Discover Where ‘Jaws’ Was Filmed: Are There Really Great White Sharks There?

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: September 1, 2023
© Martin Prochazkacz/
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If you saw the film, you can hear the suspenseful music as if it were playing right now. If you’ve visited Universal Studios, you’ve been confronted by the shark on the studio tour. Discover where Jaws was filmed and learn if there are really great white sharks in that location!

What is Jaws About?

For a quick summary, Jaws is about a great white shark that kills several people while they’re out swimming in the water. A woman, Chrissie Watkins, is the first victim. Brody, the police chief of fictional Amity Island, where the events take place, knows that the only way to prevent any more deaths is to close down the beach area.

His main concern is to protect the public but there is some conflict because the mayor disagrees. The mayor is upset and opposes closing off the area. He’s money-motivated and closing the beach down would be disastrous for the economy of the island, particularly during tourist season.

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Together, Brody along with an old seafarer and a marine biologist take matters into their own hands. They head out to find the killer shark and kill it. This is a movie that instilled fear in all those who watched it, claiming that sharks were evil monsters that wanted to eat people.

It’s taken decades to try and rectify that thinking, though many continue to believe that sharks are just blood-thirsty savages looking to consume human meat whenever possible. On the contrary, however. sharks do not like human meat.

Great White Shark
Jaws is the type of movie that gave many nightmares.

Discover Where Jaws Was Filmed?

Jaws was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, an island located in Massachusetts. It had different locations such as Oak Bluffs and Edgartown included in different scenes as well. Even though it is portrayed as a real shark, and many of the scenes were filmed in open water, they used a mechanical shark for the scenes. Especially the grisly ones. Director Steven Spielberg made a commitment to an authentic set, which resulted in the film going significantly over budget. But it was worth it in the end.

Where Jaws Was Filmed: Best Time to Visit

Now that you’ve discovered where Jaws was filmed, it’s time to know when to head out there. The best time to visit Martha’s Vineyard is in the summer. If you visit from June to August, it’s lively — the busiest time of the year! There are all kinds of activities, and of course, the weather is warm, which means you can participate in water sports, go swimming, and sunbathe under the glorious sun’s rays. There is Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival that you can take part in as well as Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair. It’s busy, which means you must book early enough. The prices skyrocket during the summer season!

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, taken by drone
Martha’s Vineyard is a natural habitat for great white sharks.

©CJ Larsen/

Wildlife in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Being that Martha’s Vineyard is a popular tourist attraction, it’s important to know what kind of wildlife you might encounter if you go out for a visit. Martha’s Vineyard is a natural habitat for great white sharks. In fact, great white and hammerhead shark sightings have only increased in recent years, with some beaches closing down in the 2022 summer season. Both tourist season and shark season occur during the same period, which means humans and sharks inhabit the same space, and more people spot them.

Wildlife in Martha’s Vineyard is quite extensive, not just centering around sharks. Marine life consists of two kinds of whales: fin and humpback. You can only see them during their migratory season, though. This environment is a paradise for the nesting of sea turtles, an endangered species. On land, there are white-tailed deer. These mammals feel right at home on this island as they roam around as if they own the place. They are usually in wooded areas, but you can also see them going into local neighborhoods!

If you visit Martha’s Vineyard, there’s tons of fun to be had. Just be cautious when driving in the city, as the roaming white-tailed deer can suddenly appear out of nowhere! On the island, there are also insects and butterflies. Martha’s Vineyard is home to many varieties, and during the fall migration, this place is a haven for the monarch butterfly. For birders, you have plenty to spot as well. For example, you can see egrets,’ great blue herons, piping plovers, and ospreys (to name a few!).

Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Some of the most popular beaches are Joseph Sylvia State Beach, State Beach, Katama Beach, and South Beach. There are beautiful landscapes that you can better appreciate by hiking and biking the several trails available!

The Featured Image

Great White Shark stalks diver
Great White Shark close-up.
© Martin Prochazkacz/

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a quirky cat mom with a love for books, thunderstorms, and comfy couches where she cozies up with her laptop to write her heart out. Her writing style combines engaging storytelling, vivid imagery, emotional resonance, and educational depth to create a compelling and informative reading experience for readers like you! Her passion and humor stamp her work with a voice all her own and her sense of wonder creates a fantastical narrative that allows you to explore the fascinating world of wildlife through new eyes.

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