In the popular TV series Lost, the survivors of a plane crash are forced to unite to overcome the mystifying threats of the island on which they’re stranded. From the beginning, the sci-fi hit relied heavily on intrigue to draw in viewers. But the fact that it was filmed in various locations throughout Oahu in Hawaii for its entire six-year-run is no mystery.
The pilot episode opens with the characters finding themselves on a seemingly-deserted island beach in the wake of the crash. While other beach scenes were shot in several secluded spots along North Shore, Mokuleia Beach is anything but lost. It can be found on Oahu’s northwest tip between Waialua and Kaena Point.
You won’t find anything in the way of remaining set pieces here, though. So don’t expect to discover Oceanic Flight 815’s wings or fuselage emerging from the beach’s near-white sands or its blue shallows. Nevertheless, this area remains one of the most notable and iconic locations from Lost.
In fact, my wife and I struggled to peel ourselves away. But the survivors are forced to stay near the plane wreckage and set up camp, where they live for the best part of the show. These scenes were actually filmed on North Shore’s Papailoa Beach – also known as “Lost Survivors Beach Camp”.
Papailoa Beach is just as striking a stretch as Mokuleia Beach, but is by no means as easily accessible. However, it is a good place to spot majestic sea turtles. That said, in the show, Jack, Kate, Hurley and the gang are far too preoccupied with the island’s far more unnatural wonders that have been left behind by the scientists of the “Dharma Initiative”.
After setting up camp, the survivors even establish their own golf course to help pass the time. “Hurley’s Golf Course” was filmed at Kualoa Ranch’s stunning Ka’a’awa Valley. It seems that this area’s versatility knows no bounds as it’s also famous for the stampede scene from the original Jurassic Park, and is home to the prehistoric boneyard from 2017’s Kong: Skull Island.
There may be no dinosaurs in the TV series Lost, but threats do come in all shapes and sizes, including polar bears – yes, polar bears – and “smoke monsters” (neither of which you’d even find at Honolulu Zoo let alone in Hawaii’s jungles, so don’t worry). And then there were “The Others” – a separate camp who could hardly be described as the island’s welcoming committee.
Season 3’s “A Tale of Two Cities” reveals that The Others had laid claim to the “Dharma Initiative Village” after killing its occupants. This compound was filmed at YMCA Camp Erdman, along with its cabins, assembly hall and beach front. This part of the camp is called “The Others Village” and can be found just west of Mokuleia Beach.
Flight 815 isn’t the only one that sees characters arrive on the island, though. In season 5’s “316”, Ajira Flight 316 places Kate and Hurley at a mysterious waterfall. This scene took place at the spellbinding falls in the Waimea Valley Audubon Center, located inland from North Shore’s Waimea Beach Park.
These falls are seen a number of times during the show, too. They also appear when Kate and Sawyer discover a locked case in the pool in season 1’s “Whatever the Case May Be”, and when another character, Paolo, recovers his lost diamonds in season 3’s “Expose”. We didn’t find any such treasures here, but this priceless slice of paradise is a treasure in itself.
A short and easy hike to these falls saw us stalk a small river upstream and pass through the lush Waimea Botanical Garden and a sacred Hawaiian Living Site. Several movies have also been filmed here over the years. Admission for an adult costs around $16, and while swimming in the 30-foot-deep pool is free, life jackets are mandatory.
Thanks to its signature flashbacks, Lost isn’t just limited to an island setting, and neither was Hawaii. Waialua’s former Sugar Mill served as a Nigerian Village in season 2’s “The 23rd Psalm”.
Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu posed as Sydney Airport numerous times.
Other areas in and around Honolulu were also used for worldwide locations from Paris to Iraq. So luckily my wife and I didn’t need to travel the world or visit unknown islands to find these not-so-lost spots. With the exception of scenes that were shot in LA and London, most can be found on Oahu. And while the ones I’ve mentioned barely scratch the surface of Hawaii’s Lost filming locations, perhaps, like the show, they create enough intrigue to draw you in.
Ranking of TV series Lost
Lost was #10 on IMDB’s list of 25 Best Cult TV Shows (as of 2018).
More Movies, Filmed in Hawaii
Dan is a freelance writer from the UK who works for a number of online publications. He’s also working on a science fiction novel, and believes the impression Jurassic Park made on him as a child – both the Spielberg film and the book by Michael Crichton – to be the source of his passion to write. He previously critiqued theatrical releases for his local radio station, while his blog ‘Curious Rookie’ remains his platform for sharing film, travel and book reviews. Dan has also visited some of the most iconic film locations around the world, and his favorite destination is the island of Kauai in Hawaii.