International tourists flock to small Georgia towns for iconic film production tours

Historic downtown Senoia is one of the most famous production sites in the Atlanta metro area after it was used in AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Published: Oct. 17, 2023 at 3:41 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 17, 2023 at 8:23 PM EDT
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SENOIA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Hundreds of thousands of tourists have flocked to small Georgia towns used as backdrops in movies, TV shows, photoshoots and other major productions.

Historic downtown Senoia is one of the most famous production sites in the Atlanta metro area after it was used in AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Julie Brown, owner and operator of Georgia Tour Company, said people from all seven continents have visited the city’s downtown strip known as Woodbury in the third and fourth seasons of the hit TV show.

“It’s exuberance. They come in and scream, ‘Oh, I know this. I see it. Yes, this is the Governor’s Woodbury!’” Brown said.

Brown, a former merchant in downtown Senoia, began offering tours after recognizing the public’s interest in the horror series. She now offers tours for Stranger Things, Marvel Universe productions, southern films and television shows and blockbuster major motion pictures.

Many of her tours begin on the strip before tourists are shuttled to other locations across Coweta and Fayette counties.

RELATED: Want to list your property as a Georgia filming location? Here’s how.

One popular stop, a 200-year-old home used in season 11, episode 6 of The Walking Dead, is just a quick five-minute drive from Main Street.

Homeowner Judy Baty purchased the house after production wrapped and enjoys hosting tourists on the historic property.

“It’s still evolving. It is,” Baty said. “That’s what’s exciting to be a part of it. I’m just a little speck in the timeline.”

Another popular stop on Brown’s tours includes a massive 100-acre property recognized in Lawless (2012), CBS’s MacGyver, The Walking Dead and The Color Purple (2023), along with several photoshoots and smaller films.

Property owner Joe Stancil said he enjoys hosting productions on his land.

“It’s just been a magnet, and we’re tickled for it. It helps pay property taxes,” Stancil said. “I think it’s one of the better things that’s happened recently in Georgia.”

Stancil’s property includes fields, a small lake, a waterfall and an old mill. He said the area, which often feels like a private state park, transforms when production takes over.

“It is definitely a different world. The place comes alive,” Stancil said.

While most productions tear down and remove any props and extra sets on location, Stancil said a wood cabin and garage built in 2010 for Lawless remains on the property after showrunners gave the previous property owners the option to leave the structures up after filming wrapped.

Brown’s tours also include stops at public sites featured on the big screen. Starrs Mill Waterfall, a quick ten-minute drive to neighboring Fayette County, has been used in Marvel Studios’ Wandavision, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) and Sweet Home Alabama (2002).

While many tourists plan on short trips to the area, Brown said some stay longer than expected.

“They’re visiting and picking up their homes from California, Florida, and they’re moving here and wanting to be a part of this,” Brown said.