National Lampoon's Vacation

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It’s not just enough to watch a movie anymore. We have to interact with them, to watch the special bonus features, to discuss and dissect them until they become something even greater. But what better way to truly interact with the movies we love than to see where they were born?

Fortunately, there’s probably one near you.

This is for the film geek on the move, someone who’d like a few extra stops on their summer road trip. It’s not enough by a long shot, but here’s one for every state – filming locations that you can visit.

Alabama – Big Fish

The film was shot in several areas around Montgomery, including Wetumpka, Lowndesboro, and Millbrook. While the town of Spectre was a set, the fictional town Ashton was actually Prattville and Wetumpka combined, the latter is where you can also find Ed Bloom’s house.

Alaska – Insomnia

This is pretty borderline. Actually it’s literally borderline, because this film was shot right on the border between Hyder, AK and that other country… you know the one. The lake itself was in the valley of Bear Glacier – which is in Stewart B.C. – however much of the film was also shot in the neighboring town of Hyder.

Arizona – Psycho

While the Bates Motel is resting comfortably over at Universal Studios in Hollywood, it certainly wasn’t the only hotel in that film. Remember?

The film starts with Marion post-getting it on at the Jefferson Hotel in Phoenix, a building that still exists today. Unfortunately for anyone looking to have a love affair and steal a bunch of cash, it isn’t a hotel anymore.

Arkansas – Gone With The Wind

Nope, not Georgia. In fact – you can count the number of places in Georgia this film was shot in on one hand if you multiply the answer you get by zero. Freaking movie magic, right?

That being said – if you have a chance you can see what is said to be the only standing location left from this film: Pugh’s Old Mill in North Little Rock. It’s the mill featured in the beginning credits of the film and it’s on the corner of Fairway Ave and Lakeshore Dr.

California – Die Hard, T2, & Back To The Future

Obviously a lot of films to pick from – so I’m just going to take you on the tour that I took myself on when I was in LA.

First, take a trip to Century City where you’ll find the Fox Plaza AKA the Nakatomi Plaza from Die Hard. Next stop was the intersection of Hayvenhurst and Plummer – where the truck in T2 jumped off the bridge. Next there’s the Gamble House at 4 Westmoreland Place in Pasadena – there you’ll find Doc Brown’s place of residence.

Finally if it’s shopping you like you’ll want to head to the Puente Hills Mall in City Of Industry. If I were you I’d park in the south lot and keep an eye out for any Libyan Nationalists.

Colorado – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Feel like taking the same plunge as Paul Newman and Robert Redford? Turns out that despite certain claims – the fall won’t probably kill ya; the jump was only made to appear much more perilous than it really is at Bakers Bridge in Durango.

Connecticut – Mystic Pizza

There is a Mystic, Connecticut as well as a Mystic Pizza in which the film was named after. However the film was actually shot all over the place and while the real pizza place makes a cameo in the film, the fictional restaurant was shot in Stonington at 70 Water St.

Delaware – Dead Poet’s Society

If you’re looking to do a little rebelling look no further than St. Andrew’s School in Middletown – a school that no doubt never gets tired of their students stands on desks while snickering. When you’re done there shoot on over to the Everett Theater at 47 West Main St. in the same town and perhaps see a show. Finally – do not, I repeat, DO NOT go check out Beaver Valley Cave and start any kind of ‘society’ because it’s actually private property. Seriously don’t do it.

Florida – Edward Scissorhands

Yeah – that neighborhood actually is a place. If I had to bet if what I was seeing was a set I would have actually lost. It’s a place called Lutz – and if you check out Tinsmith Circle you can actually find Edwards suburban home (just don’t get arrested because, you know – people live there). You can also check out Lakeland’s Southgate Shopping Center at 2512 S. Florida Ave if you feel like getting a haircut or seduced.

Georgia – Forrest Gump

No, before you ask the bench was moved into some stupid Museum. However you can still take the trip to Savannah and sit on whatever bench people think is the bench in Chippewa Square, the location where this famous scene was shot. Just be sure to bring either a box of chocolate or a dim-witted friend.

Hawaii – Jurassic Park

Pretty much any movie where people are sword fighting or killing dinosaurs or getting lost or sword lighting dinosaurs while lost is going to be shot in Hawaii. No time to go over them all – so my advice is to visit Hanapepe Town in Kauai (whatever that means) and take a helicopter descent next to Manawaiopuna Falls while humming yourself some sweet John Williams.

Idaho – Dante’s Peak

No idea why they went to the town of Wallace and digitally added a volcano to make Dante’s Peak, but that’s what they did. It’s pretty cool when you think about it – no doubt every angst-ridden teenager in the area likes to pop this one in and watch their stupid town get blown to pieces when they’re feeling exceptionally insubordinate.

Illinois – The Dark Knight

I lived in Chicago for a while – and it’s a great city. The best part is that countless films have taken place there. One particular location that seems to come up is Wacker Drive – a street that has been featured in such films as The Blues Brothers and that other movie about big cars that change. The most iconic scene however is the big chase scene in The Dark Knight where Batman squares off against The Joker’s semi. Nothing cooler than driving around Gotham at night.

Indiana – A League Of Their Own

If you find yourself in Huntingburg Indiana you’ll want to head on over to 203 S. Cherry Street and play a game of catch at League Stadium, home of the Dubois County Bombers as well as the Rockford Peaches, the team featured in A League Of Their Own.

There’s really no better place to play a game of baseball, right?

Oh wait…

Iowa – Field Of Dreams

Right. This place. Of course it’s still there. Just go check it out in Dyersville – it’s open daily.

Here’s something funny – for a while the field-turned-tourist attraction was actually owned by two different farmers. You see, Al owned left and center field and Don owned the house, bleachers, and infield. The best part is that not only did two different people own it, but they were also competing for the attraction. There were two gift shops, two access roads, and they closed at two different times. Sounds like a whole different type of film.

Kansas – Mars Attacks

I’m not going to lie, not much has been shot in Kansas – also there’s like four Tim Burton films on this list, and I have no idea why. The man appears to like filming things in small towns in states where films aren’t normally shot.

Anyway – Burns, Kansas is the town. Remember that scene at the beginning where all the cows go boom? That’s Burns – it was also the site of the Donut Shop that gets exploded.

Kentucky – Stripes

When people think of Fort Knox they think of all that sweet, sweet gold. When people think of Fort Knox in terms on cinema they no doubt think of the movie Goldfinger and that plan to explode all that sweet, sweet gold. It’s weird to think that this base was also the base in the Bill Murray film Stripes.

It wasn’t just the base stuff either, as many of the scenes were shot around the area – including the scene where Bill stops his cab on the bridge, which was on that George Roger’s Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville. Also, the sequence in Czechoslovakia was at the old Jim Beam distillery in Clermont.

Louisiana – A Streetcar Named Desire

No kidding, the streetcar still actually exists. Number 922 of the Perley A. Thomas cars in New Orleans, the specific streetcar used for the film, was restored with 34 others and is still operational today. People actually hazily commute to work on this thing, only to get wicked tight and slosh home on it as well. Is that not weird? Imagine your daily routine involving a piece of movie memorabilia this old. It would be like taking Rosebud home every day from work.

Maine – Pet Sematary

Wow. What are the odds that a Stephen King movie was shot in Maine, right?

The town, which I believe is supposed to be around Ludlow, was actually depicted by Bangor, as well as the town of Hancock. The Creed home can be found in Hancock at 303 Point Road where there is apparently a very ironic ‘Children at Play’ sign right across the street. The non-burial ground cemetery can be found in Bangor.

As for the other one… the one that starts with an ‘S’ – I have no idea, and if I did you could bet I’d be out there burying a turtle just to see what an evil turtle would be like.

Maryland – Blair Witch Project

Turns out that the good people of Burkittsville don’t really take kindly to a bunch of dicks dressed in black walking around their forest look for coffin rocks and drawing little stick figures everywhere – especially when the movie that inspired this was actually shot in neighboring areas and not the town itself. The Black Hills Forest is actually Seneca Creek State Park 25 miles away, the house at the end is the Griggs House in Patapsco State Park, and then all the little places such as the Motel and store were also shot in other towns.

Poor Burkittsville – at least Salam actually did something terrible to deserve all the goths running around on Halloween.

Read on!

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Massachusetts – Jaws

So, great white sharks are actually starting to become an issue in this area… Which I guess makes the whole experience that more movie-like, right? Mass happens to be my home state, and while I’ve seen many of the famous western Mass movie spots like Smith College from Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, I have yet to visit Amity Island, which is really just Marta’s Vineyard.

It’s all still there apparently – Brody’s house, the bridge and pond (American Legion Memorial Bridge in real life), The Chappaquiddick Island Ferry, even Quint’s workshop is over at Menemsha Harbor. There’s even an entire Jaws celebration on the island.

Michigan – Gran Torino

Can’t really call this as exciting as the Jaws locations, but man was it a great movie. It’s all in Detroit, so if you feel like having the full experience you’ll probably want to look your best. A haircut at Widgrens Barber Shop in Royal Oak would be the place to not only get gussied up, but also shout out a few racial slurs while you do it. Next stop would be Rhode Island St. in Highland Park to yell at kids about respect and perhaps more racial slurs, then it’s a trip to 217 Pilgrim St. in Highland Park to get shot and killed. Be sure to have the funeral at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Grosse Point Park! Fun times!

Minnesota – Mallrats

This one is nice and simple. Go check out Eden Prairie Center in the town of the same name and you’ll have everything you need. Well, almost everything – if you feel like getting your fortune told you’re going to have to stop over at Osowski’s Flea Market first. While the film takes place in New Jersey, it was shot in Minnesota because of production costs. Yep, Minnesota is cheaper to shoot in than New Jersey.

Just be sure not to sit on the escalator if you go, I hear that can be dangerous.

Mississippi – O Brother, Where Art Thou?

First things first, head over to Alligator Lake in Vicksburg and get yourself baptized. That’s step one. Then it’s over to the town square in Canton for an election rally – perhaps a nice banquet at St. Francis Xavier auditorium, and finally take the rails out of there at the station in Edwards. Be sure to start a flood at some point as well.

Missouri – Escape From New York

Huh. Escape From New York? Really?

Well – when you are in the area you might want to observe the elegant ambiance of the Union Station lobby in St. Louis. Really soak it up, because it’s not every day you’re standing in the room that Snake Plissken is forced to fight a dude named Slag. Hell yeah. Along with several other locations, you have check out the Chain Of Rocks Bridge on the north edge of the city – which doubled as the 69th Street Bridge in the film.

Montana – The Untouchables

When it came time for the scene where Ness and his gang stop a group of smugglers at the US/Canada border, the filmmakers apparently decided that going all the way to the border was way too hard and opted to just stop at Montana. The scene is at the Hardy Bridge in Great Falls.

Nebraska – Election

This is one of those tours I wouldn’t recommend unless you’re like, 17 or 18. Really anything over 25 and you’re getting arrested. I’m saying this because it’s a high school, the school that the movie was shot at, in Papillion. So don’t come crying to me if you get arrested at Papillion La Vista Senior High School because you were being creepy. That’s what happens.

Nevada – Star Trek: Generations

There are plenty of films I could have used for Nevada, but the geek in me really wanted to share this location with you. See, next time you’re in Vegas you might want to think about taking 1-15 north for about 30 miles before turning off on Rte. 169. In another 18 miles you’ll find Valley of Fire State Park. Be sure to then go find the rounded peak of Silica Dome where, if you’re like me, you’ll want to leave a few flowers in memory of the fallen James T. Kirk.

New Hampshire – In Dreams

In Dreams was shot all over New England, including in my home town of Whately, Massachusetts at the Fillin’ Station Diner, a diner I happened to once work the overnight shift at. But enough about Mass, we’re talking New Hampshire, specifically The Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle, which was one of the many spooky locations that this film visits. The hotel is still up and running, so be sure to check it out!

New Jersey – Clerks

Let’s get it right out the way – 58 Leonard Ave. in Leonardo is where you can go take pictures of yourself leaning against a wall or renting Navy Seals at Quick Stop Groceries and RST Video. I’d be lying if I said that I never did this myself. Be careful about visiting the Postens Funeral Home though, I got in trouble for that. Apparently Kevin Smith didn’t have permission to shoot there, so they aren’t fond of fans in hockey shirts and backwards baseball caps gawking at them. Also, they still have funerals – so it’s kind of awkward.

New Mexico – Contact

Whoever it was behind the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (or VLA) really, really sucked at naming things. Seriously.

If you are interested you need to go to Magdalena and Datil and find the border in which this array stands. Then you can sit on the hood of your car with 80s headphones and piss everyone off. This thing was also used in Terminator Salvation, so that’s two in one: aliens and robots.

New York – Barefoot In The Park

I’m going to call this movie the best movie ever made in New York City. I have no evidence to back that up at all; it’s rather my own subjective view on the subject and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. There’s just something so lovely about a struggling couple living in a cramped brownstone Greenwich Village apartment in the 60s. It’s a time I know nothing about, which is probably why it seems so great.

Anyway – it’s 111 Waverly Place & 6th in Manhattan if you’re wondering. But if I were you I’d just go get hammered barefoot in Washington Square Gardens.

North Carolina – The Fugitive

Ever wonder where that dam was that Kimble jumps off of? No? Well too bad. It’s the Cheoah Dam that spans the Tennessee river in Graham County. Great place to go if you’ve ever not killed your wife. Just don’t actually jump off the thing because, you know, death. This also happens to be in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, so there’s like… hiking and stuff if you like that. If not – surely the hotel has cable TV.

North Dakota – Fargo

Sorry North Dakota – barely anything has been shot in you. Fargo is the most notable, and even that was mostly shot in Minnesota. The giant Paul Bunyan statue was in the state though! In Pembina County on Highway 1 – so there you go! Plus you have an awesome movie named after one of your cities. Be proud!

Ohio – The Shawshank Redemption

Feel like getting busy living and/or getting busy dying? It’s the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield for you then! Just hit up 100 Reformatory Road, drive down a tick, and it’s the gigantic prison right in front of you. Be sure to also check out Mansfield’s Shawshank Trail, which brings you to such exciting locations as that place where that guy is wrongfully convicted and that other place where that other guy hangs himself!

Oklahoma – Twister

Wakita, of course! I kind of want to go there just to see this place – it’s the Twister Museum at 101 W. Main St. A museum devoted to a Bill Paxton film, you can’t really go wrong there. Free admission as well!

I know it’s not exactly a movie ‘location’ or anything, but it’s a hell of a lot better than checking out whatever field they shot this thing in.

Oregon – The Goonies

Lord yes. No chitchat, let’s get right down to it: the house is at 368 38th St. in Astoria. The jailhouse is 732 Duane St. in the same town. The beach is Cannon Beach, look for Haystack Rock. The old restaurant was shot at Ecola State Park. There. Go have yourself a Goonie adventure.

Pennsylvania – Night Of The Living Dead

This has to be one of the best places to stagger around on Halloween. Evans City Cemetery, the cemetery featured in the original film, can be found off of Franklin Road. There is currently an effort to save the small chapel seen in the film, which is in need of restoration. You can donate here.

Rhode Island – Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson’s most recent film was shot all around Narragansett Bay. While it’s hard to pin down the locations in the woods, the church at the end was Trinity Church in Newport. The Bishop house is the Conanicut Island Lighthouse, located at the end of Summit Ave on the north side of Conanicut Island. If you want to see where the Khaki Scouts’ Fort Lebanon camp is, check out the Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Rockville.

South Carolina – The Patriot

This film was shot exclusively in South Carolina, making use of such locations as the Mansfield Plantation in Georgetown as well as the Harrison Randolph Hall on the corner of George and Saint Phillip Street in Charlestown. Both Stephen Colbert and Barack Obama have used this hall for rallies – I’ll let you decide which event was cooler.

Read On!

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

South Dakota – Starship Troopers

Sure, both How The West Was Won and Dances With Wolves was also shot in the Badlands National Park – but neither of those films had giant aliens it in. Having been to this area I can confirm that it not only looks like another planet, but also the kind of planet that would be crawling with monsters.

Tennessee – The Evil Dead

In the overgrown woods of Morristown you’ll find a single chimney – this is all that remains of the cabin in this film, which burned down not long after the first film was made. Still – it’s pretty cool. You can even see where they dug the hole for the basement door.

If you want to see something intact go to Bridgeport where you can find the bridge used in the film – it’s right off Interstate 40.

Texas – Robocop (obviously)

No better film embodies the spirit of Texas like Robocop right? Seriously though – there’s just too many films shot here and I panicked so this is what you get. Dallas City Hall on 1500 Marilla St. is where you can find the OCP headquarters building, which was made to look much bigger than it really is. Still – it’s a pretty awesome place, and the last place you’d expect to find a Robocop location.

Utah – The Sandlot

I know what you want – so here it is: Smalls house is on the corner of Bryan Ave and 2000 E in Salt Lake City Utah. There, happy now?

Oh and there’s that field too that you might want to check out – that’s here.

Yeah it’s just a big field now – no baseball to be had. But I’m sure there are plenty of large dogs that could chase you.

Vermont – Beetlejuice

I’ll go ahead and disappoint you right here and now and tell you that no, both the house and the bridge don’t exist anymore; they were built for the movie. You can still check out where they were – so if you like standing in places that used to be other places you are in luck. The town is East Corinth, which still has many of the buildings that were used in the film, including Lydia’s school, which was actually the local Masonic Hall.

Virginia – What About Bob?

Nope – it wasn’t actually Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire but rather the Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia where this film was shot. The house, which is probably private property mind you, is on Scruggs Road in Moneta. The town is also where the general store and bus stop scenes were shot – and if you want to get the full experience be sure to go see the Elks National Lodge in Bedford, which was where Bob gets committed.

Washington – Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

No time to talk about how awesome Twin Peaks is – here is where you can find these places:

While most of the interiors were shot in LA, the exteriors were shot in Washington. For your trip, you’re going to want to check out the Salish Lodge and Spa right off of Snoqualmie Falls. Perhaps stay a few nights and go see the Old Snoqualmie Lumber Company Mill, which is exactly what you think it is. Next is a trip to North Bend, where you can grab some cherry pie at Twedes Café on North Bend Way. I hear the coffee there is good too.

West Virginia – Super 8

No need for specific addresses here; the fictional town of Lillian was shot almost exclusively in the unassuming town of Weirton in West Virginia. It’s really not every day you get to see your town terrorized by a giant monster, right? Really the only two options are radiation or CGI.

Wisconsin – Public Enemies

While this was more of a Chicago film – Wisconsin played it’s fair part in it as well, mostly doubling for various banks such as the First National Bank in Oshkosh on North Main St. There was also The Rogers Hotel in Beaver Dam where Dillinger gets arrested. The best is probably the Little Bohemia Lodge off of US Highway 51 in Manitowish Waters – that’s where Dillinger had a little run in with the popo.

Wyoming – Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

It’s last but not least time.

Sure – it’s a pretty great place that should be visited for many reasons, but Devil’s Tower is also one of the most iconic movie locations in America. The weird part is that there’s really no other film besides Close Encounters that has used it. Two if you count Paul, but even that film used it as homage to the one that made it famous for alien encounters.

So that’s the list, guys! Now all you have to do is print this out, get in the car, and start checking off locations.

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