On location

Kissing in the rain, finding a long-lost love and running from zombies or serial killers are all ideas instilled in people from television and movies. Living life “in” a movie around Tampa can be easy for students, with nearly hundreds of movies that have been filmed in Florida.

Whether it’s the warm weather or the beaches that draw producers to Florida, filmmakers have flocked to the state to shoot movies such as Edward Scissorhands, The Punisher and Scarface.

Florida on Film by Susan Doll and David Morrow and Sunshine in the Dark by Susan J. Fernandez and Robert P. Ingalls are two recently-published books  that talk about filming in Florida. Both go into detail about the different movies filmed, why producers chose the locations. They also provide information about the cast and crew and a short summary of the film.

Below are just a few local and statewide film locations you can visit to get that Hollywood feeling.

Golf courses

The Claw at USF, a golf course across from campus, was one of the filming locations for the The Punisher, starring John Travolta. Cast and crew trailers were set up on the greens.

Ken Paigo, a USF marketing graduate who works at the golf course, said the seventh hole was used in a 30-second night graveyard scene. The location was chosen because of its eerie appeal and wooded background.

“Unlike most other golf courses, The Claw is not bordered by houses,” Paigo said. “At night it gets really creepy — They say the woods are haunted.”

Caddyshack was filmed at Rolling Hills Golf Club in Davie, about two hours from USF. Caddyshack II used the same location, as well as Eagle Trace Golf Course in Coral Springs.

Highways and roads

Florida’s interstates have been popular for chase scenes in movies. In 2 Fast 2 Furious, some of the chase scenes were shot on Interstate 95.

The Punisher also included a car scene over a drawbridge in downtown Tampa, according to Sunshine in the Dark.

Monster, starring Charlize Theron as a serial killer who prowls the highways for her next victim, shot scenes on interstate roads near central Florida.

Beaches and bodies of water

Filmmakers for Sweet Home Alabama, starring Reese Witherspoon, shot beach scenes on Captiva Island, just north of Sanibel Island, about 100 miles from Tampa.

The Punisher used Fort De Soto Park, just an hour’s drive from USF, as the location for its pier scene.

Santini’s Porpoise School in Grassy Key was the home of Mitzi the dolphin, who played Flipper in the 1963 movie. Scenes from the movie were also filmed in Everglades City and at the Miami Seaquarium, including an underwater sequence in which Flipper saves Sandy by fighting off sharks.


Edward Scissorhands, starring Johnny Depp and Winona Rider, was filmed in various Florida locations, including Dade City, Land O’Lakes, Lutz, Southgate Shopping Center in Lakeland, and Wesley Chapel.

The cast and crew stayed at the Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, said Patrick Ciaccio, director of Food and Beverage at the resort, which is less than half an hour away from USF.

Six miles from the resort, off State Road 54, is the neighborhood that was used for the film.

“Residents living in the subdivision of Carpenter’s Run were asked to leave their homes while filming took place,” Ciaccio said. “Residents were put up in the Saddlebrook Resort until filming concluded.”


The Sunray Motel, which was revamped to Johnny Rockets on Ocean Drive in Miami was the set of the infamous chainsaw murder in Scarface, according to Florida on Film. Guests can sit and enjoy the burgers and music just steps away from the scene.

Students looking for a Hollywood experience in Florida can dine among the stars, play golf on an old movie set and even sleep in the hotel room where Johnny Depp stayed.