Forrest Gump’s Lowcountry | Film Locations
26 years ago, but just like yesterday!
Forrest Gump may have been filmed over 26 years ago (in and around Beaufort), but the movie has not diminished in popularity. We often get visitors into the welcome center at Frampton Plantation House that are eager to see the local movie locations. The movie was set in Greenbow, Alabama, but was actually filmed, for the most part, in the SC Lowcountry and Savannah. Several locations are not too far from our visitors center at I-95, Exit 33 and Hwy 17. MAP TO LOCATIONS.
During the movie, Forrest is compelled to go to the Four Square Gospel Church to pray for shrimp. These scenes were filmed in the tiny area of McPhersonville, at Stoney Creek Independent Presbyterian Chapel (155 McPhersonville Rd.) This church was built in 1833 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
From Frampton Plantation, turn right onto Hwy. 17 and proceed north for 1.4 miles. Turn left onto Hwy 21/ 17-A towards Walterboro. Travel 5 miles, then slow down when you see the Harold’s Country Club sign. Turn left just before this locally famous restaurant onto Pocotaligo Rd. Continue 4.2 miles until you see Sheldon Chapel on the right. (This isn’t the church from the movie, but it is also historically significant.) Turn just before it and proceed slightly farther. The road ends at the church.
To visit the town where Forrest grew up, head to Varnville, SC. Return to Pocotaligo Rd. and turn left. Travel 11.2 miles miles, then turn right onto Main St. When the road ends, turn right onto Hwy. 278/Gray’s Hwy. Continue for 4.1 miles. The road merges with SC 68. Continue to the left. Once you enter Varnville, turn right onto Main St.
The Gump House is no longer standing. It was built specifically for the movie. Since it was hastily built (not to code) it was dismantled after production. The entrance is still visible. It is on the 8,000-acre Bluff Plantation property. It only took two months to build the house, and only a handful of rooms were finished for filming. Turn left from Main St. and travel down SC Hwy. 68 for 15.1 miles. Take a slight right onto Connely St. in Yemassee for .2 miles. Turn left onto Hwy 17-A and follow it for 3.6 miles. Next turn right onto Combahee Rd. The entrance will be 5.3 miles further at 3547 Combahee Rd. This property is privately owned, so please be respectful. Jenny’s house was also built on this property but was destroyed for the film.
The setting for Greenbow’s elementary school is the former Walterboro Academy. It now serves as the Colleton Civic Center. (506 East Washington Street, Walterboro.) This was the setting for the principle’s explanation of Forrest’s intelligence testing scores. From Bluff Plantation, return 5.3 miles to Hwy 17-A and turn right. Travel toward Walterboro for 11.5 miles. Take a slight right onto S. Jeffries Blvd. In 1.8 miles turn right onto Hampton St. The destination will be .4 miles away on the right.
After you leave this scene, head to Beaufort via Hwy 21/Carteret St. The Woods Memorial Bridge connects Beaufort to Lady’s Island. This is the scene for the running bridge interview. This is not the mighty Mississippi, but the Beaufort River. This historic swing bridge connects Beaufort to the sea islands. It is one of a handful of swing bridges that still exist in the state. It’s also the home of the annual “Run, Forrest Run 5K”.
The house where Bubba lived is next on the tour. Continue across the bridge and just over a mile. Turn left at the light onto Sam’s Point Rd. Keep going through the traffic circle (take the second exit). Stay on Sam’s Point Rd. for six miles. Turn left onto Alston Rd. 145 Alston Rd. will be on the right. This 1,240 square foot house was built in 1940. Bubba’s grave site was constructed in the back yard. This is a private residence. Please be respectful. The water adjacent to the house is the Lucy Point Creek. That’s where the majority of the shrimp boat scenes.
Bubba’s momma was played by Dr. Marlena Smalls. This classically trained soprano founded Beaufort’s Gullah Festival and the Hallelujah Singers. Her singers were also featured in the movie. She is well-known for using music and stories to educate others about Lowcountry Gullah customs and beliefs.
To visit the Vietnam war scenes, return down Sam’s Point Rd. and back to Hwy 21. Turn left onto Hwy 21/Sea Island Pkwy. As you drive toward Hunting and Fripp Islands, notice the march and waterways. They should look familiar. You will also pass Gay Fish Company on the right. They supplied all the shrimp for the movie.
Their dock is also where Forrest paints ”Jenny” on his boat. The Gay Seafood boat “Miss Hilda” can be seen in the background of that scene. Docked shrimp boats paint a beautiful scene. Travel for 16.8 miles. You will drive past the entrance to Hunting Island State Park.
The boardwalk will be on the right. Park and walk along the boardwalk while you’re here. The war rescue scene that earns Forrest a medal happened inside the park at the lagoon.
The Ocean Creek Golf Course at Fripp Island was also the location for war scenes. The mountains and larger palm trees were added by special effects.
For more information on fun attractions in the SC Lowcountry visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/.
Movie images are screen shots from the film.