Are you a fan of the show Outer Banks? Maybe you are wondering “Where was Outer Banks filmed?” You will be surprised to find that the film location for the Netflix series is actually Charleston, SC! You don’t have to leave the state of South Carolina to visit John B.’s hideout or the other locations seen in the Netflix show Outer Banks. We went on the hunt for John B. and the wreck of the Royal Merchant, and you can reap the benefits and set off on this tour of Outer Banks filming locations.
So, if you’re wondering about the Outer Banks film location, we have everything you need, right here.
Where Was Outer Banks Filmed?
At the beginning of the 2020’s pandemic, my friend and I were simultaneously binge-watching shows. So when he suggested the Outer Banks, he said it was a teen show and didn’t seem interested. A show that combined a murder mystery with a treasure hunt in a setting that was familiar to me?
I was quickly hooked on this who-done-it! I love exploring places and going off the beaten path. These locations were a mixture of familiar and way off the beaten path (for me, at least). It didn’t take long for me to get invested in the character’s search for answers. Producers chose Charleston, South Carolina, to use a fictional town in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in response to political issues based on a house bill passed in North Carolina. Though the show wasn’t filmed in the real Outer Banks, Charleston makes for an excellent filming location because of its rich history.
If you’re planning a visit, check out our Guide to Charleston, SC, before you head out! You’ll find other fun things to do and suggestions for enjoying the city!
Season 1 of Netflix’s Outer Banks: Film Location in Charleston SC
The “Summer Winds” hotel that John B. and Pope break into in the first episode is a real hotel where you can stay. You can book room 229 at The Creek Side Lands Inn to stay in the room where filming took place. However, if you plan on escaping out the window as they did in the show, I need to warn you that the awning was never there, so you’ll need to have an alternate escape route if the bad guys come back to the room.
You can recreate Sarah and John B.’s trip to the show’s version of UNC-Chapel Hill by hopping on the Carolina Belle for a ride around the harbor. After strolling through Washington Square Park, be sure to stop at Ben Silver for some dapper outfits. Then head to the Gaillard Center, the UNC-Chapel Hill Law Library, for the show’s purposes. Sadly this means you won’t be able to go upstairs and look for the clues that lead to a treasure but don’t worry; we can tell you where to find Platt 9.
The spooky *Crain widow’s home was rumored to have needed very little done inside to it by the scenery team. It really looks like that! This might be where the similarities end, though. The home’s top floor was added in post-production, and while the home does have a crawl space, those scenes were filmed in a soundstage.
*The house is occupied, and out of respect for the residents, I have removed the address for the season 2 update.
Tanney Hill Plantation, the home of “Kook Princess” Sarah Cameron, was home over 200 years ago and is now on the register of historic places. Lowndes Grove is a wedding and event venue that is right on the water. The property’s rich history spans a revolutionary war invasion, the arrival of Charleston’s World’s Fair, and a visit from President Theodore Roosevelt.
On Location in Mount Pleasant For Season 2 of Netflix’s Outer Banks
A lot of the scenes are shot by the docks, you might recognize if you’ve followed our tips for Free and Low-Cost Things To Do In Mount Pleasant. Shem Creek is a beautiful place and one we usually find ourselves at every time we visit Charleston. If you like fresh seafood and want to see the spot where dockside scenes were filmed, Geechie Seafood is the place you should head.
The restaurant that Kiara’s parents own is, in reality, The Wreck Of The Richard And Charlene. The restaurant is a seafood lover’s dream. The seafood exclusive menu includes shrimp, crab, scallops, and fish. Served with low country-style side dishes. They even have boiled peanuts!
The Kildare County Sheriff’s station and the buildings you see in later episodes where John B. is on the run occur in The Old Village Of Mount Pleasant. Pop into the Pitt Street Pharmacy, the neighborhood drugstore complete with a soda fountain, for an old-fashioned root beer float, milkshake, or lunch.
Finding The Outer Banks on The Barrier Islands of Charleston, SC
If you were hoping to get all dressed up and head to “Midsummers,” you’ll need to make reservations for the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. This beautiful resort has 10 miles of private beach on one of the prettiest stretches of coastline in the state. The property includes three pools that accommodate families very well and is located next to one of the Top Ten Beach Locations in the US.
The “Boneyard” island where the Pogues and the Kooks have a keg party is actually Hunting Island. The South Carolina State Park has campsites and five miles of beach. The island is also home to the 160-year-old Hunting Island Lighthouse. It is the only lighthouse in the state that is accessible to the public. The lighthouse is where John B. and Kiara find a clue his father left behind for him.
Here’s an “easter egg” hunt for. There’s a scene with Upstate Native Actress Brook Sill; see if you can find her. [clue: she’s not a Pogue]
The location of John B’s Shack has eluded fans. However, a set designer did confirm it was on John’s Island. Unfortunately, it is only viewable by boat in a residential neighborhood in the Seccesionville Historic District of James Island.
Keep reading for a way to see it!
One of the spookier filming locations for Outer Banks is…
One of the most iconic spots from the show is the old church that John B uses as a hiding place. The church is about an hour from Charleston and was my favorite location to try and find. But, I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy. It’s located in the sleepy town of McClellanville, where if you take a wrong turn, you’ll see the evidence of alligators on the side of the road. The alligator part of the hunt was so jarring that we had to keep making u-turns to look again.
Once you discover the tucked-away location of the Old Bethel AME Church, it will have been worth it. But, unfortunately, the day we went, it was raining, that plus the wildlife we had witnessed just minutes before kept me in the car.
*Please, be respectful if you do visit. After the popularity of the show brought it to the attention of social media, it got vandalized. So last year, the church boarded up the building to protect it.
Robin with Adventure Harbor Tours gave me this bonus tidbit of info recently- The pawn shop in season 1 is located on the same street as two of the restaurants I recommend below. Here’s another tip! Contact Adventure Harbor Tours if you want to see the “only accessible by boat” location of John B’s waterfront home. They conduct a seasonal Outer Banks Location Tour, and it’s the best way to see places from the water that aren’t otherwise accessible. Plus, Charleston Harbor is a beautiful place to see by boat!
There are several highly recommended spots in McClellanville to check out, and this cute town deserves an entire day of exploration, so enjoy dinner before you head out!
- Buckshot’s Restaurant
Soul Food and Seafood restaurant
- McClellanville Diner
American diner-style menu
- T W Graham & Co
Fresh local seafood in a casual setting
- The Bent Rod
Fresh seafood and pub fare
Season 3 of Netflix’s Outer Banks: Film Locations
Season 3 released in February 2023. Though large portions of the season were filmed in Barbados, there were still a couple of noteworthy locations near Charleston where filming took place that you can visit. During season three, you will spot the Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge when John B and Big John drive across the bridge itself. The bridge is iconic, so it’s hard to miss.
If you are traveling to Charleston, SC, you may spot some very familiar scenery when visiting the Charleston Museum. The museum is the backdrop for John B. and Big John’s heist scene in season 3. While there, learn about the history of Charleston through their exhibits at “America’s First Museum”.
One of the most beautiful spots in Mt. Pleasant is featured in season 3 when JJ rides his dirtbike down the Pitt Street Bridge. The bridge is lined with palmetto trees against the marsh, so it makes a great stop while traveling to Charleston. You will also see some familiar scenery when visiting the Joe Riley Waterfront Park just over the bridge in Charleston, SC. In season 3, you see Pope and Cleo having a heartfelt conversation at the park, which is extremely popular thanks to its gorgeous pineapple fountain and waterfront views.
Old Santee Canal Park
Visit Old Santee Canal Park in Moncks Corner, SC near Charleston, SC to visit the village in South America from Season 3.
Get Your Gear: Gifts for the Outer Banks Fan
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There’s Some Truth To The Plotline Of Netflix’s OBX!
If you think that the plot line of this show could never happen, you’re probably right.
However, fans of the show are often surprised when I tell them that The Royal Merchant was a REAL ship. The Merchant Royal was lost at sea, with a gold bounty with an estimated value in excess of 1.5 billion dollars in today’s money. Thus, making it the most valuable ship ever to be lost at sea.
The captain of the 40-member crew – was a Limbrey.
The inconsistent part of the OBX plotline is the location where the ship went down. Salvage crews have searched in vain for the sunken ship for years. Then, a few years ago, a fishing vessel pulled up what is believed to be the anchor of the Merchant Royal off of the coast of Cornwall, England. The ship had been dragging its nets for several hours and claimed they had no idea when or where the anchor had originally been located.
Either way, that gold treasure won’t be washing up on the coast of the Carolinas anytime soon. Sorry.
I think it makes for an exciting vacation activity to visit the places you’ve seen on TV. Last year I covered the places you could visit in Georgia where another Netflix hit is filmed, Stranger Things.
Want to visit the real Outer Banks, NC? We have all the info on that too!
Want to visit the real Outer Banks, NC? We have all the info on that too!
This article was originally written by Melanie Coblentz and has been updated by the Kidding Around Team.