Movies That Inspired Travel in 2011

From The Descendants to Midnight in Paris, these 11 movies made us want to pack our bags in search of our own picture-perfect paradise.

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Henry River Mill Village
Look familiar? The house on the left served as Katniss Everdeen’s family shack in The Hunger Games. Journey 70 miles northwest of Charlotte, NC, to see it in an abandoned textile village (Henry River Mill Village), in the town of Hildebran.
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VisitNC.com  

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway
Follow this path: Craggy Gardens, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, leads you to Craggy Pinnacle -- a nearly 6,000-foot elevation from which you can see North Fork Reservoir, where The Hunger Games’ Cornucopia scenes were filmed.
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mricon, flickr  

Asheville’s Hotel Indigo

Asheville’s Hotel Indigo

Asheville’s Hotel Indigo
During filming, Hunger Games’ actors Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth stayed in condos atop this chic boutique hotel.
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Hotel Indigo   

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls
During the film’s flame fight, Katniss races toward a pool of water -- in real life, it’s at the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls at DuPont State Recreational Forest.
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VisitNC.com   

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Nantahala Outdoor Center
Hone your survival skills at Nantahala Outdoor Center, near the Great Smoky Mountains. Go whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River -- first, with a practice run along 8 miles of easy Class 2 rapids, then a Class 3 whitewater run toward Nantahala Falls.
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VisitNC.com  

Navitat Canopy Adventures

Navitat Canopy Adventures

Navitat Canopy Adventures
In tribute to Rue -- District 11’s competitor -- soar above the treetops near Pisgah National Forest. The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutchinson and then-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens zip-lined in the area during some downtime.
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Navitat Canopy Adventures  

Asheville’s Troy & Sons

Asheville’s Troy & Sons

Asheville’s Troy & Sons
And when you’ve conquered North Carolina’s rivers and treetops, try some moonshine -- legal, of course -- from Asheville’s Troy & Sons, made just the way Haymitch would have liked it.
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Troy & Sons   

US National Whitewater Center

US National Whitewater Center

US National Whitewater Center
When he wasn’t training Jennifer Lawrence’s character to kill or be killed, Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy) visited the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC. Woody climbed the outdoor recreation center’s 46-foot rock wall.
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VisitNC.com  

Amelies French Bakery

Amelies French Bakery

Amelies French Bakery
During filming, Woody Harrelson also dropped by this 24-hour café -- in Charlotte’s NoDa (North of Davidson Street) neighborhood -- to play chess with the regulars. Here’s a look at the café’s signature style: handmade light fixtures.
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VisitNC.com  

Knight Theater in Charlotte

Knight Theater in Charlotte

Knight Theater in Charlotte
The Knight Theater was where creepy Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) interviews each Tribute. Head to the 1,191-seat performing arts venue in Charlotte, NC, for concerts, theater … and a look at where Caesar talks “lamb stew” with Katniss.
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VisitNC.com  

Shelby, North Carolina

Shelby, North Carolina

Shelby, North Carolina
Much of film's Reaping and Hob scenes took place in private warehouses like this, in Shelby, NC. Soak up the local atmosphere at shops and restaurants at the intersection of Lafayette and Marion streets.
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VisitNC.com  

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Iceland
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Iceland

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Iceland

Ben Stiller directs this film adaption of the short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and stars as the hapless dreamer Mitty, who finally takes an adventure outside of his wild imagination. And what an adventure it is -- from jumping out of a helicopter off the coast of Greenland to skateboarding down Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Iceland is taking advantage of the film’s inspiring scenes and is offering Walter Mitty Tours of film locations, skateboards not included. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

The Great Gatsby, Long Island, NY

The Great Gatsby, Long Island, NY

This much-buzzed-about Baz Luhrmann film adaptation of literary classic The Great Gatsby spurred a huge interest this year in Long Island’s Gold Coast, where Gatsby lived in his lavish West Egg mansion. Everyone went gaga for Gatsby this year, including New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel, which invited guests to travel “ceaselessly back into the past” of the opulent Jazz era with their new Gatsby-inspired Fitzgerald Suite. 960 1280

Vince Kish  

Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Hawaii

Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Hawaii

The second installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, Hunger Games: Catching Fire , is doing just that in tourism. Fans are following Katniss’ footsteps traveling to filming locations on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii. The dense jungles and natural beaches there were the backdrop for 75th Hunger Games battle-to-the-death. And Kawela Bay, minutes from Turtle Bay resort (where cast stayed during filming), served as the saltwater lake Quell arena in the film. 960 1280

Max Kiesler, flickr  

Big Sur, Big Sur

Big Sur, Big Sur

Based on a Jack Kerouac novel, Sundance film Big Sur portrays the rugged and evocative beauty of California’s Central Coast. You can’t watch the film and not imagine hopping in your car to take a road trip down winding Pacific coast highways, complete with the sun on your face and the wind whipping through your hair. Donning a pair of Beat-inspired dark shades wouldn’t hurt, either. 960 1280

Medioimages/Photodisc  

Gravity, Space Travel

Gravity, Space Travel

After watching Sandra Bullock adrift in space in Gravity, the idea of space travel becomes even more intriguing. Luckily, for those that have the budget, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is set to make its inaugural flight to space in 2014. For a mere $250,000, you can finally realize your dream of being an astronaut and travel to the final frontier. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Lee Daniels' The Butler, Washington, DC

Lee Daniels' The Butler, Washington, DC

Lee Daniels’ The Butler depicts the Civil Rights movement from a unique perspective – the White House butler. The man who inspired the film, Eugene Allen, worked in the White House for more than 30 years. Take a detour off the Mall, and celebrate more African American history on a tour of the U Street neighborhood, DC’s cultural center for the African American community from the Civil Rights movement to today. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Inside Llewyn Davis, NYC

Inside Llewyn Davis, NYC

Film and music lovers can’t get enough of Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers film that follows the 1960s folk scene in New York’s Greenwich Village. Take the “Greenwich Village Rock Tour” to walk the streets and visit the bars that your favorite musicians, like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, once did. Warning: desire to break out in song likely. 960 1280

iStock  

Before Midnight, Greece

Before Midnight, Greece

Greece isn’t a hard sell when it comes to travel. We are reminded of why this Mediterranean paradise is such a hot spot in Before Midnight, the “threequel" to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The filming location of Messenia in the southwest Peloponnese Peninsula has been off the radar for tourists. Until this film came out, of course. Sorry, Santorini and Mykonos, we have fallen in love again. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Adore, Australia

Adore, Australia

Adore, an Australian film about 2 old friends falling in love with each other’s son is a provocative tale. And the beaches where it was filmed are just as shocking … in how stunningly beautiful they are. Seal Rocks in New South Wales was the setting for the small town coastal paradise where the son swapping takes place, but the film had us lusting after any beach Down Under. 960 1280

Photographer: Mikulas Jaros  

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, South Africa

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, South Africa

The passing of Nelson Mandela and the release of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a biopic about Mandela’s struggle to free South Africa, brings even more interest to the places that played an important role in his life. Just off Cape Town, Robben Island, the prison where Mandela was incarnated for almost 2 decades, offers tours to “honor a legacy of forgiveness.” Visiting the tiny cell where the civil rights leader spent so much of his life is sure to be both a powerful and unforgettable experience. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

In The Beach backpackers search for a hidden beach in Thailand, inaccessible to tourists. Since the movie was filmed in 1999, Maya Bay has become one of the main tourist attractions in Thailand. The film inspires visitors to make the trek to this secluded area for a glimpse of paradise. 960 1280

  

The Eternal City's famous sights are the backdrop for the love story in the Roman Holiday. While the leads, played by Hollywood icons, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, fall for each other, we fall for all things Italy. 960 1280

  

Mamma Mia created a tourism boom to the Greek Islands for destination weddings. Mesmerized by the film's spectacular scenery, fans booked trips to this Mediterranean paradise to have a Big Fat Greek Wedding of their own. 960 1280

  

When Endless Summer came out in 1966, not only did it increase the popularity of surfing in general, but it also created a 'surf and travel' culture that inspired surfers, experts and novices alike, to travel the world in search of the perfect wave. 960 1280

  

In Sideways, 2 middle-aged men, Miles and Jack, try to recapture their carefree days with a mancation centered around wine and women. The movie created a huge boost to tourism not only to the Napa wine region, but also to Santa Barbara's wine country, where most of the movie took place. 960 1280

Mark Rasmussen  

Think you can only visit J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth in your imagination? Escape into the epic fantasy of Lord of the Rings by visiting one of the locations in the film, Milton Sound (pictured here) in the South Island, New Zealand. 960 1280

  

The draw of Out of Africa isn't just icons Robert Redford and Meryl Streep playing passionate lovers, but stunning scenes of Kenya's raw and untamed landscapes. After the movie was released, Kenya became a popular tourist destination for safaris. 960 1280

Ludmila Yilmaz  

In Lost in Translation, 2 American strangers abroad form an unlikely bond in their isolation. Tokyo's high-energy culture wakes up their passion for life and for us, our passion for travel. 960 1280

  

Under the Tuscan Sun , based on Frances Mayes' memoir, shows a recently divorced American woman venturing off to Italy to buy and restore a villa in Tuscany. The film inspired many travelers to seek out the film's locations in the stunning countryside. There has even been an increase in expats following in Mayes' footsteps and buying homes in the same area. 960 1280

Dan Bannister  

The Twilight phenomenon breathed new life into the town of Forks, WA, with "twihards" flocking in droves to the locations from the book/film. Vampire- and werewolf-scouting aside, La Push (pictured here) is 12 miles from Forks and home to some of the most stunning scenery on the Olympic Peninsula. 960 1280

Sonja Yearsley  

The film Amelie shows a whimsical side of Paris with the story of a secret matchmaker who kindles many love affairs in the city, and then finally gets one of her own. With beautiful shots of the city, the film rekindles our love affair with Paris. 960 1280

Erick Nguyen  

In Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona 2 friends spend a summer in Spain and unbeknownst, have an affair with the same painter. It wasn't just the stunning cast and sexy plot, but the iconic shots of summer in Barcelona that left us seduced by Spain. 960 1280

Zinchik  

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