Do you still miss 90’s TV shows and movies like Saved by the Bell, Twin Peaks, and Dumb and Dumber? Summer is the perfect season for road trips, and for her August Window Seat or Aisle Seat column, family travel expert Kerri Zane shares 7 road trips you can take to visit the sites where famous 90’s TV shows and movies were filmed.
Who doesn’t love waxing poetic about your youth? For those who lived by Kurt Cobain’s credo, faithfully watched Beverly Hills 90210, still dons a Pulp Fiction Halloween costume, and fled the U.S. in order to elude the Y2K bug, this 90’s iconic road trip is for you.
1. Palm Desert, California
Don’t know about you, but the teen sitcom Saved by the Bell certainly has a special place in my heart because I also worked in television when that show was on the air. My first job as an executive producer was called Name Your Adventure. It was hosted by Mario Lopez and shared a spot with the quintessential comedy on the NBC Saturday morning line up. The unforgettable two-part episode titled “Palm Springs Weekend,” took place at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. Our favorite characters Zack, Kelly, Slater (Lopez), and the rest of the gang join Jessie to celebrate her father’s wedding at the resort. Although the property has undergone major renovations since the 1991 episode, several locations featured in the show still look just like they did nearly 23 years ago. The resort has also played host to several 90’s power-couples, including Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora, who stayed at the hotel before their 1994 nuptials in Paris. Vanessa Williams and Dan Rather hit a few balls across the net on the resort’s tennis courts. Ask Tennis Pro, Jim Leopold, who still oversees the courts, about the highly competitive showdown between 90s NFL Pittsburgh Steelers coach, Bill Cowher, and Cincinnati Bengals coach, Dave Shula.
2. Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach has served as a backdrop for many TV and film projects over the years. In 1992, The Bodyguard was shot at the Fontainebleau. Not only did Whitney Houston’s character perform at the nightclub in the resort, currently called LIV, but she and Kevin Costner also shot scenes in the penthouse suite and pool area. Take a walk down Ocean Drive and visit acclaimed fashion designer and 90s icon, Gianni Versace’s mansion. In 1992, he spent nearly $30 million to renovate the space. His home quickly became a hot spot for the world’s most glamorous people, including top models of the era and celebs like Madonna and Sylvester Stallone. Tragically, the Italian designer was also shot in the mansion in 1997. The property now operates as a luxury hotel, The Villa By Barton G. Then, travel up the road about 30 minutes to Aventura. Have lunch in the Turnberry Isle Miami and ask to visit the Hibiscus Presidential Suite. It’s where the band KISS held a press conference in 1996 to announce their first reunion tour. The suite is also where Demi Moore shot scenes from Striptease, which hit theaters that same year. Step outside and stroll the Soffer golf course. President Clinton landed his helicopter on the greens with snipers everywhere, to give a speech in the Garden Ballroom. One week later, Monica Lewinsky arrived for a book-signing to promote her story.
3. Southport, North Carolina
Southport, North Carolina”s waterfront locale, historic Victorian homes, and turn-of-the-19th century cemetery have appeared in 19 movies from the 1990’s, including 1992’s Spies, 1993’s Amos and Andrew, 1997’s thriller I Know What You Did Last Summer, 1998’s The Wedding, as well as the TV series Matlock and Dawson’s Creek. For a birds-eye view of all these notorious locations, try a trolley, bike, or horse-drawn carriage tour.
4. White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia
Amidst bucolic greenery, just outside White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia, is the historic American resort, The Greenbrier. On May 31, 1992, The Washington Post broke the story that this sprawling estate masked a government secret beneath its West Virginia Wing. Deep inside the building is a 112,544-square-foot bunker built 720 feet into the hillside, which had been kept in a constant state of readiness for more than 30 years to house the US Congress in the event of a nuclear attack! Now, regular tours of the declassified Bunker are available for you to explore. Caution: It’s also a casino!
I loved, loved, loved David Lynch’s darkly brooding 90’s TV show Twin Peaks. Salish Lodge & Spa, a luxury resort atop Snoqualmie Falls served as the Great Northern Hotel for the show. The historic property was built in 1916 and was converted to a luxury property in 1988. Today, the area plays host to the popular Twin Peaks Fest, August 1 through 3, during which cast members and cult followers return to commemorate the legendary series. For those of you who are truly devotees and want to own a piece of the TP legend, the house that served as Laura Palmer’s home is up for sale. After a full day of Twin Peaks madness, head into Seattle to visit The Sorrento Hotel. Many scenes from the film Sleepless in Seattle were shot there. It also was used as the production office for the filmmakers.
6. Estes Park, Colorado
If you happen to be passing through the Rockies on your blast from the past 90’s road trip, stop in and have a drink at the bar in The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Jim Carrey did in 1994, for his life-changing role in the film Dumb and Dumber (he also lodged there during the filming). Plus, see if you see what Stephen King did when he slept in room 217. While the film The Shining wasn’t filmed on the property, it served as the author’s inspiration for his popular novel.
7. Mansfield, Ohio
This year, Ohio is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Shawshank Redemption. Nearly all of the film was shot in north central Ohio, including all of the prison scenes at The Ohio State Reformatory. There is a big celebration over Labor Day weekend, including lots of tours and appearances from celebrities. You can also do the self-guided Shawshank Trail any time of the year.
For more of Kerri Zane’s family-friendly travel suggestions, check out:
- 25 Family Activities Beyond Beach Resorts
- Family Friendly Safari Camps in Zambia & Zimbabwe
- The Best Travel Package Deals for Single Parents
By Kerri Zane for PeterGreenberg.com. Kerri Zane is a family travel expert and author of It Takes All 5: A Single Mom’s Guide to Finding the REAL One, on sale now. For more advice on health, parenting or Kerri’s exclusive MomEscapes, visit her at KerriZane.com.