The Various Locations That Made Up ‘Baywatch’ Paradise

Aerial view of the coastal community of La Jolla
Aerial view of the coastal community of La Jolla
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For over a decade, the 90s show “Baywatch” captivated audiences with its lifeguards in red, dramatic rescues and slow-motion runs on pristine beaches. But where was “Baywatch” filmed? The answer, like the series itself, is multifaceted. Buckle up as we dive into the real-world locations that brought “Baywatch” to life.

Where Was ‘Baywatch’ Filmed?

where was baywatch filmed
Pictured: a beach in Florida.
Photo credit: Art Wager

For the show “Baywatch,” the choice of setting wasn’t just visual. Every venue contributed a distinct essence to the performance. Showing off this diversity helped “Baywatch” become more popular and helped fans relate to the show more deeply. Let’s explore the breathtaking settings that made the show possible:

California: The Original Set Of The Show

California served as the primary filming location for the recognizable red lifeguard stands and expansive beach panoramas that typified the early seasons of “Baywatch.” The principal venue for filming the show was Will Rogers State Beach in Santa Monica. This charming beach on the Pacific Coast Highway provided breathtaking scenery for the lifeguard action scenes and exemplified the Southern California way of life that the show promoted.

But California’s coastline is vast, and “Baywatch” wasn’t afraid to explore it. Long Beach, known for its Queen Mary ocean liner and expansive shoreline, also made an appearance. And for that quintessential Malibu vibe, the crew filmed scenes at this celebrity-studded beach town.

Going Past Santa Monica

Though Will Rogers State Beach was the preferred site, “Baywatch” used other California locales for some situations. Occasionally, establishing shots or scenarios that required a different viewpoint could be substituted with Long Beach and Malibu. The sunny atmosphere of the play was kept interesting by the use of various California beaches.

Island Hopping: The Chapter On Hawaii

Hawaii rainbow
Photo Credit: M Swiet Productions

The lifeguards’ base was moved to the Aloha State in seasons 10 and 11, which were appropriately titled “Baywatch: Hawaii,” taking a tropical turn. This was a calculated move rather than merely a change of scenery. Hawaii provided financial incentives to producers so they could film there, and the show took advantage of this to highlight the stunning beauty of the islands. Imagine serving as a lifeguard surrounded by verdant jungles, emerald seas, and volcanic scenery!

Filming locations included Kauai, also referred to as the “Garden Isle” because of its majestic cliffs and verdant valleys, and Oahu, the most populous island. Filming was often done on the North Shore and Waikiki, which highlighted the famous waves and stunning beauty of the islands. The series’ reputation for picture-perfect scenery was further cemented by the distinct charm that each island contributed to the show.

Beyond The Beach: Lifeguard Headquarters

Throughout the whole series, the lifeguard headquarters were frequently depicted. It’s interesting to note that this set wasn’t really on the beach. The Point Mugu Naval Air Station in Ventura County, California, is where the exterior shots were shot. This former Naval installation featured a unique architectural design that became associated with “Baywatch.”

An International Call: Filming The Motion Picture

The 2017 “Baywatch” film approached the areas for production in a somewhat different way. The movie chose Florida as its main backdrop, but the show flourished in California’s abundant sunshine. The “Baywatch” team’s fictitious home base in the film was Deerfield Beach in Broward County. A good deal of filming took place in Miami and Boca Raton as well, giving the “Baywatch” aesthetic a South Florida twist.

A View Of Georgia

Road at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah lined with Spanish Moss covered Live Oak Trees and Azaleas.
Road at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah lined with Spanish Moss covered Live Oak Trees and Azaleas.

The “Baywatch” film was not just set in Florida. Savannah, Georgia, along with its historic splendor, found its way into the silver screen. In addition, a few sequences were shot on Tybee Island, which is situated east of Savannah. These settings offered a distinctive visual contrast to the main Florida setting of the film.

Sun, Sand, And Adventure

So, where was “Baywatch” filmed? The filming sites for “Baywatch” reflected the show’s international appeal, ranging from the vivid coasts of Florida to the lush landscapes of Hawaii and California. Every location provided a different viewpoint on the beauty of coastal settings and the lifeguard lifestyle. Thus, the next time you hear the theme music, close your eyes and allow your mind to travel to your small corner of “Baywatch” paradise through the imagery of these filming sites.