Turns out that “galaxy far far away” is much closer than you may have imagined. Star Wars fans have enthusiastically traveled from planet to planet since the first film debuted in 1977. When Modesto-born George Lucas filmed the first three episodes (IV, V and VI), he chose his home state of California to stand in for many of the exotic locals. And they are all accessible via the ultimate road trip, no spacecraft required.
According to Sunset Magazine, “You’ll cover a lot of California, starting near the Oregon border, veering southeast almost into Arizona, and ending in Anaheim. It covers almost 1,400 miles (and more like 2,000 if you need to get back to your original starting point). You’ll want to allow a minimum of three days (four if you’re heading back north), but you’ll be happier with more. Because this isn’t a race, it’s a pilgrimage.”
Here are a few highlights:
Endor (a.k.a. Redwood National and State Parks, Del Norte and Humboldt Counties)
“Even if you haven’t seen Return of the Jedi since the ’80s, we bet you remember the iconic Endor scenes with the Ewoks and the speeder bikes zipping through enormous trees. These scenes were filmed at Redwood National and State Parks. Hike through the Tall Trees Redwood Grove and you will expect to see furry little faces peeking out at you.
Hoth (a.k.a. the Port of Oakland)
Tatooine (a.k.a. Death Valley)
At the time, it was the largest oil disaster in U.S. waters.