Redondo Beach, California
A bittersweet comedy that follows the highs and lows of the dysfunctional Hoover family as they journey across the country in their unreliable VW camper van. The main plot revolves around daughter Olive’s attempts to participate in a beauty pageant, while poking fun at the industry. The film takes a poignant look at the dynamics of domestic life.
Isle de Jean Charles (The Bathtub), Louisiana
This fantastic and moving story about a young heroine, Hushpuppy, takes place in an isolated bayou in the South. As an approaching storm threatens her community and mythical creatures are unleashed by the change in weather, Hushpuppy sets off on a quest to find her mother while heeding the tough-love teachings of her father along the way.
Valley Park, Mississippi
Homer’s "Odyssey" is transported to 1930s Mississippi in this tale of three wayward convicts trying to recover the bounty from one of their heists. This eccentric comedy, complete with an array of odd characters, is made better by its brilliant bluegrass soundtrack, which won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
Blue John Canyon, Utah
Though it may be long remembered as the film that caused people to faint during its dismemberment scene, there’s no denying that the destinations on display in this brilliant biopic are some of the most spectacular ever filmed. The unique topography of Utah provides a backdrop for director Danny Boyle’s story of one man’s struggle to survive after becoming trapped in a rock crevice while climbing.
Devils Tower, Wyoming
It wouldn’t be right to include a list of movie locations without referring to one of the most lauded sci-fi pictures of all time.
After several people experience otherworldly activity with unknown forces, their obsessions draw them together to find out the meaning behind it all. Their journeys lead them to an imposing monolith in the Wyoming desert, where they each bear witness to an awe-inspiring event.
Captain George Flavel House Museum, Astoria, Oregon
Those of a certain age will have grown up idolizing this whirlwind adventure about a gang of misfit kids searching for legendary buried treasure. The rugged woodlands of Oregon provide a perfect environment for the courageous group to explore. Movie scenes range from stunning colonial homes to colossal underground caves, a perfect escape for your inner child.
Ray’s Music Exchange, Chicago, Illinois
What can possibly be said about Jake and Elwood that hasn’t already been said? The duo are bona-fide cult heroes and the story of their mission to save the orphanage where they grew up gets audience members tapping their toes to the music. There are many spots in Chicago to relive their antics, but we recommend heading straight to the site of Ray’s Music Exchange and start shaking your tail feather.
The ghost town of Marfa was the setting for Daniel Day Lewis’ powerhouse performance as Daniel Plainview, a gold miner turned oil prospector, in this adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s classic novel. The vast Texas vistas and unforgiving environment stand as very literal reminders of the main character’s personality and his detachment from society. The film hints that the dramatic, deserted plains may just hide the one thing that will make his fortune.
Once a year, Austin becomes the focus for all things cool and cutting edge when it plays host to SXSW. But there's a heck of a lot more in Texas.
Food and drink are an important part of the American South, but it's not somewhere you go to eat light.