The producers of Nights at Rodanthe, the big screen adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel, couldn’t resist the unique flavor of the place the story is based on. much of the film was shot on the outer banks. experience adventure and romance firsthand on this two-day trip.
day 1: manteo, hatteras island & rolling
Begin your film route in the town of Manteo, where some scenes were filmed at the downtown moorings. Both Richard Gere and Diane Lane were seen here often during filming, as they both stayed at the quiet Casa Posada on Manteo’s waterfront. dine like a movie star at the inn’s restaurant, 1587, or explore the city’s rich history and boutiques.
from manteo, crosses the us. 64 bridge and head south on n.c. Highway 12. You’ll immediately enter the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and be drawn into the windswept coastal scenery. Consider a stop at the 156-foot Bodie Island Lighthouse on your way.
About 15 miles further on, just before you reach rodanthe, you’ll start to hit a series of turns in the road. In the movie, on the ocean side of Highway 12, a scene was filmed with Diane Lane and a herd of wild horses. while the wild horses in Corolla roam freely on the outer shores, the ones in the film were imported. however, this particular stretch of beach is very real and very popular, thanks to its dynamic shoreline and natural beauty.
Continue south for a few miles and shortly after entering Rodanthe, turn left onto Beacon Road to see the house where Lane and Gere’s characters used to meet. Called The Inn at Rodanthe, the property has always been a vacation rental home. moved away from the edge of the waves and no longer has the dramatic (and dangerous) proximity to the ocean, but still offers a romantic view of the sea. The six-bedroom house, decked out in its starry design, is available to rent (reservations can be competitive), but even if you stay elsewhere, you’ll want to snap a photo.
an interesting story about the filming here: although a northeasterly storm played a big part in the nights in rodanthe, the filmmakers were not happy when a real-life storm, which eventually became subtropical storm andrea, blew through while filming was about to end. get going and did minor damage to the inn. the crew almost gave up and went elsewhere, but decided to wait. ironically, however, the fierce rain that hit the inn in the movie came from a fire hose.
Continue south on Highway 12 to two more movie stops at Rodanthe. The first, Jobob Trading Post, is where exteriors of residents buying storm supplies were filmed. Diane Lane was also filmed here, and although the store is now closed, its exterior remains as it was in the film.
The second stop, the wharf of rodanthe, was the scene of the party that the villagers had after the storm passed. the scene was shot with about 400 extras and most of the main cast. the wind speed on the night of filming was between 25 and 30 miles per hour, and the filming lasted until 4 a.m. m. It was a night the locals won’t soon forget.
Further up Highway 12, have dinner at Rusty’s Surf & Turf or Diamond Shoals restaurants located in the heart of Buxton Village, and as you decide where to spend the night, check with the locals to see if the Coyote Band is playing music anywhere nearby. Members of Coyote appeared as part of a band on Rodanthe nights and perform regularly on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.
day 2: ocracoke island & wilmington
Start your second day on the movie trail by driving aboard the free Hatteras to Ocracoke Ferry, which runs every 30 minutes from May through October. Scenes with Richard Gere were filmed on this route, as Gere’s character, Paul Flanner, arrived on the island after driving from Raleigh.
after the one hour ferry ride, enjoy your 16 mile ride on ocracoke island. Some scenes from the movie were also shot in the town of Ocracoke, so take some time here and take in sights like the Ocracoke Lighthouse and the Banker Pony Pens.
then it’s time to board another ferry, this time a 2.5 hour trip across pamlico sound to cedar island. Enjoy views of Hatteras Village, the pristine beaches at the end of the island, and wildlife on the sound. After leaving the ferry at Cedar Island, you’ll drive through Beaufort, Morehead City, and Jacksonville on your way to Wilmington.
wilmington and the island’s beaches have hosted more than 400 film-related productions since the area was first “discovered” in 1983. several interior scenes for rodanthe nights were shot here at eue studios /screen gems, one of the largest movie studios outside of california.
Although the studio is not open for guided tours, you can check out the sites featured in Nights in Rodanthe, One Tree Hill, Iron Man 3 and other locally filmed projects on a self-guided tour.