You might be surprised to learn that while Outer Banks takes place on the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, the show isn’t actually filmed there.
Co-creator Jonas Pate originally envisioned filming Banks in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he spent a lot of time as a child and where he now lives with his wife and kids. While writing the script for season one with his brother Josh and their fellow co-writer Shannon Burke, the trio were confident that Wilmington would be the perfect place to film their action-adventure series. Netflix, however, had other plans.
Despite Wilmington initially being scouted for the project, Netflix took issue with the state of North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ legislation passed in the 2016 House Bill 2. The bill required people to only use public restrooms that corresponded with their birth gender as opposed to their gender identity. It also banned local ordinances that protected LGBTQ people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Pate advocated for the bill to be abolished or amended so that Outer Banks could be filmed in Wilmington as planned, but the streaming giant insisted on inclusivity.
So Where Was Outer Banks Filmed?
After some additional scouting, it was decided that Banks would be shot on location in Charleston, South Carolina.
As Pate told Wilmington Star-News, “We were lucky because we weren’t trying to recreate Duck or anything. It was a fictional town and island on the Outer Banks, so we could really create whatever visual landscape we wanted. Charleston is beautiful, but it is a rapidly growing city, so we had to cherry pick pieces of it. Take these narrow snapshots and piece them together to create this fictional world of ours.”
The show is set in the fictional Kildare County, which is divided into The Cut, where the lower-class Pogues live, and Figure Eight, the rich side of the island inhabited by the Kooks. The crew got creative with filming, incorporating natural landmarks like lighthouses and historic plantations into their landscape and utilizing CGI when extra scenic flair was necessary.
Filming took place all over Charleston, from the creeks near Morris Island and the Charleston Maritime Center pier to the Hunting Island Lighthouse and South Carolina Lowcountry. Scenes set in downtown Kildare County were largely filmed in Mount Pleasant’s Old Village District while many of the water-heavy scenes were shot in Shem Creek. John B’s house is located in the Secessionville Historic District on James Island while Sarah Cameron’s family mansion lies near the Citadel and Hampton Park neighborhood. Kie’s father’s restaurant The Wreck, which the Pogues often visit in the hopes of scoring free food, is an actual seafood restaurant located in Haddrell Point.
What About Season Two?
Season two takes John B and Sarah all the way to Nassau, Bahamas, but those scenes were filmed in or near Bridgetown and Holetown in Barbados. Other scenes involving JJ, Pope, and Kie actually take place in Charleston, which is convenient given that most of the filming was already being done there.
There’s no telling where the Pogues will go next when Outer Banks is inevitably renewed for season three, but since the series has set up most of its shop in Charleston, it’s likely that filming will continue there for the rest of the series.