The Best Road Trips for Horror Movie Buffs
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Get on the road this spooky season and visit New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the West Coast to see a boo-tiful variety of horror movie filming locations.
California may be the stereotypical home to movie sets and stars, but horror films are shot around the country. We’ve put together three different routes through the historic towns of Maine and Massachusetts and across the rural roads of Pennsylvania, California, and more that are sure to send a shiver down your spine.
Don’t forget, you’ll need great car insurance for your trip. Jerry can provide you with competitive quotes in under a minute. Swapping is just as effortless. Jerry takes care of all the paperwork and phone calls and even cancels your old policy for you!
Grab your cameras and get ready to geek out!
Haunted New England
Dating back to the Witch Trial days in Salem, New England has been the site of many a haunted story. This road trip starts in Maine and winds across the wooded roads of New Hampshire and Vermont before ending in historic Massachusetts.
Though there are a lot of stops on this trip, they are close together, so you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time—just stock up on apple cider before you leave!
Let’s start with the King of Horror himself.
Stephen King’s house—Bangor, ME
As a native of Maine, Stephen King wrote many of his famous novels with this New England backdrop. Start your trip by visiting Stephen King’s former abode just outside of downtown Bangor. Wander around the neighborhood, and you can see how this historic Maine town was the inspiration for many spooky tales.
While you’re there, grab a Coffee Pot sandwich with ham and salami, veggies, and spices. Many local sandwich shops sell this hoagie as an homage to the original Coffee Pot Cafe.
Pet Sematary filming site—Bangor and Hancock, ME
In speaking of Steven King, you can visit the filming site of the 1989 film Pet Sematary. The cemetery featured throughout the movie is the Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor. Follow State Street up to a steep hill, and you’ll find the stone staircase where Mr. King himself makes a cameo.
In nearby Hancock, you’ll find the house where much of the movie takes place, located at 303 Point Road. The house is still there and looks the same, yellow paint and all.
For famous Maine seafood, try Ruth and Wimpy’s. Choose from a full page and a half of lobster combos. We suggest the Shore Dinner for a true New England experience.
MORE: Seat-belt laws in Maine
Beetlejuice—East Corinth, VT
Continuing down Maine via I-95 and across New Hampshire onto NH-112, you’ll pass through the White Mountain National Forest to get to East Corinth, Vermont, the next place on our horror movie tour.
The drive takes about 5.5 hours, but if you have time, stop in the National Forest to explore its hiking trails—the Welch-Dickey trailhead has easy access to the park’s majestic views.
Once you reach East Corinth, you’ll see the filming sites of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. Though the movie was set in Connecticut, it was filmed in this quintessential New England town. Many of the locations are on Main Street, including Mason Hall, which was used as the schoolhouse.
Some sites—like the bridge where the Maitlands (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) died—have been modernized, but you still might be able to catch a glimpse of the striped poltergeist if you say his name three times.
East Corinth itself is very small, but you can find some great food in neighboring towns. Vittles House of Brews in nearby Bradford is a local favorite. If you’re planning on staying the night in the area, the Silver Maple Lodge and Cottage is an adorable bed and breakfast fit for a classic New England vacation.
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Hocus Pocus—Salem, MA
It wouldn’t be a haunted Northeastern road trip if we didn’t include a stop in Salem. Known for its historical Witch Trials, Salem has been the setting of many a spooky tale.
The 1993 cult classic Hocus Pocus draws on that history by reviving the historical Sanderson sisters, who are back to seek revenge on the town after an unknowing teenager brings them back to life.
The sites of the movie are all over, but the most prominent include Pioneer Village where Thackery Binx lived, Salem Common, and the Old Town Hall, where Bette Middler sings “Put a Spell on You.”
The cemetery in the film is in neighboring Marblehead at the Old Burial Hill, which is one of the oldest cemeteries in New England.
While in Salem, pick up some candy for your trip at Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company, which is the country’s oldest commercially-made candy seller. They specialize in peppermint gibraltars—a classic after-dinner mint.
“The Witch House,” Salem, Massachusetts
From Salem, take MA-3 S for 110.7 miles to arrive in Edgartown, MA—our last stop on our spooky Northeast road trip. The drive takes about three hours, and you’ll need to take a ferry.
Edgartown is on the east side of Martha’s Vineyard and is a popular tourist destination. It is also the filming location of the most famous movie about a shark (pre-Sharknado). Many of the town’s locations are in Spielberg’s Jaws, but perhaps the most famous site is the American Legion Memorial Bridge, better known as the Jaws Bridge, and its adjacent beach.
Consider staying overnight at The Edgartown Collection or one of the many vacation rentals on the island. For a scenic, local bite, have breakfast at the Among the Flowers Cafe and sit along the harbor—just don’t get in the water!
Note There are many other movie stops in New England. Consider visiting Ipswich and Cohasset, MA for the locations from Witches from Eastwick or the mill from Graveyard Shift in Maine.
American Legion Memorial Bridge, Edgartown, Massachusetts
Our second trip takes you through some of the most iconic filming sites in the Mid-Atlantic. We start in New York and travel through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland before ending up in D.C.
Like the New England trip, many of the sites are within hours of each other, so the trip can be made in a few days.
Amityville Horror—Amityville, NY
A sleepy part of the NYC suburb, Amityville is perhaps best known for the brutal murders of the DeFeo family in the 1970s and the subsequent haunting of their house. Though a true story, Amityville’s book and movies have become Hollywood legend.
You can visit the house at 112 Ocean Avenue, but it is a privately-owned residence, so you can only see the outside.
Amityville is a small Long Island town with few other tourist stops, but this stop can be easily incorporated into a trip to the Hamptons. Grab a classic NY bagel from Poppy’s Bagels on Broadway before your leave.
The Hamptons in Long Island, New York
Friday the 13th—Blairstown, NJ
From Amityville, take I-87 N for 134.6 miles to Blairstown, New Jersey. If you have a few extra days, consider taking a detour and staying in New York City.
Once in Blairstown, you are here for one of the most legendary horror movie franchises—Friday the 13th. Blairstown, NJ is home to Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, which is better known as Camp Crystal Lake—the site of Jason Voorhees’s bloody rampage. It is still an active Boy Scout Camp, so film buffs can only visit through an official tour, which can be booked through the camp website.
While you’re here, grab a bite at the Blairstown Diner, which was featured in the movie. As a classic diner, their menu is exhaustive—consider ordering one of the sky-high sandwiches or breakfast plates, which are served all day.
The Blob—Phoenixville, PA
Fans of old-school horror flicks will love our next stop. From Blairstown, take PA-611 S for 89 miles to Phoenixville, PA—where one of the original horror monsters, the Blob, wreaked havoc.
The Colonial Theater is the site of the memorable Blob attack in the 1958 movie. The theater still exists and operates as a historic space and cultural center.
While in Phoenixville, visit the many shops and restaurants in the historic downtown area. You can also take a side trip to some beautiful natural areas in the region. Consider staying at The Three Daughters Inn, a quaint B&B nearby.
Blair Witch Project—Seneca Creek State Park, MD
If you didn’t get enough nature in Blairstown, you’re in luck: our next stop is the epitome of haunted woods. Take US-1 S to I-95 S through Baltimore to Seneca Creek State Park in Maryland.
Seneca Creek is the perfect escape for outdoor enthusiasts who want to traverse hiking trails or kayak through creeks, but it is also the haunted home of the Blair Witch. Bring your camcorder (or iPhone) and get your own footage of these creepy woods.
The Exorcist—Washington D.C.
Just a 45-minute drive south from Seneca Creek lies the nation’s capital. While D.C. might be more famous for some other historical landmarks, it is also home to a key filming location for The Exorcist.
In the Georgetown area, movie buffs can find the steep staircase at which the final showdown of the film was shot. Aficionados will find it well worth it to climb the stairs and see the surrounding locations that made their way into the film. Park at the nearby gas station on M Street for easy access.
If you plan on staying near Georgetown, consider the Georgetown Inn. Popular local restaurants include Church Hall, where you can get a hearty burger and take advantage of their affordable happy hour.
The old house used in The Exorcist, Georgetown, Washington D.C.
The West Coast
Our last road trip takes you down the West Coast, starting in Washington and ending in Los Angeles. While Hollywood hosts the majority of sites on this list, there are key places all along the coast to entice horror movie fanatics.
The Ring—Seattle, WA
The famous 2002 horror film The Ring is set in Seattle and was filmed in and around the city. While many of the interior shots were filmed on a soundstage, the atmosphere was clearly set by scenes in the Pacific Northwest.
Prominent locations include the Harbor Steps apartments in Downtown Seattle, where Rachel and Aidan call home; Camp Firwood in Bellingham; and Pass Lake near Whidbey Island. You can easily take a weekend to enjoy the Pacific Northwest scenery while touring these famous locations.
If you’re staying in Seattle, consider the Hyatt Regency, which has a great location close to Pikes Place Market. While at the market, don’t miss a bowl of chowder from Pikes Place Chowder and a cup of coffee from the original Starbucks.
The Shining—Mount Hood, OR
From Seattle, take I-5 S towards Portland and veer off the interstate at I-84 to Mount Hood. The peak is a notable part of the Oregon Cascades, but it is also home to Timberline Lodge, which serves as the exterior of the haunted hotel in The Shining.
Though King was inspired by The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO, Stanley Kubrick used this Oregon historical landmark in his adaptation.
If you want the full experience, you can book a room at the Timberline Lodge, where there are multiple dining options on-site.
Mount Hood, Oregon
Working your way down the coast, you’ll get to Northern California. While the southern part of the state is more known for its movie history, Northern California played an important role in shaping horror movie scenes—especially for the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.
Sonoma County may be known for its wine, but Hitchcock used Bodega Bay as the setting for one of the most famous scenes in movie history. As a noted place for birdwatching, Bodega Bay attracts birds, which is why it became the backdrop for the 1963 classic, The Birds.
Have a meal at The Tides Wharf Restaurant, where the film was actually shot—the Dungeness crab is not to be missed!
Hitchcock was also a fan of foggy San Francisco, which was the setting for the 1958 film Vertigo. Hitchcock-themed tours are offered through the City by the Bay, focusing on iconic scenes from this classic. One of the most prominent locations is the Brocklebank Apartments, which serve as Madeline’s home and can be seen from the rooftop in the early scenes of the film.
Many of Hitchcock’s other films were inspired by the Bay Area. Get a feel for the city by staying a few days at The Hilton San Francisco and have some dim sum in San Francisco’s famous Chinatown, which is only a few streets away.
Los Angeles, CA
Our road trip ends in the home of Hollywood—Los Angeles. To get to LA from San Francisco, take I-5 S for 383 miles. If you want a more scenic (but longer) route, consider taking CA-1 along the coast.
As the hub of the film industry, Los Angeles almost has too many horror movie locations to list. You can spend weeks traipsing around the city to see them all, so we’ve chosen a few highlights below:
- Halloween houses: While the film takes place in Illinois, many of the outdoor facades are in South Pasadena and Hollywood
- Phantasm: The Morningside Mortuary Gate in Altadena can be seen as the outdoor gate to the cemetery in the 1979 horror flick
- Nightmare on Elm Street: Just off Sunset Boulevard, you can visit the house from the iconic Wes Craven film. The nearby John Marshall High School in Los Feliz was the film’s school
- Tower of Terror: The Hollywood Tower Apartments was the inspiration for the Disney Tower of Terror ride and the movie of the same name. The apartments are still-lived in and sit on Franklin St.
- House on Haunted Hill: Ennis House in Los Feliz has been used in many films, including House on Haunted Hill
- Ghostbusters: As one of the most filmed sites in Hollywood, the Millennium Biltmore Hotel became the fictional Sedgewick Hotel in Ghostbusters.
We recommend taking a few days to explore the LA area. Stay at the Sofitel Los Angeles for a centrally-located spot and enjoy LA’s world-class cuisine, from street tacos to fine dining.
The Ennis House, Los Feliz, California
Why you need roadside assistance
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