For the Love of Travel
For the Love of Travel

Virtual USA: The Travel Movie Checklist

You might not be able to go on that USA road trip over the next few months, but there’s no reason you can’t start getting an idea of where you’d like to go, and getting some wanderlust happening. It is now the perfect time for movie marathon, how many of these movies have you seen that showcase the USA?

Rom-Com/ Feel Good Films

Sleepless in Seattle The ultimate rom-com that ignited the love affair with Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan and the Emerald City, Sleepless in Seattle is an all-time classic, filled with ‘90s nostalgia that puts the city front and centre on the silver screen.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before When her secret love letters somehow get mailed to each of her five crushes, Lara Jean finds her quiet high school existence turned upside down. Filmed in the backdrop of Portland and Oregon, this rom-com was one of Netflix’s most talked about movies in 2018!

10 Things I Hate About You In 10 Things I Hate About You, a tale as old as Shakespeare, Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger tromp all over the city: paintballing at Gas Works Park, prom at the Paramount Theatre, their first date paddle-boating on Lake Union, perusing records at a music shop which is in fact Heritage Building, the list goes on. It’d be easy to mock it for landmark collecting, but this comedy’s too damn charming for that. 

Friday Night Lights It may have hit the big screen well over a decade ago, but Friday Night Lights is a cult-classic that never gets old. Filmed in Texas – primarily the cities of Odessa, Austin and Houston – this hit movie follows the coach and players of a high school football team as they become the shining beacon for their town, carrying the hopes and dreams of the community on their shoulders. 


 Ocean’s Eleven There’s been no shortage of global blockbusters featuring Las Vegas as the backdrop, though it’s Ocean’s Eleven that best captures the opulence and grandeur of Las Vegas’ most iconic hotels and landmarks. Sit back, relax and soak up Las Vegas’ most renowned hotspots (from afar) – with award-winning actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts in tow.

Jurassic World Located off the coast of Costa Rica, the Jurassic World luxury resort provides a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs, including the vicious and intelligent Indominus rex. When the massive creature escapes, it sets off a chain reaction that causes the other dinos to run amok. This much-loved movie was filmed in Hawaii’s beautiful Kualao Ranch – also known as “Hawaii’s Hollywood.”


Bruce Almighty The hit 2003 comedy Bruce Almighty, featuring Jim Carrey as a down-and-out TV reporter who gets to play God for a week, Morgan Freeman as God and Jennifer Aniston as Carrey’s confused love interest, takes place in Buffalo, New York. In the film, Carrey’s Bruce Nolan character works as a reporter for a local Buffalo news station, WKBW, and the film features many shot-in-Buffalo locations.  

Dumb and Dumber Though the loveable “Dumb and Dumber” goofballs Lloyd and Harry (Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels) were portrayed hitting the ski slopes in Aspen, they actually went to the historic mountain town of Breckenridge and the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park – which was transformed into the “Danbury Hotel” – to film the comedy.

Western Classics 

The Hateful Eight Released in January 2016, Quentin Tarrantino’s The Hateful Eight was filmed in the wilderness outside of the Victorian-era hamlet of Telluride, Colorado; the jagged San Juan Mountains surrounding the town and the San Miguel River are seen throughout. The Colorado mountain location was an obvious choice for Tarrantino to capture the cast on their quest to shelter from blizzard conditions atop a mountain, with Telluride’s majestic mountain range and annual snowfall average of more than 26 feet.  

A River Runs Through It The 1992 story, starring Brad Pitt, follows a mister and his two sons, a reserved and one rebellious character, growing up in Montana and learning all about fly fishing. The film was shot in south central Montana in Livingston and Bozeman, and features picturesque scenes at the upper Yellowstone, Gallatin, and Boulder Rivers. 

Fargo 1996 comedy thriller Fargo, starring Frances McDormand, has become a cult classic and much of it was filmed in the magnificent snow-covered landscapes of north-eastern North Dakota as far north as Grand Forks. 

Dances with Wolves A 1990 classic which features Kevin Costner as an Army Lieutenant who is assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost. The movie was filmed in beautiful South Dakota locations near Pierre and Rapid City at Badlands National Park, the Black Hills, the Sage Creek Wilderness Area, and the Belle Fourche River Area. You can go on a free tour the set and view original buildings used in the film at Fort Hays. 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Steven Spielberg’s 1977 science fiction film about a UFO, features Devils Tower National Monument; a spectacular 867-foot rock which formed from volcanic lava millions of years ago.

More USA travel inspiration tools

Follow along our stories on Facebook and Instagram as Visit the USA takes you on a virtual road trip across the USA’s states. Help us choose where to go next by voting on our interactive stories.

Also, check out our awesome Trip Planner – this can help you create the perfect customised itinerary for your next holiday; ready for when the time comes to book!

For further USA inspiration and content, download the free Go USA TV app for video content across American national parks, food and culture!