Hollywood Turned These Small Towns Into Big Tourist Destinations

We’ve all seen charming small towns in television and movies — and they look like perfect places to visit — or even live. Too bad they’re fictional … or are they? Take a look at famous small towns turned tourist destinations, thanks to Hollywood. And perhaps put some on your list of best small towns to visit in 2018.

1. The Amityville Horror

The house is a popular tourist destination. | Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Town: Amityville, N.Y.

Movie releases: 1979 and 2005

These are two classic horror flicks about what happens when a family moves into a new home that’s haunted. Set in the town of Amityville, you can visit the actual house the movie was filmed in — just drive by the 10-room Dutch Colonial at 112 Ocean Ave.

In 2010, the owners lowered their asking price on the house, according to the website nextavenue, but only because they wanted to sell it quickly, not because it was haunted.

Next: Love at first bite

2. Twilight

It seemed too quaint to be real, but it is. | Summit Entertainment

Town: Forks, Wash.

Movie release: 2008

This vampire film was set in in a little town that’s all most too beautiful to believe. You’ll believe it if you visit Forks, Wash., where you can check out Bella’s red truck and go to the nearby eatery, Bella Italia — where Edward and Bella had their first date — to sample the mushroom ravioli Bella ordered. To find addresses for these attractions, read Seattle Magazine’s Twilight Guide to Forks.

Next: Too good to be true?

3. The Truman Show

It was a little too perfect, but it is real. | Paramount Pictures

Town: Seaside, Fla.

Movie release: 1998

If you thought the storybook cottages and white picket fences — in the seaside town where Truman lives — in the movie were too perfect to be real you’d be wrong. The Truman Show was filmed on location in Seaside, a beach cottage community in Seagrove Beach, Fla. Many have visited this idyllic location by the sea and enjoyed its “walk to anyplace” design.

Next: You might want to visit here during the day.

4. Sleepy Hollow

Old Dutch Church, Sleepy Hollow

You can pay a visit to the Old Dutch Church. | fhogue/iStock/Getty Images

Town: Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, N.Y.

Movie release: 1999

TV series duration: 2013 to present

If you love Washington Irving’s headless horseman in Sleepy Hollow, you might not catch a glimpse of him if you visit Sleepy Hollow and nearby Tarrytown, N.Y., but you’ll certainly recognize some of the movie’s and TV show’s locations. Make sure you make a stop at the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground, and you should probably visit the latter during the day.

Next: Dreamers, take note.

5. Field of Dreams

Dyersville, Iowa Field of Dreams

The field is still there. | Universal Studios

Town: Dyersville, Iowa

Movie release: 1989

This supernatural baseball flick made Iowa a major tourist attraction. Visitors flock to the area where the movie was shot — Dyersville, Iowa — which is at the northern edge of the state, separated from Illinois and Wisconsin by the Mississippi River.

According to The Worldwide Guide To Movie Locations, the baseball field that Kevin Costner had to build is still there, and within three years of the movie’s release, approximately 60,000 people went to see it.

Next: Home of a cult classic

6. Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon dynamite Preston, Idaho

It was filmed in the real life Preston High School (where the director went to school). | Fox Searchlight Pictures

Town: Preston, Idaho

Movie release: 2004

This cult classic, starring Jon Heder as the eccentric Napoleon Dynamite, takes place in the town of Preston, Idaho. Once people saw the movie, the small city became famous. According to Fox News, the film has generated a whopping $1 million for the city.

Next: Gone, but not forgotten

7. Gone Girl

The Bar Gone Girl

You can even visit ‘The Bar’. | 20th Century Fox

Town: Carthage, Mo.

Movie release: 2004

The scenes in the 2004 thriller Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, were set in a fictional town called Carthage, Mo. That said, the movie was filmed in Cape Girardeau, Mo., which has since become a tourist destination.

Here, you can visit The Bar, which served as Nick Dunn’s tavern, the Common Pleas Courthouse, Riverfront Park, the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus, Drury Lodge, and many other locations you’ll recognize from the movie.

Next: Keen on Keene

8. Jumanji

Jumanji Keene, N.H.

There is even an advertisement left over from filming. | TriStar Pictures

Town: Keene, N.H.

Movie release: 1995

The fantasy-adventure movie Jumanji, starring Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst, was set in the fictional town of Brantford, N.H., according to nextavenue. It was, however, and shot in the real town of Keene, N.H., which has become another small-town fans have visited because of a film. When the crew finished filming, it even left an advertisement, which still remains, for Parrish Shoes painted on a downtown brick wall downtown.

Next: Make a quick stop here.

9. Clerks

The grocery store is still around. | Google Maps

Town: Leonardo, N.J.

Movie release: 1994

Indy filmmaker Kevin Smith launched his career with this low-budget flick, which he famously financed with credit cards and filmed in the convenience store where he was working, Quick Stop Groceries.

Many tourists have made the trek to 58 Leonard Ave., Leonardo, N.J., to see that convenience store. And next to it is RST Video, where the character Randal did the hilarious bit about porn flicks.

Next: Twist and shout

10. Twister


You can now visit the town and the Twister Museum. | Warner Bros.

Town: Wakita, Okla.

Movie release: 1996

If you loved the disaster movie Twister, you can travel to the actual town and see the Twister Museum, where the production studio kept its on-location office, art department, and dressing room.

You’ll also see Dorothy — the tornado research machine from the movie — in all its tornado-damaged glory, according to RoadsideAmerica.com. On your way out, don’t forget to see the Wakita water tower, which also appeared in the movie.

Next: Take a walk down Main Street.

11. The Walking Dead

Senoia was used in season 3 as the town of Woodbury. | Gene Page/AMC

Town: Senoia, Ga.

Movie release: 1995

TV series duration: 2010 to present

The TV show The Walking Dead put the small town of Senoia, Ga., on the map. The town is approximately 25 miles south of Atlanta, and home to Raleigh Studios. According to NPR, tourists are flocking to the town to see the sets from the show.

And, when they take a stroll down Senoia’s Main Street, they can see dozens of businesses that have cropped up due to the show’s popularity, including the Woodbury Shoppe, which sells Walking Dead-inspired clothing, gift items and collectibles from the show, and a coffee shop called The Waking Dead.

Read more: 6 Outrageously Expensive Tourist Destinations Around the World

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