A LocationsHub Movie Marathon: Escape to Hawaii

Are you feeling a bit restless on this cold, blustery day in January? Wouldn’t it be nice to be somewhere warmer and sunnier - even if just for a few hours?

We’ve lined up three movies that guarantee to transport you to the tropics and keep you happy there for a while. All filmed on location in beautiful Hawaii, they’ll charm your winter socks off and make you forget the chill outside.

The three movies are 50 First DatesForgetting Sarah Marshalland Blue Crush. If you’re a Netflix member, Blue Crush is currently on Instant Watch and you can stream it directly onto your television. For the other two flicks, a quick trip to your local video store will do.

Once you’re all set with the movies in hand, grab your favorite blanket and a cup of hot cocoa. Then snuggle up and begin your fun Hawaii movie marathon.

If you can watch all three in a row - your next six hours will be full of sunshine, sandy beaches, and ... happiness! (Yes, they all have happy endings, but that’s the extent of my spoiler, I promise.)

Let’s start with 50 First Dates!


Production still of 50 First Dates via Google.

Production still of 50 First Dates via Google.

The Plot

Henry Roth (Adam Sandler), a perennial bachelor and ladies’ man living in Hawaii, meets Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore), a beautiful free-spirited young woman suffering from short term memory loss. They fall in love, but the next day she doesn’t remember who he is. Henry then tries to make her fall in love with him all over again, each day. 

The Filming Locations

50 First Dates was filmed on the island of Oahu, including in Waikane (for scenes of the Whitmore’s house) and Heeia Kea Harbor in Kaneohe (for scenes of Henry’s boat). The production cast and crew were on the island for a total of six weeks, filming at remote locations such as the Kualoa Ranch in Kaaawa Valley, on the dirt roads in Wahiawa and Waialua, on the pineapple fieldsof the Dole Food Company, at Makapuu Lighthouse, at Dillingham Ranch, on Sandy Beach and on the famous beach of From Here to Eternity.

Filming also took place at the Honolulu’s Hawaii Film StudiosIsland Seaplane Airport, and theSea Life Park in Waimanalo where Henry works. Sea Life Park is located on Oahu’s east shore and is well-known as a refuge for injured sea mammals. It’s also a facility where the public can learn more on the importance of marine ecology.

After their six weeks of filming in Hawaii, the company set up camp in Napa Valley to film more scenes in the Walrus Cove and Shark Tunnel at the Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California. Next, they headed to Whittier, Alaska, for an unforgettable day of filming at sea in Prince William Sound.

Even though it was filmed on Oahu, the highrises of Waikiki are no where to be found in the movie. “In my initial talks with Peter Segal (the director), he was clear that he wanted to show the ‘other side’ of Oahu, not just the resort side,” said production designer Alan Au. “He wanted to show a more rural, countryside. When we began to scout, we found that most of what we wanted was on what’s called the Windward side of the island, which has beautiful beaches and is very green and lush.”

To build the interior sets of the Hukilau Cafe and the Whitmore House, Au says, “We found a beautiful spot on the Kualoa Ranch, which has a fish pond behind it. The environment is incredibly beautiful with mountains in the background and the blue sky and water. It was the perfect spot to build the Hukilau Cafe. Hawaiian buildings have great character to them. They’re frequently built on raised foundations with lanais and tin roofs. It’s a very rustic look, which is the essence of what we wanted to capture.”

The Whitmore’s house is a real house located in Waikane. It’s off a secluded dirt road away from the main highway. There’s also beautiful pier behind it with stunning views all around.

Why We Love It

The charming chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, first seen in The Wedding Singer, continues in this adorable romantic comedy. We also love the supporting cast of the movie which comprised of many native Hawaiians. Most importantly, if only men would take a cue from this beautiful film and listen to Drew Barrymore when she drops this big hint: “I just love the idea of someone trying to make somebody fall in love with you every day. I think that should always be a goal. It’s a beautiful practice and a beautiful message.”


Production still of Forgetting Sarah Marshall via Google.

Production still of Forgetting Sarah Marshall via Google.

The Plot

Peter (Jason Segel) is a likable composer who’s been dating his famous girlfriend Sarah (Kristen Bell) for five years. She’s the star of a CSI-style crime show. Then out of no where, she dumps him. He’s devastated. To help him get over the break-up, he checks himself into a resort on Oahu, Hawaii, where, coincidentally, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Sarah and her new beau. Peter starts to break down again. But this time, he’s rescued by Rachel, the kind, beautiful hotel clerk (Mila Kunis). 

The Filming Locations

Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed on the island of Oahu, mostly at the Turtle Bay Resort, located on the North Shore. The filming took over 30 days at the Turtle Bay.

The resort published on their website a press release about the filming, describing it as a “big undertaking” in their effort to “get the business back in Hawaii.” There were over 180 crew and actors staying at the hotel throughout filming.

“Rooms had to be converted into offices. Additional phone and fax lines had to be put into place. Internet access and the speed of that access became paramount. But in the end, both the movie side and the hotel side were pleased with the results.” (Quote taken from the hotel’s press release.)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall was “the most extensive filming project ever attempted at Turtle Bay Resort.” Other productions filmed there include Warner Bros.‘s Big Bounce, North Shore, The Bachelor and Las Vegas.

Why We Love It

It’s quite funny and surprisingly charming! You’ll find yourself rolling on the floor laughing as you watch this movie. Plus who wouldn’t want to stay - even if vicariously through Peter - at the posh Turtle Bay Resort? There are gorgeous views of the Pacific from every room! And if you’re currently a fan of Black Swan, you’ll enjoy seeing Mila Kunis in this movie. 


Production still of Blue Crush via Google.

Production still of Blue Crush via Google.

The Plot 

Ever since she was little, Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) has loved surfing. She wants to one day be known as the best surfer in the world. Now in her teens, she lives in a beach shack with three roommates, one of which is her rebellious younger sister. She is up before dawn every morning to conquer the waves and prepares herself for the Pipe Masters surf competition. She’s totally focused on winning the competition, that is until she meets charming pro quarterback Matt Tollman (Matthew Davis). 

The Filming Locations

Blue Crush was filmed at various locations on the island of Oahu, including the North Shore, Makaha,  Waikiki, and the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina (where Anne Marie and her friends work).

“We played around with the geography of the island a bit,” said the movie’s director John Stockwell. “The hotel the characters work in is on the west side of the island.” Many of the filming locations were genuine North Shore hang outs, including the church overlooking Waimea Bay and Ted’s Bakery,  the early morning bakery shop on Sunset Beach.

But it’s the beautiful, deadly Pipeline - the surf reef break where the most feared waves in the world are crashing -  that steals the show. “Pipeline claims at least a few people every year,” shared local lifeguard Rocky Cannon.  “Mostly from hitting the reef, being knocked unconscious and staying under too long.”

Directions to the Pipeline

For all the die-hard surfers and movie location fanatics out there, here’s how you can get to the Pipeline:

From Honolulu International Airport, take Interstate H1 W/Waianae, and take Exit 8 toward Wahiawa. Merge onto HI-99 N/Kamehameha Highway, continue straight onto HI-83 E/Kamehameha Highway. Turn left toward Ke Nui Road, turn right on Ke Nui. Ehukai Beach Park—home of Pipeline—will be on your left.

Why We Love It

The first 15 minutes of intense surfing footages alone are enough to take your breath away. Plus this is my favorite Kate Bosworth movie. It so fulfills our fantasy of being a cool, top-notch surfer competiting at the Pipeline, even if we can only doggy paddle in a 4-foot pool in real life. In addition to the mesmerizing surfing scenes, we love the subtle glimpses the movie gives us of the Hawaiian’s surf culture.

Blue Crush is the best film to date that portrays the sport of surfing in Hawaii. Since the movie came out, there are rumors that the female population on the North Shore has increased 300%!



Honolulu Film Office