Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Jackson Lake Island, a 20-minute drive from Montgomery, Alabama, is a small recreational island used by locals for boating and fishing, though the park receives visitors interested in another feature of the island, it's use as a filming location for Tim Burton's 2003 movie, Big Fish.

Jackson Lake Island is a small but spacious island that has camping, a small covered picnic pavilion, and a treehouse-style rental on the island's west side. Picnic tables and bench swings appear throughout the island. On the north side of the island is a boat ramp, and the usually still waters of Jackson Lake make a good place for fishing or an easy canoe trip. The island is small enough that the perimeter can be easily paddled in an afternoon. Also popular are the nearly three dozen goats who reside on the island, typically visible wandering the well-maintained park grounds like large groups foraging for food. The goats seem to be accustomed to people, and will sometimes let gentle visitors approach and pet them.

The quiet and unspectacular nature of the park would ordinarily make this a place of interest to locals; however, Jackson Lake Island was also one of the filming locations for the movie Big Fish, and the remaining buildings that made up the film's town of Spectre help the park draw a wider interest. Set on the island's east side, the buildings of Spectre make up a neighborhood of facades because the outside appears idyllic and quaint while the insides are mostly empty rooms showing their plywood and plaster construction.

The quiet environment, combined with the park's swaying Spanish moss, give the empty movie set an ethereal feel, and it's possible to walk the path through Spectre amidst wooden facades, buckling plywood walls, crumbling foam masonry, and metal joints holding together foam tree branches. It is not uncommon to see goats also wandering through the town, even bedding down inside some of the empty buildings.

The remains of Jenny's house, which was featured promenantly in the film and now consists of only four plaster columns standing near the lake's edge, are visible on the south side of the island.

Entrance to the park is $3 per person, and this is payable by depositing cash into an envelope at the entrance gate and then calling a phone number to receive the gate code. Overnight camping is $10 per person. There are bathrooms near the picnic pavilion.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

In-tact abandoned movie set. Gets few visitors.

Cons

Mosquitoes.

Features

Family friendly
Rental facilities
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Flushing toilets
Near lake or river
Boat ramp(s)

Location

Field Guide

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