Recovering Perfectionist,  Travel

One Tree Hill Filming Locations Self-Guided Tour

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Shortly before Russ deployed to Afghanistan (the second time), I decided that I wanted to find a TV show that had multiple seasons to watch while he was deployed. I had found during his first deployment that having “my show” (Stargate SG1) to watch really helped pass the time and keep my mind of of things. I got really involved in the characters and enjoyed watching the storyline evolve. While I love Stargate I didn’t really feel like I wanted to watch all ten seasons a third time. So I got online and googled “girly TV shows.” I figured that I should move away from scifi and onto something that Russ wouldn’t enjoy and I wouldn’t be as free to watch when he was home. One Tree Hill popped up on a few sites so I thought I would check it out!

I was immediately drawn into the storyline. There were definitely some frustrations that I had content-wise with the show, but there was just something that kept me watching. I’ll be honest in saying that One Tree Hill is definitely not the most wholesome show on the air…Russ doesn’t call it my “stupid teenage drama show” for no reason! The early seasons are full of love triangles and high-school drama.

I was drawn to One Tree Hill because it was relate-able…even though it wasn’t. As I mentioned in my Recovering Perfectionist post, I grew up in a conservative Christian home and church, an environment that many people would label as “sheltered.” I don’t regret this at all. My parents did an amazing job raising me and, while my journey over the past few years has been one of learning that that environment and those standards is NOT where my worth comes from, I am still grateful for that “baseline” that I was able to start from.

On the flip side, watching a show like One Tree Hill has given me the ability to look from the outside-in into what the life of a “normal” American teenager is like (albiet Hollywood-style), and perhaps live vicariously a little bit through the characters in this TV show (in much the same way that I traveled to all those other planets and engaged in battle with aliens while watching Stargate). It’s not reality–but it’s fun to imagine what it’s like to have a high-school sweetheart or best-friend, go to basketball games, and attend prom. The later seasons of the show were much more relate-able to me as the characters were out of highschool and beginning their families. I got to watch the characters grow from immature teenagers, rise above the highschool drama, and gain depth in their relationships and friendships.

The biggest “redeeming factor” to me as a conservative Christian view of One Tree Hill was Haley’s character. The good “tudor girl” who fell for the bad-boy basketball star…yet still holds to her standards and maintains virginity until they get married. She goes on to be a mother to a beautiful son and daughter, and maintain a faithful, loving relationship with her husband–throughout the trials of family deaths, marriage-wrecking temptations, separations due to her husband’s employment, and a plethora of other family trials. Sure, it’s Hollywood, but their marriage was one where you got the feeling that nothing could ever tear them apart. That’s the main reason I watched the show.

For that, and for the music. Haley just so happened to also be an aspiring musician and songwriter, both in real life and on the show. Then characters Chris (Tyler Hilton) and Mia (Kate Voegle)–more famous musicians as regular characters on the show, along with guest appearances by Gavin DeGraw, the Wreckers, and others…there’s LOTS of music on One Tree Hill!!!

One Tree Hill is a beautiful show to watch…for the drama, the strong relationships, the music, and it’s beautiful filming location, Wilmington, North Carolina, home to both riverfront and oceanfront beaches! So, when I had the opportunity to visit Wilmington with a few free hours to myself, I decided to visit some of the locations used in the filming of the show. I used this complete list I found online to map out the places I wanted to see the most. Armed with my GPS on my iphone and a camera, I started on my self-guided tour.

My One Tree Hill Filming Locations Self-Guided Tour

^Pin It!^

I started at the cemetery, for the simple reason that it was the closest location to where I had dropped off my husband. I felt very awkward standing in a random cemetery taking pictures… I snapped a few and then left, not bothering to look for specific landmarks.

OTH Cemetery Collage

A few blocks over was Haley’s and Peyton’s houses (from the earlier seasons). Haley’s house didn’t even look that familiar to me (until I came home and found shots from it online!) but Peyton’s house was very recognizable. Yet again I felt very awkward walking down the street taking pictures of other people’s houses…kept looking over my shoulder hoping no one was around to think I was crazy!

(Since then, I found this article written by the owner of “Peyton’s Place” describing that this happens on practically a daily basis, and that he’s quite used to it. It’s a fascinating description of how he and his young family were affected by the filming that took place both in and outside his home! Definitely worth reading if you are a One Tree Hill fan!)

Here’s Haley’s house, scene of one Nathan and Haley’s epic “in the rain” kisses… I love how the cherub is still there!

Haley's House Collageb

Peyton’s House:

Peyton's House Collage

Karen and Lucas’ house was close by as well. As I pulled up a few houses away, a red car pulled up behind me. I waited for them to get out and go into their house because, again, I didn’t want people to think I was crazy. Out of the car came two girls, probably close to age 20, with cameras, who looked over their shoulder and walked over to Lucas’ house. I smiled and laughed. So I guess I’m not the only crazy fool out here! They actually caught the owner of the house and asked her if they could take pictures on the porch and the porch swing. I offered to take pictures for them if they would take some for me!

Lucas House Collage 2

This swing was not there during the filming, but it was still neat to sit on the porch!

Lucas House Collage 3

Here’s a view of the house from the side, showing the door that Lucas painted red for Brooke:

Lucas House Collage 1

Brooke’s house was definitely my favorite! It was such a massively beautiful home!


And yes the door is still red:

brooke house collage

And here’s a random too-close self photo that I thought turned out rather artistic:


Next was the Dan, Deb, and Nathan Scott house from the early seasons. There was still a basketball hoop in the driveway!! Maybe it’s just all the flashbacks to the show, but there was something slightly ominous about it.


Scott House Collage 2

Scott House Collage

Then I drove on to Tric, which was simply the back of a huge brick warehouse. Everything had been taken down but you can still see where the fake door used to be.

tric collage

Then I went downtown. First stop was the location of Karen’s Cafe and Clothes Over Bro’s and Karen’s Cafe (again). The storefront space is still empty!

cafe CB collage

I cut through some quaint little shops, bought some new shoes (since my flip-flops were driving me nuts), and walked down the the riverfront, which was lovely! (I think that this boat behind David’s head is the same one in the distance in the photo on the right).

riverfront collage 1

I couldn’t find great screenshots from the show, but the riverfront was used on many many occasions for filming, including the filming of the Burning Boat Festival and Haley playing guitar in the park.

riverfront collage 2

The photos on the right show the Rivercourt (or where it should have been) from across the river. I knew that it was supposed to be there, but a quick Google search revealed that the court was torn down after filming. I wanted to go across the river and at least see the court where it used to be, but at this point Russ was texting me saying that he was done and needed picked up already. I was frustrated because there were more places that I wanted to visit and the Rivercourt was the one I had wanted to see the most.

I started walking back to my car, at which point it started raining (oh great) and I still had several blocks to go and was now in a hurry because Russ was waiting on me. But as I was walking down the street I saw this in the window of a shop.

scott body shop hoodie

(You can purchase this on Amazon)

While I don’t like to be an impulsive buyer, it’s not every day that you see a sweatshirt from one of your favorite shows in the town that it was filmed in. So I went into the store and pulled it off the shelf, and then found another rack with MORE shirts from the show. I couldn’t resist buying a Clothes Over Bro’s shirt either! I decided to go BACK to the location of the store to take a picture with the shirt on. I ducked into an entry way to put the shirt on over the one I was already wearing and took this picture:


(You can also purchase this on Amazon)

I also got this one…a peak into the still-empty storefront with the reflection of the shirt in the window. I didn’t plan it that way, but it turned out pretty neat:


By this point, most of my frustration had dissipated. Yes, there was more I wanted to see and not enough time, but all in all, I was pleased with what I HAD seen. I picked up Russ at the gun range and we started back toward the beach house, but as we were heading out of town I realized that we were going to drive right by the entrance to Battleship Park, the location of the Rivercourt! And, since I was driving………. So, we got to see what’s left of the Rivercourt–a few trees, a picnic pavilion, and a lonely old rusty grill. Russ had fun playing air basketball on the invisible court:

rivercourt collage

It was such a perfect way to end the “tour” and it was neat to be able to share it with Russ as he had watched season 1 and part of season 2 with me, so had seen some of the scenes filmed there as well.

Honestly, I feel kind of embarrassed posting this, and I know that probably only a handful of people will actually read it. It fact, I feel a little embarrassed even admitting that I watch One Tree Hill! But that’s okay. The best part of this day was doing something for ME…and only me. Something that *I* enjoyed, having the freedom to do it BY MYSELF, even if I felt silly and embarrassed most of the time. People tell me that I’m too hard on myself, don’t do enough for myself, try too hard to be perfect. But, in the interest of “being real,” here you have it. I watch “stupid-teenage-drama-shows” and act like a silly teenager going around taking pictures of filming locations! And I enjoyed it completely.

For more information on OTH filming locations (AND ADDRESSES), check out this blog post: What I Learned From One Tree Hill


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  • Jillian

    I am in wilmington now and i wanted to know what the store was called where you find the Keith body shop sweatshirt or where it was

  • Sara@RunningInPinkProject

    I am going to Wilmington this weekend and am planning to check out a couple of these spots. Glad Im not alone in my love for OTH 🙂

  • Angie

    My husband and I went back in summer 2008. We did the exact same things. I loved it. I’ve been there twice since and am going back this summer. I was fortunate enough to get to meet and take pictures with Hilarie Burton and Lee Norris.

  • Allan K. Rosen

    I wish I had gone while the show was being filmed. And yes the show even appeals to middle aged men like me

  • Ed Nicolette

    My wife and I were very much into it. We watched it from the first show came on TV to the last one when they were all meeting on the street to go watch Jamie play his basketball game. And we were 55 when the show ended.

  • Beth Anne

    I saw this post under your “top posts” and omg I LOVED this show!! This was really cool…I’m planning a trip to London in May and I totally have Harry Potter stuff on my list of places to visit.

  • Lindsey Eileen

    Ahh! This was such an inspiration for me. I think the part of this entire blog that really moved me the most was how you talked about doing something for “you”. I am a mother and my daughter is very young still, so I’ve had it in my mind for awhile that “doing things for me” wasn’t really an option for at least the next few years. But this inspired me. I think I could afford a weekend visiting the filming locations of my favorite show. Even if it is just by myself. This show really influenced my life. I watched it from the very beginning, and since I was the same age range of the characters, it was especially easy to relate to. I own every season on DVD, and have watched every episode multiple times. I always sucker my friends into watching the entire series with me, and they get annoyed when I can basically speak the character’s lines word for word. Point is, I LOVED this show. And I know most shows/movies are filmed on a sound stage, and I always end up disappointed when I find out that a lot of the “locations” places are filmed in, are actually sets built by the production team. So to see that a lot of these places were actually real places, it makes my one tree hill world feel real. And I feel like seeing them up close and in person would just confirm that. I don’t know when this will happen, but I now know it’s something I need to do. Thank you for your inspiring post.

    • Aprille

      Aw this post really made me smile today! Yes – taking the time to do something for YOU is often the best gift you can give your child (read through my motherhood archives when you get a chance – it’s something I talk about a lot!)

      I always try to have one or two “girly shows” that are “my shows” that only I watch. It helps me feel sane – and like I have my own identity apart from my husband and son!

      If you do take the time to go, I’d love to hear about it!

  • PClements

    Hi there – OTH has been discovered by high school kids through netflix- I’m thinking of taking my daughter on this tour this summer ,2014, . Wondering if all this is still there?

  • Brooke

    Do you mind telling all the other places you were going to look at also? My mom is taking me this June and I would love to go and make sure we dont miss any! I’m such a huge fan of the show! I was so excited when I came across this post! Thank you for sharing!

    • Aprille

      I really wanted to get to the high school and find the bridge they use so much in filming. If you follow that link within the post I believe there’s a complete list of locations.

  • Linda

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us. My two teenage daughters and I just wrapped up watching all 9 seasons of OTH on Netflix. It was a fun “girls” thing for us and my husband picked on us constantly saying it was such a dumb show. It was even worse when we’d sit down to watch “just one episode” and end up saying, “ok one more”…drove him nuts, and we’d just laugh! So since we can’t get our minds off the show, we decided that the three of us may need to make a road trip this summer to visit Wilmington, just for fun! Your post and pics helped us realize we aren’t the only crazy ones out there. Thanks again!

  • Tanya

    Ohh.. :):) Why wouldn’t you go around taking pictures..I would too if I had the chance 🙂 I read your story with pleasure 🙂 Go on with your trips.. you can visit the O.C now 😉

  • Anonymous

    Hi! I absolutely loved your post, I am going next week and would love to visit all of these places! Thank you so much for the post, but it says your complete list link has expired, is there anyway you could post all the location addresses? Thank you so much

  • Louise Waldeck

    I am from South Africa and have just finished watching all 9 seasons and just could not get enough. It must be awesome to go and see the places from the series – maybe one day I will make it across the Atlantic – it is on my bucket list!!!

  • straightfrommyeyes

    I am in Wilmington for the 5th time. All of the houses are there minus the season 4 finale house . If you did not visit the filming locations yet I am sorry. Tric is now closed as well. The river court is torn down but there are post on the gazebo that fans sign. To go over, take the boat from market street ($6) and enjoy an afternoon looking over to downtown Wilmington. When I get back from vacation I will post all the places my best friend and I have visited. Oth truly feels like home. 🙂

  • Misty @ Joy in the Journey

    LOVE THIS POST!!! I love how you collages scenes from the show with your photos . The one of Dan holding Sawyer still creeps me out. I feel like he redeemed himself by the end of the series, BUT that shot in that season he wasn’t there yet.

    Anyway, I’m one of your handful of people 🙂 loved it, loved the show (until Lucas and Peyton left, I still watched till the series ended though), and prob would’ve psycho stalked the sets too!

  • Becky

    Did you find the high school that they went too? or Nathans beach house? This is soo cool I can’t believe how many places you found and love that you sat on lucas’s steps and swing!

      • Jeannie

        We used your post to find many places this week while we visited the area. We went to find the high school which was filmed at the Schwartz Center building of Cape Fear Community College. We wandered around a bit and there was some construction going on at the building. A construction worker asked if he could help us. We told him what we were looking for and he took us behind the construction fence to show us that part of the building which was being torn up to add to the building. We could see the white square arches but they were completely filled in with building. We were so disappointed.

  • Teresa

    So glad I ran across this!! I’m watching the seasons again with my teenage daughter and son and they are hooked! I’m planning on making a trip back to Wilmington to show them all the places we can find from the show. 🙂

  • jen

    not to worry your not the only one that watched this show. i watched it faithfully during the early years of being a single mom and then after i met my husband, he was hooked on the show too. both of my girls are named after this show.. brooklyn and hailey. i am planning my first trip to NC and cant wait to see some of these landmarks. i think pictures of them in my girls room will be awesome and help them see where i named them from.
    thanks for sharing all your fun and pictures.

    • Aprille

      Yes I know. I recently switched my site to a new host and transferring the media library was a beast. I’m having to reinsert photos post-by-post (and I have over 600 blog posts!) I’ll try to work on that tonight and get the images back up for you. I’ll make sure to come back here and comment when I do!

  • Jordan Frazier

    Thanks for fixing the pictures! I enjoyed seeing them. This is one of my all time favorite shows so it was nice to see these places now after filming.

  • ana

    Thank you for sharing your visit to the OTH filming sites. There’s no need to ever feel embarrassed about liking this show. You are not alone. I plan on visiting these places soon.

  • marcy

    Thanks for sharing, I discovered OTH series on Netflix and I’m currently into the 6th season. My daughter who is a senior in high school started watching it with me and I was the one hooked. I’m addicted to this show maybe due to the part I can relate to living in a small southern town, my daughters attend a small high school where they both cheer and there is always some kind of drama going on. I plan on visiting and seeing some of the filming locations.

  • Meg

    This is amazing!! I’m planning to visit North Carolina this May – would it be possible for you to share the exact addresses of these locations? I’m a reaaaally big fan of the show and would really appreciate it! 😀

    • Aprille

      I found the exact addresses in a forum post online. I’ve linked to it in the post but I just tried to click on it and it led me to some malware site. I’m sorry I can’t help you more. I didn’t record the addresses other than using that post.

  • koni

    i so wish i had seen this a year ago! I also was a big fan and then my girls started watching, so last summer we took them down to see all the places you went to. If we couldn’t find a place, my husband drove around until he found it 🙂

  • Nathalie

    Hi, I got on your site randomly through Pinterest and reading about what used to be one of my favorite shows was quite a good feeling! I instantly went back to those amazing years where I loved to watch Peyton and Brooke fight over Lucas (even though I’m more Brucas than Leyton ;)), Haley and Nathan and their amazing love stories or all those great TV drama! This show was about so many different things and it delivered such a positive message that it quite marked my life forever. Even though it wasn’t always perfect (I hated those seasons without Lucas), it still had a special spot in my heart and I was really sad to let all those people go. I too absolutely loved the music (I even got 300 songs OTH playlist on my itunes:p) as well as Lucas’s quotes and Peyton’s drawings. I would love to do one of those tours, you were quite lucky! I hope to be able to do it some day. It truly was a great outstanding show and it will stay in my heart always…and forever! ha!

  • Julie Foster


    I currently live in Wilmington and moving next week. I have been here for a few years and started this tour a few years ago. Tomorrow, I am going back over my tracks while I can. Just wanted to say thank you for helping me make a list of all the places I want to see again.

  • Brigitte Guevremont


    I want to go to Wilmington this summer 2016

    Can I contact you for more informations?

    Sorry for my english i’m french canadian.

    Have a nice one

  • Nikki

    I have to say I am so jealous of you lol. It is something I want to do so bad. I literally just today finished watching the complete season for a second time (the 1st being when it was on tv). I just love the show so much!

  • Kyrra

    Is it a little crazy to you that nearly 4 years later people are still reading and commenting on your post that you thought “only a handful of people” would read? 🙂
    I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this post, and every single one of your pictures. I have been wanting to visit Wilmington and visit all of the filming locations.
    I got into OTH during it’s second season and watched it religiously through the end. My sister and I used to have text dates every week to “watch” it together.
    I have all 9 seasons on DVD, and am currently in my 7th (or 8th) time re-watching all of the seasons. (Julian and Alex are about to make their movie.)
    One Tree Hill isn’t just a “stupid-teenage-drama”, it speaks to viewers and fans. There are so many quotes that have helped me through various situations. My sister even used THREE separate One Tree Hill quotes in her Maid-of-Honor speech at my wedding.
    Your post made me happy to know that I’m not the only one who is still obsessed with this show.
    Fun Fact: When filming for the show ended, the CW ran a contest through their website where you could enter to win a piece of the Rivercourt. I entered and almost immediately forgot about it. A couple months later, I received a package in the mail that contained a display box with a piece of the Rivercourt inside. It also had a booklet with a number of stills of the Rivercourt from the show and a letter of authenticity. The box the actual piece came in was filled with Raven blue and white paper. 🙂
    That piece of the Rivercourt came with me when I moved from Massachusetts to Maryland in 2012, then to Texas in 2013, then back to Maryland in 2014, and finally, back to Massachusetts this past October. This past Christmas, I wrapped the box up and gave it to my sister so that she could enjoy it. I signed the tag from me “and B.Davis”. She cried. 🙂
    Thank you for your post. And I also thank Pinterest and whoever “pinned” your post so I had a chance to venture to your little corner of the internet.

    Now, I need to go start planning my own trip to Wilmington. 🙂

    • Aprille

      1) yes yes yes! This post I wrote on a whim, 4 years ago – it is so unrelated to anything else I write about, but I get hits EVERY SINGLE DAY from google searchers. It’s crazy! Over 26,000 views and that’s just since I transferred my site from to in December of 2014. GET OUT OF HERE!
      2) Yes it totally speaks to viewers of ALL ages. I have thought about going back and watching it again because there were so many ways it spoke to me – and it would probably speak to me in TOTALLY different ways now.
      3) Wow that is totally awesome that you WON a piece of the RIVER COURT! AMAZING. What a great memento!
      Thanks for commenting!

  • Nicole

    Honestly, I love the show too and I cannot get enough of it! Believe me you are not the only one. I actually wany to move down there to NC lol. That’s from too many Nicholas Sparks books and this TV show lol. It was a good read and I enjoyed it! Thank you 🙂

  • Josie

    Hi Aprille

    I really enjoyed reading about your self guided tour of OTH filming locations! I absolutely love the show and am in the process of watching it all over again! I live in Adelaide, Australia but visiting the town is something I would love to do one day!

  • Elizabeth

    I absolutely love this!!! I watched the show when it first came out and my daughter’s watch it now. I really can’t tell you how many times this 43 year old mother of 4 has watched OTH!!!

  • Renae Duncan

    Love the pics from one tree Hill .I also visited quite a few Right before hurricane Florence came thru . It’s beautiful there and so many great memories from the show

  • Havanna Watlington

    This is awesome!! I totally want to tour the town and visit as many sights as possible! Thank you for sharing!

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