Get Outside And Celebrate Father's Day With Your Adventurous Dad

Skip the "gift guides" and check out our suggestions for a memorable Father's Day - outside!

Listen up!

Did you forget?

Father’s Day happens this Sunday, June 19.  Did you get your card in the mail?  Set a reminder to make a phone call home?

For those fortunate enough to live nearby to their families, Father’s Day falls at a positively spectacular time of year, a season that invites adventure planning and a trip to the garage to dust off winter-weary gear.  It’s the cusp of summer, when the excitement of spring has finally given way to hot days and mild nights, and the stability of outside weather makes planning outdoor activities with family and friends finally possible. 

Though we shouldn’t need an official holiday to remind us how much we love our dads, I’m glad Father’s Day exists – as an intentional 24 hours to acknowledge, reconnect, and, hopefully, create new memories that will fold into the richness of a father-child relationship.

Although the traditional suggestions of brunch and a round of golf may be appealing to many dads, below are a few suggestions for upping the ante, with a nod toward the outdoors-orientated father. Skip the “gift guide” and instead check out these ideas for a non-material way to make Father’s Day truly shine.

1. Remake a childhood tradition

Was there a favorite park you used to visit as a kid? Packing a picnic, spreading out on the grass, and watching the younger kids running around is guaranteed to bring up old anecdotes and giggles. Perhaps it was a lake, river, or hike that was the family’s go-to back in the day. How about renting kayaks instead of dragging out the leaky rowboat, and bringing some adult beverages to enjoy (instead of the apple juice of yore)?

2. Share a New Spot

Perhaps it’s been a while since Dad has hit the trails; meanwhile, you’ve been tearing up the local state park on your mountain bike.  What about taking an easy stroll up to the new lookout spot you found last weekend? Dad will be as excited to experience a new place as you will be to show it to him – a true win-win.

Photo: Chris Martin

3. Go Backpacking

Although this option requires a little more preparation, nothing beats getting deep into the wilds with your greatest hero.  Ditch the ultra-light ethos and go the extra mile to make Dad comfortable: would a fold-out chair make a big difference? How about an extra-cushy, front-country-style sleeping pad, or a sneakily-packed flask of whiskey to share around the campfire?

4. Good Old Car Camping

There is truly little that can beat the ease of car-camping, no matter how epic or how familiar the location. Maybe you don’t even spend the night, but just throw up the shade tent and BBQ.  Either way, throwing some delicious snacks into the cooler, lighting a roaring fire, and roasting s’mores while reminiscing about camping as a kid is sure to make an impact.

Photo: Ian Glass

Whatever the weekend holds for you and your father, try getting outside into the sunshine to remind yourself of the importance of your relationship. Nothing says “I love you” like sharing time on the trail, by the water, or around the fire – so this year, try something new and enjoy the memories it creates. I promise you, Dad will be just as grateful. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Catherine DiSanto

Trail runner and cheese-addict. Happiest when waking up outside. I've never had a brain freeze.