Your dad deserves a Father’s Day celebration to remember.
In the days leading up to Father’s Day, you may focus most of your attention on finding a unique gift and crafting a heartfelt message, but be sure to nail down the specifics of the day itself. Because, let’s face it, all he really wants is to spend some quality time with the people he loves most.
Since it’s his big day, go the extra mile and plan a day full of Father’s Day activities he’ll actually enjoy, like a fishing trip or pit stop at his favorite burger joint.
But if you’d like to surprise him with something more creative this year, look no further than this list of kid-friendly and adults-only ideas. From taking a trip down memory lane to planning a family game night, we’ve rounded up tons of inspired ways to celebrate your dad, stepdad, husband or other father figure on Father’s Day.
With so many clever ideas to choose from, it shouldn’t be hard to find an activity or two that’s right for the man in your life. So, read on to get some inspiration, then get ready to spend the day with him and make memories that you’ll both cherish forever.
Build a fort
Make him feel like a kid again by building a fort for Father’s Day. If you’re up to the task, install a shed. After all, everyone knows that sheds are really just forts for grown-ups. For a temporary solution, throw sheets and blankets over a few chairs and call it a day.
go to an arcade
Almost everyone does their gaming at home these days, which is what makes going to the arcade such a blast. He’ll be reminded of his childhood playing pinball, Pac-Man or another not-so-forgotten favorite.
Rent a boat or kayak
If you’re lucky enough to own a kayak or boat, there’s no better day to take it out — weather-permitting, of course. Otherwise, find a local place with available rentals, so you can spend Father’s Day out on the water.
Create a backyard leisure zone
Sometimes, staycations are the ultimate escape. All you need to make the backyard feel like an island getaway is a lawn chair, cool drink (umbrella included) and playlist of his favorite songs by him. Throw in a kiddie pool for good measure.
June is the perfect time to plan a campout under the stars, whether it’s in his backyard or at a nearby park. One thing’s for sure: He’ll enjoy telling stories around the fire and spending time with you in the great outdoors.
ice cream sundae bar
There’s nothing dads like more than ice cream. Nothing. Assemble a sweet spread, complete with an assortment of ice cream flavors and toppings. Hand him a super-size bowl and spoon, then let him eat to his heart’s content.
Host a backyard movie night
Transform your backyard into a movie theater. Pick up an outdoor projector or rent one from a local rental store, so you can get a taste of under-the-stars viewings before you make the splurge. Once you’ve got everything sorted out, invite the neighbors, pop some corn and press play.
Take a road trip
Dads just love hitting the open road. It’s in their DNA. Whether you’ve got the time for an extended vacation or just a single day, hop in the car and head out for a drive. Like the old saying goes, “Life is about the journey, not the destination.”
Spend a day at the beach
You don’t need to live near the ocean to enjoy a day on the shore. Grab a lounge chair, pack a lunch and head to the nearest beach or lake for a leisurely day of lounging in the sun.
Go to a sports game
It’s baseball season! Find a game to attend, whether it’s the majors, minors or just the local softball league playing down the street. A game’s still a game, no matter where it’s played.
Take a trip down memory lane
Where there’s a dad, there’s a story. Ask him to take you to all of his most cherished spots of him: the house where he grew up, the restaurant he worked at in high school, the place where he first locked eyes with your mom and so on. It’s really a gift for the both of you: He’ll get to relive old times and you’ll learn something new about his past from him.
Help with a project or errand
Lend him a helping hand with one of the many projects on his to-do list. Whether he needs help cleaning the basement or finally tackling the pile of recycling, your assistance will be the greatest gift of all.
Take him to a deli
The only thing Dad loves more than ice cream is a Dagwood sandwich. Swing by your local deli for lunch or if you want to make a game out of it, visit a few different locations to find the best sandwich in town.
Go to an antique fair or flea market
Waxing nostalgic is one of dad’s favorite pastimes. With summer in full swing, there are plenty of flea markets and antique shows to attend that’ll help him relive the past. He’ll love examining old gadgets and looking through found items from days gone by.
Bring out his green thumb
Take him to a local nursery or garden center and pick out something to plant. It can be as simple as a potted flower or more time-consuming, like a vegetable garden. Either way, you’ll get to watch it grow and remember time spent together.
Relish in a piece of history
Do some homework and find a new historical site to visit, ranging from Victorian homes to colonial forts to national parks. Every state has its own unique history, along with a collection of designated landmarks waiting to be explored.
Attend an air show
If “Top Gun” is his favorite film, then an air show is a must-do. Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance that you’ll find one within driving distance. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Even if he’s not the outdoorsy type, he’ll enjoy spending a day (okay, an hour or two) in nature. Grab a pair of binoculars, head outside and try to decode what you’re seeing by looking through the National Audubon Society’s guides.
Watch old videos
Dig up old tapes out of the basement and watch them all over again. You’ll laugh and cry reliving some of your family’s most cherished memories.
Host a multigenerational meal
If your family members happen to live nearby, gather them together for a special backyard barbecue. Dads, grandfathers, uncles and brothers will enjoy reconnecting and it’s the perfect opportunity to take that long-overdue family photo.
Take a (new) hike
Going for a hike on Father’s Day is standard fare, which is why it’s time to shake things up and find a completely new trail to blaze. Pack a picnic lunch to make a day of it.
Make homemade pasta
If he’s never made pasta from scratch, Father’s Day is the perfect time to give it a try. First things first: Give him a pasta maker with the attachments to make his favorite pasta type (think: ravioli and gnocchi). It’s totally up to you whether you go the distance and make homemade sauce or settle for the jarred variety.
Play lawn games
Take the Father’s Day celebration outside and play a couple rounds of croquet, frisbee and badminton. A warning: These games may bring out his — and everyone else’s — competitive side.
Dance the day away
Make a playlist of songs that are guaranteed to get him moving and grooving. Crank up the tunes and convince the whole family to join in on the fun. The best part: Everyone can participate and it doesn’t cost a tell me.
Visit a brewery or vineyard
If he enjoys his spirits, take dad to a microbrewery or vineyard to see what goes into making his beverage of choice. Test a few samples before leaving or stay for the afternoon to give you ample time to enjoy a glass or two.
Try a new recipe
Dad doesn’t have to be a chef to enjoy cooking. Start by finding a dish you’d both like to try, then pick up all the ingredients at the store. You can be the sous chef and do all the prep work, while he makes the magic happen on the stove. If it doesn’t work out, there’s always takeout.
Plan a scavenger hunt
Everyone likes a treasure hunt, including dad. Stash found items from around the house or, better yet, his Father’s Day gifts from him, then hand him a treasure map to track them down. He’ll love the challenge of finding the items, one by one.
Host a movie marathon
Even if you’ve seen them all before, binge all of his favorite movies from sunrise to sundown on Father’s Day. All the better if instead of sunny skies, Father’s Day weekend is an absolute washout.
Puzzling or playing a quiet game of backgammon is exactly the kind of chill activity dad needs to decompress after a busy week. Round up a bunch of his go-to games from him — a mix of puzzles, board games and card games — and let him choose what’s on the agenda for the day.
Wash the car
Your dad is very particular about his car. Lend him a helping hand to make this monthly — or in his case, weekly — task less of a chore. A sudsy bucket of soap, a sponge and some old-school tunes are sure to make it a top ten day.
Try a new restaurant
It’s easy to get stuck in the same old routine, especially when it comes to eating out. Do some research and find a new spot to help shake things up. Who knows, it just might become a new family tradition.
Attend a car show
Not all dads care for cars, but for the ones who do, a car show is the perfect Father’s Day activity. He can spend his day admiring all the classic and vintage vehicles on display, while you enjoy the food, music and other offerings at the show.
He’s not always down to go shopping — unless it’s for something he actually likes. Skip the mall and head over to an electronics store, hobby shop or other niche retailer instead. You might be surprised to learn just how much he does like shopping after all.