Fall In Love With Mystic Falls: The Real Town Behind The Vampire Diaries

Covington, Georgia, is the perfect small town for an autumn day trip, especially if you’re a fan of the hit CW show, The Vampire Diaries.

Covington is a small town nestled in the northwest region of Georgia, just a four-hour drive from Tallahassee, Florida. Don’t be fooled by the southern charm, though: vampires are lurking around every corner! Covington, Georgia is a major film location for the CW show, The Vampire Diaries. My roommates and I have talked about driving to Covington for over a year but we’ve never made the time to go. Finally, I took a day trip with some friends to visit “Mystic Falls” and enjoy the fall Georgia weather, and I’m so glad I did!

The Covington town square is home to the most beloved and well-known Vampire Diaries location – the clock tower! The beautiful red brick tower overlooks a small courtyard with several maple leaf trees and benches, giving a cozy fall feel. Across the street from the clock tower is another well-known Vampire Diaries hangout, the Mystic Grill. The Mystic Grill is mentioned in almost every episode and is a functioning restaurant. The inside of the grill doesn’t look like the show, but the outside is straight from the screen. 

The food at the Mystic Grill is to die for! Every meal is cooked fresh and nothing is frozen. The staff is kind, welcoming, and helpful and the atmosphere is warm and lush. It’s a little on the pricier side (at least for my college-student budget), but it’s worth it. If you go, make sure to ask for a rooftop table. The roof has an amazing view of the clock tower and the entire square. It’s a perfect picture spot! Once you arrive at Covington Square, I recommend going to the grill and adding your name to the list right away. Because of Vampire Diaries, it’s a very popular place and our wait was two-plus hours. Another key tip: make sure to eat at the Mystic Grill before going to the Vampire Diaries gift shop. Bring your dinner receipt and you can get 10% off! 

Underneath the Mystic Grill lies The Alley Gift Shop and Mystic Museum. The gift shop offers cool souvenirs and fandom products. There are candles based on different Vampire Diaries characters, Mystic Grill staff shirts (like the one Matt Donovan wears in the show!), and even daylight rings (rings for vampires – a true TVD fan knows). I recommend finding a t-shirt from a small business online because The Alley’s selection wasn’t great and wasn’t cheap. They also sell vervain and other little trinkets for die-hard fans, like samples of “the cure” or vampire blood. When checking out, you can ask to purchase a blood bag. Seriously! Complete your Vampire Diaries experience by drinking from a blood bag and taking a picture in front of the clock tower. Don’t worry, it’s just Kool-Aid. 

The back room of The Alley serves as a Mystic Museum where many costumes and props from The Vampire Diaries are on display. Most of them are even signed by the cast. My favorite item was Stefan’s old football jersey that was signed by Paul Wesley. 

The rest of the square is home to cute boutiques, stores, restaurants, and coffee shops, fulfilling the small-town charm. My favorite shops were The Soap Box and Scoops. The Soap Box is a bathing goods store with natural and handmade soaps, scrubs, and bath bombs. I’m a sucker for good-smelling, good-quality soaps at a fair price, so you know I got my mom and me some! They also sell cute car freshies in their signature scents. The Soap Box has an entire section dedicated to the vampire fandom which includes “blood” body wash, a “blood” bath bomb, and vampire candles. You can find their website here.

Scoops is a local ice-cream parlor with fun flavors and other sweet treats. They have a variety of old-school candy, fudge, chocolate-covered snacks, and caramel apples (my favorite). The store was decorated in bright colors and lively Halloween decorations, making it look like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. My roommate said it best, “You know it’s a great place when you see dads walk out of it with full bags of candy.”

The Vampire Diaries isn’t the only show filmed in Covington. Famous films and shows such as Remember the TitansSweet Magnolias, and In the Heat of the Night were also filmed there. Similar to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Covington has its very own Walk of Stars. On sidewalks around the town are the names of famous actors and actresses that starred in movies or shows filmed in Covington. My friends and I found Nina Dobrev’s and Paul Wesley’s, two stars in Vampire Diaries

Elena Gilbert’s house (the main character from Vampire Diaries) is a short walk from the town square. It is now a private residence, so please respect the owner’s privacy, but you can still walk past her house and pretend you’re living the Vampire Diaries’ dream. A few houses down is Caroline Forbes’s house, and a street over is the Lockwood Mansion! I advise parking at the square and walking to the houses so you can take your time. 

Covington, Georgia is an amazing spot for a fall day trip, but I strongly recommend planning something else on your itinerary. It is a must-see for any die-hard Vampire Diaries fan, but it doesn’t take up your entire day. My friends and I decided to drive to Truett’s Luau, a Hawaiian-themed Chick-Fil-A about an hour east of Covington. It was such a fun and festive take on the Chick-Fil-A I’m used to! Truett’s Luau offers a tropical setting and unique menu items, like sweet-potato waffle fries, chicken or fish tacos, island chicken nuggets, and bubble tea. 

Visiting “Mystic Falls” is one of my favorite college trips so far. I’m so grateful for the laughter shared and the memories made! Not only was Covington enjoyable, but the drive up from Florida to Georgia was beautiful. Seeing the leaves change and begin to fall as we drove north put me in a festive fall mood. Walking around the film locations, sipping from a blood bag, and taking pictures in front of the famous clocktower was a mystical adventure. If you’re a Vampire Diaries fan, or just want a fun fall-themed trip, visit Covington, Georgia! You’re bound to have a fang-tastic time. 

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