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In the years I’ve lived in Georgia, I’ve stopped being surprised at how often major motion pictures and television shows film here. The day I moved to Madison, Georgia, Tom Cruise was wrapping up filming in my town.
I swear I spotted him moving from one building to another, but it’s always possbile I spied a stunt double. It was moving day, and I was exhausted, but that’s my celebrity story for Madison.
It’s not the only filming I’ve seen here. The second Guardians of the Galaxy movie filmed scenes downtown, and our town is the one being destroyed in The Goosebumps movie with Jack Black.
But the real Hollywood of the South is in nearby Covington, which was the primary filming location for The Vampire Diaries.
Where was the Vampire Diaries filmed?
Covington, Georgia, might be a small town, but it’s known as Hollywood of the South for good reason.
Shows like In the Heat of the Night were filmed here, but it’s newest claim to fame has been the hit series The Vampire Diaries (and is now the filming location for the Netflix series Sweet Magnolias).
The town of Covington has gone all out to feature Vampire Diaries gifts, photos, and memorabilia. I don’t know that there’s a single shop in town that doesn’t remind you that this show was filmed here. From Vampire lattes at Bread and Butter Bakery to themed gifts at The Soap Box, everywhere I went downtown made mention of this iconic show.
I should probably mention that I am not the target audience for Vampire Diaries. Although I’m the same age as the majority of the cast, I’m outside of the target demographic, and I only have a mild interest in vampire legend and lore.
However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen the show. Its popularity drew me in, and it was fun to see familiar places in the background of this hit series.
Fans of the show will likely want to take a tour with Vampire Stalkers. It’s the cast-recommended tour downtown.
For $55 per person, you can get an in-depth look at the filming locations of the Vampire Diaries and learn about residents’ experiences with the cast and crew during the filming. This is considered the ultimate fan tour.
Can you Visit the Vampire Diaries Set?
There are many Vampire Diaires set locations in Covington, Georgia. The tour will take you to each of them, but here are a few you can drive around and see on your own. These are some of the most popular Vampire Diaries filming locations.
1. Mystic Grill
The exterior of Mystic Grill and the alley beside it were both used in filming of the show. However, the interior scenes were filmed elsewhere on a sound stage.
With that being said, you can still take a selfie outside and then go in to dine at this delicious local restaurant. Down in the alley, you’ll even find signs for Mystic Falls and a gift shop for everything Vampire Diaries.
2. Lockwood Mansion
Mayor Lockwood’s mansion is a prime filming location for Vampire Diaries. While you can’t go inside, you can certainly visit and take a photo from outside the gates.
In reality, it’s known as Worthington Manor and is a private residence. Only paying Vampire Stalkers tour guests will get an inside look at this iconic filming spot.
3. The Clocktower
You might recognize the clocktower from many scenes in The Vampire Diaries. It’s located directly beside Mystic Grill and The Alley. You’ll also find it across from the Mystic Fall Tour Headquarters.
Elena and friends visited this ice cream shop in the show, and you’ll discover that the cast also frequented Scoops in Covington.
This family-owned ice cream parlor is a filming location for Vampire Diaries and a local favorite for a sweet treat. You can stop in and order Damon Salvatore’s favorite, the banana pudding milkshake.
5. Bread and Butter Bakery
In the first season, there’s a pretty epic scene filmed on the rooftop of Bread and Butter Bakery. While they aren’t going to let you climb to the roof to sneak a peek, you can go inside and enjoy some delicious coffee, baked goods, or sandwich. Plus, you’ll know that you’re walking in the footsteps of some of your favorite characters.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for filming locations in Covington. These are some of the easiest to see and most accessible. However, because the cast and crew were here from 2009 to to 2017, you’ll find filming locations all over town. Your best bet to see them is to book a Mystic Falls Tour and become a Vampire Stalker.
The tour headquarters features a gift shop with truly unique fan gifts. My friend joked about taking home a pillowcase of her vampire crush. We agreed her husband wouldn’t love it. The vampire Barbie tshirt might have been my favorite of the random items in the shop, but there was a little bit of everything Vampire Diaries themed available for purchase.
Fans of the show should also stop into the Covington Welcome Center. It has an impressive display of cast and show memorabilia. It’s a free exhibit, and it also includes a shop of gift items.
Everywhere I went in town, I ran into fans of the series browsing the shops and looking at the exhibits. It has a cult following that the city of Covington is thoroughly taking advantage of and appreciating. From autographed items to an actual car, you’ll find so much to recognize from the hit show.
Where to Stay in Covington
Diehard fans are only going to have one choice when it comes to choosing a place to stay in Covington, Georgia. That’s The Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast, which features in flashback scenes of Vampire Diaries. You can actually reserve The Salvatore Brothers Study for your stay.
The suite starts at $299 a night (with prices of $425/night as far out as February), and it’s booked out for several weeks at a time. However, if you’re going to spring for the full fan experience, it’s the perfect place to stay on your visit.
If your budget doesn’t extend to an actual filming location, you’ll find plenty of hotel chains and Airbnb options for your stay.
You can have the full Vampire Diaries experience without going broke. You can even find actual filming locations for the show on Airbnb. Caroline Forbes’ house in the show can be rented for $500 per night. While my budget doesn’t allow for that, it’s still an option for full-fledged fans who can afford it. But don’t worry: there are plenty of affordable options on there, too.
Covington, Georgia, is a beautiful small town about half an hour outside of Atlanta. You’ll find plenty of interesting shops and restaurants in the area — many in walking distance of historic downtown. It might not be as big as a city like Atlanta, but if you go into the historic area, you’ll see just why so many films are being made here.
It’s got all of the beauty and charm with plenty of convenience. You’ll have no trouble finding places to stay, things to do, or good food to eat. It’s also conveniently located off Interstate 20.
Whether you’re in town for the day or plan to stay longer, you’ll want to book a tour in advance. You might also be interested to know that there’s an escape room located right beside the Mystic Falls Tours Headquarters with a Vampire Diaries escape theme.
You can head into Bread and Butter Bakery to pick up some vampire-themed wine or grab a Vampire latte (it’s a chai latte with cinnamon). Head across the square to The Soap Box and pick up some Vampire Blood body wash. Everywhere you go, you’ll see a celebration of your favorite vampire series.
Recommended read: 15 Best Restaurants in Covington