After reading or watching The Summer I Turned Pretty you can’t help but yearn for salty-skinned summers amongst friends by the seaside. The small-town energy is infectious, as is the lure of the two young family friends, Conrad and Jeremiah to our narrator Belly.
If you were inspired to visit the locations mentioned in the series, you’ll be surprised to know that the filming locations aren’t actually anywhere near the fictional equivalents of the places they name.
Whether that’s because the weather in New England can be inhospitable at times, or simply that it’s so busy in the summer they needed to go somewhere else with long stretches of shoreline, we don’t know.
We’ve done our research so you don’t have to, so without further ado, this is everything you need to know about Cousins Beach and the filming locations in The Summer I Turned Pretty.
Where Is Cousins Beach Supposed To Be?
Cousins Beach is a fictional beachside town that appears to be located in the New England area of the United States. This includes the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
While we were never told exactly where it was based on, the author of the novels Jenny Han has told fans that Cousins is a culmination of the likes of Cape Cod, The Hamptons, The Outer Banks and Virginia Beach.
For those who nerded out on the books, we can triangulate the location of Cousins based on their driving to be up in the Cape Cod area, but it’s interesting that Han includes southern areas like Virginia Beach and The Outer Banks in her description.
Where Was Cousins Beach Actually Filmed?
Despite all roads leading north, the Cousins Beach scenes were mostly filmed in North Carolina, around Wrightsville Beach and Kure Beach.
Alongside the beaches, the Fort Fisher State Historic Site at Kure Beach served as the bike trails Cam and Belly ride. The walking trails that Jeremiah and Conrad walk is actually the Basin (Hermit) Trail near Fort Fisher.
The snow-on-the-beach scene was filmed at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area in North Carolina.
So yes, it’s more The Outer Banks and The Notebook themed than it is Gossip Girl’s ‘White Party’ episode.
Where Is The Fisher Beach House?
While the Fisher Beach House is supposedly located in Cousins, it’s actually at Porters Neck Plantation, a private community by a golf course in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The actual house is a real-life mansion, with five bedrooms, six bathrooms, infinity pool and private dock.
It served for many of the exterior shots, including when Belly arrives at Cousins and when the family host their Fourth of July party. The interior shots were mostly filmed in a studio in Wilmington.
Belly and Conrad’s prom scene in season two was filmed at the on site country club at Porters Neck.
The Country Club
The famed country club that hosts Belly’s debutante practice and the boy’s summer jobs is actually Cape Fear Country Club, also located in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The interior shots were taken at a different filming location, inside St. Mary Catholic School in Wilmington.
Cape Fear Country Club was founded in 1896 and is actually the oldest private country club in the state. It’s also right next door to Dan Scott’s house where they filmed One Tree Hill.
Cousins Beach’s famous boardwalk where Belly, Steven, Conrad and Jeremiah played growing up uses two separate filming locations, the Carolina Beach Boardwalk and the Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park for the interior shots and the go-kart scene.
Whale Of A Tale Bookstore
Not a place included in the books, the Whale Of A Tale bookshop where Laurel meets fellow writer Cleveland is actually called Papercut Books. The reason this location isn’t in the novel is because Laurel is actually a teacher, not a writer in the original storyline.
While Brown University does really exist, located in Providence, Rhode Island, the scenes in The Summer I Turned Pretty were filmed much further south, at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.
Restaurants And Bars
There are lots of eateries and bars involved in the storyline of The Summer I Turned Pretty including:
- Wilmington’s Hell’s Kitchen: Used in season two for Laurel’s book club, this location has actually been used before, as the bar Joey and Eddie work in season six of Dawson’s Creek.
- Carolina Beach’s The Fat Pelican: The beachside local bar that Laurel and Susannah stop in at after one too many of the latter’s cancer-approved edibles. While it looks like it’s located on a beach in the series, it’s actually located just outside the boardwalk on Carolina beach. It has previously been voted the number one dive bar in North Carolina.
- Rooster & The Crows: This restaurant was the location of Taylor and Steven’s date at the end of season two.
- The Pilot House: A seafood restaurant where Shayla and Steven had a fancy lunch.
Where Do Susannah, Conrad And Jeremiah Fisher Live In Winter?
While Han is quite cryptic about location in the book and television series, it’s clear that the boys usually live in Boston, Massachusetts, when they are not at the summer house.
This is the same state as the likes of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, so it makes sense that their family’s ‘crown jewel’ would not be located as far away as it is for Laurel, Steven and Belly.
Where Do Laurel, Steven and Belly Conklin Live In Winter?
Han was most private about the Conklin home address, which we really don’t know much about. However, we do know that it is located five hours away from Boston and that it feels like it takes Belly forever to reach Cousins. We also know that it is cold there and snows in the winter.
Based on these calculations, fans have guessed that potentially the Conklins live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – but this is not confirmed. It could also be New Jersey or somewhere else in New York state.
Why North Carolina?
While we don’t know exactly why the filming crew decided to swap out New England settings for North Carolina, it’s definitely a place that filming directors have gone to time and time again. We’ve seen everything from The Notebook (and pretty much every other Nicholas Sparks book adaptation), The Outer Banks, One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek, The Hunger Games, and Dirty Dancing filmed there.
Where To Watch ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’
‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ is available to view on Amazon Prime. Watch it here.