Lights. Camera. Explore.
1. Spectre, Alabama: “Big Fish”
Tim Burton’s 2003 film “Big Fish” centered around the strange town of Spectre, Alabama. Situated behind a haunted forest in the movie, the town was actually custom-built on a private island called Jackson Lake Island. Shoes still hang between the poles that mark the town’s entry way (the townspeople were always barefoot). Visitors, fishermen, campers and kayakers can visit the town for just $3 a day.
2. The Stanley Hotel: “The Shining”
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado was the real-life inspiration for “The Shining’s” Overlook Hotel. Although the movie wasn’t shot here, guests have reported many paranormal experiences in the hotels halls.
3. Tozeur, Tunisia: “Star Wars”
You won’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to visit Tozeur, Tunisia. The north African desert served as the backdrop for scenes in all of the films in the “Star Wars” saga, except for Episode V. The flat and sandy location makes for a perfect depiction of Tatooine.
4. Matamata, New Zealand: “Lord of the Rings”
The agricultural town of Matamata, New Zealand has beautiful hills and lush, green valleys, but “Lord of the Rings” fans will be most excited about The Shire. You can visit the town of Hobbiton and take a tour of the hobbit homes you saw in the movies.
5. Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina: “The Hunger Games”
Enter the arena you know and feared from the “The Hunger Games.” The Pisgah National Forest was the shooting location for most of the scenes during the first film’s tribute battles. You’ll be able to enjoy the natural landscape and waterfalls without worrying about fellow tributes on your trail.
6. Wallilabou Anchorage, St. Vincent: “Pirates of the Caribbean”
The set for “Pirates of The Caribbean” was built around a hotel on the island of St. Vincent. Guests can still see many of the remaining props, ships and costumes on property.
7. Alnwick Castle, England: “Harry Potter”
Potterheads will instantly want to book a trip to Alnwick Castle.The structure has a rich history dating back to 1136 A.D., but more importantly, you’ll recognize the castle’s exterior from memorable scenes like Madam Hooch’s flying class. If you head inside, you’ll get a glimpse at The Forbidden Corridor.
8. Harrisburg State Hospital: “Girl, Interrupted”
Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg State Hospital was a real, functioning mental health facility in the 90s, when “Girl, Interrupted” was shot there. When the hospital closed in 2003, the building was renovated into office spaces. The administration sign that was originally part of the set design still hangs there today.
9. Mellieha, Malta: “Popeye” Village
The island of Mellieha, Malta was the shooting location for the 1980s musical, “Popeye,” and has lived on as a full-fledged destination since. Now called Popeye Village, the island is a full-blown open-air museum and entertainment complex. Visitors enjoy shows, rides, and playhouses, and even plan a wedding here, if that’s your thing.
– Justine Figueroa