are many ways to ask during a memorable resort vacation.

If the time of year and your vacation plans hit correctly, asking along the coast can be an enjoyable experience. Just be sure to secure the ring and that “yes” answer by using one of our unique beach proposal ideas. They’re “shore” to love it if you do!

11. Put the engagement ring in a seashell instead of a ring box

How fun would it be for your partner to “accidentally” find pick up a beautiful shell? A beautiful ring awaits inside and so does the question, “Will you marry me?” What a fun twist to add to your love story as you ask the big question. Again, just be careful where you place the seashell to keep the ring safe. Another option is to have a path of rose petals leading up to a beach bonfire with the shell resting on a bench or beside the fire. It will be an unexpected twist that your loved one won’t expect.

12. Plan a treasure hunt

A scavenger hunt is a truly fun way to add an element of excitement to your proposal story. However, when you’re at the beach, it’s more of a treasure hunt! Channel your inner pirate and get up in the early morning to search for buried treasure. Craft a makeshift map and go to different sites before you find the “X” and ask the big question. An adorable twist is to place a message in a bottle-style note in the sand for your significant other to find at the designated spot.

13. Make or commission a sandcastle

Sure, sandcastles were fun to make during your summer beach vacation when you were a kid. However, the truth is that they are difficult to make! Have a professional make a sandcastle that spells out the marriage proposal or is a replica of where you had your first date. Take a walk down the beach with your love, admire the sandcastle, and then ask once they realize its significance. Just be sure to do a little photoshoot with the sand creation before nature washes it away.

Zola, Helping You Further Your Love Story

Whether you’re planning a beach wedding or nuptials against an urban skyline, Zola is here to help with expert advice. We want to be a part of planning everything from your proposal story to your destination honeymoon. Also, don’t miss out on our wedding registry, vendor lists, and free wedding websites. Zola is the perfect one-stop shop for couples looking forward to their big day and beyond.

Up next for you

Classic Marriage Proposal Ideas

20 Classic Wedding Proposal Ideas Your Partner Will Love


Getting married is exciting, and using a tried-and-true method to propose can be meaningful. Our classic marriage proposal ideas can help. Check out our latest blog to discover classic marriage proposal ideas from the experts at Zola.

Surprise Proposal

28 Best Surprise Proposal Ideas + Tips to Make It Memorable


Looking to pull off the perfect surprise proposal? Check out our latest article for all our top tips and tricks.

Proposal Etiquette

Proposal Etiquette: How to Ask for a Father's Permission to Marry His Daughter?


There are guides for almost every first, but there’s no manual on proposal etiquette. Our complete guide can help.

What's Your Wedding Style?

What's Your Wedding Style? + 130 Decor Ideas


In this wedding style guide, find out why thinking about your wedding style early on will help you in your planning, and how to use Zola Inspiration to discover your own personal wedding vision.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola

Find even more wedding ideas, inspo, tips, and tricks

We’ve got wedding planning advice on everything from save the dates to wedding cakes.