Where Was The Great Outdoors Filmed? Exploring the Iconic Locations


Ever wondered how movies can whisk you away to places you’ve never been, making the familiar seem foreign and the distant feel like home? “The Great Outdoors” did just that, but there’s a little twist in the tale that might surprise you.

Where Was the Great Outdoors Filmed?

In “The Great Outdoors,” the storyline sets the scene in the heart of Wisconsin, painting a picture of the quintessential Midwest summer retreat. However, the actual filming magic took place in the picturesque surroundings of Bass Lake, California. So, while the characters might have you believing they’re enjoying Wisconsin’s rustic charm, the real backdrop is the sun-kissed beauty of California’s Bass Lake.

What You’ll Learn

  • Bass Lake’s Beauty: Why this gem was the apple of the filmmakers’ eye.
  • The Pines Resort Revealed: A deep dive into where the reel magic happened.
  • California or Wisconsin?: The crafty cinema sleight of hand you never noticed.
  • Enduring Echoes: How a film from the ’80s still dances in the heart of its shooting locales.

Bass Lake: The Crown Jewel of ‘The Great Outdoors’

Ah, Bass Lake. Imagine a spot so drop-dead gorgeous that even the camera blushes. It’s not just a slice of nature; it’s the whole darn pie!

Nature’s Backdrop with a Cinematic Sparkle

Now, I’ve seen my fair share of lakes, but Bass Lake? It’s like Mother Nature rolled out the red carpet and said, “Here you go, Hollywood. Do your thing!” Crisp waters, sun-kissed shores, and trees that seem to whisper tales from yesteryears. No wonder the movie bigwigs took one look and thought, “Bingo! We’ve struck gold!” It’s not just a location; it’s the star of the show, giving every scene that extra dollop of oomph.

The Pines Resort: Where Scenes Came to Life

Ever walked into a place and felt a strange sense of déjà vu? That’s The Pines Resort for ya! Every nook and cranny feels like it’s been plucked right out of the movie, waiting for John Candy to waltz in with his infectious laughter.

Filming in a Place Packed with Stories

The Pines Resort isn’t just bricks and beams; it’s memories and movie magic. It’s where scripts turned into stories, and actors became family. The rustic charm, those quirky corners, and oh, the views! It’s like stepping into a living, breathing movie set. You half expect to bump into the cast, sharing a chuckle over bloopers, or rehearsing their lines by the lakeside. And for those who’ve seen the film, each spot at the resort feels like an old friend, waving hello and reminiscing about the good ol’ times.

The Ol’ Switcheroo: California Masquerading as Wisconsin

Movies have a sneaky way of playing with our perceptions. One minute you’re munching on cheese in the heart of Wisconsin, and the next, you realize you’re soaking up the sun in California. Talk about a plot twist!

California Masquerading as Wisconsin

Hollywood’s Geographic Gymnastics

Now, I’ve been on some wild rides in my time, but the geographical jig they pulled off in “The Great Outdoors“? That’s pure cinematic sorcery! The lush landscapes, the breezy lakeside vibes, it’s all Bass Lake, California, but with a Midwest makeover. It’s like dressing your pet chihuahua in a lion’s mane – convincing, quirky, and oh-so-clever. Kudos to the film crew for pulling the wool over our eyes and making us believe in this delightful deception!

Iconic Moments and Their Authentic Settings

Movies and memories, they go hand in hand, don’t they? “The Great Outdoors” gave us a suitcase full of unforgettable moments, and guess what? They all happened in places you can actually visit. No CGI, no green screens, just good ol’ authentic locations.

From Hilarious Hijinks to Heartfelt Moments

Remember the gut-busting “Old 96er” steak challenge? Or the jet ski shenanigans that had us in stitches? Well, those iconic moments were born in and around Bass Lake. Local spots turned legendary, thanks to a sprinkle of Hollywood magic. It’s where fiction frolicked with reality, giving us scenes that still tickle our funny bones and warm our hearts. So, next time you’re re-watching and re-living those moments, just know that Bass Lake was the silent co-star, setting the stage for cinematic gold.

A Film’s Enduring Legacy on Bass Lake

Some movies fade with time, but not “The Great Outdoors.” Oh no, this one left footprints all over Bass Lake, and they’re here to stay.

From Screen to Tourism Scene

Decades have rolled by, but the whispers of the film still echo around Bass Lake. Every ripple in the water, every sunset, seems to tell tales of John Candy’s chuckles and Dan Aykroyd’s antics. Pop by any local joint, and you’re bound to hear tales of the filming days, or maybe spot a memorabilia or two. The film may have ended, but its story? It’s still unfolding, with every visitor who arrives with twinkling eyes, hoping to capture a piece of that on-screen magic.

Beyond the Lake: Other Scenic Backdrops

While Bass Lake was the heartthrob of the movie, let’s not forget the unsung heroes – the other locales that added layers to the narrative.

Setting the Stage for Comedy

From bustling towns to serene spots, “The Great Outdoors” wove in a tapestry of locations to tickle our funny bones. These places might have had brief cameos, but boy, did they leave an impact! They were the cherries on top, the finishing touches that made every scene a treat to watch. It’s a blend of reel and real, where you’re left guessing where fiction ends and reality begins.


And there you have it, a behind-the-scenes peek to the age old question of where was The Great Outdoors filmed. A film that’s not just about laughs but locations. As the credits roll on our little exploration, remember, every place has a story, waiting to be told. And with “The Great Outdoors,” Bass Lake and its surrounding locales shared a tale that’s heartwarming, hilarious, and oh-so-Hollywood!

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I'm a fervent lover of the great outdoors, having spent countless hours soaking in the tranquility and beauty that nature offers. My passion for kayaking and camping has led me to explore numerous waterways and campgrounds, each journey adding to my treasure trove of experiences. Through KayakCampingWorld.com, I aim to share these adventures and insights with you. My hope is to inspire fellow outdoor enthusiasts and provide valuable guidance, whether you're paddling your first kayak or setting up camp for the hundredth time. Dive into my articles, and let's embark on this outdoor journey together!

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