One of the best films ever made was set and filmed all around the United States but put a heavy emphasis on the South. While many of the locations were changed or developed for the film or on private property, there is a handful of Forrest Gump filming locations you can visit on your own, especially in Savannah.
But that’s not all. Fripp Island was used for the Vietnam scenes while the small town of Varnville, South Carolina was used as “Greenbow, Alabama.” Stoney Creek Church in Yemassee is where Forrest and his mama sang hymns. Located near Beaufort, the chapel dates back to 1832.
Instead of traveling to Vietnam, the scenes from Forrest in the army were actually filmed at Ocean Creek Golf Course on Fripp Island and Hunting Island State Park in Beaufort. The latter also appeared in Netflix’s Outer Banks.
For even more filming locations from Forrest Gump to visit, check out this guide on Roadtrippers that includes landmarks from the rest of the United States as well as this SciWay post and Island Packet article.
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Forrest Gump Locations in Savannah
Perhaps no place signifies this movie more than Chippewa Square, one of Savannah‘s most iconic parks. At all times of the day, you’ll see people taking pictures next to the sign. It commemorates the 1815 Battle of Chippewa in Canada, a part of the War of 1812, and features a statue of General James Oglethorpe.
But what you won’t find there is the famous bench that Forrest sat on while waiting for the bus. It’s now located at the Savannah History Museum to keep it protected and is actually one of four benches. For the film, traffic around the square was actually reversed to make sure the bus would pick up on the correct side.
Debi’s Restaurant is where Jenny works as a diner waitress in the film. It’s a functioning restaurant off Wright Square that serves Southern cooking. Don’t let the name confuse you, as it’s still owned by the same family and locals love it here.
Editor’s Note: As of 2019, the restaurant has moved locations. The original can still be seen at York and Bull streets but is a different business.
Independent Presbyterian Church
At the beginning of the movie, a feather flies above a church steeple that is meant to signify Jenny and lands on Forrest’s feet in Chippewa Square. The Independent Presbyterian Church is open to worshippers. Visitors can attend services to see the interior.
Love’s Seafood Restaurant is another easy-to-visit landmark, known as the truck stop where Jenny performs nude from the film. But don’t worry, this is a family-friendly riverfront seafood spot, not the gentlemen’s club atmosphere portrayed in the film. Be sure to try the Lowcountry boil, a regional delicacy made with shrimp, corn, sausage, and potatoes.
Forrest Gump Locations in Other States
Grandfather Mountain, Asheville
Forrest Gump’s running journey takes him all over the country, but one memorable scene was in the mountains of North Carolina. The area of Grandfather Mountain near Asheville has become known as the “Forrest Gump Curve.” You can drive it or get out and simulate his running.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC
After Forrest accidentally gives a speech, Jenny comes running into the reflection pool at the Lincoln Memorial, where they are reunited. The iconic memorial is also where in real-life Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Nearby you can also check out the Watergate Complex, the former hotel where Forrest complains about someone making noise in a nearby room. It was the site of the Democratic National Convention offices that were broken into and bugged by President Nixon and his team in 1972. Today it’s full of offices, shops, and restaurants as well as a boutique hotel, the Watergate Hotel.
Looking for a place to stay during your Forrest Gump pilgrimage? The Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, the 709 Ocean Cottage on Fripp Island, and Anchorage 1770 in Beaufort are all close to the Forrest Gump filming locations. You can also go on the Movie Tour of Savannah’s Historic District.
Deanna Graham says
I love you, Caroline. As southerners we get such bad press; we need visitors to see that most us are good people.
Caroline Eubanks says
Thanks for reading, Deanna!
Can people visit the Gump house ?
Caroline Eubanks says
I don’t think so, Van! I believe it’s a private residence.
I was born and raised is Sumter SC. I graduated from MUSC in Charleston and have traveled and worked all over the US. There is nothing like The South on this earth. Thanks for always uplifting the southern culture and our way of life. I think people who are not from here can never quite grasp the way of life,landscape and culture, altho I’ve had several friends visit from all over the US and love it. My favorite thing in to embrace my roots and play tour guide. Keep up the good work!
Caroline Eubanks says
Thanks for the kind words, Kelly!
Ashley Haskett says
Grandfather mountain is actually near Boone, NC it is about 2hours east of Asheville. Also several of the running scenes are along the Blue Ridge Parkway.