Best U.S. movie locations to visit

Whenever people go to see a movie, some can’t help wondering whether the place really exists or is it just a set. CNN put together a list of places that are real, even though they may be known by another name in the movie.

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977)

Scene stealer: Devil’s Tower

Wyoming’s Devil’s Tower National Monument is a 1,267-foot igneous intrusion and the chosen landing site for the movie’s alien mothership.

Visitors have described an elevated sense of well-being and serenity at this small park’s signature volcanic pillar, a sacred site to more than 20 Native American tribes and perhaps certain extraterrestrials.

Devil’s Tower National Monument, 33 miles northeast of Moorcroft, Wyoming, via U.S. 14; nine miles south of Hulett, Wyoming, via WY24; and 52 miles southwest of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, via S.D. Highway34/WY24

Float from Maine to Nova Scotia on a new overnight ferry route

If you happen to be in Portland, Maine, and you want to head to Nova Scotia, you will be able to take a ferry beginning May 15.

The back and forth between Portland, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, will all happen thanks to the Nova Star Ferry, beginning on May 15. Now that departures and arrivals are finally on the schedule, travelers can now view the ferry fares.

Officials at Nova Star Cruises have created three seasons of service, as pricing will depend on if you’re traveling during saver season, shoulder season, or summer season.

Hiking near Las Vegas: Fire Wave at Valley of Fire State Park

Just because you’re in Las Vegas, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a dose of hiking in the outdoors. One of the best places to go is Valley of Fire State Park northeast of Las Vegas.

At the Visitor’s Center, pick up a map. However, as of March 2014, Fire Wave was not listed on the map, but that’s ok, because I’ve got the directions.

Take the scenic drive toward Mouse’s Tanks and White Domes. Pass Mouse’s Tanks, Rainbow Vista and the turnoff to Fire Canyon – you can visit these spots on the way back. I highly recommend getting to Fire Wave as early as possible, so you won’t have to deal with crowds or bus tours at the site.

This blogger has hiked in the Valley of Fire State Park and it is a great hike. You can also stop at the Visitors Center, which gives you a background of how the rock formations became what they are and gives you a history of the park. There is also a gift shop where you can buy books and other souvenirs.

(Photo: Paul Morris/Flickr Creative Commons)