Iconic Horror Movie Filming Locations You Can Actually Visit

Are you brave enough to stay at the hotel from "The Shining"?

October 25, 2023 6:32 am
The hotel from The Shining, one of the best horror movie locations you can visit
Why settle for watching your favorite scary movies when you can visit them?
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For some horror movie aficionados, simply confining your nightmares to the safety of the screen isn’t enough. The real thrills come from visiting these places IRL, taking those iconic horror films off the screen and into something entirely, terrifyingly more tangible. Although many horror movies, old and new, are filmed on green screens and sets, plenty of them take place in actual houses, hotels, campgrounds and forests. For the fearless (and/or the masochists), here are 10 locations from classic horror movies that you can actually visit. 

Camp Crystal Lake

In Hardwick, New Jersey, the Boy Scout’s Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco seems innocuous enough. At first glance, you might not think this was the setting where Mrs. Voorhees took bloody vengeance on a bunch of horny camp counselors in the original Friday the 13th. Although the camp isn’t typically open to the general public, it does host periodic events and offer immersive tours, which include everything from canoeing on the lake to archery, creepily enough. And yes, the Camp Crystal Lake sign is there, waiting for photo ops.  

The Scream House

If the address 261 Turner Lane sends giddy shivers down your spine, then you know it’s the coordinates of one of the most epic showdowns in slasher movie lore. The house from the original Scream, set in the fictional town of Woodsboro, is the infamous culmination of a bunch of “high schoolers” making epically terrible decisions together while a masked killer is on the loose in their community. It’s a testament to teen spirit that, despite the fact that half their graduating class has been killed, they’re still down to party. The Turner Lane address, called Spring Hill Estate in real life and located in California’s Sonoma County, is the home of Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard), one half of the murderous duo out to get Sidney and co. It’s open for periodic tours and events, including Halloween parties that hopefully turn out a lot better than the one in the movie. 

The Stephen King Suite
The Stephen King Suite
The Stanley Hotel

The Shining Hotel

If you’d like to cosplay cabin fever in a winter wonderland gone wrong, then you should make the pilgrimage to the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. Said hotel is actually two different properties: the one where King stayed the night he had nightmares so bad he awoke with a clearly formed vision for the book, and the one where the subsequent movie was filmed. The former is The Stanley Hotel, a historic — and indeed, haunted — property in the snowswept Rocky Mountains of Estes Park, Colorado, where guests can take tours of the property, including room 217, where King slept that fateful night back in 1974. For Stanley Kubrick’s famous film adaptation, much of the exterior shots for the hotel were done at Timberline Lodge in rural Oregon. It’s The Stanley, though, that really leans into the lore, as evidenced by its recurring events like masquerade balls, Shining-themed brunches and theatrical seances.  

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The Steps From The Exorcist

Of all the notorious sequences that took place in The Exorcist, it’s pretty impressive that a set of stairs steals the spotlight from projectile vomit. It’s a testament to the powerful culmination of the demonic film, after Father Karras visits the home of a child possessed by a demon in Georgetown. Once the girl’s mother sees that the incarnation of Satan can’t be treated by a general practitioner, she calls upon the priest to come and exorcize her. It goes well for the girl, whose demon is successfully exorcized. But less so for Father Karras, who leaps out the window to his demise on the steps after sacrificing himself to said demon. The stairs can be found on the corner of Prospect Street NW and 36th Street NW in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown. 

The Point Reyes lighthouse
The Point Reyes lighthouse
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The Lighthouse From The Fog

Horror legend John Carpenter made a name for himself with the paradigm-shifting success of the original Halloween in 1978. He followed up that slasher, naturally, with a movie about murderous mist. The Fog, released in 1980, follows a small town in Northern California haunted by ghosts and undead pirates when a dense fog engulfs the entire community. Among the most famous locations in the movie is the lighthouse, which stands tall as the fog rolls in to beckon havoc. The lighthouse is actually a historic structure at Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, north of San Francisco. Built in 1870 to warn sailors of navigational hazards, it’s been out of service since 1975, and it’s free for visitors to experience in the national park site.  

The House and Gas Station From The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Some visitors flock to Texas Hill Country for barbecue and bluebonnets. Others flock here to trace the mythical footsteps of Leatherface. Filming of Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror masterpiece, infamously regarded as one of the most macabre stories ever set to screen, took place in different parts of the otherwise bucolic countryside in central Texas, and the film’s original set pieces remain the stuff of cinematic legend. The house where Leatherface and his family lived has been rebranded as Hooper’s, a Southern restaurant in Kingsland named after the late director, and likely the weirdest place you’ll ever order artichoke dip. Beyond the house, another essential stop on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre tour is the gas station from the original film, where the conniving family thwarts the hapless teens. Located in the town of Bastrop, the once-abandoned shanty has been reborn as a somewhat unnerving barbecue restaurant called The Gas Station. There are even cabin rentals on-property, for those confident enough that Leatherface wasn’t based on a real person. 

Seneca Creek State Park
Seneca Creek State Park
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The Forest From The Blair Witch Project

When The Blair Witch Project came out of nowhere in 1999, single-handedly inventing the found-footage genre of horror, it changed the landscape of filmmaking. The indie flick, which was so raw and obscure that many viewers thought it was indeed real, told the woebegone tale of a few scrappy filmmakers attempting to explore the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, and uncover the mythos of the Blair Witch. Antics ensue. The actual movie was filmed in Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland, whose forests in the movie appear so imposing and eternal that they become an inescapable maze. In reality, it’s a lot less hopeless and a lot more scenic and beautiful — assuming you’re not being reckless with the map.

The Entire Town From The Birds

If you’ve ever watched seagulls maul people in Alfred Hitchcock’s avian monster movie The Birds and thought to yourself, “I want to go here,” then you’re in luck. Released in 1963, film is about an inexplicable bird assault on a particularly unlucky town on the Northern California coast, where violent gulls and crows go berserk. Said town is Bodega Bay, which Hitchcock chose for its foggy facade and location on craggy bluffs overlooking the Pacific. Some of the locales from the movie are the Potter Schoolhouse, now a private home, and The Tides Wharf and Restaurant, while Bay Hill Road is the route that Tippi Hedren drove in her Aston Martin. 

The Sanderson sister's cottage
The Sanderson sisters’ cottage
Helynn Ospina

The House From Hocus Pocus

If visiting the sites of fictional murder are a bit much for you, the ultimate Halloween town of Salem is loaded with sights and scenes from the way-less-scary Hocus Pocus. An aptly witchy locale for a movie about three witches who take a Three Stooges approach to sucking the souls out of children, Salem features the museum in Pioneer Village that serves as the Sanderson sisters’ cottage, Max and Dani’s house on Ocean Avenue, and the Old Town Hall, the site of that epic Halloween party where Bette Midler lulls the attendees into an all-night rave.

The Estate From Hannibal

America’s largest private home, the colossal Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, has played host to many a movie, from A Biltmore Christmas and Last of the Mohicans to Grace Kelly’s The Swan. It’s also where Gary Oldman wore horrific prosthetics in order to play Mason Verger, a surviving victim of Hannibal Lecter whose utter repugnancy rivals that of the cannibal himself in the Silence of the Lambs sequel, Hannibal. With Lecter still on the loose and Jodie Foster replaced with Julianne Moore’s curious Southern accent work, Verger is hell-bent on revenge while shacked up in his manor, played by the mighty Biltmore. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for him! But either way, you’re sure to have a great time on a self-guided tour of the palatial property, which has its own winery (no Chianti, but still). 


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