How to visit the abandoned town of Spectre from Big Fish

The perfect American town...

In Tim Burton's surprisingly touching film Big Fish, Edward Bloom, played by both Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney, visits a mysterious town in the middle of a dark forest. The picture-perfect town was named Spectre, and all of its citizens were so friendly and comfortable that they spent their days wandering the town barefoot. It was the idyllic, quaint American neighborhood, but it never existed...or did it?

big fish spectre
Big Fish

You might think that some lovely little southern community acted as the setting for fictional town, but what few know is that Tim Burton had the entire town built from scratch on an island along the banks of the Alabama river...and it still sits there, hidden and alone. Here's how to visit the abandoned town of Spectre from Big Fish.

Today, Spectre is a shadow of how it appeared in the movies. Situated on a private island, outside Montgomery, Alabama, many of the buildings have collapsed of have burned down, though a few reportedly remain, complete with plasterboard bricks and roofs covered in moss and mold. Those who look closely will see that even numerous trees are beginning to show that they're actually just styrofoam setpieces. Still, seeing the derelect town in person is one of the most unique road trip stops for any movie lover. You can almost imagine the residents still strolling through the fictional town.

While the remains of Spectre are located private property, the owners of the island are friendly and generally willing let visitors roam the island, though it costs travelers three bucks to cross the bridge, a small price to pay when it comes to wandering an abandoned film set.

The great little travel blog If You Go shares this tip for visiting:

Cross the bridge, which costs $3 to enter, follow the road and turn right on Cypress Lane just before the train tracks. When you get to the gate, you’ll find you need a code. Turn around and go to the house on your left. There is a super sweet lady who lives there and is prepared to give out the code to visitors. Take time to talk to her, she has some fun stories! 

Now that you know how to visit the abandoned town of Spectre from Big Fish, use the interactive map below to add it your bucket list and hit the road. Got any other hidden movie filming locations worth visiting? We want to hear about them! Share your favorite film adventures in the comments below and we might feature them in a future post!

Places explored in this article:

This was originally written for Roadtrippers, a great resource for anyone interested in travel.
Want more articles by Greg Newkirk? Find them here!