Star Trek has been one of my favorite things for as long as I can remember. Without fail I’ve seen every movie since 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in the theater, I’ve watched the tv shows religiously…well you get the picture. I’m a nerd. This year, today in fact, the Star Trek franchise is celebrating its 50th anniversary! I don’t know about any other Trek nerds but I’m feeling a little underwhelmed by the anniversary. Star Trek Beyond isn’t in theaters anymore, but it isn’t out on DVD either. There isn’t really anything marking the day. Which is why I’ve decided to dedicate today’s blog to Star Trek!
But what do Star Trek and travel have in common you may be asking? Well, Star Trek is filmed here on Earth. That means you can visit iconic locations. Additionally, there are a couple of places that will become important in the future. With that let’s jump in.
Vasquez Rocks – Los Angeles County, California
Starting off the list with one of the most iconic filming locations in the world is Vasquez Rocks. This rock formation was used a number of times in Star Trek which has earned it the nickname Kirk Rock. Kirk’s most notable appearance at Vasquez Rocks was when he went up against a Gorn, which you can watch in the video below. If you visit the rocks be sure to take a ripped shirt for some iconic Kirk photos.
Starfleet Academy – San Francisco, California and SuihoEn Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, California
Starfleet Academy is located in San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Of course if you go there now the Starfleet Academy hasn’t been built yet and won’t be for well over a hundred years. Which is why instead you should visit the SuihoEn Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, California. This has been the filming location for Starfleet Academy throughout the years. The Academy itself is actually the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant. Though I’ve not been lucky enough to visit it yet myself I can recognize it instantly from the photos. Check with the garden before you pack your Starfleet uniform though, they have some pretty strict rules about photography. That being said, if you’ve ever wanted a photo of yourself walking through the grounds of Starfleet Academy, it may just be worth it.
El Capitan – Yosemite National Park, California
In what was almost certainly just an excuse to go to Yosemite and have it paid for the start of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Captain Kirk is climbing the massive rock without any safety equipment. Luckily for him though he lives in the future and his good friend Spock was there with levitation boots. Of course, Yosemite is one of the most beautiful and most recognized destinations in the world. You can’t just go there for El Capitan. But it should be a part of every Star Trek fan’s trip there.
The Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk – Riverside, Iowa
Riverside, Iowa prides itself on being the future birthplace of Captain James Tiberius Kirk. There isn’t really anything there to see related to Star Trek but if you’re a nerd like me you want to go there anyway.
I won’t go into the other birthplaces of Star Trek captains, but here’s a list in case you’re interested:
La Barre, Haute-Saône – Jean-Luc Picard Birthplace
New Orleans – Benjamin Sisko Birthplace
Bloomington, Indiana – Kathryn Janeway Birthplace
Upstate New York – Jonathan Archer Birthplace
First Contact – Bozeman, Montana
April 5, 2063 I’ll be in Bozeman, Montana. Why? That’s the day Humans first make contact with aliens. The first official time anyway. From there Zefram Cochrane launches Humanity’s first warp capable ship. This grabs the attention of some Vulcans who happen to be flying by and the rest is history…in the future. If you don’t want to wait until 2063 you can visit Bozeman on a trip to Yellowstone which is only a short drive away.
So there you have it! I’ve combined Star Trek and travel without ever having to leave Earth. Though the list would be oh so much more interesting if we had a starship. Happy 50th Star Trek!