Top 5 Movie Locations in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara has many things to offer: beautiful beach views, exquisite dining, wine tasting, history, and so much more. It also is home to several popular filming locations for Hollywood movies. Take a tour through Santa Barbara’s silver screen history, and next time you’re in town you’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto set!

Friday the 13th Part III

The fourth installment in the Friday the 13th franchise was filmed in several locations, but one was the San Rafael Mountains in Santa Barbara–Zaca Lake, to be exact. This beautiful nature scenery was transformed into the backdrop for the movie’s horrific plot. If you’re brave enough, you can visit Zaca Lake yourself and immerse yourself in the beauty—just watch out for Jason.


One of the most iconic movies ever, Scarface was filmed partially in Santa Barbara. Although the movie is set in Miami, Tony Montana’s mansion is actually in California, and still stands today. Next time you say hello to Santa Barbara, you can say hello to the filming location of Scarface.

Diamonds Are Forever

Feeling adventurous? In this popular James Bond movie from 1971, Sean Connery’s Bond chases after villain Ernst Blofeld. In once scene, Blofeld launches a satellite. Here, you can see Vandenberg Air Force Base, located near Santa Barbara. Take a day trip to the Air Force base to learn about its history and embrace your inner 007. Now that it’s immortalized on film, Vandenberg Air Force Base is forever.

Of Mice and Men

When John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men was adapted into a movie in 1992, the filmmakers needed a location that would provide the sprawling landscape described in the book. Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara delivers. Specifically, Of Mice and Men was filmed at Gainey Ranch, where the owners planted and grew wheat just for the movie. In Santa Ynez, you will be swept away by the beauty of the fields.


Perhaps the movie that most famously features Santa Barbara, take a trip through wine country and visit the same places as the stars of Sideways. You can eat and drink your way through Santa Barbara just like Miles and Jack in the movie. Los Olivos restaurant, Firestone Winery, and Fess Parker Winery are just a few of the places you could enjoy while following in Sideways’ footsteps.

When you’re surrounded by Santa Barbara’s abundant beauty, it’s easy to pretend you’re in a movie. Thanks to the many movie producers and directors who have felt the same way, you can step into the locations of movies and get lost in Santa Barbara’s wonder. Of course, you don’t want to actually get lost—so when you’re done pretending to be a movie star, come back to Marina Beach Motel where you can relax by the beach and soak up the sun.

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