One of the great things about LA is the weather, and with that comes the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors all year long. This is why LA is such an ideal place to film outdoors for TV shows and Movies. From the beaches to the mountains, you have probably seen some of these great outdoors in your favorite TV shows or Movies. And even though the show might be set in a different state or even country, you will find their legacy right here in Southern California. Take a look at some of our favorites.
Located about 45 minutes outside of LA in Agoura Hills near Malibu Creek State Park, Paramount Ranch has been a premiere movie and TV location since the 1920’s. In 1927, Paramount Pictures purchased around 2,700 acres of land in the mountains in order to create a “movie ranch”. They built several sets on the land including a replica of early San Francisco, a Welsh Mining Village (created for the film “How Green Was My Valley”) and an Old West town. While the land was sold off in the 1950’s and changed hands several times until the 80’s when the parks services purchased it, you can still see the Old Western Town that was built there. The Ranch has been used in over 200 productions and you have seen it as a back drop in such TV Shows as “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman”, “Chips”, “The Dukes of Hazzard”, “The X Files” and many more. It has also been used in incredible movie productions such as “Shanghai Express”, “Gunsmoke”, “The Texas Rangers”, “The Love Bug”, and “Van Helsing” among others. When you visit, you also have the opportunity to visit one of the many hiking trails they have there. They are all fairly easy and since you will be exploring the whole time, it won’t feel like you are on a hike as much as you are on an exploration of Hollywood history.
Calling all Trekkie’s! If you want to visit the site where “Star Trek” filmed many of it’s episodes and to check out “Kirk’s Rock” then you don’t want to miss out on Vazquez Rock Park. Located in Agua Dulce near Santa Clarita, this 932 acre park is about an 90 minute drive from LA. The dramatic rock formations are the star in this amazing landscape. They were formed by rapid erosion around 25 million years ago and then exposed by activity along the San Andreas Fault. It was named after Tiburcio Vasquez who was one of California’s most notorious bandits. He used the rocks to elude capture and since then he has been associated with this location. That sounds like a Hollywood story in and of itself! Besides “Star Trek” being filmed at the the Vazquez Rock Park, it has also been featured in episodes of “Bonanza”, “Roswell”, “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory”. The trails are great to explore and the scenery is beautiful.
While you might not see Mr. Rourke and Tattoo, you may just recognize the Queen Anne Cottage from the the opening credits of “Fantasy Island” when you visit The Los Angeles Arboretum. Located in Arcadia, which is located about 30 minutes from LA, The Arboretum is a 127 acre botanical garden and historical site. The Arboretum offers many horticultural/botanical classes, programs, shows, and workshops throughout the year for people of all ages, and also hosts arts and craft expositions, summer camps, educational fairs, field walks, and outdoor concerts. And, of course, it has been a major filming location since the 1940’s. Besides “Fantasy Island”, other notable TV shows that have been filmed at the Arboretum have been “Daniel Boone”, “Mission Impossible”, “Wonder Woman”, “The Love Boat”, “Hart to Hart”, “Dallas”, “Falcon Crest” and many others. Plus the Queen Anne cottage was also used as the home of Ben Stiller’s parents in “Meet the Fockers”. Taking a walk through the Arboretum is a wonderful experience that you will likely never forget. And, who knows, you might stumble upon a film crew while you are there!
It is where Captain Tony Nelson met Jeannie in “I Dream of Jeannie” and where the famous last scene of “Planet of the Apes” was filmed. It is also where you could find Tony Stark’s cliffside abode in “Iron Man”. Point Dume is a special filming location because of its proximity to the highway along with its secluded nature. A 63 acre spread of both sand and water, a lot of the land is labeled as a State Nature Preserve. You can hike up to the highest point of the beach and take a look at sweeping views of the ocean. On a clear day you can even see seals and migrating whales during peak season. While dogs are not allowed on the beach due to it’s already high volume of wildlife animals, you can find people hanging out on the beach all year long. You might even recognize the beach from scenes of “Baywatch”, “Modern Family” and some of your favorite commercials. You can also try your hand at rock climbing along the high walls if you feel like you want to do more than just enjoy the beach.
We have talked a lot about Griffith Park in our past blogs. This is probably because we love it so much. In 2014, Griffith Park topped the list of the most popular filming locations in Los Angeles, with over 300 production days in the last year alone. This huge park nestled with in the city that houses a great museum, an incredible observatory and the LA Zoo has it all. It also has been the back drop for many TV and film shoots. Besides the Observatory, Griffith Park also houses the Bronson Cave which is notably used in the 1960’s TV series “Batman” as “the batcave”. It was also used in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Julius Caesar”. The park is also routinely used for such shows as “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Criminal Minds”. The reason? The location has so many, well, locations to use from forests, caves, back roads, play areas and the huge carousel, you can film virtually anything there. It’s no wonder that it is truly a star among the big stars in and around LA. You can spend the day there and just get lost in its beauty while hiking among its many trails. If you are looking for family fun there is the zoo, the pony and train rides as well as the aforementioned carousel and several playgrounds. We can also take you there on one of our many tours of Los Angeles.
There are so many things to love about Los Angeles. Come discover it with us and you never know what you may find!
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~ Lindsay O, Hepburn Springs, Australia
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The Kozars, Lethbridge, Canada
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A big thank you to Scott for our fantastic LA tour!! We got all the sights in, in one day including a last minute shop @ Dash!! Scott was full of information and my family including my 3 year old had a fantastic day!! Highly recommend !!