Looking for a good reason to get outside and enjoy the Carolinas? Check out these 10 famous outdoor movie locations.
The Carolinas are home to a wide variety of landscape and scenery, that is probably why there have been a number of great movies shot in these states.
Touring some of these famous movie locations will not only give you a great excuse to get out and see the nature of the Carolinas, you can take the whole family and enjoy the time together.
The Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks in North Carolina is the filming location for a couple of movies but the natural beauty offered on these islands is worth the visit alone.
The 1983 thriller “Brainstorm” had several scenes shot at the Outer Banks, including multiple scenes at the Wight Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills. “The Butchers Wife” (1991) also had a scene shot on the Cape Lookout National Seashore.
The film with the most Outer Banks scenery is the 2008 romance, “Nights in Rodanthe.” It was shot mostly in the Outer Banks town of Rodanthe, but features the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, and scenes from Ocracoke Island and the Ocracoke Lighthouse. The cottage known as the Inn at Rodanthe, featured in the film, is also available for rent. And the best part is that it is only a short drive to the Hattarras Point, which is known as one of the best fishing spots in the world.
Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina is sometimes referred to as “Hollywood East” for all the movies and television shows that come out of the town. Many of these are shot in city locations, or on the water, but there some natural locations in and around Wilmington that are great to check out, starting with the port in what is known as the “Port City” which is where a major scene was filmed for “Iron Man 3” (2013).
Airlie Gardens is a great natural getaway in the city of Wilmington. Its famous Airlie Oak has been featured in many television shows, as well as the classic movie “Betsy’s Wedding” (2007). The stables in Airlie Gardens have been in a number of films including Sandra Bullock’s “28 Days” (2000), and Martin Lawerence’s “Black Night” (2001).
The rest of Airlie Gardens are featured many times in the hit television shows “Dawson’s Creek” and “One Tree Hill.” Either way, Arlie Gardens makes for a great place to take the family and go enjoy a bit of nature in the city that is Wilmington.
Another great outdoor location in Wilmington is Lake Sutton, a great fishing lake where I managed to sink a boat once (but that’s another story). Many scenes from NBC’s hit show “Revolution” were shot at Lake Sutton and the surrounding area.
Southport, North Carolina
Southport is a small town just south of Wilmington, and is also a popular filming location on the coast of North Carolina. This fishing town has been the home to many scenes in the television series “Under the Dome,” “Dawson’s Creek,” and “Matlock” were filmed.
You can also find the locations of many movies in Southport such as the adaptations of Nicholas Sparks’s “Safe Haven” (2013) and “A Walk to Remember” (2002). Nearby are even more natural locations, including Fort Fisher, Orton Plantation, and Brunswick Forest which hosted films such as “The Divine Secrets of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood” (2002), and “We’re the Millers” (2013). Don’t forget your fishing rod when you head to Fort Fisher, you can even drive out on the beach for fishing with a 4×4 vehicle, and Brunswick County offers plenty of game land for public hunts.
Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
“The Hunger Games” (2012) really brought a wave of interest to the Pisgah National Forest when it was cast as the setting for District 12 in the movie. Very similar to the wave of new archers that were born after seeing the film. The Pisgah National Forest is made up of over 46,600 acres and is riddled with walking paths that include the Appalachian Trail, and three other long distance trails.
DuPont State Forest, North Carolina
DuPont State Forest, named for the DuPont company who arranged to sell the property to the state of North Carolina, is the home to Triple Falls and one of the most pivotal scenes in “The Hunger Games.” The same waterfall along with nearby Hooker Falls and many of the nearly 100 miles of trails that run through DuPont State Forest also appeared in Daniel Day Lewis’s “The Last of The Mohicans” (1992). While hunting in the forest requires a special permit, fishing is allowed in all of the park’s rivers and streams.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a great town for the nature lover but the most popular film attraction is The Biltmore Estate, which is private land that is open to the public has played host to a number of popular films over the years. You can recognize scenes from movies such as “Richie Rich” (1994), “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” (2012), “Being There” (1979), and some even more popular films including “Hannibal” (2001), “The Green Mile” (1999), and “Forrest Gump” (1994). Biltmore is a great outdoor location to take the whole family; they have everything from walking, to biking, to horseback riding trails all located on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate.
Lake Lure, North Carolina
Lake Lure is a lake of around 700 acres in size that gained a massive amount of popularity following the filming and release of Patrick Swayze’s “Dirty Dancing” in 1987. Much of the movie was filmed in Lake Lure, including the famous water lift scene.
Lake Lure has also played host to other film scenes including “My Fellow Americans” (1996), “A Breed Apart” (1984), “Thunder Road” (1958), and “Firestarter” (1984).
Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina
Chimney Rock is located just minutes from Lake Lure and has also been an iconic movie location. The park is most known for its 315-foot granite rock formation that can be reached by a trail hike or an elevator for those who need it and it offers an amazing view of the areas around the park and countryside. While enjoying the park you can enjoy the scenery from many of the scenes from “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992), which was shot in the park and surrounding areas. Specifically the Huron negotiation, the cliff chase, and some of the main fight scenes were all filmed in the park.
Beaufort, South Carolina
Beaufort, South Carolina has been named one of the “Top 50 Adventure Towns” by National Geographic Adventure and from the types of movies that have been filmed here it is easy to see why. In Beaufort we can find locations from films such “The Great Santini” (1979), “Forrest Gump” (1994), “The Jungle Book” (1994), “G.I. Jane”(1997), “Rules of Engagement” (2000), “The Legend of Bagger Vance” (2000), and scores more. After you finish a morning of fishing, you can tour some of the more famous sites like The National Cemetery where The Great Santini was buried, and the bridge over the “Mississippi River” where Forrest Gump ran across.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina and that is part of what makes it such an attractive location for filmmakers, but it is also very close to nature and you don’t have to look far to find a place to hunt, hike, or fish.
There have been over 50 films and television series that have been at least partially filmed in some part of Charleston. Some of the major ones are “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” (1995), “Dear John” (2010), “The Notebook” (2004), “The Patriot” (2000), and some scenes from “Cold Mountain” (2003). All of these films are great outdoor films with scenery that can’t be beat, and if you judge from these films, you can tell why Charleston is a great outdoor town to visit.
These are just some of the places in the Carolinas that have been used for filming. Going to check out these sights is a great excuse to get out in the outdoors and enjoy the scenery either by yourself or with your family. Because of the great access to nature you can just hike, take pictures, and enjoy. Or, with a little bit of planning you can do some hunting and fishing along the way.
Follow me on twitter @chrisbuck243