Some lovely travel inspiration from TV shows and films for when this is all over…

Arrested Development – Newport Beach, California


Arrested Development follows the dysfunctional Bluth family as they struggle to adapt to their new lives, following the collapse of their real estate business. The show is set in the picturesque coastal city of Newport Beach, less than an hour’s drive south from LA. Fans can visit the real Original Frozen Banana Stand on Balboa Island, which is run in the show by George-Michael Bluth, played by Michael Cera.

Crystal Cove Newport Beach California

Crystal Cove, Newport Beach

Lady Bird – Sacramento, California


New to Netflix, this award-winning comedy-drama, set and shot in California’s capital, follows the life of confused teenage girl Christine (‘Lady Bird’) as she struggles through the final year of high school and deals with her caring but overbearing mother and blossoming love life. The solo directorial debut of Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird is a love letter to Sacramento, with its exciting gastronomy offerings, rapidly expanding city centre and gold rush history. Travellers can discover the many film locations around the city, including Tower Bridge, Tower Theatre, the ‘Fabulous Forties’ neighbourhood and Thrift Town.

Sacramento Tower Bridge

Sacramento Tower Bridge

True Grit – Ouray, Colorado


True Grit is the John Wayne classic about a young girl seeking to avenge her father’s death. Much of the movie was filmed in Ouray in southwest Colorado. Visitors can explore the San Juan Mountains by horseback, which provided an epic backdrop to many of the outdoor scenes, and see exclusive movie memorabilia at the True Grit Café in Ridgway.

Aspen, Colorado

Many films have been shot in Aspen, Colorado. Photo: RyanFSpack via Pixabay

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Set during the 1990s, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is centred around the heart-warming friendship between three teenagers. Filmed in Pittsburgh, locations including the West End Overlook which overlooks the city skyline and Point State Park,  the Hollywood Theater located in a small quaint town outside of Pittsburgh called Dormont, and Peters Township High School, where most of the school scenes were filmed. Some of the most memorable scenes are the tunnel scenes at Fort Pitt Tunnel and Fort Pitt Bridge, where Emma Watson is seen riding in the back of a pick-up truck.

Visit Pittsburgh Bridge Bike

Pittsburgh. Photo: JP Diroll Photography

Spirited Away – Setouchi, Japan


One of Japan’s oldest hot spring towns, Dogo Hot Springs is located in central Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. The main attraction is the Dogo Onsen, a wooden public bathhouse dating back to 1894. The interior of the building is a maze of stairways, passages and rooms, all of which are bustling with bathers whilst a colourful exterior is created by red-tinted glass windows. A similar structure features in the popular Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away, which took its inspiration from this bathhouse.

Floating torii gate, Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima Prefecture, Setouchi Region, Japan

“Floating” torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine on the island of Itsukushima. Photo:

Princess Mononoke – Yakushima Island, Kyushu, Japan


When it comes to Princess Mononoke, the most memorable scenes are those found in the magical forest ruled by the deer spirit. In order to create this vision, Hayao Miyazaki and artist Kazuo Oga spent much time on Yakushima Island in Kyushu. Visitors can lose themselves in the ethereal atmosphere created by the emerald, moss-covered woods of this subtropical oasis. The massive Jomon-Sugi tree at the centre of this primordial forest is over 2,000 years old and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yakushima is a must hit spot while ferrying around the charming islands of southern Japan.

Yakushima Island, Japan

Yakushima Island, Japan. Photo by Kimon Berlin via Flickr

Only Yesterday – Miyagi Prefecture, Japan


Located between the Miyagi and Yamagata prefecture lies the Zao volcanic mountain range, home to the 1,841m Mount Zao. At the centre of this is the famed Okama Crater features in the anime film Only Yesterday. The film tells the story of an unmarried career woman, Taeko Okajima, as she takes her first extended trip outside her native city of Tokyo and travels to rural Yamagata to visit her sister’s family.

Naruko Ravine, Miyagi Japan

Naruko Ravine, Miyagi

Terrace House – Nagano Prefecture, Japan


Taking the world by storm due to its addition to Netflix in recent years, it’s impossible to talk about Japanese architecture without mentioning the Terrace House series. With its fusion of both contemporary and outdoor elements, the Karuizawa location in particular is regarded by many as the most breath-taking. The location is set in the mountainous region of Japan’s Nagano prefecture where travellers can enjoy activities such as skiing and adventure parks.

Grey’s Anatomy – Seattle, Washington

Amazon Prime

Now in its 16th season, Grey’s Anatomy is a drama series centred on the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns and their supervisors. The story is set in the fictional Grace Hospital in Seattle and there are many shots which show Seattle’s iconic skyline. Travellers can visit sights including the Space Needle and Seattle Waterfront.

Seattle Sunset on Marina Harbor

Seattle Sunset on Marina Harbor. Photo: InfiniteThought via Pixabay

The X-Files – Whistler, Canada

Amazon Prime

The X-Files is a classic American science fiction drama television series created by Chris Carter about FBI agents who investigate X-Files: marginalized, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. Initially on screen in the 1990s, the series was also made into a feature film exploring the show’s mythology on a wider scale. Ice-scenes were filmed in Whistler, British Columbia, near the show’s regular locations in Vancouver.

Epic Mountain Biking on the Whistler Bike Park's Top of the World Trail

Epic Mountain Biking on the Whistler Bike Park’s Top of the World Trail

The Lost Boys – Santa Cruz, California

Amazon Prime

Located 90 minutes south of San Francisco and 30 minutes from Silicon Valley, the natural beauty – and quirkiness – of Santa Cruz County has inspired many iconic filmmakers over the years including Jordan Peele’s horror, US and 1987 cult vampire movie, The Lost Boys. The latter is now available to watch in all its eighties glory after a 4k restoration. With key scenes shot on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk in the fictional town of Santa Clara, there are also walking tours of the sights available year round.

Ponyo – Tomonoura Village, Hiroshima, Japan

Amazon Prime

Ponyo, another Ghibli classic, is a must watch. In search of inspiration for his aquatic themed animated sensation, Hayao Miyazaki spent two months living in the Japanese fishing town of Tomonoura. Miyazaki drew on the calming, yet thought-provoking beauty of open water to create our anthropomorphic friend, Ponyo, who embarks on her journey surrounded by the wonders of the sea. This endearing port town has been a hit with photographers and artists alike, each hoping to capture the old-fashioned and mellow essence of the Japanese coastline. Tomonoura also features many shops selling wares inspired by Ponyo, as well as boat access to neighbouring islands.

Hiroshima - Tomonoura japan

Hiroshima – Tomonoura

Top Gun – San Diego, California

Amazon Prime

Watch hunk Tom Cruise whilst soaking up the sights of San Diego. Top Gun follows the story of Navy pilot Maverick, a role which launched Tom Cruise into stardom. The film was set in San Diego and much of it was filmed in the city too. One of the most memorable scenes took place at Kansas City Barbeque in downtown San Diego, where Maverick and Goose play ‘Great Balls of Fire’ at the piano. Other filming locations include Point Loma and Bankers Hill.

Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, California

Gaslamp Quarter. Photo: Vistor7 via Wikimedia Commons

Point Break – The Islands of Tahiti

Amazon Prime

Point Break is an action thriller film about thrill-seeking criminals performing a series of daredevil stunts to steal money and gems. The film has a surf scene that takes place off the coast of France but was actually filmed in Teahupo’o, Tahiti. The scene used professional surfer Laurie Towner; this was an incredibly dangerous scene to film with the film boats being secured with roll cages in case they went over the falls. There was a surfer shooting inside the wave tube which has never been done before as a result of cameras weighing 10-15kg making them easy to off balance the filming surfer. This is an impressive scene to watch and will give viewers goosebumps.

Black volcanic beach in Tahiti

Black volcanic beach in Tahiti. Photo by Derek Keats via Wikimedia Commons

Adaptation – Florida’s Paradise Coast

Amazon Prime

Florida’s Paradise Coast features in the backdrop of box-office success, Adaption. Co-starring Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, this is a must see film. Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park featured prominently in the movie based on Susan Orlean’s non-fiction book ‘The Orchid Thief’, the book is about the arrest of a poacher (Chris Cooper’s character) and Seminole Indians for stealing rare ghost orchids from Fakahatchee.

Free Solo – Yosemite Mariposa County, California


Free Solo, the breathtaking documentary recording American rock climber Alex Honnold’s free-solo ascent of El Capitan, has an Oscar, a BAFTA and seven Emmys under its belt. The towering, but eye wateringly beautiful, ‘El Cap’ stole the global spotlight in this award-winning portrait of a straight-speaking, dedicated rock-climber with incredible mental control who managed to do what was previously believed impossible. Honnold climbed El Capitan without safety ropes, putting himself intentionally into a “you slip, you die” situation that goes on for one tenuous pitch after another for 3000 feet (900 metres).

Mrs. Doubtfire – Tri-Valley, California


After the release of the beloved Robin Williams’ classic, Mrs. Doubtfire, Bridges Restaurant and Bar in the charming town of Danville, Tri-Valley, was thrust into the global spotlight. Nestled within the vibrant East Bay enclave of downtown Danville, just east of San Francisco, its distinctive atmosphere, exciting menu and stellar service has only added to Bridge’s appeal.

As we wait for the world to find its balance again, add this travel inspiration from TV shows and films to your bucket list.

Also Read: 

Awe-inspiring locations for BAFTA-nominated films