11 Best Vacations for Star Wars Super-Fans
You don't have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to experience the beloved sci-fi movies.
Death Valley National Park
In the opening scenes of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, R2D2 and C-3PO famously escape Darth Vader’s clutches to the planet Tatooine. Standing in for the barren background where the robotic duo argues and then go their separate ways after crash landing is none other than Death Valley National Park in California and Nevada. Fans should head out to Artists Drive/Palette, Twenty Mule Team Canyon, Dantes View, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Golden Canyon, and Desolation Canyon (note that hiking in the last two spots is not recommended during the summer) to experience the locales for themselves. R2D2 and C-3PO also travel down a road here in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi as they head to Jabba’s Palace. How well do you know the franchise? Consider these Star Wars facts everyone gets wrong.
When we meet Luke Skywalker on the planet Tatooine, he’s infamously whining in the desert-scape, “But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!” While the backdrop does look otherworldly, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was filmed in Tunisia, a country in North Africa that contains northern parts of the Sahara desert and the easternmost part of the Atlas Mountains—yet only has one sun. Many of the sets from the four Star Wars films that have been shot in Tunisia (including Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) have been preserved for visitors, including Obi-Wan Kenobi’s house and the Lars Homestead. One of the best ways to see them is with Tunisia Tours’ Star Wars tours.
Finse, Norway and the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier
Fans of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back already know to pack warm clothes when visiting the ice planet Hoth, aka Finse, Norway and the nearby Hardangerjøkulen Glacier. Cast, including Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and crew members stayed at the Finse 1222 Hotel while they were filming and parts of the movie were shot directly outside the hotel. To see the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier, you’ll want to book a tour.
Redwood National and State Parks
Another Californian locale that is a must-see for diehard Star Wars fans is Redwood National and State Parks. The ancient tall trees provided the backdrop of the forest moon Endor, where the furry and primitive Ewoks helped our favorite rebels destroy the Death Star once and for all. Sadly, some of the sets no longer exist due to logging, while others are inaccessible. But simply by being in the area, you can experience the magic of the forest for yourself. The Cheatham Grove area is a highlight where some of the Steadicam shots were taken.
Skellig Michael, County Kerry, Ireland
When Luke Skywalker went into hiding, he chose a place so remote, even his twin sister, Leia, needed a map to find it in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, so you can be sure that Skellig Michael is off-the-beaten-path. The history of the now uninhabited island off the coast of County Kerry in Southwest Ireland dates back to 600 A.D. when Catholic monks escaping persecution came to the island. They built the beehive huts which still stand and were featured in The Force Awakens and Star Wars Episode VII: The Last Jedi. A fun time to visit is between March and August when the puffins that are said to have inspired the fictional porgs call the island home and, of course, during the May 4 Festival. Boat tours leave from the town of Portmagee. Check into The Moorings Guesthouse where Mark Hammill and Daisy Ridley stayed during filming. Check out the Star Wars quotes every super fan should know.
Star Wars Experience at Madame Tussauds London
Far more than just a typical museum exhibit, the Star Wars Experience at Madame Tussauds London was created as a collaborative effort with Lucasfilm and Disney that opened in 2015. You can literally walk into the epic three-way lightsaber battle between Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, sit down and chill out next to Han Solo in the Mos Eisley cantina, and visit Jabba’s Throne Room, complete with Jabba the Hutt, Salacious B. Crumb, and a shackled Princess Leia.
Star Wars Celebration
Diehard fans all meet in one place to, well, celebrate the world of Star Wars and the fandom during the Star Wars Celebration event. As an official Star Wars gathering, fans are given insider insights during organized panels with cast members, creators, and others from the Star Wars universe. The action-packed event is held in different cities; 2020’s will be in Anaheim, California.
Rancho Obi-Wan, Sonoma County, California
If you ever doubt the power one fan can have, consider Steve Sansweet, a devoted Star Wars’ fan who turned his love of the sci-fi franchise into a second career. He created Rancho Obi-Wan, an interactive Star Wars museum that has become a source of joy for many fans. Located in rural Sonoma County, California just west of Petaluma, the museum features the world’s biggest collection of Star Wars’ memorabilia. Private tours by passionate docents provide a wealth of information on the items on display, and Sansweet joins tours at the end when he’s around. The museum is open by scheduled tour—it’s recommended you book six to eight weeks in advance.
Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
In just a few short weeks, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the much-anticipated all-new attractions at Disneyland will open. (Those on the east coast will have to wait until the end of August 2019 for the attractions to open at Walt Disney World.) Visitors to the park can ride on the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, cool off with a tall glass of blue milk at Mos Eisley cantina, interact with beloved characters, design their own lightsabers, and more.
Disney’s Star Wars Day at Sea
Picture this: you’re standing in the atrium of a cruise ship when there’s an Imperial Takeover. That’s how Darth Vader makes his arrival to introduce cruisers to a fun 24-hour marathon of Star Wars’ adventures during Disney Cruise Line’s Star Wars experience. The adventures include a Star Wars’ stage show, Jedi training, a costume contest, a “Porgs On Board!” scavenger hunt, and a spectacular fireworks show. More than a dozen Star Wars’ characters roam the ship to surprise cruisers.
All Nippon Airways Star Wars jets
The force will have to be with you in order for you to score a seat on one of the three All Nippon Airways Star Wars jets. That’s because they don’t preannounce the exact routes their R2-D2, BB-8, and C-3PO jets will be flying ahead of time. But we imagine if you do get to voyage on one, it would be the next best thing to flying on the Millenium Falcon itself. Now, find 65 other iconic movie and TV show sets you can actually visit.
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