The state of Georgia is now the No. 1 filming location in the world.
Tours have popped up around the state to help fans find the spots where some favorite shows and scenes were set.
By Hope S. Philbrick
A new study ranks Georgia as No. 1 for film production in the world.
That’s right: Georgia is the new California. Atlanta is the new Hollywood.
The study, conducted by FilmL.A., ranks Georgia the global leader of film production with 17 features (all live-action) filmed in the state during 2016. The U.K. seized the No. 2 spot with 16 films (all live-action), followed by Canada (13), California (12; seven live-action and five animated), and then Louisiana (6) and New York (6) in a tie.
Georgia’s numbers are even higher when television and other types of films are added into the count: In 2016 a total of 244 film and television projects were filmed in the state, according to Georgia Tourism. Since 1972, a total of 1,200 movies and television shows have filmed in the state!
The list of TV series and movies that have filmed and are filming in Georgia goes on and on. To name just a few…
- The Accountant
- The Avengers
- A Walk in the Woods
- Black Panther
- Cannonball Run
- Captain America: Civil War
- Driving Miss Daisy
- Dumb and Dumber To
- The Fate of the Furious
- The Fifth Wave
- Forrest Gump
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Hidden Figures
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- I’ll Fly Away
- Live by Night
- Mother’s Day
- Pitch Perfect 3
- Smokey and the Bandit
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Stranger Things
- Sweet Home Alabama
- Term Life
- Triple Nine
- The Vampire Diaries
- The Walking Dead
In the wake of Georgia’s booming film production industry, tours that take fans to the sets and scenes of their favorite Georgia-filmed television shows and movies are popping up all over the state. We recently checked out five of them on a state-sponsored press trip.
Atlanta Movie Tours
327 Nelson St SW
Delve into the difference between set life and what you see on the screen with the help of Atlanta Movie Tours. On these three-hour tours ($55/adult) you can get the inside scoop because all of the guides are experienced actors and extras who have worked on set, so they’re able to share behind-the-scenes insider stories you won’t hear anywhere else (including hints and tips about how to become an extra).
There are 10 different tour options available—nearly 80 a month! (Nine are bus tours, one walking tour.) On each bus tour, to help jog your memory and/or visualize what the guides are talking about, relevant clips are shown on a TV screen along the way. During most of the ride, you’ll stay seated in the temperature-controlled bus environment but there are a few stops when you’ll jump out for photos and/or to get a better look.
Since Atlanta is home to The Walking Dead, there are four zombie-themed tours available (which also point out locales from flicks like Zombieland and Pet Sematary II). Other options include an Atlanta film tour (including scenes from Due Date and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues), a Gone With the Wind tour, a ‘hero’ tour, a ‘heritage’ tour with an African-American history slant, and more.
While In Atlanta…Georgia is the Empire State of the South and Atlanta is the new Hollywood, so obviously there’s tons to do in the fab city I call home. Check out the Atlanta Insider’s Guide for insights and suggestions.
Southern Hollywood Film Tour
244 City Circle, Suite 2000B
This two-hour bus tour journeys to locations featured in Drop Dead Diva, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Walking Dead, Sweet Home Alabama, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Killers and others.
In addition to pointing out locations, tour guide Sherri Smith Brown weaves the overall history of Georgia’s film industry into her talking points.
While seated on an air-conditioned bus, you’ll listen to what the tour guide has to say, look out the window at key film locations and production studios, plus watch a video that includes relevant movie and TV clips, interviews and location stills.
One tour theme is available ($30/adult, $27/senior), or you can schedule a custom tour to suit your specific interests.
While In Peachtree City…Hop on a golf cart and explore over 90 miles of multi-use paths, test your deduction skills during a Mastermind Escape game, visit the Dixie Wing Museum, and more.
Georgia Tour Company
60 Broad St., Building A
Senoia is a cute little town, worthy of a visit whether you like zombies or not. But as the home base for The Walking Dead, it’s a can’t-miss for fans of the show who will recognize “Woodbury” around most every corner.
Two tour themes are offered: “The Touring Dead,” aimed at fans of the show The Walking Dead, and “Senoia on the Big Screen” that covers a broader film history of the area with information about Drop Dead Diva, Fried Green Tomatoes, Fighting Temptations and other productions.
Walking tours (priced from $25/person) journey along a two-mile route through historic downtown Senoia. The pace of the tour is slow, so don’t worry about running to keep up. At times, active production for The Walking Dead can be seen during the tours—so you might possibly spot cast members, though there’s no guarantee. One of the tour guides is a dead-ringer for a character on The Walking Dead, though he swears he’s not an actor, so he is often the target of cell-phone-grabbing passersby who don’t realize they’re photographing a tour guide and are envious he’s talking to you.
While In Senoia…If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, don’t miss The Woodbury Shoppe for memorabilia and fan gear. There’s even a small museum of props from the set downstairs. For a snack or meal try The Waking Dead Café or Nic and Norman’s—which is owned by producer, director and special effects master Greg Nicotero and fan favorite Norman Reedus (“Daryl Dixon”). Bronze plaques can be found embedded in Senoia’s city sidewalks, honoring film and television shows that filmed in the town.
Vampire Stalkers: Mystic Falls Tours
1102 Monticello Street
- The Vampire Diaries tour starts from the Covington Visitors Center at 2101 Clark Street in Covington.
- The Originals tour starts from the Conyers Visitor Center at 901 Railroad Street in Conyers.
The Vampire Diaries, a supernatural television series based on a book series of the same name, first aired in 2009 and is set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Va. Covington, Ga., served as the show’s primary filming location throughout the filming of the series, so Covington is Mystic Falls. (A spinoff, The Originals filmed in nearby Conyers.)
Vampire Stalkers, a store near the Covington Courthouse where you can stock up on fan merchandise, is home base for the tour company—stop by to see the autograph wall signed by stars and crew members. Guided tours ($55/person) showcase filming locations and offer exclusive access to several of them plus share insights about stars like Ian Somerhalder. Tour guides, including founder Jessica Lowery, are big fans of the shows and can answer all kinds of questions, so the tours last from about two to three hours depending on how many questions are asked.
Covington is billed as “The Original Hollywood of the South” because many productions have filmed in the community. For example, the historic town square played the role of Hazzard County in Dukes of Hazzard for five episodes in 1978. Other local productions include In the Heat of the Night, Three Wishes, Halloween II, Odd Life of Timothy Green, Footloose, Coat of Many Colors, Life of the Party, My Cousin Vinny, and dozens more. Stop by the Visitors Center for details.
While In Covington…Dine at Mystic Grill, a restaurant inspired by the show—and worth a bite even if you’ve never seen an episode of The Vampire Diaries since this kitchen showcases Southern fare done right, from pimento cheese to shrimp & grits to fried chicken. On the downtown square’s Walk of Stars, carved stones in the sidewalk honor actors who have filmed in the area. The historic courthouse is a must-see, inside and out. A new pop-up TV & Film Museum spotlighting the stage that is Covington has many props on display—including a pair of Levi jeans worn by Ian Somerhalder (low boot cut style 527, 30” x 32”, if you’re curious).
Visitor Information Center
443 Mccrackin Street
Visit the movie set of Fried Green Tomatoes in Juliette.
This is a free self-guided tour. The town is located about an hour south of Atlanta and 20 minutes north of Macon.
In the 1900s, the town was a bustling railroad community; it was abandoned until 1991 when movie producers restored the existing buildings to play the role of Whistle Stop. Today the short main street near the train tracks is filled with gift shops, antique stores and little places to poke around.
While In Juliette…Don’t miss your chance to grab a snack or lunch at Whistle Stop Café, the iconic place to order fried green tomatoes and barbecue.
Odds of Encountering Children: Varies by tour company, theme and time. For the best odds, schedule a tour during school hours or inquire about adult tour options while booking your tour. Note that Atlanta Movie Tours’ policy is “Any guests under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a guest 18 years of age or older.”
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.