Movie ticket? Check. Popcorn and soda? Check. Front row seat? Check. Now to be transported to a new destination that fully immerses you into a story. Movies are entertaining, informative, scary, exciting, sad, funny, serious, goofy… Whatever you’re in the mood for, there is a movie for that! Whatever type of movie it is, it brings you into a new world, without having to leave your seat. But, what if, instead of sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers you were on location, living and breathing it? Obviously, you can’t just hop into a movie, unless you’re a movie star, but you can, in some cases, see the set or the location where a movie was filmed. There is something magical about seeing what you saw in your favorite movie in real life. I have put together a list of five destinations that you MUST visit to see where, not just one, but many movies were filmed! I want you to get the biggest bang for your buck, as they say. So sit back, read on, and clear your calendar, you have five vacations to plan!
Charleston, South Carolina
Two words: The Notebook. If you are as in love with this movie as I am, you should book your plane ticket now! There are many sites throughout Charleston that serve as a backdrop to the movie including Boone’s Plantation for Allie’s summer house, Cypress Gardens for the iconic lake scene, King Street for many scenes (The American Theatre is here, the site of Noah and Allie’s double date), and Black River Plantation for the nursing home. Many other movies were filmed in this city, “where history lives” as well, including The Patriot, O, and Dear John. Also, The Big Chill, Forces of Nature, parts of Forrest Gump, G.I. Jane, and Gone Fishin’ were filmed in nearby Beaufort. This charming, historic, southern city will have you hoping for more movies to be filmed here, just so you have an excuse to come back!
Ahh Kauai! As if you needed another reason to visit this beautiful Hawaiian Island. Many movies with a tropical backdrop have been filmed here. With their white sand beaches, blue waters, cascading waterfalls, lush rainforests and spectacular views it’s no wonder why so many movies have been filmed here. The first movie made here was White Heat in 1933 and many more have followed including Miss Sadie Thompson, Jurassic Park, Hook, Six Days Seven Nights, Tropic Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Avatar, andThe Descendents. Kauai offers a movie sites tour, which I would highly recommend! This is a fantastic (and simple) way to see many of the sites where these films were made. Plus, they provide lunch, commentary and even clips of the sites you’re about to see – you can’t go wrong!
San Francisco, California
With well over 100 movies filmed in San Francisco, this iconic city just had to be added to the list! Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and the homes on steep hills, you will be instantly remember a handful of flicks.. A few classic movies that were filmed here include The Birds,The Graduate, Sister Act, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Basic Instinct. More recently, The Five Year Engagement, The Pursuit of Happyness, andBlue Jasmine used this town as their set. Like Kauai, I would highly suggest doing a movie tour. With so many movies being filmed here, this will get you out to see many spots in one shot.
Called the “The Hostess City of the South,” Savannah, Georgia, has been the host to many movies over the years. One of the most famous movies of all time, Forrest Gump, shot some scenes here. The famous scene of Tom Hanks sitting on the bench and reciting the words “My mama always said, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get” was filmed in Savannah’s Chippewa Square. This beautiful and historic city can also be seen in other movies such as Something to Talk About, Glory, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Cape Fear, and The Last Song. Also, like other cities on this list, Savannah does offer movie site tours. Make your way to the south, enjoy Southern hospitality at it’s finest and hop into some of your favorite movies.
Seattle, Washington may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of movie destinations, but many movies credit the “Emerald City” as part of their sets. The most obvious of these movies is Sleepless in Seattle, with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The houseboat that Sam and his son Jonah live in, is a private residence on Lake Union and can be seen by lovers of this movie. Alki Beach, Pike Place Market, and Athenian Inn are other “Sleepless” spots you may recall. Other movies that have been filmed here include Say Anything, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Life or Something Like It, 10 Things I Hate About You, and the Twilight saga. So many movies are filmed here for a reason – it’s beautiful, but you really need to see it in person to truly experience it.
Bonus: I did not mention New York, Boston, and Los Angles in this list, but they are all HUGE for movie locations. In fact, New York is the most filmed city in the U.S. Visit any of these cities and you will be transported into many, many films you have seen over the years. All of these destinations, like the others listed, offer movie site tours, which makes it easier on you to see as many as possible!