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This Is Where Dawson's Creek Was Actually Filmed

Television viewers of a certain age can tell you the late 1990s and early 2000s were pretty much peak time for "teen melodrama" on the small screen. And if you count yourself among that demographic, the smash-hit series "Dawson's Creek" was the end-all, be-all of the teen genre in the TV realm. That series debuted on The WB in January of 1998, and more or less put the fledgling network on the primetime map. In fact, "Dawson's Creek" wasn't just a hit — it was more of a cultural event, with younger fans reveling in its hyper-verbose exploration of teen-centric issues, and some factions fretting over the series' candid approach to the topics such as teen sex (per The Cincinnati Post).

Frank subject matter aside, much of the "Dawson's Creek" narrative was centered around a tight-knit group of friends (played by James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson) as they come-of-age in the idyllic coastal town of Capeside, Massachusetts. And the "Dawson's Creek" creative team made excellent use of that setting throughout the series' six-season run. Only the lavish seaside locales frequently featured on the show were not located in Massachusetts at all. Here's where "Dawson's Creek" was actually filmed. 

Dawson's Creek shot almost entirely in the coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina

It may surprise you to learn, but the gorgeous seaside vistas that stood in for Capeside's picturesque Northeast coast were actually located about as far from Massachusetts as you can get, with Decider reporting "Dawson's Creek" was indeed shot almost entirely in Wilmington, North Carolina. That fact is backed up by Wilmington's own tourism site, which has an entire page dedicated to famous "Dawson's Creek" locations fans of the beloved series can still visit.

Not only did the photogenic coastlines and rustic charms of Wilmington make for a better-than-solid stand-in for the fictional Massachusetts town, the area's massive production facilities made it the perfect location for the production to shoot largely out of the Hollywood spotlight. You may not realize it, but Wilmington's first-rate studio facilities have earned it the nickname of "Hollywood East" over the years. And "Dawson's Creek" is far from the only TV show that's made use of them, with the Wilmington Film Commission confirming the likes of "Matlock," "One Tree Hill," "Sleepy Hollow," and "Eastbound & Down" all called the city home. 

As noted on WilmingtonBeaches.com, the city has also long served as a haven for horror movie productions with everything from 1984's "Firestarter" and David Lynch's 1986 masterpiece "Blue Velvet," to "The Conjuring," "Halloween Kills" and the recent "Scream" sequel opting to film there. And yes, if you look close enough, you'll likely spot a "Dawson's Creek" location or two in the background of those famed motion pictures.