Travel Ideas for Dad
Heathcliff Huxtible. Danny Tanner. Homer Simpson. Dads come in as many styles as there are tie patterns. So why all the generic Father’s Day gifts? Colleen Clark has compiled father-friendly getaways perfectly Tim-the-Tool-Man Taylored to your pops
Intrepid Dad: Botswana
Uncharted Africa — owned by a man who keeps a 14-foot croc and a honey badger for pets — plots out serious bucket-list expeditions in Botswana. Dad will sleep beneath the stars on a deserted island in the Okavango Delta, spot elephants and lion, kick it in the Kalahari with meerkats and speed across the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans on ATVs in search of a secret baobab island. The grand finale? Participating in an ancient initiation hunt with the Kalahari Bushmen, tracking and stalking game with bows and arrows poisoned with grub beetle venom. Serious badass cred.
Culinary Dad: Portland, OR
Give Pops the gift of a pot-belly with a food-focused trip to Portland. Check him into the ACE Hotel and he’ll have coffee institution Stumptown and the rustic fare of Clyde Common right downstairs. Then sign him up for butchering, jerky-making or sausage classes at the Portland Meat Collective. Not a meat man? Send him foraging or on a Get Dirty Farm Tour with Good Keuken. He’s earned a drink or four, so pour him into a boozy tour of Portland’s five urban distilleries to taste the hooch and learn how its made.
Outdoorsy Dad: British Columbia, Canada
If your dad doesn’t take vacation sitting down, opt for an adrenaline-packed rafting trip through British Columbia. ROAM’s eight-day trip starts on the edge of a glacial lake winding down the Chilko River through alpine forests, canyons and desert plateaus ending up 3,000 vertical feet lower on the Fraser River. In between towering rapids and standing waves, guests go trout fishing, kayaking, mountain biking and cliff jumping.
Dapper Dad: London, England
If your father is sartorially savvy, fly him across the pond for a bucket-list shopping trip in London. Put him up at the slick ME London with its DJ-helmed restaurant and shopper friendly Covent Garden location. Start the spree with a custom cut suit from Mr. Start in hip Shoreditch. Here he’ll get the craftsmanship and service of a Savile Row tailor with the modern fashion savvy of Philip Start and wife Brix Smith-Start, who have gained near cult status in London’s fashion scene. He can score shoes, shirts and all the extras at the menswear hub that has cropped up on nearby Redchurch Street with shops like Hostem and Religion.
Stressed Out Dad: Greenough, MT
Your Dad works too hard. But you’d be hard pressed to wrangle him into a spa break. So, opt for a trip to Paws Up Ranch. Set on a 37,000 acre working cattle ranch, he can go horseback riding, hiking or rapelling. But what he’s really here for are mellower pursuits like fly-fishing or lazing by the river. And once, he gets into the rhythm, maybe he can be persuaded to visit the spa after all. It’s located beside a brook in a tent and offers dude-friendly treatments like the Mountaineer Escape with a deep tissue sports and scalp massage.
Techy Dad: Huntsville, AL
Richard Branson’s rockets haven’t quite been cleared for takeoff. But your dad can prepare for the final frontier with a trip to Space Camp. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL, offers weekend programs where visitors can construct and launch a model rocket, train in an astronaut stimulator and get hands-on experience amid one of the world’s largest collection of space aircraft. One small step for dad, one giant leap towards “best kid ever” status.
Handy Dad: Brooklin, ME
If your father never met a torque wrench he didn’t like, send him up to Maine to further his handyman skills at The Wooden Boat School. Over the course of a week, he can learn how to build his own sail boat, using historic models of 19th century dory or more modern shellback dinghy boats. He’ll learn how to build the frames, add timber rails and handsome seats of Spanish cedar and cypress. By the end of the week, it’ll be ready for sanding and painting in his workshop at home. Talk about a vacation souvenir.
Musical Dad: Nashville, TN
You had a music-filled childhood, rocking to the oldies on road trips, scouring you dad’s old 45s, borrowing his instruments to impress your friends. It’s time to give back. Send him for a weekend of Southern strumming in Music City, USA. He can commune with the ghosts of rockstars past at Studio B where everyone from Elvis to the Everly Brothers recorded. He’ll spend his days shopping for records at Grimey’s, putting down spicy hot fried chicken at Prince's and checking out the guitars at Gruhn’s. Then it’s over to cut his own track in the funky vinyl recording booth at Jack White’s label, Third Man Records. At night, there’s honkytonking at Robert’s Western World, singer-songwriters and bluegrass at the Station Inn and of course concerts at The Ryman, the hallowed “Mother Church of Country Music.”
Sporty Dad: Dominican Republic
David Ortiz. Manny Ramirez. Roinson Cano. What do these big leaguers have in common? They’re all from the Dominican Republic. Send your father to check out the next-big-thing with a trip to Santo Domingo. Games at Quisqueya Stadium — home of the league's two oldest teams — rival any major league game in the US. Think rowdy merengue-studded rhythm sections, cheerleaders busting moves on the dugout and some seriously passionate cheering. After a few days in the colonial city, send him down the coast for some beach time at the sports-friendly Casa de Campo with three Pete Dye-designed championship golf courses; tennis courts; trap, skeet and clay pigeon shooting; polo; sailing and deep-sea fishing.