Where was Outer Banks filmed?
Charleston, South Carolina
Beach House, Beachfront
About Outer Banks
The cult Netflix hit, Outer Banks, follows a group of teens as they seek to unravel the mystery of John B’s missing father. One of the reasons that the show was such a smash hit, with fans clamoring for the next season, is down to the location and settings used throughout the show.
Outer Banks is a real place just off North Carolina and is made up of a series of islands and biodiversity zones. This is the key reason why the cast of teens seems to be on boats for ninety percent of the show!
The show straddles the wealth divide in the fictional town of Kildare, where there are two sides of the town, one rich and one poor. The main storyline follows a group of kids from the poorer side of town as they hunt for some mysterious treasure, left aboard a shipwreck.
The curious thing is that after a hurricane comes and washes the coast – making finding the ship a possibility – John B’s dad also goes missing at the same time. Are the two things linked? Will the group find either John B’s dad or the treasure? Will the rich kids ever check their privilege? It’s all up in the air in this sexy and mysterious new show. Spoilers ahead!
Outer Banks Locations
Although, as we’ve mentioned, Outer Banks is a real place and the town of Kildare within it is not, the show was not filmed at the real Outer Banks for political reasons, despite the writers creating the show with Wilmington, North Carolina specifically in mind.
The collection of islands that make up Outer Banks is in North Carolina, and while the original plan was to do the film shoots there, the state’s passing of the Bathroom Bill meant that Netflix no longer felt like it could film there in good conscience.
Instead, the Outer Banks production was moved south into South Carolina and was filmed around Charleston, which became the main town of Kildare, complete with a more affluent and less fortunate side of town to mirror the characters in the show.
The harbor scenes, as well as any scenes that needed to be shot out on the water, were brought to life around Shem Creek, Mount Pleasant. It was integral that the look of this biodiverse area was accurate, so getting this close to the original Outer Banks was key.
You’ll find many of the locations within a short distance of each other, with even the water scenes not being too far from central Charleston. This makes a tour of Outer Banks filming locations a totally viable itinerary choice if you find yourself in South Carolina.
The Hotel Key in the Shipwreck scene in Outer Banks
Creekside Lands Inn
In season 1, the gang, specifically John B (Chase Stokes), finds a hotel key in the famous shipwreck. This comes after the hurricane that disrupts the whole course of the story and leads to his father going missing.
John B famously summaries Kildare by saying, “My dad said the island was like America on steroids. The haves and have-nots like anyplace, but magnified and multiplied. The way I see it, the game's rigged. Maybe it always has been. And with no parents, no money, and no one looking out for me, I got no chance. Unless I make it on my own.”
This hotel key leads to somewhere called Summer Winds which is a super run-down hotel that is actually the Creekside Lands Inn in West Ashley in Charleston, a fully functional and decidedly not rundown inn out in the suburbs.
The Creekside Lands Inn is not too far from downtown Charleston and is an affordable option for anyone looking to stay in the area with plenty of amenities to keep you entertained as well as comfortable during your visit to Outer Banks locations.
It’s just a 15-minute drive from the Historic District of Charleston and guests are welcomed with comfortable rooms as well as access to a fishing dock that might just bring to mind some Outer Banks vibes. Located off Highway 17, it’s best to drive here.
Chill by the outdoor pool, take a stroll down to neighboring Long Branch Creek or indulge in the free breakfast. It’s a long cry from the run-down hotel that it’s pretending to be in Outer Banks!
Beach shipwreck scene in Outer Banks
Looking for the iconic stretch of sand where the shipwreck washes up? John B has a reason to wonder about it. His missing dad said he had “found something” there. Still in season 1, it’s also where the group appears to spend a lot of their time, so throughout the series, the beach becomes increasingly important.
This beautiful beach is actually Folly Beach just south of Charleston. It’s on its own island – the aptly named Folly Island – and is a pretty great tourist destination and vacation spot for those looking to escape the city.
The beach has a well-known and beloved pier with amusements, arcades and food vendors, making it a must-visit for the whole family. This may be a long cry from the shipwrecked beach, but that’s a testament to the set designers of Outer Banks!
If you’re not into the touristy stuff, Folly Beach is also known as a mecca for fishermen, surfers, and just anyone who is looking to live that laid-back lifestyle. If you’re wanting to kick off your flip-flops and just relax, then this is the ideal Outer Banks location for you.
As Folly Island is a barrier island, there aren't a ton of public transport connections. You can get within three miles of the island on public transport but then will have to jump in a taxi or rideshare the rest of the way. The best way to get to this gorgeous island is still going to be via car.
The Golf Course where Rafe gets beaten up scene in Outer Banks
Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
This upscale golf club and event space are used throughout season one of Outer Banks for a number of different scenes. From JJ’s (Rudy Pankow) workspace to the spot where Rafe rides the trails and then gets beaten up by Pope (J.D), to the setting for the Midsummer Ball, this location gets its money’s worth.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is a very exclusive golf course that’s hosted the Ryder Cup in previous years. As such, you need to be either staying there or a golfer to visit. There are a number of restaurants and bars on the site, varying in formality, so check the dress code before arriving.
According to popular golfing forums, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is one of the hardest courses in the entire country, so it’s not for the faint-hearted. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a pro, then why not hit the green while you’re there. A warning though, you will need to book in advance!
Although this site is used in many different ways throughout season one of Outer Banks, it’s mostly used as a socializing point for the richer inhabitants of the town of Kildare, and a spot where the less affluent characters work.
When Sarah (Madelyn Cline) is planning to take John B out with the Kooks, she says, “Yeah, don't worry. I'll sugar mama you.” - definitely not a bad sign!
There are no bus or train stations on Kiawah Island, so you’ll have to drive, but there’s plenty of parking available at the golf course.
John B faces trial scene in Outer Banks
Old Navy Base
Although an old navy base might not bring to mind the good times and holiday vibes that come with many of the Outer Banks shooting locations, it is a very important location for the narrative of the show.
When the gang finds the gold earlier in the show, Ward says “Finding it, that’s where the fun ends and that’s where the trouble begins” – seems like he was right!
It’s at the Old Navy Base where John B has his court trial, in what is actually The Eternal Father of the Sea Chapel, and it’s also the site of the jail where he is detained. The jail is actually the old Naval hospital, so again, the set designers are going above and beyond to transform the locations that they have! There’s a bus stop right outside if you’d like to visit!
This Old Navy Base was in operation from 1901 to 1996 and is now a collection of warehouses and historical buildings that are often used to shoot a variety of different shows, including Army Wives.
The Eternal Father of the Sea Chapel, which doubles as the courthouse was actually built in 1944 and serves as a wedding chapel. So, if you’re a big fan of the show and looking to get hitched in South Carolina, this might just be the perfect wedding location for you!
The Old Navy Base can be found in North Charleston on the banks of the Cooper River, just north of the Lowndes Grove Plantation, which is another Outer Banks filming location, when you read on!
The Cameron family house after hurricane scene in Outer Banks
Lowndes Grove Plantation
If you’re wanting to see how the other half lives then you should definitely check out the Lowndes Grove Plantation. Fans of Outer Banks will recognize it as Sarah Cameron’s family house, and as the Princess of the Kooks, you know that her house will be nothing short of spectacular.
Sarah’s little sister Wheezie has big concerns after a storm and says to her dad, "The WiFi's not working. I can't post anything." Her dad, Ward says, "There was a hurricane, sweetheart." Even luxurious mansions can lose the internet!
The original plantation house was built in 1786 by John Gibbes but was subsequently destroyed by fire and the land divided up by his descendants. The grand mansion that stands as Lowndes Grove Plantation now was named after Congressman William Lowndes and served as his family home.
In 1901, this amazing venue played host to the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, making it not only a beautiful building with accompanying grounds that are exceptional also, but a historic spot that has been painstakingly maintained.
Nowadays, the Lowndes Grove Plantation is a wedding and events venue, so you can live out your opulent, Kook-esque dream nuptials here. Unfortunately, you can only visit if you plan on getting married or holding events here, but you can take photos of the venue from outside the gates, as long as you don’t disturb any of the guests.
Located on the edge of the exclusive Hampton Park Terrace neighborhood, it’s accessible from all areas of Charleston and features magnificent views across the Ashley River. It’s a half-hour walk from the nearest train or bus stop, so it’s best to have a drive-by.
John B falls off the observation deck scene in Outer Banks
Palmetto Islands County Park
If you’re wanting to check out the site of some of the major Outer Banks action scenes in season one of Outer Banks, then you’re going to want to visit Palmetto Islands County Park. It’s the location where John B famously fell off the observation deck.
This is the scene where Sarah tells John B she’s breaking up with Topper (Austin North). Topper hears and calls her a “stupid lying w***e” before struggling with John B, causing him to fall.
This spectacular nature park spans a massive 943 acres, so you can easily spend your whole trip exploring just this one spot. It features plenty of nature trails, boardwalks and picnic sites, allowing you to spend all day at one of the best locations in the Outer Banks shooting catalog.
If you’d rather take to the water, then there are plenty of spots to launch a kayak or small craft. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for any local wildlife. As it’s set within Mount Pleasant, where all the water scenes for Outer Banks were shot, you can feel like one of the cast!
It’s worth noting that entrance is going to cost you about $4, and you should drive as public transport doesn’t seem to exist, but it’s totally worth it to run and paddle around the natural wonderland that informed so much of the iconic look and feel of Outer Banks. Just make sure to keep your feet firmly on the observation deck, unlike John B!
Outer Banks is one of Netflix's most popular shows with season three firmly on the horizon. Although filming locations for future seasons are heading to Barbados to capture some of the exploits of the richer characters in the show, by and large, filming seems to be continuing to happen in and around Charleston and Mount Pleasant.
Whether you’re looking for your next teen drama to binge-watch, you want to take in the beautiful location and scenery, or you just love a good mystery, then Outer Banks is going to be the show for you.
The show was due to be out earlier than it’s now planned, but due to shutdowns during the pandemic, filming had to be put on pause. That being said, it looks like Outer Banks is going to be a fan favorite for the foreseeable future and we can expect more and more seasons to be filmed in beautiful South Carolina.