Filmtripping in your RV
A lot of people turn to movies and TV shows as an escape – being able to live vicariously through the characters on the screen, ones who may inhabit strange and distant worlds. But as any TV or film buff knows, those faraway worlds are most often located in our own backyards. These days, a movie or TV show’s past filming locations are easier than ever to find, and that’s where film road-tripping – or “filmtripping” – comes in. It’s when a love of pop culture and a passion for travel collide, and fans of particular TV shows and movies make the pilgrimage to visit the filming locations and the not-so-fictional settings where their favorite characters have lived. Many fans even plan an entire trip around experiencing their beloved shows in real life!
Let’s take a look at a few good examples of filmtripping today, and prepare to get your RV ready – you’re going to want to take a cinematic journey of your own once we’re done.
Top Filmtripping Destinations & Shows
The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Baldwin Lake, and The Queen Anne Cottage (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places) at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, has an amazing film location history as it was an ideal stand-in for lakes, rivers, swamps and lagoons in early movies. It is the home to movies and TV shows dating all the way back to 1936 with the filming of "Tarzan Escapes" and other original Tarzan movies.
Other famous filming projects include Road to Singapore (1939), Notorious (1945), Miss Robinson Crusoe (1952), Lassie (1965), Mission Impossible (1968), Six Million Dollar Man (1974), Fantasy Island (1977-1982) - ("Ze Plane! Ze Plane!"), Love Boat (1978), Scarecrow and Mrs. King (1984), Lord of the Flies (1990), Bedazzled (2000), The Little Fockers (2010), and so many more!
The Walking Dead
The hit AMC horror show about the world after the zombie apocalypse has just one filming location: the state of Georgia, where the show is also set. (Yes, all of that sweat from the Atlanta heat is genuine.) With such a large fan base and such a singular location, Georgia has become a road trip destination of choice for zombie fanatics. Thrillist has already put together a superb map for a Walking Dead-themed filmtripping experience, listing off prime locations as they appear in the TV show and as they exist in everyday Georgia. While you might not want to go knocking at the door of the CDC (although the CDC building in The Walking Dead was portrayed by an arts centre), you can take an Atlanta Beltline bus tour to the quarry where the survivors initially holed up, or visit the small town of Senoia, which stood in for Woodbury on the show.
The truth is out there – and so are numerous filming locations for the popular sci-fi TV show, which is hotter than ever now that long-awaited new episodes are about to land. According to Roadtrippers, X-Files fans will definitely want to head to western Canada to do their best Mulder and Scully impressions – the majority of the show was filmed in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. Filmtrippers of any stripe shouldn’t miss a visit to the Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam, as not only does it appear in X-Files as the main hospital location, but also in Supernatural (another long-running TV series filmed primarily in the Vancouver area). If you’d rather stay in the United States, head down to the coast to the Santa Monica pier in California, or visit the Queen Mary ship in Long Beach – which is located in present day, not 1939 like Agent Mulder experienced.
Parks and Recreation
For something a little more light-hearted, take a cue from the devoted fans of this recently-completed TV series and go filmtripping to Pawnee, Indiana. Well, in a manner of speaking, anyway – there actually is no town of Pawnee in the state of Indiana, so your best bet is to head to California to experience the former filming locations for the popular show. Roadtrippers recommends checking out Pasadena to visit Pawnee City Hall (actually Pasadena City Hall), Van Nuys to get whipped cream topped waffles at Four ’N’ 20 Restaurant (which served as the interior of JJ’s Diner), and the Huntington Library & Gardens to experience the elite feeling of rival town Eagleton.
Sex and the City
This is probably one of the original filmtripping destinations, even before the word “filmtripping” was invented. For years now, fans of Carrie Bradshaw and company have been flocking to New York City for a chance to walk in her Manolo Blahniks. There are a ton of lists out there of the best Sex and the City-related locations to check out, but Fodor’s Travel has a fantastic one that lists off the Staten Island Ferry (it’s free!), Pete’s Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, and many more prime spots. And don’t forget to get in line at Magnolia Bakery for one of their famous cupcakes – the bakery and its appearance on the show have been created with starting the cupcake trend.
Although your own personal mileage may vary, for a pop culture fan, there are few greater experiences than immersing oneself in the former filming locations of a favorite TV show or movie. For a brief moment, you can imagine yourself as a character in your beloved fantasy world, and that itself can definitely be worth the trip. Put aside the regular road trip and give filmtripping a try – you might just make some cinematic memories of your own.