Was any of Jaws filmed in Florida?

Jaws is one of the most iconic and well-known films of all time. The 1975 blockbuster directed by Steven Spielberg was set in the fictional town of Amity Island, which was supposedly located off the coast of New York’s Long Island. However, despite being set in New York, parts of Jaws were actually filmed in various locations in Massachusetts and Florida.

Filming Locations for Jaws

The primary filming location for Jaws was Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The town of Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard stood in for the fictional Amity Island. Scenes shot in Edgartown included the exterior shots of the homes of Chief Brody and Mayor Vaughn, as well as shots along the harbor and beaches. In fact, the opening scene of Jaws where Chrissie goes skinny dipping and is attacked by the shark was filmed at Edgartown’s South Beach.

In addition to Martha’s Vineyard, some scenes were also shot on the ocean off of Martha’s Vineyard and around Nantucket Island. The scene where Quint’s boat the Orca departs for the ill-fated shark hunt was filmed in Menemsha Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard.

While Massachusetts accounted for most of the filming locations, some scenes were also shot in Florida. According to the Jaws filming and production notes archive from Martha’s Vineyard, the footage of the shark underwater was filmed at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida. In addition, aerial shots of small boats on the ocean were filmed off Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Reasons for Shooting in Florida

There were several reasons why Steven Spielberg and the Jaws production team chose to film some scenes in Florida:

  • Warmer ocean waters – Since the underwater shark footage needed to be filmed in a controlled environment, the warmer waters off Florida provided a better habitat for great white sharks used for filming compared to the colder waters off Massachusetts.
  • Ideal shark habitat – In addition to warmer waters, the waters in Florida offered ample sealife for baiting and attracting real sharks which were used for reference footage.
  • Better visibility – The water clarity off Florida’s coast provided clearer underwater visibility which was needed for capturing high-quality footage of live sharks.
  • Access to marine park – Filming at SeaWorld Orlando provided a controlled environment and easier access to great white sharks for gathering underwater reference footage.
  • Different ocean aesthetic – While much of the ocean scenery remained consistent in the Cape Cod area, shots off Florida’s Gulf Coast added some visual variety.

Key Scenes Filmed in Florida

While Florida’s role in filming Jaws was relatively minor compared to Martha’s Vineyard, the scenes shot there were pivotal for the movie:

  • Underwater shots of the shark – All footage showing the live shark underwater was filmed at SeaWorld Orlando.
  • Shark attack scenes – Live shark footage from Florida was spliced together with scenes of attacks filmed in Massachusetts.
  • Boat departure scene – The scene of Quint’s boat disembarking was filmed in the waters off Florida’s Gulf Coast.
  • Ocean horizon shots – Many scenic shots looking out across the open ocean were filmed off Florida’s shores.

So while the vast majority of Jaws was filmed in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, key shark scenes crucial to the film’s storyline were shot in marine environments in Florida.


While Jaws takes place entirely in the fictional Amity Island, New York, real-world filming locations spanned from Massachusetts to Florida. The island town setting and many on-shore scenes were filmed primarily in Martha’s Vineyard. However, the waters off Florida’s Gulf Coast and marine park environments like SeaWorld Orlando provided ideal settings for filming live sharks and creating the underwater scenes that terrified audiences. So the iconic shark attacks and suspenseful ocean footage owe thanks to Florida filming locations, even if the fictional setting remained further north. Some of the most memorable scenes in one of history’s greatest thriller films just wouldn’t have been possible without access to Florida’s warm, shark-filled waters.

1 thought on “Was any of Jaws filmed in Florida?”

  1. Actually, this is not true. “Jaws 3D” was filmed and set at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida in 1983. “Jaws 2” of 1978 is the film that had to move production from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, along the Northwest Florida Panhandle. Universal shot in several locations: from Pensacola, to Navarre, Fort Walton Beach, Shalimar, Destin, and Choctawhatchee Bay. The off shore scenes involved a rock island electrical power station called Cable Junction. It was a custom-constructed floating fiberglass movie set barge, anchored in Choctaw Bay at night, then by day ferried out through Destin Pass, to film in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


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