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Resources: California Coast

California Coast

Check It Out!

Books – Non-Fiction

Books – Fiction

Cannery Row

John Steinbeck
The actual location Steinbeck was writing about, Ocean View Avenue in Monterey, was later renamed “Cannery Row” in honor of the book.

The Maltese Falcon

Dashielle Hammett

For Younger Readers

Family Friendly Movies for Tweens and Teens


  • Filmed in Monterey and Pacific Grove
  • Fun fact – when recruiting Tom Hanks to Play Woody in Toy Story – producers used a clip from him talking to Hooch from this movie – set to animation – to seal the deal.


  • Mostly filmed in San Francisco. However the “Sausalito Cetacean Institute” was actually the Monterey Bay Aquarium!


  • Classic Robin Williams comedy. He called Tiburon (in Marin County) his home – and the tunnel from the Golden Gate bridge over to Marin County is named in his honor.
  • This movie was set and filmed entirely in San Francisco – you will see plenty of famous locations.
  • You can check out the Hillard family home at 2640 Steiner Street in Pacific Heights and enjoy the incredible view down Steiner to the Bay!


  • This film dramatizes the real 1962 prisoner escape from the maximum security prison on Alcatraz Island.
  • Alcatraz was closed shortly after the true events on which the film was based.
  • Much of this movie was filmed on location on Alcatraz Island.
  • Producers paid $500,000 to restore the decaying prison. Many improvements remain intact after filming.


  • Filmed in California over 40 days. The director studied real teen’s from Beverly Hills to get an idea of how they talked and how to use their slang appropriately.
  • Scenes depicting the High School Campus, were actually Occidental College in LA.
  • Interior of the High Schools was shot in Ulysses S Grant High School in Valley Glen.
  • Another notable location – Circus Liquor in North Hollywood, where Cher is mugged – and also Rodeo Drive Where she has her “crisis” and dejectedly wanders around.


  • The most famous scene takes place at one of LA’s most notable landmarks – the Griffith’s Observatory
  • Dawson HS – is actually Santa Monica High School, with some interiors set in John Marshall High School in Los Feliz. (Fun Fact – this is Leonardo DiCaprio’s former High School)

R-Rated Films


  • Another movie filmed mostly on Alcatraz Island. Since the Island is now part of the National Park Service – the production could not shut it down – and filming had to be done around crowds of tourists.
  • The scene where Womback is thrown off the balcony – was filmed at the Fairmont Hotel. Filming led to multiple calls to the hotel out of concern for a man hanging from a balcony!


  • This award winning film is based on the life of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California – to the San Franscisco Board of Supervisors
  • Much of this was filmed on Castro St., including Milk’s former storefront – Castro Camera.


  • Quentin Tarantino has said this is his “Love Letter to LA”
  • If you are interested in reading about some of the famous locations used in this film – check them out here on
  • The Restaurant Casa Vega plays a role in the film. If you can make it there for one of their famous margarita’s – ask for Table C6 and order “The Tarantino”!


  • This was shot almost entirely in San Francisco
  • The story is drawn from the real life case of the Zodiac Killer, a notorious serial killer who operated in Northern California. The film’s character seeks out a similar vicious psychopath.
  • Many well known spots can be seen – City Hall, the Hall of Justice, Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Lombard Street, and Kezar Stadium to name a few.


  • Scenes filmed in Pebble Beach along the coastline north of Cypress Point and at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur.
  • The only film ever directed by Marlon Brando


  • Filmed mostly in and around a house in the Carmel Highlands
  • Garrapata Beach is featured in their escapades, as is Ford Ord Dunes State Park.
  • You can also see Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf, the Harbour and the Restaurant Massaro & Santos
  • The segment by Bixby Bridge where someone gets sea sick – was scripted and supposed to be fake – however 1 hour into the boat ride and with cameras rolling – he did it for real!


  • Filmed throughout Monterrey, frequently at venue’s still open – most notably the Sardine Factory
  • 4 min scene was shot at the famed Monterey Jazz Festival.
  • This is Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut!


  • This HBO show is set and filmed in Monterey
  • Bixby Bridge is one of the most iconic parts of the show. The characters spend a lot of time going back and forth over the bridge (school pick-up, drop-off, to their favorite cafe, etc).
  • This is a little bit of a Hollywood stretch, the bridge is located about 30 minutes south of Monterey.
  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a big role. One of the main characters works there in Season 2.
  • Lovers Point, the park and the beach, figured prominently as a setting for Season 1. It returns as a pretty backdrop in Season 2, most notably as the place where the Monterey Five’s new coffee spot, the Blissful Drip Cafe, is located. The show’s creators built the set on location and actually served coffee—they then donated the set to the town when filming wrapped.


  • Mostly shot in LA – some notable locations: Las Palmas Hotel in Hollywood, Ambassador Hotel in LA, and the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.
  • The famous restaurant scene – was filmed at the restaurant Cicada in downtown LA. 30 years later it is still known as the “Pretty Woman Restaurant”. If you decide to dine here you can ask for the table Julia Roberts sat – and the server will point out where the waiter was standing when he caught her “Slippery little sucker!”


  • Filmed all over LA – Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Hawthorne, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, Canoga Park, Culver City and Glendale
  • You can drive around to some famous spots by following along with LA Magazine here.


  • Famous landmarks appropriate to the 1950’s were used, including – Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, The Frolic Room on Hollywood Blvd, and the Crossroads of the World that is an outdoor mall, but was dressed up as a movie theatre.


  • Shot on location at some of LA’s most infamous neighborhoods.
  • The film even got permission to shoot in the Imperial Courts Housing Project – the first time L.A. Street gangs allowed a film crew to be brought to that neighborhood.
  • Most filming locations are in some pretty unsavoury neighborhoods – but you can visit the Quality Coffee Shop at 1238 West Seventh St – downtown.

RVs on Screen

Gear We Love

Charcoal Grill

Consider searching this out at your destination. A grill makes for a full camping experience!

Smore Sticks

These are a must have for campfire nights! You can roast hot dogs and marshmallows all night long on these!

Walkie Talkies

These are great for exploring. Give one to your kids (make sure you test it first). Then off they go!

Fairy Lights

Bring some of these solar or battery-powered lights and hang them around your campsite…instant style for the environment!

Glow Sticks

If you can find the set with connectors and headbands, you can make all sorts of wearable glow items – it will be easier to find each other at night!

Wint-O-Green Lifesavers

These are a must. Get a fresh pack, wait for night time around the campfire. Pop one in your mouth and crunch/grind it with your mouth open. You are in for a surprise! Trust us 🙂

Magnetic Hooks

Put them on the back bumper – and hang bathing suits to dry. Just remember to bring them in before you drive away!

Disposable Camera

Consider for younger children, especially if they don’t have a phone yet.

Wet Wipes

Very handy.

Hanging Toiletry Bag

Save space in the RV bathroom.

Grill Gloves

To move the hot grill off the table when you are done grilling.

Dump Gloves

Keep hands clean during this task!

AC Inverter

You can use this to charge your phone or run low-power devices on household (AC) current without running the generator or plugging into shore power. (More on all of that in your Adventure Kit!)

Meat Thermometer

Make sure your meat is cooked through on the grill!

Games For in the RV

Campsite Games