Summer travel is all about sandy beaches and palm trees, and while we love a warm-weather vacay, travel doesn’t have to stop once the weather cools down. Fall getaways are an excellent way to use that leftover vacation time from summer. And if you need some inspiration for places to visit, might we suggest turning to your favorite fall movies and TV shows? After all, watching dreamy scenes of fall foliage and your favorite characters in their chunky sweaters and boots is enough to make anyone want to jump through the screen.
So many fall movie and TV favorites take place in locations that perfectly capture the crisp feeling of autumn. Whether fall makes you long for a stroll through a picturesque small town or you’d rather run amok (amok, amok, amok!) through spooky historic streets, you can experience the magic of these places yourself. Here are six real-life places to visit this fall based on our favorite seasonal movies and TV shows.
Salem, Massachusetts – Hocus Pocus
There’s nothing more iconic than Salem, Massachusetts, in October. The New England town is, of course, home to the real-life witch trials of 1692 and served as the setting of the 1993 Halloween classic Hocus Pocus. For anyone who obsessed over the Sanderson sisters’ campy outfits or longed to live in Max and Dani’s quirky house, Salem is a must-visit.
You can tour several of the filming locations in present-day Salem. Visit Pioneer Village, a living history museum where the opening scenes were shot. Check out the Ropes Mansion, AKA Alison’s house. And don’t miss a peek inside Old Town Hall, made famous by Bette Midler’s rendition of “I Put A Spell On You” during the never-ending Halloween dance party. There’s now even an Airbnb modeled after the Sanderson sisters’ cottage!
St. Helens, Oregon – Halloweentown
If you’re a fan of the 1998 movie Halloweentown, don’t sleep on St. Helens, Oregon. The small town served as the primary filming location for the Disney Channel classic. Every year since, its riverfront district has transformed into the Spirit of Halloweentown for the month of October. The event is open to visitors 24 hours a day, just like any city. It includes attractions like a haunted house, a Halloween parade, and a giant pumpkin that stays lit for the entire month. There is so much to see and do. You’ll wish you had your very own Benny to taxi you around!
Forks, Washington – Twilight
Forks, Washington, is the real-life town that author Stephenie Meyer used as the setting of Twilight. Fans will find plenty to see and do in this rainy Pacific Northwest destination. Visit the Forever Twilight in Forks Collection, which houses many props and costumes from the film, including Bella’s graduation quilt and outfits that Bella, Edward, and Jacob wore on-screen. Then take a scenic drive around the town to see locations like the Swan residence and the Cullen house, all while taking in the beautiful landscape. In addition to all the Twilight sights, there are ample outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and camping. So be sure to pack your hiking boots, and don’t forget a raincoat!
New York, New York – You’ve Got Mail
New York has served as the setting for tons of iconic movies, but when it comes to feel-good fall romantic comedies set in NYC, You’ve Got Mail takes the cake. Nora Ephron set this classic tale in the Upper West Side. Even though a lot has changed since the film’s 1998 release, there are still a few spots that have stood the test of time.
Be sure to grab a coffee at Cafe Lalo, the spot where Kathleen Kelly sits and waits (and waits and waits … ugh, my heart!) for NY152 to show up. Then, take a walk through Riverside Park, where Kathleen learns that her online friend and crush has been her nemesis, Joe Fox, all along. And although the interior of The Shop Around the Corner was shot in a studio, see if you can spot the storefront (now a dry cleaner) along West 69th Street where the exterior shots were filmed!
Washington, Connecticut – Gilmore Girls
The quirky Connecticut town that Lorelai and Rory Gilmore called home in the show Gilmore Girls is, unfortunately, completely fictional. But real-life Connecticut is oozing with New England charm à la Stars Hollow. In fact, the town of Washington is said to be the spot that inspired the show itself.
Splurge and stay at the Mayflower Inn and Spa, the gorgeous locale that reportedly inspired Star Hollow’s Independence Inn. In the morning, take a five-minute drive to Marty’s Cafe for coffee, breakfast, and all the Luke’s Diner vibes. Then check out more places that inspired locations in the show, like the Washington Food Market and the Hickory Stick Bookshop. It’s the perfect fall weekend if you want to slow down and soak up all the small-town loveliness that Stars Hollow—I mean Washington, Connecticut—has to offer!
Coupeville, Washington – Practical Magic
About a two-hour drive and a ferry ride away from Seattle, you’ll find the picturesque town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island. This is where Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, and Stockard Channing filmed the cult classic Practical Magic. Whether you’ve always wanted to know what it would feel like to be an Owens sister witch, or you simply have a thing for charming seaside towns, Coupeville delivers.
In between beach walks and small-town boutique shopping, be sure to pick up pastries at Little Red Hen Bakery. This served as the filming location for Sally’s shop, Verbena Botanicals. Then, have dinner at Toby’s Tavern, which fans will recognize as The Catch and Fry. Practical Magic is not only a celebration of love and all things mystical, but the film also champions supportive and powerful women, making it the perfect inspiration for a fall girls’ trip.