Scene-Stopping Vacations

hobbiton

Movie lovers have been seeking out the locations of cinematic scenes ever since Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr memorably made out in the Hawaiian surf in 1953’s “From Here to Eternity.”

You can still recreate that little piece of Hollywood history at Halona Beach Cove in Oahu, Hawaii, and that’s just one leg of a feature-length journey around the globe to destinations made famous on film.

“Die Hard”

Fans of this action film turned Christmas tradition know that Nakotomi Plaza is almost as big a star as Bruce Willis. In real life, the very recognizable 34-story skyscraper is the Fox Plaza building in downtown Los Angeles.

“Dirty Dancing”

Although meant to be a midcentury Catskills resort, the fictional Kellerman’s Mountain House featured in the Patrick Swayze/Jennifer Grey coming-of-age classic was shot in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at the Mountain Lake Lodge, which hosts special “Dirty Dancing” weekends throughout the year. 

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Photo: ROCKY89 / GETTY IMAGES

“Game of Thrones”

Over the course of eight epic seasons, “Game of Thrones” film crews moved from Iceland to depict the snowy North, to Dubrovnik, Croatia (pictured), to portray King’s Landing – most infamously in Queen Cersei’s infamous walk of shame in Season 5.

Fans of the show should also visit the city of Girona in the Catalonia region of Spain, both inspiration and shooting locale for Braavos. And a number of scenes, including Castle Ward (Winterfell in the series), were shot in Northern Ireland, which has an official Game of Thrones Studio Tour.

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Photo: BEN QUEENBOROUGH / GETTY IMAGES

“The Gilded Age”

This hit HBO series that brings Victorian-era wretched excess exquisitely to life was filmed extensively on location in Newport, Rhode Island, most notably the Bellevue Avenue mansions.

Among the palatial homes featured in the series – or “summer cottages,” as the Astors and Vanderbilts demurely referred to them – are The Breakers, The Elms (pictured), Marble House, Rosecliff and Chateau-sur-Mer, all of which can be seen on tours arranged by the Preservation Society of Newport County.

The “James Bond” Franchise

Ian Fleming’s famous 007 has traveled around the globe in 27 films made over the course of more than 60 years. But Fleming had a soft spot for Jamaica, where he lived and wrote most of his James Bond books, and the film producers repeatedly returned to the island to film.

The association between Jamaica and Bond starts right at the beginning in 1962’s “Dr. No,” when the beautiful Honey Ryder strides out of the surf at Ocho Rios’s Laughing Waters Beach to meet Sean Connery’s Bond.

Other famous 007 locations in Jamaica include the Jamaican Swamp Safari Village in Falmouth, the Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay (“Live and Let Die”) and Dunn’s River Falls (“Dr. No”).

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Photo: IMAGEBROKER / GERHARD ZWERGER-SCHONER / GETTY IMAGES

“The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy

Peter Jackson’s original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and his subsequent interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” were showcases for the natural beauty of New Zealand. Visitors to the North Island of New Zealand can visit the actual Hobbiton. Various scenes from the movies also were shot on Mount Victoria and Kaitoke Regional Park, near Wellington.

On the South Island you’ll find Mount Sunday (pictured), the site of the Rohan city Edoras, the “Ford of Bruinen” on the Arrow River and the Waiau River, where Frodo and company paddled away from Lothlorien at the beginning of the quest to destroy the One Ring.

“Pirates of the Caribbean” Series

The opening scene of the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie where the Royal Navy “almost captured Captain Jack Sparrow,” was filmed in Wallilabou Bay in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Remnants of the original set remain there. And the island where Jack and Elizabeth are marooned is Petit Tabac Cay in the Tobago Cays, also part of the Grenadines. On the lush island of Dominica, you’ll find the rope bridge Jack Sparrow fled across in “Dead Man’s Chest” over the Titou Gorge; the island served as the location for a variety of scenes in the second film.

“Stranger Things”

The Duffer Brothers’ ‘80s horror-style Netflix series is set in fictional Hawkins, Indiana, but was largely filmed in and around Atlanta, Georgia. Emory University is where Hawkins National Laboratory was filmed, Patrick Henry High School in Stockbridge is Hawkins High School and Middle School and the (closed) Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, stands in for Hawkins Starcourt Mall.

“The Walking Dead”

Zombies and survivors shuffle across the country in this long-running series – which just wrapped up after 12 seasons – but most of the filming took place in rural Georgia. The fortified town of Alexandria was shot in the small city of Senoia and has become the main pilgrimage destination for fans of the show. Nic and Norman’s restaurant in downtown Senoia is co-owned by series star Norman Reedus.

“Ted Lasso”

The Richmond Greyhounds of this soccer comedy starring Jason Sudeikis are fictional, but the real London suburb of Richmond was the filming location for scenes outside of Ted’s apartment, near 9½ Paved Court. The Hayes & Yeading United Football Club in Hayes, England, is the location for Greyhounds practices, while home games are staged at Selhurst Park Stadium, the actual home of the Premier League’s A.F.C. Crystal Palace soccer team. Prince’s Head Pub in Richmond is the series’ fictional Crown and Anchor.

“The White Lotus”

Mike White’s satirical HBO series that follows the rich, the climbers and the ordinary people they trample on was filmed in two Four Seasons resorts that stood in for a pair of fictional “White Lotus” resorts: the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea in Hawaii in its debut season, and the San Dominico Palace in Taormina, Sicily, in season 2.

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Photo: RICHARD SCHAFER / EYEEM / GETTY IMAGES

“Yellowstone”

The sprawling Yellowstone saga has spun off two prequels (1883 and 1923), with scenes shot from Texas to Montana and Utah. The ancestors of rancher John Dutton begin their journey in the stockyards of Fort Worth, Texas – now a popular park and entertainment district, while 1923 was largely filmed in Butte, Mont.

The coming 1944 story will film in the Bitterroot region of western Montana. As for “Yellowstone” itself, the standing sets for the Dutton Ranch are located on the private Chief Joseph Ranch near Darby, Mont., but can be seen from the road. Other stops for fans include Glen’s Cafe in Florence and Ruby’s Cafe in Missoula.

Plan your film location vacation with the help of a AAA travel advisor.

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2 Thoughts on “Scene-Stopping Vacations

    1. Hello John, we would love to connect with you! Call (800) 222-7448 to talk to an AAA Travel Advisor. They could recommend some fantastic hotels.

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