In its heyday, North Carolina was referred to as the Hollywood of the East Coast. Over 400 feature-length films have been shot here as well as numerous TV shows. While the industry has shifted to other locations (due to incentive cuts) and independent productions now dominate the NC film scene, it can be fun to remember what North Carolina once was – a backdrop for some of the most beloved films ever. You’re sure to recognize these 14 iconic locations from famous movies filmed in North Carolina.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Dirty Dancing, Lake Lure
No one puts Baby in a corner, but they sure put Lake Lure on the center stage with the filming of Dirty Dancing. Today, Lake Lure even hosts an annual Dirty Dancing Festival.
2. Pike's Soda Shop and Freedom Park, Charlotte, Shallow Hal
This comedy classic taught us to never judge a book by its cover, but being filmed in Charlotte there's several locations we commonly see in the movie. For one, Pike's Soda Shop where Rosemary and Hal went on one of their first dates and Freedom Park where Hal does a lot of lamenting over his choice of women.
3. Henry River Mill Village and Triple Falls, The Hunger Games
Blog / Escape To The Southeast
The Hunger Games was filmed entirely in North Carolina but two of its most recognizable locations are Henry River Mill Village and Triple Falls. Henry River was Katniss' home of District 12. In the iconic scene where Katniss and Peeta finally reunite towards the end of the games, it's indeed at Triple Falls. Today, you can take Hunger Games interactive fan tours that take you to all major locations in the North Carolina mountains.
4. Town of Southport
Southport has experienced a boom in tourism due to its cameo in several famous movies and TV shows. Most notably, Safe Haven, A Walk To Remember, I Know What You Did Last Summer and the famous TV show Dawson's Creek.
5. Durham Athletic Park, Bull Durham
While other baseball fields were used throughout the state, Durham Athletic Park was the main setting for the famous sports film, Bull Durham.
6. Serendipity House, Nights in Rodanthe
The North Carolina coast has inspired the majority of Nicholas Sparks' novels, so it's no wonder the iconic Serendipity House was the main location for Nights in Rodanthe. While the house has now been moved back from its former location it's still available for a vacation rental. Romantic!
7. The Fugitive, Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
Besides Harrison Ford epically jumping off a dam waterfall, the next most memorable scene was of course when the freight train crashes into Richard Kimble's transport bus. With no CGI involved, only real locomotives, the epic scene was shot on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad...and best of all...they just left everything there. Yes, you can still find it rusting on the side of the GSMR today.
8. Cliff Trail, Chimney Rock State Park, Last of the Mohicans
While the waterfall (that everyone searches for) was actually filmed in a studio, one actual location you can visit is at Chimney Rock. The Cliff Trail is the mountain path where Magua and his men walk with his captive, Alice.
9. Haywood County, Cold Mountain
This classic drama starring Nicole Kidman was filmed largely in Haywood Country with other spots including Virginia and South Carolina.
Wilmington got the nickname of 'Wilmywood' for being the prime location for tons of feature films. Two most notable ones being A Walk To Remember and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
11. Grandfather Mountain, Forrest Gump
Several of the iconic running scenes from this 1994 Academy Best Picture were filmed in Asheville. One classic location is the curvy uphill running scene filmed at Grandfather Mountain.
12. Fontana Lake, Nell
This famous movie about an Appalachia woman completely removed from society then discovered was filmed at Fontana Lake.
13. Patch Adams
This beloved movie staring the late but great Robin Williams was primarily filmed in North Carolina. Notable locations include Biltmore Estate, UNC Chapel Hill, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
13. Blowing Rock, The Green Mile
Besides largely being filmed in a Hollywood Studio, the Green Mile also featured scenes in Blowing Rock and along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
14. Lake Norman, Talladega Nights
You can find Ricky Bobby's dream house right on the shores of Lake Norman. Apparently after filming ended the mansion was left abandoned and several fans found ways to sneak in and get their own shake 'n bake experience.