Filming Locations Guide: The Best Films Made In Every State
May 21, 2024 |
By Dani Dudek
best filming locations

One of our favorite things to do while traveling is to visit filming locations in the areas we’re visiting. While we’ve been to many states and many filming locations over the years, there are still quite a few we’d like to see. That got us thinking: what is the best film made in every state?

Before we get to the highlights, we acknowledge that you may not agree on our picks. Understandable. If you’d like to share your choice with us, send a DM on Instagram and we’ll consider adding your favorite film. Now, let’s get started.

Here are the best films and filming locations in every US state!


Space Camp – Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center serves as the main filming locations for the 1986 movie. The cast includes: Kate Capshaw, Tom Skeritt, Lea Thompson, Tate Donovan, Kelly Preston and Joaquin (AKA Leaf) Phoenix.


Into the Wild – One of the most famous locales in the film is the “Magic Bus,” an abandoned bus with the number 142. Fans can visit the bus today as it’s located on the Stampede Trail in Denali National Park.


Star Wars – The Imperial Sand Dunes (AKA Yuma Sand Dunes) can also be referred to as Tatooine because both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi filmed there. It was also a filming location for Dune.


Sling Blade – Benton, Arkansas, is home to Garry’s Whopper Burger (now called Garry’s Sling Blade Drive-In). It plays a pivotal role in a scene between Karl and Vaughan.


Instead of choosing one film, we’re choosing a location for the Golden State. Griffith Observatory has made appearances in many films including: Rebel Without a Cause, La La Land, The Terminator, Transformers, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, The Rocketeer and more.

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, CA.


Dumb and Dumber – While Lloyd and Harry were seen hitting the slopes in Aspen in the flick, they were actually in Breckenridge. You can also spot the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. It’s where Lloyd was stood up by his dream girl at the hotel’s Cascades Whiskey Bar.


Mystic Pizza – The famed pizza joint is real and you can visit (though the interiors were actually shot on a set)! While in the quaint Connecticut town, you can also wander downtown Mystic and see the church, all of the houses, restaurants and more. Here’s a great guide to every spot you can find from the film.


Dead Poet’s Society – Although Welton Academy is in Vermont within the fictional universe of Dead Poets Society, the filming location is actually St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware.


Edward Scissorhands – The intentionally nondescript suburbs featured in this Tim Burton classic are real locations in Lutz, Lakeland and the Tampa Bay area. Here’s a list with more specifics.


The Hunger Games – Much of The Hunger Games was filmed in different locations throughout Georgia but an iconic location in Atlanta is the Swan House. Used as President Snow’s mansion for the entire trilogy, guests are able to take an actual tour of the house. Keep reading for more Hunger Games filming locations in the North Carolina section.

Swan House in Atlanta, GA.


Blue Hawaii – Hanauma Bay serves as the picturesque filming location for the beach scenes in this Elvis Presley classic. The protected marine life conservation area is a collapsed volcanic cone filled with crystal-clear water located on the southeast side of Oahu.


Napoleon Dynamite – The geeks inherit the earth in this film that put Preston, Idaho, on the map. Literally. The town is located 100 miles north of Salt Lake City on the Utah border. Here’s a sweet guide to all of the movie’s filming locations.


Home Alone – Located in the Northern Chicago suburb of Winnetka, the Home Alone house looks just as it did in the film. The kitchen, main staircase and ground-floor landing are all featured though the other rooms were shot on a soundstage. And while the second movie is set in NYC, the hotel at the end is actually the Hilton Chicago!

Home Alone Filming Location
The Home Alone house outside of Chicago, IL.


Rudy – South Bend, Indiana was already known by many as the home of the prestigious Notre Dame University. The film Rudy, however, definitely helped non-sports fans learn more about the school and town. Learn more about the story and some of the filming locations here.


Field of Dreams – Arguably the most well-known movie ever made in Iowa is Field of Dreams. The baseball flick was filmed in Farley, Dubuque and Dyersville. Get specifics on the locations here.


Friday Night Lights – While most of this 2004 film was shot in Texas, parts of the intro and trailer were actually filmed in Manhattan, Kansas.


Coal Miner’s Daughter – The story of Loretta Lynn and her journey through life and the music features several Kentucky locations, including Van Lear, Jenkins and Whitesburg. Lynn famously grew up a coal miner’s daughter in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky.


Steel Magnolias – Filmed in and around Natchitotches, the film’s success continues to impact the “Meat Pie Capital of the World.” You can even stay at the home in the film! The Henry Cook-Taylor House is now the Steel Magnolia Bed and Breakfast.


Pet Sematary – This Stephen King film is probably the most well-known movie filmed in Maine. Some of the most well-known scenes were filmed in Mount Hope Cemetery at 1048 State Street in Bangor.


The Wedding Crashers – Enjoy a scenic drive up the Eastern Shore of Maryland to St. Michaels which serves as the primary area for filming. Stay at the Inn at Perry Cabin where the wedding reception scene takes place.


Hocus Pocus – If you love Hocus Pocus you must plan a trip to Salem! We had the chance to run amuck and visit all of the filming locations from the 90s classic. You can find them all here.

One of the Hocus Pocus filming locations in Salem, MA,


Batman vs. Superman – The biggest film project ever to shoot in Michigan used 40 or more locations during five months of shooting. If you’re a fan, the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office has a free interactive app that includes a self-guided tour to a dozen Detroit filming locations.


Purple Rain – Memorabilia from the 1984 classic film is on display at Prince’s former residence and studio Paisley Park. Scenes from the flick were shot south of the Twin Cities near Henderson, where there’s now a purple mural and bench in Prince’s honor. The iconic Minneapolis rock club First Avenue & 7th Street Entry is also featured.


A Time to Kill – Though filming took place in London, Ontario and Tampa, as well, the most recognizable filming location in this Matthew McConaughey starring flick is Canton, Mississippi. The Madison County Courthouse and jail grounds set the scene for much of the film.


Gone Girl – This thriller was made almost entirely in and around Cape Girardeau in eastern Missouri. Set in North Carthage, a fictitious town of the same name, viewers are captivated by the beautiful rural Midwest town.


A River Runs Through It – The book and movie may be set in Missoula and the Blackfoot River, but filming actually took place in south central Montana in Livingston and Bozeman. All the fishing scenes are shot by the Gallatin River and Yellowstone River. Robert Redford used these areas again while filming The Horse Whisperer.


Election – Most of the Election was shot in Director Alexander Payne’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Two of the most recognizable locales are Papillion-La Vista High School and Tracy’s House, which can be found in the Hanscom Park area of Omaha.


Vegas Vacation – A personal favorite of mine, Vegas Vacation features many well known Vegas spots on the strip. Locations include: Mirage Hotel and Casino (soon to RIP), MGM Grand Las Vegas, the Klondike Hotel and Casino, O’Sheas Casino, and Fremont Street Experience. You also see the Hoover Dam, Wayne Newton’s House and the Neon Museum. Fun fact: the testing site where Cousin Eddie lives is now home to Seven Magic Mountains. Read more about that and other unique things to do in Vegas here.

Sigfried and Roy statue at the Mirage in Las Vegas, NV.

New Hampshire

Jumaji – When the animals stampede through the fictional town they are actually in the New Hampshire city of Keene! You may even be able to recognize some of the town stores if you look closely.

New Jersey

Mean Girls – The 2004 film is set in the Midwest but it was actually shot in New Jersey. Montclair High School is the setting for North Shore High School.

New Mexico

Red Dawn (1984) – The original Red Dawn was shot across the Johnson Mesa, at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu and other locales in Las Vegas, New Mexico. You can find more detail here.

New York

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Most of the exteriors of this Truman Capote classic were filmed in New York City. Except for portions of the scene inside Tiffany & Company, most other scenes were completed on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood.

Tiffany & Co. on Madison Avenue in NYC.

North Carolina

Hunger Games – The first installment of the Hunger Games series was shot in North Carolina, mostly near Asheville. We visited the village that serves as District 12 and even snapped a pic with Peeta’s family’s bakery. Learn more about all of the filming locations here.

North Dakota

Fargo – According to, many locations from Fargo have since been demolished or renovated. However, some recognizable spots from the film are still intact, including the Hitching Post Motel and The Blue Ox truck stop.


A Christmas Story – Though this Christmas classic was set in the fictional town of Holman, Indiana, it was actually shot in Cleveland. The house is still there and now serves as a museum dedicated to the film. Learn more here.

A Christmas Story House
A Christmas Story house in Cleveland, OH.


Twister (1996) – Ponca City, Guthrie, Norman, Pauls Valley, Maysville, Waurika, Fairfax, Kaw City, Ralston and Carney are listed as filming sites along with Wakita, the site of a Twister museum. The upcoming sequel Twisters filmed in Oklahoma City in 2023. Along with OKC, the film reportedly shot in and around Chickasha, El Reno, Okarche and Cashion


The Goonies – Goonies never say die so it’s no surprise that the Goonies filming locations still exist! The houses, the beach, Astoria Jail, the Good Docks… you can see them all. Here are the details.


Silence of the Lambs – This classic thriller was shot largely in the Pittsburgh area. Multiple locations were used, but the most famous is definitely Buffalo Bill’s House. You can now tour the infamous home and even stay the night.

Rhode Island

Hocus Pocus 2 – The return of the Sanderson Sisters didn’t actually happen in Salem. The long awaited sequel was filmed in Rhode Island. Salem stand-ins include Chase Farm, Benefit Street and LaSalle Academy,

South Carolina

The Notebook – The Charleston area is beautifully highlighted in this film inspired by the Nicholas Sparks novel. Filming locations include: the American Theater, College of Charleston, Cypress Gardens (Moncks Corner), Old Village (Mount Pleasant), Rice Hope/Black River Plantation (Georgetown County), Boone Hall Plantation (Mount Pleasant) and more. The house Noah built Allie is in Martins Point Plantation on Wadmalaw Island. It is a private residence and we don’t recommend trespassing.

Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, SC.

South Dakota

National Treasure Book of Secrets – The book reveals that the lost city of gold is cleverly hidden under Mount Rushmore. Surprisingly, this was the first time the famed landmark was used as a major film location since Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest. The body of water beneath the monument, however, is actually Sylvan Lake located in Custer State Park.


Walk the Line – You’d be hard pressed to make a film about Johnny Cash and not shoot in Tennessee. The abandoned Tennessee State Penitentiary stood in for Folsom while the interiors were shot at the Pipkin Building at the Memphis Fairgrounds. Other Memphis locations featured in the film include: Mud Island Amphitheater, Sun Records, The Orpheum and Scottish Rite Temple.


Dazed and Confused – Choosing just one Texas movie was a tough as we write about Texas film regularly. But, if we have to pick just one, it has to be Dazed and Confused. Though the filming locations look a bit different now, most of them still exist in Austin. Here’s more detail on that.

The “Emporium” from Dazed and Confused in Austin, TX.


The Sandlot – Set in California’s San Fernando Valley, many of the pivotal scenes from The Sandlot were actually shot in Utah. Ogden is home to Lorin Farr Community Pool, while Farmington is where Lagoon Amusement Park is located. Apparently, the actual “sandlot” is hidden in a small neighborhood but you can find the Riverside Baseball Field where they take on the rich kids in Salt Lake City. Learn more about the Utah filming locations here.


Beetlejuice – Most of Beetlejuice’s filming takes place in East Corinth, Vermont. A short drive down the city’s main road takes you past most of the locations, including the General Store, Masonic Hall and the hill where the house was built for the movie. You can even visit the bridge on Chicken Farm Road where the Maitlands have their fatal accident. The “cover” isn’t there though. You can find it at the Northeast Slopes ski area.


Dirty Dancing –  While Baby and Johnny’s story took place at Kellerman Resort in the Catskills of New York, the film was shot largely at the idyllic Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia. If you’d like to see it, you can book the Kellerman’s Film Package or visit on one of their Dirty Dancing weekends!


Twilight – This blockbuster series may be set in Forks, Washington, but none of the film was actually made there. The Forks Police Station is located in Vernonia. Forks High School is actually Kalama High School. And just over the border in St. Helens is where you’ll find Bella’s house. From there, it’s on to Portland for most of the other notable locations. Here’s a full list.

Bella Swan’s house from Twilight in St. Helens, OR.

Washington DC

Forrest Gump – This flick was filmed all over the US, but one of the most memorable scenes happened in DC. After addressing the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial, Forrest wades into the Reflecting Pool to be reunited with Jenny.

West Virginia

We Are Marshall – Stop by the visitor’s center in Huntington, WV, for a self-guided tour map of the filming locations. Guided group tours are available upon request.


Public Enemies – 114 filming locations for this John Dillinger tale were scattered around Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and even California. Everything was shot on site with no soundstages being utilized. The robbery in Racine takes place in Oshkosh while the Greencastle bank robbery was filmed in Milwaukee and Columbus. Dillinger’s ‘Chicago’ apartment building is also located in Milwaukee while Madison doubles for ‘Washington DC’ and the FBI HQ of J. Edgar Hoover.


Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Though filming took place across multiple states, the most famous locale for this classic flick is Wyoming’s Devils Tower National Monument.

Did we miss a film favorite shot in your state? Once again, we urge you to DM us on Instagram and tell us all about it!

Featured photo credit: Razvan on iStock.

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