If you’re a fan of the author Nicholas Sparks, you probably already know that many of his books (which are often later made into movies) take place in small North Carolina towns. In fact, every one of his novels since “The Notebook” has been set in the Tarheel State. And his upcoming book (which will be his 20th) follows right in suit, based in the Brunswick Islands of North Carolina and in particular, focusing around the famous tourist spot – the Kindred Spirit mailbox.

But, why only enjoy these picturesque towns in your mind or on the big screen, when you can visit them in person and see them up close? Take a visit to the Brunswick Islands including the towns of Sunset Beach, Southport and Caswell Beach, and you can check out filming locations from some of his most popular movies including Safe Haven, A Walk to Remember, The Longest Ride and the upcoming, Every Breath.


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Kindred Spirit Mailbox, Sunset Beach The Kindred Spirit Mailbox holds the thoughts and memories of thousands of visitors.
The Kindred Spirit Mailbox holds the thoughts and memories of thousands of visitors.

Kindred Spirit Mailbox, Sunset Beach (Nearby Hotels)

First, you can get a head start on Sparks’ new novel, Every Breath, by visiting the novel’s setting – the Kindred Spirit mailbox, located in Sunset Beach. This unique spot features a lone mailbox, sitting among the dunes and sands that holds the thoughts and dreams of thousands of visitors who have stopped to write notes and leave them inside. There’s a bench next to the mailbox where you can either sit and write your own note or enjoy the sentiments left by others.

Southport Marina, Southport (Nearby Hotels)

Next, move on to another one of Sparks’ most famous novel-turned-movie, Safe Haven – the small, coastal town of Southport. Here, you can visit the Southport Marina where Josh Duhamel’s character kept his boat, the house that he lived in with his children, the Old American Fish Co. restaurant where Julianne Hough’s character worked or the Port of Call restaurant where their characters had their first romantic dinner together. You can also check out more Safe Haven memorabilia and photos at the Fort Johnston-Southport Museum.

Riverwalk Gazebo, Southport (Nearby Hotels)

While you’re in Southport, you can also see some of the locations where A Walk to Remember was filmed. You can gaze out at the water from the Riverwalk Gazebo where the characters Jamie and Landon shared their first kiss, visit the church where Jamie’s dad served as pastor and see Orton Plantation (from the outside) where Jamie and Landon got married.

Rodanthe Pier, Rodanthe (Nearby Hotels)

Another one of Sparks’ popular books and movies, Nights in Rodanthe, was also filmed in the Brunswick Islands in the small town of Rodanthe. Here, you can see Rodanthe Pier where the party scene was filmed and even stay at the Inn at Rodanthe, where the characters of Adrienne and Paul first met.

Episcopal Church, Edenton (Nearby Hotels)

In nearby Edenton, you can see many of the sites where the 2000 film, The Rescue, was filmed including the Episcopal Church and the town library.

Caswell Beach (Nearby Hotels)

The Longest Ride, another popular Sparks’ film about the love affair between a former bull-riding champion and a college student, also featured scenes of the Brunswick Islands, including Caswell Beach – a quaint seaside town where the character Ruth’s family spent their summers while she was growing up.

Alfred Cunningham Bridge, New Bern (Nearby Hotels)

Although “The Notebook” wasn’t technically filmed in the Brunswick Islands, you can also see many of the famous sites from this movie during your trip to the North Carolina coast in the nearby town of New Bern. Check out the Masonic Theatre, the Centenary Methodist Church and the Alfred Cunningham Bridge on your own or stop by the New Bern Convention and Visitor’s Center for information on the self-guided walking tour that features many popular sites from Sparks’ movies.

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