Alternative spring break idea: Road trip to Texas cinematic destinations

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Photo Credit: Laura Gonima | Daily Texan Staff

Last Friday, the Austin community received the devastating news that South by Southwest, the annual film, music and interactive festival, would be canceled for the first time ever in its 34-year history.

If you were planning to take advantage of the huge, world-renowned festival and work 9-to-5 volunteer shifts every day and go to as many movie premieres as possible, don’t worry — it just so happens that a bunch of movies were filmed right here in Texas! The Daily Texan has compiled a list of must-see cinematic destinations nearby for a fun, spontaneous road trip.

The Hewitt House, Granger, Texas

Featured in the 2003 and 2006 “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” slasher films, The Hewitt House provides an eerie and memorable drive-by on your cinematic road trip. The old, rundown estate served as the place of residence for Leatherface’s family of cannibals, who hide their unlucky victims in the basement. While visitors cannot trespass on the property, a great view of the house can be seen from the highway, only about a 50-minute drive from campus at 901 336 County Road.

Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs, Texas

Less than an hour away, Hamilton Pool Preserve boasts picture-perfect scenery all year long, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists. The preserve was featured in the 2010 movie “Predators,” starring Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne and Topher Grace. As the group of elite soldiers make their way across unfamiliar territory, they are relentlessly pursued by members of an unforgiving alien race, who apparently live in Texas and Hawaii. Hamilton Pool is located at 24300 Hamilton Pool Road.

Poteet Straberry Festival, Poteet, Texas

Known as the “Strawberry Capital of Texas,” the town of Poteet in Atascosa County will provide a wonderful addition to your road trip. Every spring, the town holds a strawberry festival that features country western and Tejano musicians, a rodeo, gunslingers and more. The festival fairgrounds was featured in the 1997 film “Selena,” starring Jennifer Lopez as the beloved Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. While our spring break doesn’t quite overlap with the festival, the town of Poteet provides plenty of fun for tourists, and you could always make a weekend visit. The fairgrounds are about two and half hours away from Austin at 9199 N State Highway 16.

Farmers and Merchants Bank, Pilot Point, Texas

Farmers and Merchants Bank is now home to a converted art gallery, housing works by contemporary Texas artists, but cinephiles will appreciate the location as being from the iconic 1967 film “Bonnie and Clyde,” a biographical crime movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Farmers and Merchants Bank is a four hour drive from Austin at 100 N Washington St.

McCollum-Chapman-Trousdale House, Smithville

Featured in the 1998 romantic drama “Hope Floats,” the McCollum-Chapman-Trousdale House provided the location of the Pruitt family’s home in the film. Birdee Pruitt, played by Sandra Bullock, must decide between her head and her heart when the charismatic Justin Matisse (Harry Connick Jr.), who her daughter (Mae Whitman) disapproves of, walks into her life after her divorce from her husband (Michael Paré). The house is located at 201 E. Eighth & Olive streets in Smithville, Texas, a designated “Film Friendly” town by the Texas Film Commission.