Let’s face it: Dad does a lot. He works, he takes the kids to baseball practice, he even takes out the trash. Well, most of the time anyway. The point is, the usual Father’s Day gift ideas might not cut it. Dad deserves a vacation that promises more than carrying the family luggage and blowing up pool toys.
Fortunately, there are cool vacation ideas for just about any type of dad, whether he’s interested in bikes, castles or scaring himself silly. Click through to see 10 top vacations for dads of all types.
1. The Fishing Dad
Maybe Dad made you watch “A River Runs Through It” a few too many times, so you couldn’t miss the hint that he’s angling for a fly fishing vacation. Good news: There are plenty of fly fishing packages, many in Montana, the setting of the book and movie.
“Many [trips] will have Dad accessing backcountry streams and rivers via horseback, with packages of two to five days, ranging from $440 all the way to $5,000,” said Lee Huffman, travel expert and founder of the travel and financial advice website BaldThoughts.com.
If your Dad is more of the salty type, there are also saltwater fly fishing vacations in spots like the Florida Keys. In fact, Dad can even learn to fly fish while there at the Everglades Saltwater School in Islamorada. And no roughing it: Dad will stay in the Islander Resort. The three-day course, which includes two days of fishing in a skiff with an instructor, is $1,395, not including the room.
2. The Diving Dad
Perhaps your dad doesn’t want to catch fish, but swim with them. Where better than Hawaii’s Kohala Coast, which is world renowned for its diving and fishing, said Huffman. The Kohala Coast also has some of Hawaii’s best resorts.
For instance, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows is a Dad’s dream, with boat dives and even night dives launching right from the hotel. There is also outrigger canoe paddling, sailing, golf and more. Dad won’t be bored. Rooms start at $399 a night with dives starting at $85.
Another option is a Liveaboard scuba diving charter. Dad lives aboard a yacht with a group of other divers in some of the world’s best diving locations, said Huffman. Usually, the charters last from four days to a week, and dive gear and meals are included.
There are hundreds of Liveaboard dive companies and price ranges, but some typical prices at popular dive locations include: $260 to $436 per day in the Philippines; $475 to $720 per day in the Galapagos Islands; $160 to $300 in Australia. Liveaboard.com is a great place to start a search.
3. The Spiritual Dad
If Dad does yoga, or you think he should — a four-day or week-long yoga retreat could be just the thing to recharge his batteries. With the popularization of yoga over the past decade, there are literally all types of yoga vacations in all parts of the world. There are vegetarian yoga retreats, yoga and sailing retreats, yoga and cycling, yoga and skiing, yoga cruises, laughter yoga and a whole lot more.
Prices range as much as locations and itineraries. For instance, you’ll find 30-day yoga retreats, including breakfast, accommodation and up to seven yoga classes a day, in Bali for under $500 or a Costa Rican week-long adventure with accommodation, yoga, surfing, hiking and horseback riding for $1,562. BookYogaRetreats.com is a good place to start; it has hundreds of options and you can search by type, destination or yoga style.
4. The Bicycling Dad
If Dad bikes, there’s a good chance he’s into the Tour de France, so a bicycle tour during July’s Tour de France could make for a great summer vacation. Although not cheap — tours can run $5,800 to $7,900 per week — they are probably unforgettable. Typical itineraries include riding through Normandy, Provence and Paris, but also race viewing from VIP vehicles and behind-the-scenes access.
If Dad is also a gourmet — well, this is the Tour de France. Huffman said there are plenty of tours that pair the excitement of the race with the French’s love of fine food and wine.
“These have nightly gourmet offerings, like wine tasting with sommeliers and dinner at fine European restaurants,” said Huffman. After a long day on a bike, Dad will appreciate the vacation gift even more.
5. The NASCAR Dad
If Dad is into NASCAR, you know he’s always craved a little time behind the wheel of a real racing machine. Fortunately, that’s actually a thing.
Through NASCAR Racing Experience, he can drive a genuine NASCAR race car on one of the official NASCAR tracks. Packages range in price from $129.99 for a ride along to $499.99 for a three-hour training session, including a solo eight-minute time trial, to an all-day experience for $3,034.99.
Or, maybe he just wants to learn to drive really fast. There are schools that will teach him to do that, in a race car or even his own car — assuming he doesn’t drive a minivan. For instance, race car driving schools like Racing Adventures have day-long programs in a Porsche for $1,400, or he can drive his own car for just $399.
If you opt for the NASCAR Racing Experience, Dad can visit any of the 14 premier racetracks in the U.S. — including the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and more — and make a vacation out of it.
6. The Medieval Dad
If a good book to Dad means a 1,000-page tome on medieval times or European history, there are certainly some good vacation options for him.
“Instead of taking Dad to Medieval Times for dinner and a show, book him on a vacation that can bring those pages to life," said Huffman. "For instance, there are many European castle tours that could — virtually — take him back in time to when kings ruled, wars were fought on horseback and cubicles didn’t exist.”
Today, many of Europe’s castles stay in the black by lowering their drawbridges to touring tourists, who pay to visit such amazing places as Slovenia’s Predjama Castle, built into the side of a 400-foot cliff, or Germany’s Hohenzollern Castle, which sits at 2,805 feet and often appears to be floating on a cloud. There's also Romania’s Hunyad Castle, which once imprisoned Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s "Dracula." Prices for one-week to 11-day castle tours commonly range from $2,000 to $3,000.
7. The Wannabe Biker Dad
Now you can unlock Dad’s inner-biker, for a week at least, with an official Harley-Davidson road tour along famous Route 66. For $4,876, Dad takes a two-week, guided ride along the famous route, visiting historic spots and cool hangouts. Breaking the law might cost extra, though. If the U.S. isn’t his style, there are also Harley tours in Africa, Europe, Australia and more.
If Dad really wants to unleash his wild side, there are extreme tours, like Bike Mongolia’s Genghis Khan Motorcycle Tour. Yep, it’s a ride through the region of Mongolia where Genghis Khan was born, near the Siberian border. Eight days of mountains, forests, lakes ... and 1,300 kilometers of rough riding — so Dad had better know how to ride. No doubt the trip is priceless, but they charge about $2,200.
8. The Golfing Dad
If your dad has caught the golf bug, we have news for you: He’s incurable. That means what he probably wants to do on vacation is spoil a lot of good walks, as the saying goes. Fortunately, there are plenty of golfing vacations at some of the most famous courses, Huffman said.
For instance, Dad can stay and play the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links, home to five U.S. Opens. Two nights' stay at the Inn at Spanish Bay, with two rounds of golf, starts at $2,250. No one said golf was a cheap hobby.
If Dad really wants to go for it, there are tours to the place where golf began: Scotland. Again, there are many tours, but as an example, a seven-night stay, including five rounds of golf at the legendary Turnberry and St. Andrews courses, goes for $5,925.
9. The Surfing Dad
For any true surfer, the dream vacation is a boat trip to a tropical locale with perfect waves. Fortunately, in today’s world, there is a worldwide fleet of surf charters available.
For example, Wavehunters surf charters have many options, including 12 nights aboard an 80-foot luxury yacht in the wave-wealthy Mentawai Islands of Indonesia for $4,000 per person. It includes meals, fishing equipment and even 24 cans of beer. Plane fare is separate.
There are also surfing boat charters all over the world, including Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Central America, Mexico, even Morocco, in many price ranges. And if $4,000 for an air-conditioned yacht is too pricey, try a more “local” feel, such as Nyata Surf Charters in the Mentawais. If Dad can convince three buddies to go with him, it’s only $2,375 each.
10. The Thrill-Seeking Dad
Skydiving, base jumping, swimming with sharks — these are things the thrill-seeking dad’s dreams are made of. They are also completely doable. For example, there are skydiving classes and tandem jumps — in which you're strapped to an instructor for your jump — all over the world, so you can pair it with virtually any vacation destination. Expect prices in the $200 per jump range.
If Dad likes to really gamble, check out SkyJump, atop the Las Vegas hotel Stratosphere. For $119.99, Dad gets to leap off the 108th floor, 829 feet above the Vegas Strip.
To swim with sharks other than the kinds at Vegas card tables, send Dad to Hawaii, where it’s a thriving tourist attraction. Outfits like North Shore Shark Adventures on Oahu will drop Dad in a shark cage surrounded by a dozen sharks. For only $99, the trip will take Dad three miles offshore and lasts an hour. For the true thrill-seeker, try the One Ocean Pelagic marine animal research dive, which charges $150 — and doesn’t use a cage.