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Where can you scatter ashes?

There are many things you can do with someone’s ashes after they’ve been cremated. Some choose to keep the ashes in an urn, while others might opt for a unique keepsake item, like having them turned into a piece of jewellery or artwork.

A popular option is to scatter the ashes at a location that holds sentimental value to the deceased. Deciding where to scatter ashes is a personal matter and should only be influenced by what you, and those attending the ash scattering, feel is best.

In the USA, there are very few laws regarding the scattering of ashes. However, if you do choose to scatter ashes on private land (other than your home, or a relatives) you will need to have permission granted in order to do so.

Whilst you can scatter ashes practically anywhere, there are some environmental considerations to bear in mind when scattering ashes into bodies of water, or onto a mountainside.

So what locations might be a good fit to scatter the ashes of a loved one?

Man on a boat scatters ashes into the ocean from a metal urn

Private land

One more intimate option is to scatter ashes in the deceased’s home. Perhaps they had a favourite plant or tree in the garden. This is a popular choice. Even though they have passed away, the proximity can make those mourning feel like they are still close in some shape or form.

Naturally, if you opt to scatter ashes on private land you will need to ask if this is a possibility in advance. There is also the potential downside of not being able to go back to the property in the future to remember your loved one if the land is sold on. This is definitely something to consider when thinking of a place to hold this ceremonial act.

National Parks and Forests

There are many beautiful US National Parks and US National Forests throughout the US. Currently, you cannot scatter ashes at any US National Forest. According to The National Funeral Service, the ‘proposed use [that being, performing an ash scattering] would be inconsistent or incompatible with the purposes for which the lands are managed.” Fortunately, it is legal to scatter ashes in most US National Parks, although you will need to visit the park’s websites to check regulations as they will differ from one park to the next.

A river, or the sea

If your special someone was an aquatic fanatic, you might consider casting their ashes into a body of water. A river, their favourite lake, or a trip to the coast to pay tribute to their life.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifies that ashes scattered at sea must be dropped at least three nautical miles from land. For US Navy Veterans, the Burial At Sea program details all the requirements and can facilitate scatterings on your behalf.

A sporting venue

It might seem unusual to scatter someone’s ashes on a sporting ground, and you may assume that this would not be something on offer. However, various sporting venues across the US are open to people visiting to scatter ashes. There are even memorial areas set aside specifically for ash scattering.

Were they passionate about soccer? Did they attend their local stadium to watch football matches? Was tennis their biggest hobby? Regulations concerning ash scattering at sporting venues vary greatly, so be sure to find out what is and isn’t allowed.

football on the pitch of a football stadium

Several locations

There is no need to limit an ash scattering to one place, why not divide up the ashes and pay homage to their life by releasing them in a way that reflects their multifaceted nature?


How about a unique send-off in the final frontier? At Aura Flights, we scatter ashes in space as a unique memorial for those who loved travel, adventure, science fiction, stargazing, or simply considered themselves citizens of the world.

Our custom-made scattering vessel releases a cascade of ashes from above the clouds, with the glow of the horizon and the vast blackness of space serving as an impressive backdrop.

The ashes will be taken on a journey around the globe on the wings of stratospheric winds whirling up above. Your loved one's ashes will then later return back to Earth in the form of rain or snowfall, to become one with this pale blue dot they once called home.

Aura flight scatter vessel scattering ashes in space over the Earth

Find out more about this one-of-a-kind memorial offering on our homepage.


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