7 movies filmed in Hawaii that will inspire your trip

There are so many (mostly hilarious) movies filmed in Hawaii. And who can blame the director and producers for choosing these spectacular, lush Pacific islands as the backdrop?

If you one day wish to visit Hawaii these rom coms, dramas, sci-fi and action flicks could provide much needed inspiration for where you go and what you do on the islands. Or maybe these films are what inspired you to put “travel to Hawaii” on your bucket list in the first place.

Let these 7 movies filmed in Hawaii inspire your travels, then lock in an adventure with us at Trafalgar.

50 First Dates


We can’t imagine 50 First Dates without Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in the lead with Hawaii as the backdrop. Adam plays a bachelor and ladies’ man living in Hawaii. He meets Drew, a beautiful and free-spirited young woman who suffers from short-term memory loss. They fall in love, but the next day she doesn’t remember him. Of course, he then has to make her fall in love with him every day, again and again. Laugh-out-loud as the two hilarious actors engage us in a funny, charming film set on the islands. Most of the filming was on the island of Oahu. 

Forgetting Sarah Marshall


To help him get over heartbreak after his famous TV actress girlfriend of five years dumps him, Peter Brenner (Jason Segel) finds solitude in a Hawaiian escape to Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort. But it’s here he runs into his ex-girlfriend and her new man holidaying at the same hotel. If you plan to visit Hawaii, you might recognise Turtle Bay Resort. The film crew spent 30 days here on the North Shore of Oahu capturing everything they needed for the flick.

GET INSPIRED: Best of Hawaii

Jurassic Park & Jurassic World

1993 + 2015

Winner of not one but three Academy Awards, the original Jurassic Park is certainly one of the most famous movies filmed in Hawaii. If you haven’t seen the sci-fi adventure movie directed by Steven Spielberg, or its follow up Jurassic World, you at least know the mystical islands where dinosaurs roam. Travel to Hawaii and seek out a handful of locations you can visit: Manawaiopuna Falls, Na Pali Coast, Kipu Kai and Pilaa Beach all on the island of Kauai, and Kualoa Ranch on Oahu.

Tropic Thunder


After Zoolander it’s hard not to love anything with lead funnyman Ben Stiller. He both acts and directs Tropic Thunder, pulling a cast that includes Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr.,  Jeff Kahn and Anthony Ruivivar. The flick is set in Southeast Asia, but was actually filmed in Hawaii on the island of Kauai. The actors are meant to be portraying soldiers in a Vietnam War memoir, but the twist is that they are in actual danger and have to become actual soldiers.

Blue Crush


There’s no Hawaiian picture more classic than Blue Crush. Follow a tale of love, drama and surf culture with a teenage Kate Bosworth in the lead. She plays hard-core surfer girl Anne Marie as she’s preparing for a big competition, when a love interest gets in the way. If you plan to visit Hawaii, this favourite film is mostly filmed on the island of Oahu, including the North Shore, Makaha and Waikiki.

RELATED CONTENT: How to respect the beautiful local culture while travelling in Hawaii

Pearl Harbor


Michael Bay’s major blockbuster hit recreates the tragic history of Hawaii’s Pearl Harbour. On December 7, 1941 a surprise air attack by the Japanese pulled the US into World War II. While the epic movie is more of a romance starring Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett and Alec Baldwin, it’s possible to travel to Hawaii and visit the real Pearl Harbour on Oahu, about 30-minutes from Waikiki.

Pearl Harbour, Hawaii

The Descendants


George Clooney is Matt King, a multi-generational Hawaiian resident and land baron who is thrust into unexpected occurrences. A boating accident leaves his wife comatose, news of her past marital affair arises and his family puts pressure on him to sell 25,000 acres of his family’s undeveloped land on Kauai. The movie won Golden Globes for Best Actor – Drama and Best Picture – Drama. If you plan to visit Hawaii, filming mostly occurred in Honolulu and around Hanalei Bay.

How many of these movies filmed in Hawaii have you seen? What’s on your list when you travel to Hawaii now? Let us know in the comments….

Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and receive $250 of FREE Trafalgar travel credit

"*" indicates required fields

Terms and Cons*
Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in excerpt
Search in content