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Hawaii Film Locations

Hawaii Film Locations - Wailua River

Wailua River, one of film locations for Raiders of the Lost Ark [courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson].

As the Aloha State is one of the most beloved vacation destinations in the world, it is no surprise that Hollywood has used its breath-taking scenery in numerous films and TV shows.  Visiting filming locations on some of the islands can be among the most interesting ways to explore Hawaii’s gloriously diverse landscapes.  Some of these places can only be toured by helicopter or boat, which adds a sense of distance and mystery to the film locations.  One of these areas is the riverside backdrop for the opening jungle scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which can only be viewed by kayaking down the Wailua River.

Oahu Filming Locations

Oahu has the most film and TV locations of the islands, with world famous historical sites.  Examples include:  the Honolulu location of Pearl Harbor, the North Shore’s surf sets in Blue Crush and the rain forests and green mountains where the TV show Lost was filmed.  Oahu boasts of some of the most diverse filming landscapes.  Many of these settings are easily visible by vacationers who want to explore on their own in a rental car.

The island of Oahu is one of the main settings where the popular show Lost was filmed.  Lost fans can visit familiar hills and forests while stopping at Kaneohe Bay and He’eia Park.  By riding along the coast to Waihe’e Park, guests can see where Karate Kid was filmed.  Also, by driving to Waikane Pier, tourists can see the famous area that was highlighted in films such as 50 First Dates, Along Came Polly, Godzilla, as well as many scenes from Lost.  Pandaonline offers tours through the Kualoa Ranch, which hosts many locations that were included in shooting Tears of the Sun, You, Me and Dupree and Last Resort.  The Ka’a’awa area is home to the Kualoa Sugar Mill and Cooper Battery, an old World War II coastal defense fortification that was featured on Lost and as a Korean prison on the most current version of Hawaii Five-0.  A nearby Hawaiian village has been recreated as “Richard’s house” in Lost and is a prime location to take a few pictures of your day on these popular film and TV locations.  Travelers can also experience the  haunts and hidden corners of the Ka’a’awa Valley, where scenes in Jurassic Park, Mighty Joe Young, Pearl Harbor, Windtalkers, Very Brady Sequel, Snakes on a Plane, George of the Jungle, Journey 2, Battleship, amongst others were filmed.

Arguably, one of the most iconic films ever shot on Hawaii was From Here to Eternity (1953) starring Montgomery Cliff, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra.  The film famously re-launched Frank Sinatra’s then struggling career and became the winner of 8 Academy Awards.  From Here to Eternity highlighted some of Oahu’s most beautiful coastal views and landscapes and is a respected classic among movies filmed in Hawaii.  The famous kiss in the surf scene with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr was filmed on Halona Cove on Oahu and is frequently visited by tourists today.  For honeymooners especially, this stunning cove is worth stopping by, if for no other reason than to watch the tumultuous waters seethe where Hawaii met Hollywood in romance and glamour.

Kauai Filming Locations

Over 60 movies or TV shows were shot on the island of Kauai and can be toured by kayak, boat, helicopter or car.  However, some of the most dynamic sites are only visible from the air.  On the Garden Isle, one can enjoy the peaceful kayaking trip through the area that once served as the backdrop for Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Via helicopter one can soar over Nawiliwili Harbor where scenes from Jurassic Park were filmed.

Many areas in Kauai have become world-famous film sets.   Elvis’ famous Blue Hawaii and John Wayne’s Donovan’s Reef were both filmed in the beautiful backdrop of Kauai.  The Coco Palms area is famously recognizable in Pirates of the Caribbean, and on the eastern side of the island, vacationers can explore Wailua Falls and Wailua River where Fantasy Island (TV show), Blue Hawaii and the timeless musical classic, South Pacific were shot.  On the North Shore, from Hanalei Bay to the Na’pali Coast, guests will recognize scenes from Honeymoon in Vegas,  South Pacific, Lilo & Stitch, Lord of the Flies, The Thorn Birds, King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, Jurassic Park and Six Days/Seven Nights.  The south shore of Kauai highlights some enchanting landscapes visible by air only.  These sites include:  the majestic Manawaiopuna Falls, as seen in Jurassic Park; the Olokele Valley filmed in George of the Jungle; Koloa, where To End All Wars was shot; and Kipu Kai Beach, where Hook and Six Days/Seven Nights were filmed.  Families can end a day of site-seeing by enjoying a meal at Tahiti Nui which was made famous in the George Clooney film, The Descendants.

Hanalei Bay, Kauai, filming location for the classic musical South Pacific [courtesy of Hawaiian Tourism Japan (HTJ)]

Hanalei Bay, Kauai, film location for the movie South Pacific [courtesy of Hawaiian Tourism Japan (HTJ)].

There is no reason not to feel like a movie star for a day and delve deeply into Hawaii’s movie and TV landscapes and locations first hand.  Start your planning now on Panda ® Online, for a fun activity-filled vacation in Hawaii.


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