From the misty mountains of Middle Earth to the otherworldly rock formations of the “Star Trek” universe, it’s surprisingly easy to access some of your favorite film and television set locations (well, after the wrap party, anyway).
Here, six trips that will get you up close and personal with some of the most beautiful cinematic landscapes in the world.
Salute Captain Kirk at Vasquez Rocks, California
Formed by rapid erosion some 25 million years ago and uncovered by earthquakes, the chunky sand layers of Vasquez Rocks look otherworldly -- making it just the place to shoot some out-of-this-world footage.
The landmark has starred in everything from “Dante’s Peak” to “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” but it’s most famously known as “Kirk’s Rock” due to its role in several “Star Trek” episodes.
There’s a nod to that heritage on “The Big Bang Theory” when Sheldon and friends -- dressed in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” costumes -- stop at the rocks on their way to Comic-Con. Find it during a hike through Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in northern Los Angeles County.
Ride with ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ to Machu Picchu
Before he was a guerrilla revolutionary fighter, Che Guevara was a 23-year-old med student named Ernesto, riding his motorcycle across South America.
One of the most poignant scenes in the movie involves Ernesto’s somber thoughts about the Incan Empire as he stares out at the beauty of Machu Picchu. Whether you keep a journal or not, a hike through the ruins is worth a trip of your own.
Visit ‘Jurassic Park’ in Hanapepe Valley, Kauai
While the lush and dramatic landscape of Hawaii’s “Garden Island” has played a part in films like “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “The Descendants,” you’ll more than likely utter something like “I feel like we’re in ‘Jurassic Park'” when you arrive there -- and you’d be right.
Island Helicopters will take you to a landing point near Jurassic Falls before you take a four-wheel-drive trip with Aloha Kaua’i Tours through the Jurassic Park gate all the way to a backcountry hike in the Hanapepe Valley, where you can explore the humid set of the original dinosaur theme-park disaster.
Fight for your life as a tribute in North Carolina
North Carolina may be the new mecca for outdoor enthusiasts thanks to endless mountain biking, pristine climbing, raging rivers and a burgeoning craft-beer scene, but it’s also a film nerd’s paradise.
North Carolina is the third most prolific movie-making state in the country, and scenes from “The Hunger Games” were filmed right in Dupont State Forest. On foot or by bike, it’s worth the trek; just don’t eat the berries.
Climb Mount Doom on New Zealand’s North Island
When Peter Jackson first secured the rights to “Lord of the Rings,” he needed a landscape so rugged, varied and untouched, it could have been found only in New Zealand. The country is riddled with gorgeous examples of Middle Earth (the Shire is still mostly intact; you can see it on the Hobbiton set tour), but perhaps the most impressive can be found in Tongariro National Park.
Mount Ngauruhoe (aka Mount Doom) is the real-life active volcano where Frodo destroys his golden charge in the movie. Bring a ring if you want, but don’t expect any fire and brimstone on the Tongariro Crossing. The hike is one of the country’s most popular (and Orc-free) day hikes.
Search for pirate’s treasure in Tabago Cays
If snorkeling or diving is more your speed -- or you just want to wear guy-liner and drink rum -- book it to Tobago Cays Marine Park, a lumping of five uninhabited tropical islands in the Southern Grenadines. There you’ll find turquoise water, a large coral reef system and World’s End Reef.
This is also where Johnny Depp gets stranded with Keira Knightley in the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. (Still no word on if sea turtles really make for reliable transportation in these parts, though.)