Discover Where ‘The Proposal’ Was Filmed: Best Time to Visit, Wildlife, and More!

Written by Ashley Day
Updated: September 12, 2023
© Scott Terrasi/
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Let’s discover where The Proposal was filmed. Along with the best times to visit these locations, the wildlife found there, and more interesting details.

A Brief Overview of the Film The Proposal

Directed by Anne Fletcher and released in 2009, The Proposal is a warm and witty romantic comedy. The film skillfully intertwines elements of surprise, charm, and human connection. According to IMDb, the film stands as a testament to the unpredictable nature of relationships. As well as the transformative power of unexpected circumstances.

The Plot

Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds shine as the film’s protagonists, Margaret Tate and Andrew Paxton. Bullock’s Margaret is a high-powered book editor in New York City who navigates her career with assertiveness and determination. Reynolds’ character, Andrew, works as her resilient assistant, persevering under her uncompromising management style.

A plot twist emerges when Margaret, who is Canadian, faces deportation due to an expired visa. In an unexpected move, she proposes a fake engagement with Andrew. This proposal would allow her to retain her job and stay in the United States. For Andrew, this unusual agreement comes with the promise of a well-deserved promotion. And the possibility of realizing his dreams of becoming a writer.

The narrative of this film shifts to the breathtaking landscapes of Sitka, AK, Andrew’s hometown. The two must convince their surprised families and a suspicious immigration agent about the authenticity of their sudden love story. Amid the comic interludes, endearing family interactions, and a gradually blooming love, Margaret and Andrew embark on a journey of self-discovery.

The premise of The Proposal is as intriguing as it is entertaining. By exploring the unexpected twists of life and the dynamics of human relationships, the film reminds us that even in the most surprising situations, there are opportunities for laughter, love, and personal growth.

Now, let’s discover exactly where The Proposal was filmed.

Movie clapper and film reel on a wooden background
The film The Proposal was mostly shot in Massachusetts.

©Fer Gregory/

Where was The Proposal Filmed?

The Proposal unveils a dynamic mixture of vibrant locations, much akin to the vast diversity found in nature’s ecosystems. The movie’s narrative presents a façade of taking place in Sitka, AK., a region characterized by a lush ecosystem with magnificent forests, water bodies, and wildlife. However, most of the movie was not shot in Alaska. Let’s peel back the layers to reveal the actual filming locations.

Multiple Locations Were Used to Film The Proposal 

In the cinematic universe, the illusion is key, and such is the case with The Proposal. According to the film credits, the filming locations were not in Alaska whatsoever but instead largely in Massachusetts. Filming took place mostly in Rockport, Manchester, and Gloucester. The unique charm of Massachusetts was integral to the film. And gave authenticity to the remote, “small-town” feel of the real Sitka, AK.

Some of the indoor scenes, including those set in the office building and select recreated rooms in the family home, were filmed within the studios at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA. These scenes starkly contrast the beautiful exterior shots of Massachusetts. As well as reinforce the difference between the hustle and bustle of city life and the serene tranquility of the Alaskan wilderness.

Now, let us turn our attention to the grand Paxton family home, an important set piece in the movie. They shot the Paxton family home at the real home of the Kaneb family. The Kaneb family occupies it. It is an early-20th-century cedar shingle house in Manchester, MA. It was the perfect setting to illustrate the affluent Paxton family lifestyle. The sprawling property could easily pass for a vast Alaskan estate. With some cinematic skill, mostly through the use of greenscreens and special editing, the home was set against the perfect backdrop to depict Alaska.

The Power of Cinema

Like species in a biodiverse ecosystem, these different locations contribute their unique elements to the film. And enhance its richness and depth while being an accessible filming location. The Proposal weaves a captivating story in a setting that, while not genuine in geographical terms, resonates with the audience. It’s a testament to the magic of film, which can create engaging narratives that defy geographical limitations.

So, as we continue to discover where The Proposal was filmed, when is the best time to visit these locations?

Movie Camera. Behind the video camera that for recording film commercial or movie at outdoor location. 35 mm film styled 4K digital camera and tripod dolly crane for video production. film industry.
The Proposal was largely filmed in Rockport, Manchester, and Gloucester, MA.


Rockport, MA

To start, let’s consider Rockport, fondly known as “the Crown Jewel of the Massachusetts coastline.”

The Best Time to Visit Rockport, MA

As we discover where The Proposal was filmed, we uncover Rockport, MA. This idyllic New England town served as the fictional town of Sitka, AK, in The Proposal. A visit to Rockport, especially during the summer, is similar to stepping into a picturesque painting filled with vibrant hues, warm sunlight, and many delightful activities. With the Atlantic Ocean as its backdrop, Rockport transforms into a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and art lovers.

Exploring Rockport’s coastline by sailing or kayaking provides a unique perspective on the town’s stunning natural beauty. Boaters often catch glimpses of marine wildlife, including playful seals and diverse seabirds, enhancing the sense of connection with nature. Paddling around the harbors, you’ll be greeted by charming lighthouses and historical seafaring homes, all basking in the summer sunlight.

Moreover, Bearskin Neck, a bustling locale in Rockport, offers a variety of unique shops and art galleries. Here, one can discover local artisans and their creations, from intricate pottery and paintings to locally made jewelry and crafts. This vibrant area mirrors the diversity and color found within the animal kingdom, each store and gallery as unique as different species in a habitat.

Furthermore, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival is a summer highlight, drawing cultural enthusiasts globally. This event celebrates the beauty of music in an intimate setting, much like the harmonious symphony produced by the diverse creatures in a thriving ecosystem.

Where is Rockport, MA Located on a Map?

Rockport sits in Essex County on the Atlantic coast about 40 miles north of Boston.

Wildlife Found in Rockport, MA

The town’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean has bestowed it with a diverse marine ecosystem. Beachgoers often spot seals lazily lounging on rocks or playing in the water. Halibut Point State Park, with its rocky shoreline, is an excellent location for bird enthusiasts, hosting a variety of migratory birds such as sandpipers, red knots, and gulls.

A must-visit during the summer is again Halibut Point State Park. Visitors can partake in guided tours, bird-watching, or marvel at the breathtaking views of the Atlantic coastline. The park, home to various bird species like sandpipers, red knots, and gulls, becomes a birdwatcher’s paradise during the migratory season. Moreover, its quarry and rocky shore are excellent locales for observing the area’s unique geological features.

Moreover, Rockport’s terrestrial ecosystems are as rich as its marine environments. Within the area’s forests and parks, white-tailed deer gracefully navigate the terrain, raccoons forage with curiosity, and red foxes dash with quiet stealth. Spotting the Eastern Box Turtle, a species experiencing population decline, is a memorable sight for wildlife enthusiasts. Each creature, from the smallest insect to the largest deer, plays a crucial role in the local ecosystem, contributing to the complex web of life that thrives in Rockport.

In essence, a summer visit to Rockport, MA, provides a delightful blend of cultural and natural exploration. It offers a chance to connect with the local wildlife, appreciate the town’s art scene, and enjoy the tranquility of coastal living, much like immersing oneself in nature’s peaceful yet vibrant flow.

Granite quarry. Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, Massachusetts
Halibut Point State Park is a popular nature spot in Rockport, MA.

©Jorge Salcedo/

Manchester, MA

Next on our itinerary is Manchester, a town rich with coastal splendor.

The Best Time to Visit Manchester, MA

Stepping into Manchester is like entering a scene from a classic New England postcard, where the beauty of the land and sea meet in harmony. The charming town was one of the filming locations for The Proposal. Although the town offers beauty and charm throughout the year, spring emerges as a prime time for a visit.

With the arrival of spring, Manchester, also known as Manchester-by-the-Sea, transforms into a vibrant landscape brimming with life. The air is fragrant with the scent of blooming flowers. At the same time, the town’s parks and green spaces mirror the reawakening of the natural world after winter’s slumber. This season is an excellent time to explore the town’s outdoor spaces, as it’s neither too hot nor too cold, making your adventures around Manchester comfortable and enjoyable.

Manchester’s Singing Beach, renowned for its sand that ‘sings’ when walked upon, is a springtime must-visit. The beach offers magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean, much like observing a vast, thriving marine habitat stretching out to the horizon. The calmer weather conditions also provide a prime opportunity to engage in sailing or boating activities, offering unique perspectives of the town’s beautiful coastline.

During spring, Manchester’s diverse birdlife becomes more active. The area hosts a variety of bird species, and witnessing their mating rituals and nest-building behaviors is akin to observing the intricate dance of life in the wild. For birding enthusiasts, it’s an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and diversity of these avian species.

Furthermore, the spring season in Manchester also brings cultural events like art festivals and craft shows. These events offer an opportunity to delve into the town’s rich cultural scene, mirroring the diversity and harmony found in thriving ecosystems.

A springtime visit to Manchester offers a delightful blend of natural and cultural experiences.

Where Is Manchester, MA Located on a Map?

The town of Manchester, also called Manchester-by-the-Sea, sits along the Massachusetts Bay, only 30 miles north of metropolitan Boston. This New England coastal town is known for its charm and gorgeous beaches.

Wildlife Found in Manchester, MA

From the subtle trilling of woodland birds to the playful frolicking of seals in the Atlantic, Manchester-by-the-Sea serves as a vibrant tableau of wildlife diversity.

In addition, bird enthusiasts will find themselves in a paradise of sorts. The town’s varying landscapes host a rich selection of bird species, from the coastal beaches to the verdant forests. The songs of warblers fill the forests, while gulls, sandpipers, and red knots punctuate the coastal areas with their distinct calls and behaviors. The avian spectacle mirrors the multifaceted nature of ecosystems where diverse species coexist and interact.

The Atlantic Ocean’s cool waters serve as Manchester’s eastern boundary and are a playground for marine life. Seals, characterized by their playful demeanor and agile swimming, are frequently spotted in the harbor, especially during the cooler months. Though the chances are more prevalent off neighboring Gloucester’s coast, you might even glimpse the gentle giants of the sea; whales.

On land, Manchester’s green spaces and forests are the realms of even more wildlife. Creatures like white-tailed deer, raccoons, and red foxes are part of this ecosystem, their presence underlining the intricate dynamics of wildlife in New England.

Moreover, Manchester-by-the-Sea paints a compelling picture of wildlife diversity. Its creatures, from the land, water, and air, form an enchanting testament to the abundant life that graces our planet.

Singing Beach at Manchester-by-the-Sea in Massachusetts
Singing Beach is a popular spot in Manchester, MA.

©Scott Terrasi/

Gloucester, MA

Lastly, we journey to Gloucester, a town rich in maritime history.

The Best Time to Visit Gloucester, MA

Gloucester, MA, featured in The Proposal, may seem like a typical New England coastal town. However, its charm and natural splendor are genuinely unique. While it captivates visitors year-round, the tranquility of winter offers a chance to appreciate its historical and natural beauty truly. As the cold sets in, Gloucester takes on a serene quality. The bustling summer crowd gives way to tranquil seascapes and quiet streets. Much like the peaceful hush that descends on the natural world during its winter rest.

To add further, for those who appreciate the arts, the Cape Ann Artisans’ Open Studios is a winter highlight in Gloucester. This event offers a chance to explore local artists’ studios. It’s a beautiful way to appreciate the diversity of Gloucester’s artistic community. Each artist showcases their unique styles and techniques, echoing the stunning diversity found in this part of the world.

Where is Gloucester, MA on a Map?

The town of Gloucester is located in Essex County on the northeastern coast of the U.S. approximately 30 miles north of Boston. This picturesque town sits on Cape Ann.

Wildlife Found in Gloucester, MA

The winter season brings with it an unexpected visitor, the seals. They flock to Gloucester’s harbor. Their presence offers a delightful spectacle and a glimpse into the adaptability of marine life as they effortlessly navigate the chilly waters. This site serves as a reminder of nature’s resilience. As life finds a way to thrive even in the harsh winter conditions.

Additionally, as we discover where The Proposal was filmed, we find that the coastal town of Gloucester is a hotspot for marine life. The waters around Gloucester host various species of whales, including humpback, minke, and fin whales. Whale-watching tours offer the chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural environment. Their size and grace are a testament to the wonders of marine life.

Moreover, when it comes to birdlife, Gloucester does not disappoint. From loons to grebes and various species of ducks, Gloucester’s coastline and forests host a multitude of bird species. Offering fantastic opportunities for birdwatching.

Gloucester’s terrestrial wildlife also contributes to the town’s rich biodiversity. The forests teem with wildlife from the coyote to the red fox and various species of owls and hawks. Each creature, from the most vigilant predator to the quietest nocturnal bird, plays its part in maintaining the balance in nature.

To conclude, a winter visit to Gloucester provides an intimate encounter with the town’s rich heritage. In addition to the diverse wildlife and vibrant arts scene. It’s a journey that mirrors nature’s peaceful yet enduring rhythm during its winter reprieve. And offers unique experiences that leave lasting impressions on the hearts and minds of visitors.

USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann, Gloucester. Annisquam Harbor winter.
Gloucester, MA, has a plentiful population of artist studios, many of which are open for viewing during public events.

©Danita Delimont/

Visiting the Massachusetts Towns Where The Proposal Was Filmed

To wrap up our overview as we discover where The Proposal was filmed, each location in Massachusetts offers unique spectacles. 

Rockport, Manchester, and Gloucester each come alive in different ways throughout the year. From the sunny summer allure of Rockport to the autumnal charm of Manchester and the serene winter beauty of Gloucester, these towns offer a myriad of experiences.

Furthermore, it is apparent that the filming locations of The Proposal offer more than just picturesque backdrops; they are living, breathing habitats filled with a diverse array of wildlife. Like the movie’s story, the wildlife in Rockport, Manchester, and Gloucester presents an intriguing narrative of life and survival, reminding us of the beautiful and complex web of life that unfolds in the natural world every day.

Gloucester Docks Main Basin
The Gloucester docks are a beautiful place to visit.

©Andy Jeffery/

Other Filming Locations Used in Film The Proposal

It’s noteworthy that The Proposal utilized the Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, MA. As well as Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA. Both were additional filming locations to help create this compelling cinematic narrative.

Moreover, the bustling Boston Logan International Airport provided an authentic backdrop for scenes involving travel and the dynamic exchange of characters. It is also one of the largest airports in the Northeastern United States.

On the other hand, Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA, a veritable hub of movie magic and home to many legendary film productions, offered invaluable resources and facilities to bring certain indoor office and home scenes of The Proposal to life. The production design teams at the studio meticulously crafted interior sets and controlled environments. This contributed significantly to the film’s visual storytelling and created the unique atmosphere of the movie.

Finally, as we discover where The Proposal was filmed, we find each location had a unique purpose. Both locations highlight the film’s central themes of change, journey, and transformation. Even though they are vastly different in their function and ambiance. By combining these urban and industrial settings with the charming natural landscapes of Rockport, Manchester, and Gloucester, the filmmakers could craft a rich and varied visual narrative. One that added depth to the storyline and enhanced the overall viewing experience of The Proposal.

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About the Author

Ashley is a freelance writer and wildlife photographer. Insatiably curious and drawn to knowledge, she has a passion for conservation and sharing the wonder of the natural world with others.

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