National Lampoon's Vacation Locations
Locations Manager(s): Sam Mercer, Bill Borden
Under their watchful eye, the following special places were used for filming "National Lampoon's Vacation":
These scenes were actually shot at Magic Mountain, located in Valencia, S. California. Google Map
For the scene in which they are at Walley World's parking lot, it is NOT Magic Mountain, but appears to be a glass painting overlay or a wall set up in the parking lot of the Santa Anita Racetrack. [Thanks to Antonio Gonzalez jr.]
The car dealer at the beginning was jack Ellis Chrysler Plymouth in Glendale Ca. It was located on brand Blvd. still there just different name. [Thanks to Ken]
The Griswold's suburban Chicago house is actually a home in Los Angeles. The location is in the neighborhood of Los Feliz and located at 2310 Vermont, 90027. The house looks almost exactly the same today, however a decorative brick wall was built just off the main street protecting the circular driveway where Clark brought home the Family Truckster. [Thanks to Braden]
The scene where Clark first sees Christie Brinkley in the red Ferrari was filmed at Colorado 96 And US 50 E. at 41st Lane, Avondale, Colorado (Note: The house seen in the far away scene is still on the south side of the road between 41st Lane and Chico Road and the cars were traveling east in reality) [Thanks to Andrew]
The scene where Christie Brinkley passes Chevy for the second time in the Ferrari and he then speeds up and pulls along side of her and dreams that he's sitting next to her in the car. Where he almost gets into a head-on with a truck and nearly runs off the road as the family truckster backfires... And then later runs over the cattle guard where they lose their luggage off the roof was all filmed on County Road 310/318 in La Plata County, Colorado about 20 miles south of Durango. County Road 310/318 runs from Bondad, Colorado to Ignacio Colorado. [Thanks to Mark Loose]
The picnic area where Clark flirts and dances for Christie Brinkley was the Shaw Creek Rest Area, 24863 US 160, South Fork Colorado. It looks almost the same now as thirty years ago. [Thanks to Carl Pigaga / Andrew]
When they first pull in to put gas in their station wagon and Clark pulls and throws off the license plate... That scene was filmed in Flagstaff, Arizona at Little America Hotel... It was filmed in the truck stop gas station area which is now only used to fill semi-trucks. [Thanks to Jason Jones]
The scene of the gas station where the mechanics take advantage of Clark is the located in Kayenta, AZ. It is currently a Fina station at the SW corner of US163/US160. The current station has canopies over the gas pump islands today unlike in the movie (30 years later). As they pull out of the station, they actually head e/b on US160 which is opposite way from Wally World. You can see two water storage tanks across the highway in the distance, which are still there today (across from the McDonald's today) in the distance is "black mesa". As they are driving down the highway with the 4 wheels wobbling on the family truckster, this is just east of Kayenta, and the 55 mph sign is still in the area, again this shot is filmed as the wagon is traveling eastbound, not westbound towards CA. [Thanks to Jeff W. Griswold]
One other scene filmed in the immediate area of Kayenta is when the scene shows the family truckster driving down the highway (just prior to them driving down the road that is closed) and a sub-title reads "somewhere in Arizona". This location was filmed on US160 10 miles east of Kayenta known as "baby rocks", due to the distinct rock formation. Again the family truckster is traveling e/b not west. [Thanks to Jeff W. Griswold]
The scene where it shows them driving in the rain with Aunt Edna strapped to the roof and later when Clark has the "melt down" and claims he is on the "pilmagridge to see a moose" (Classic) is filmed in Downtown Flagstaff on Beaver street. There is a furniture store in the background... That is the old "McMahan's" furniture store which was a chain store. The store (& company for that matter) are no longer there today. [Thanks to Jeff W. Griswold]
I'm interested if the cousin Normie's house was actually a location in Flagstaff. I have no idea where the motel is located that Clark swims with Christy Brinkley. There are no motels in Flagstaff that are even close to style of architecture. -Jen kindly answered: Yes, when they drop off Aunt Edna's body, it IS a house in Flagstaff. I grew up in Flag, and the house was one street over from me, in a neighborhood called Cheshire. [Thanks to Jen]
On a sidenote, Wife and I drove to Kansas to visit family and we drove through Coolidge, KS. It's a blink of a town right on the CO/KS border of US Hwy50. I saw nothing that resembled an asbestos factory (LOL... Where Eddy used to work). I even managed to get myself pulled over by the Sheriff's deputy on the way back through Coolidge. Not for dragging a dog, but for "exceeding the speed limit for thousands of miles!" And the real Dodge City looks nothing like the fictional Dodge City used in the movie with the Wyatt Earp wearing jogging shoes. Ha! (Hope this helps the rest of you VACATION Buff's.) [Thanks to Jeff W. Griswold]
The scene where the Family Truckster window breaks when the waitress hands him the window tray was filmed at the Sonic Drive In located at 1605 Main Street, on the corner of Carson & Main Street in Alamosa Colorado. The building was leveled around 2008 but you can still see the car bays formed in concrete in the ground. [Thanks to Bill G. / Andrew]
Cousin Eddie and Catherine's house in "Kansas" is located at 58909 Apple Road, Boone, Colorado.. The house is still there and unchanged today. I go by it all the time. [Thanks to Andrew / Darrin]
The scene where Clark drives off the highway in the desert and then proceeds to share a beer with Russ, was filmed right off of highway 160 on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation about 20 miles south of Cortez, CO. I work for the Ute tribe and drive past that area almost everyday. [Thanks to Robert Bellamy]
The scene where Clark is walking in the desert after he wrecks the car and finds the skeleton after falling down a sand dune was filmed at The Great Sand Dunes National Park located east of Alamosa Colorado. [Thanks to Bill G.]
The scene when Clark and Ellen were talking about loosing the luggage with their credit cards and her diaphram was in Pueblo also. It was at the Coronado Motel. It still exists today. [Thanks to Craig Broska]
Coronado Hotel in Pueblo Colorado, located at 2130 Lake Avenue, it was then, and is still now, commonly referred to as "Hooker Haven". The "residents" were temporarily relocated by the owners for the day(s) of filming. I still remember standing across the street from the hotel asking the movie crew if they knew where they were actually filming. Their response was "We didn't before, but we do now. That's why we're trying to hurry things along and move on".
The scene where Clark and Rusty are running in slow motion to the song from "chariots of fire" was also the parking lot of Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia Ca. [Thanks to Dino Falabrino]
The car deanship where they pick up their new car is now Star Ford in Glendale, Ca. On Brand Blvd. [Thanks to Michael Biggs]
The gas station that Clark pulls into, and runs across the street to buy the BB gun used to be on the corner of Ocean Ave and Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica. It's now home to two restaurants... one being 'Ocean Seafood' [Thanks to Gary Barth]
Also Monument Valley, Arizona, USA
And Schnebly Hill Road outlook, Sedona and Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
The hotel where Chevy self cashes a check is the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon. It is located on the south rim. [Thanks to Charley Small]
This location was never seen by audiences, because this was part of deleted scene (see lost scenes section). The tank of gas that was taken by Clark that he drove off without paying for was just before El Tovar Hotel scene. It was shot and filmed at the Texaco gas station in front of the Moqui Lodge just outside of Grand Canyon South Rim Park off Highway 64/180. That Lodge just closed up 2 or 3 years ago and has now been torn down.
The highway scene when the Griswalds leaving on their vacation was shot going southbound on Lake Shore Drive and the southbound ramp from the Dan Ryan Expressway connecting with the Stevenson Expressway. [Thanks to Nafeesah Abdullah]
The scene where Clark "cashes" the check was actually filmed here in Durango at the Strater Hotel. The outside is the El Tover Hotel at the Grand Canyon.
When Clark gets pulled over for dragging poor Dinky to death was shot at or near 1901 County Road 124, Hesperus, Colorado. [Thanks to Andrew]
The smelly tents at Kamp Komfort was the site of the Riverbend Resort near South Fork Colorado at the base of Wolf Creek Pass. [Thanks to Leah]
The rest area where the dog pees on picnic basket is on Hwy 160 east of South Fork Co. [Thanks to Craig Broska]
I was at motel where the pool scene was filmed, it was a Saddleback Inn near Long Beach, ca. My buddy and I had the upstairs room where the family comes out and catches Chevy and Christy in pool, we had to stay out of our room most of the day and night during the filming. We stayed in the bar/restaurant area (which is where they also filmed Christy sitting at table with Chevy. [Thanks to Steve Ferrante] BUT, Bri Brillhart wrote in to say that the location where Christy Brinkley and Chevy Chase hotel/pool scene was at the guest house international hotel in Norwalk, CA.
Christine G kindly wrote in to confirm Bri Brillhart is correct above ... The pool scene with Chevy Chase and Christie Brinkley was filmed at Guest House International Hotel in Norwalk, CA... Check it out - Everything matches. The roof, the railings, the doors, the window trim etc. if you Google it you will see.
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LX is our radical new locations feature that we've been beavering away on.. For years!
Each location will have it's own page with then/now pictures, maps, StreetView, discovery story and the most detailed explanations on how the location was used. Most importantly, the locations will have a status that shows whether they are verified correct and by whom. We are working with the actual locations managers or other crew where possible. The whole thing will be very interactive and you will, of course, be able to update everything.
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