10 Lakes Where Famous Movies Were Filmed | LakeWizard

Key Takeaways

  • Scenic lakes have been key locations in many beloved films.
  • Famous lake film locations span from North Carolina to Italy.
  • Visit these lakes to walk in the footsteps of movie stars.

Did you know that many of your favorite movie moments were filmed beside picturesque lakes?

Imagine watching a movie and recognizing the serene lake backdrop as a place you've visited or plan to see.

Lakes have provided stunning settings for numerous iconic films throughout cinematic history.

Curl up with your popcorn because we're diving into the top ten lakes that have graced the silver screen!

When it comes to reliability and credibility, rest assured you're getting the info from a fellow lake lover and movie buff.

Not only will we explore where these films were shot, but we'll also uncover some of the magic behind the scenes.

Who knows, you might be inspired to visit these scenic locations for your next vacation or movie marathon!

Table of contents


Lake Lure, North Carolina

Did you know that Lake Lure in North Carolina is a star in its own right?

Dirty Dancing, that classic from 1987, swept us off our feet right here!

Imagine the tranquil waters and lush scenery, not merely a backdrop but a pivotal character in the movie.

  • Famous Film: Dirty Dancing (1987)
  • Iconic Scene: The Lift Scene in the Lake

Remember the resort where Baby's family vacationed?

That's modeled after Lake Lure's charm, which doubled as 'Kellerman's'.

The picturesque setting, nestled at the foothills of North Carolina's majestic mountains, is where Baby learned to dance—and where she and Johnny practiced that soaring lift.

Now, let's talk specifics because we know that's why you're here!

  • Setting: Kellerman's Resort in Dirty Dancing
  • Scene: Baby and Johnny practicing their iconic dance lift

Yes, the very water you might swim in was once graced by the likes of Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze.

It's not just about the nostalgia; Lake Lure's beauty has earned it a place among National Geographic's top 10 most beautiful man-made lakes in the world.

So, if you're itching for a bit of movie magic, why not pack your bags and step into a scene that's stayed timeless for generations?

Just don't forget to practice your dance moves!

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Have you ever wondered where the cinematic giants choose to shoot their most memorable scenes?

Well, Lake Tahoe sits at the top of that list for a reason.

It's not just about the crystal-clear waters; Lake Tahoe has a knack for making it to the silver screen in some of our favorite films!

Remember the Corleone family's dramatic moments in The Godfather Part II (1974)?

That was Lake Tahoe dazzling you with its pristine shores!

The lake's border between California and Nevada became the Corleone's estate backdrop, and, let's be honest, who could forget that boathouse?

  • Featured Movie: The Godfather Part II
  • Notable Scene: Michael Corleone's lakeside estate

If you're a romantic at heart, you might recall the 1998 film City of Angels.

While it's not as prominent as in The Godfather, Lake Tahoe's serene environment provided just the right setting for an angelic romance.

So when you're planning your next movie marathon, keep an eye out for Lake Tahoe, the unsung hero of film locations.

And maybe next time you find yourself by those shimmering waters, you can tip your hat to the history of cinema that unfolded right where you stand!

Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona

Have you ever gasped at the dramatic landscapes in the movies and wondered if they were real?

Well, Lake Powell's red rock canyons and crystal-clear waters are as genuine as it gets.

In fact, this stunning location added a dash of otherworldly charm to the iconic "Planet of the Apes" (1968).

Remember the unforgettable final scene?

That's Lake Powell for you!

But that's not all.

Fast forward a few decades to "Gravity" (2013), another cinematic masterpiece that took advantage of Lake Powell's scenic beauty.

Although it's a space movie, filming here on terra firma helped create some of those awe-inspiring visuals.

Here's a snag for you movie buffs:

  1. "Planet of the Apes"
  1. Isn't it wild that Charlton Heston's character made that staggering discovery right here?
  1. "Gravity"
  1. Sandra Bullock might've been tumbling in space, but scenes for her gripping Earth return were filmed at Lake Powell, proving you don't need to travel light-years for stellar backdrops!

Of course, you could just visit Lake Powell to soak in the vistas, kayak in the blue waters, or enjoy the serene canyons.

But, knowing you're in the same place where movie magic was made?


So, why not plan your next trip and walk in the footsteps of greatness?

Just imagine the Instagram stories you'll have to share.

No special effects needed — just your camera and Lake Powell's natural splendor.

And who knows?

You might bump into the next big film set!

Lake Placid, New York

Have you ever nestled on your couch, watching a movie, and suddenly found yourself wondering, "Wow, where did they film this stunning scene?" If you're a fan of spine-tingling thrillers with a dash of comedy, you're probably familiar with the 1999 flick "Lake Placid." Not to be fooled by its tranquil name, this lake is far from placid in the movie!

Movie Magic on the Water Lake Placid, setting for the cult horror-comedy of the same name, isn't just about the calm waters and picturesque views.

Spoiler alert: it's more about the heart-racing encounters with a not-so-friendly giant crocodile!

The serene backdrop of the fictional Black Lake, Maine, was brought to life through the lens, ironically not at Lake Placid, New York, but rather at various locations including British Columbia in Canada.

But let’s keep that between us, and enjoy the illusion of our ferocious lake-dwelling friend, shall we?

A Movie with a Bite

  • Name of Movie: Lake Placid
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Key Feature: A massive crocodile causing chaos

What's really captivating is the contrast that the natural beauty of "Lake Placid" brings when juxtaposed with the thriller elements of the movie.

It keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering if your next camping trip might have some unexpected guests!

Picture-Perfect with a Twist While you take in the views of this iconic movie lake, remember, with its peaceful vista, it could deceive any passant into thinking it's just another ordinary vacation spot.

But as the movie shows, you might just want to keep an eye out for any ripples in the water.

Just a friendly heads-up!

Lake Quinault, Washington

Have you ever felt a chill down your spine while watching a horror movie?

Chances are, the setting played a big part in that eerie sensation.

When it comes to spine-tingling backdrops, Lake Quinault in Washington is a standout.

This location lent its creepy ambiance to the 2002 horror flick "The Ring".

Picture this: dense, mist-shrouded rainforest circling a tranquil lake.

Now add in some suspenseful soundtrack, and you've got yourself the perfect setting for some supernatural scares.

Lake Quinault's fog-laden waters and shadowy woods set the stage for the film's haunting themes, proving that nature can be just as chilling as any ghost or ghoul.

  1. Movie Filmed Here: "The Ring" (2002)
  2. Notable Features:
  1. Eerie atmosphere perfect for horror settings.
  2. Stunning rainforest surroundings.

Imagine wandering through the same lush forests where the movie's ominous scenes unfolded.

Pretty cool, right?

Just be sure to keep an eye out for any mysterious videotapes lying around — you'll want to leave that part to Hollywood.

Next time you're up for a movie marathon, why not add a little travel plan into the mix?

Explore Lake Quinault, walk in the footsteps of troubled characters, and take in that cinematic scenery.

And remember, if your phone rings afterward... maybe let it go to voicemail.

Lake Michigan, Illinois (Chicago)

Have you ever found yourself gazing at Lake Michigan's vast and calm waters while strolling along Chicago’s vibrant shoreline?

It turns out, you’re treading on cinematic history!

Scenes from two blockbuster hits, "The Dark Knight" (2008) and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011), were filmed right here, using our city’s iconic skyline and the majestic lake as their backdrops.

  • "The Dark Knight" utilizes Chicago to stand in for the fictional Gotham City. Imagine Batman racing down Lake Shore Drive with the shimmering lake on one side and the towering city on the other—thrilling, right?
  • "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", a spectacle of robots in disguise, showcased the lakefront in explosive, action-packed sequences.

Want some fun trivia to share with your friends?

Next time you watch these movies, pay extra attention to the lake scenes.

It's not just a beautiful view; it's a piece of Hollywood magic!

Remember those heart-pumping chase scenes and dramatic showdowns?

Lake Michigan was there for each one of them, reflecting the mood of every scene with its ever-changing waves.

So, whether you're a film buff or just love a good story, Chicago’s Lake Michigan offers more than just a pretty picture.

It's a character in its own right, contributing to the high-octane energy and visual splendor of these beloved movies.

Who knows, during your next visit to the lake you might just stumble upon the next big film set!

Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Have you ever found yourself watching What About Bob? and thinking, "Now that's a place I need to see!"?

Well, let me tell you about a little slice of movie history—Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

Picture this: sprawling waters, a relaxing vibe, and the quirky antics of Bill Murray alongside Richard Dreyfuss.

This 1991 comedy gem used the stunning backdrop of Lake Winnipesaukee to tell the tale of a vacation gone hilariously awry.

Although the lake you saw in the film wasn't the real Lake Winnipesaukee but rather Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, the actual lake is no less scenic and has its own charm.

Did you know that Lake Winnipesaukee doesn't just look great on-screen but is also the largest lake in New Hampshire?

That's right, spanning a massive 72 square miles.

Its crystal-clear waters are a magnet for summer vacationers and movie buffs alike!

So, what makes Lake Winnipesaukee a place worthy of your bucket list?

  • Scenic beauty: With views that can steal any show, it's a prime spot for those Instagram-worthy holiday pics.
  • Serene atmosphere: You can bask in the tranquility that was sought (but hilariously disrupted) in What About Bob?

Before you pack your bags and set out on your own escapade to this iconic location, remember that the real Lake Winnipesaukee might not have Bill Murray around every corner, but it's definitely filled with landscapes and local charm that can create your own memorable story!

Who knows, you might even stumble upon a spot that'll inspire the next big blockbuster!

Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana

Ever wondered where some of your favorite movie scenes were shot?

Imagine a sprawling body of water that's a stone's throw away from the vibrant city of New Orleans.

That's Lake Pontchartrain for you, and it's more than just a pretty sight!

Did you know that Lake Pontchartrain is not only known for its stunning sunsets but also as a backdrop for some Hollywood hits?

Take "Déjà Vu" (2006), for example.

This sci-fi thriller, led by the ever-charming Denzel Washington, really shows off what Lake Pontchartrain has to offer.

Typical Louisiana charm?


Heart-pumping action?


  • Movie Magic: "Déjà Vu" mixes time-warping intrigue with the scenic beauty of Lake Pontchartrain.
  • Starring: Denzel Washington, bringing his A-game as always.

Now, let's talk specifics:

  • Key Location: The mighty Causeway Bridge stretching over the lake isn't just a way to get from point A to point B. It's integral to the plot, adding suspense and drama to Washington’s race against time.

Trivia Time!

Did you catch that the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is one of the longest bridges in the world?

It's a whopping 24 miles long!

Movies aside, just driving across it can give you a mini-thrill.

So next time you're watching "Déjà Vu," pay attention to those lake scenes.

They're not just filler – they're a major part of the story, showcasing one of Louisiana's very own natural treasures.

Who knew your next movie night could turn into a mini virtual vacation?

Now, grab some popcorn and enjoy the on-screen and off-screen allure of Lake Pontchartrain.

Chebacco Lake, Massachusetts

Have you ever wondered where some of your favorite movie scenes come to life?

Let's talk about a hidden gem in the world of film locations: Chebacco Lake in Massachusetts.

Did you know Chebacco Lake served as a picturesque setting for the 2010 comedy smash "Grown Ups"?

That’s right, the scenic views you savored in the film were nestled right here in the heart of New England’s Essex County.

How’s this for movie magic?

Chebacco Lake isn't just any lake.

It's the largest in a group making up the Chebacco Watershed, and it beautifully borders both Essex and Hamilton.

This was the perfect spot for the cast of "Grown Ups" to dazzle us with their family reunion shenanigans, set against cozy, idyllic lake house vibes.

Remember the family dinner scene?

It was filmed at the real-life Woodman's of Essex on Main Street.

Imagine sitting down for a clam platter at the same spot where Hollywood stars shared a meal.

Pretty cool, huh?

Quick Facts:

  • Movie: "Grown Ups" (2010)
  • Notable Feature: Chebacco Lake was the primary filming site for lake house scenes.
  • Location Highlight: Woodman’s of Essex featured in the film.

So next time you're up for a bit of film-fan adventure, why not take a drive to Chebacco Lake?

Enjoy the calm waters and maybe even have a laugh, picturing Adam Sandler and friends running around the very same spots you’re exploring.

Just think, you’re walking right through a piece of cinematic history!

Lake Como, Italy

Have you ever dreamed of a movie-worthy getaway?

Let's talk about Lake Como in Italy—your ultimate film fantasy turned reality!

Imagine the same lush landscapes that served as the backdrop for epic tales on silver screens.

Did you know that Lake Como starred in "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones" (2002)?

  • Yeah, that's right, the romantic hideaway where Anakin and Padmé secretly savored their love is none other than this Italian gem. You might almost expect a Gondola carrying droids to float by!

And for the Bond aficionados amongst you, parts of "Casino Royale" (2006) were filmed right here!

Remember those riveting chase scenes and the stunning villa?

That's Lake Como’s charm working its magic—without the need for special effects.

Check out these Lake Como cameos:

  1. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
  1. Featuring: Anakin and Padmé's retreat
  1. Casino Royale
  1. Featuring: James Bond in action

Aside from its Hollywood credits, Lake Como is also steeped in history and beauty, making it more than just a cinematic spectacle.

Its glistening waters and elegant villas have a way of whispering stories of old fame and present grandeur.

Isn't it intriguing how our beloved Lake Como has effortlessly transitioned from a silent movie co-star to a full-blown Hollywood scene-stealer?

Bet you're now eager to see these spots in person, aren't you?

Pack your bags, and don't forget to bring a camera – you're in for a blockbuster vacation!