According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans are on track to spend over $15 billion this year on Father’s Day gifts, a figure that represents a $5 billion increase from a decade ago. While it’s fantastic that we’re showing such appreciation for pops, it behooves us to remind you loving sons and daughters of all the science in recent years saying that money spent on experiences—rather than things—is money way better spent. So if you’re thinking about cruising the greeting-card racks at your local pharmacy this year, we’d urge you to stop, rethink your approach, and read these 30 experiences that are guaranteed to wow your dear old man. But if you’re dead-set on a gift, you can’t miss with these 30 Unique Father’s Day Gifts for the Dad Who Has Everything.
Tiger Woods-Level Golf Instruction
$129 an hour; book now at cloud9living.com
Does your dad live for the links? Then he’ll definitely love a private lesson from an amazing certified PGA professional, brought right to him at any number of courses nationwide. Though he may not leave his lesson with a zero handicap, he will have better body alignment, posture, and grip—so he’ll be well on his way to tackling the 9 Hardest Golf Holes in America.
Become a Veterinarian For a Day
$1,875 per person for 2 people; book now at ifonly.com
Many of us—yes, some of our dads included—once had childhood dreams of becoming a veterinarian. But with this experience, courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo, you and your dad can finally make those childhood dreams a reality and shadow the chief veterinarian as she conducts ultrasounds on 3000-pound rhinos and checks the teeth of cute cubs. Though your dad won’t be a certified vet at the end of the day, he will have a Zoo Guardian Keeper Membership that allows him to visit the animals whenever he pleases.
Take Stunt-Flying Lessons
$154 for 30 minutes; book now at flylessons.co.uk
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope, that’s just your dad soaring through the sky, courtesy of his Aerobatics flight experience! Your pops will feel like an everyday Maverick after 30 minutes of twisting and turning through the English skies. If all goes well, this could even become his new side gig—but if not, he can always try these 40 Best Hobbies to Take Up in Your 40s instead.
Volunteer in Magical Places
Starts at $195 per person; book now at thenaturecorps.org
If your dad is big into saving the environment, then spending three days at Yosemite working on conservation projects will feel like three days in paradise. And it doesn’t hurt that the vacation package includes homemade outdoor meals, tours of the vast national park, and a fun photography workshop! A getaway that gives back—truly, what could be better?
Ski Seven Mountains in One Weekend
$569 per pass; buy now at epicpass.com
Spending your ski vacation on a single slope is fun, but you know what’s even better? Hitting up seven mountains at three of the most popular destinations with the Epic Pass! Your dad will be able to call this gift a lot of things, but boring will not be one of them. And for more ways to treat your dad, here are some hilarious Dad Jokes.
Nerd Out over His Favorite Pastime
$15 per person; buy now at sluggermuseum.com
Baseball enthusiasts have probably been to enough Major League games to last a lifetime, but few can say that they’ve been to the Louisville Slugger Museum to learn about the history of the sport’s main instrument. If your dad is big into baseball, he’ll love heading to Kentucky to learn about how the first Louisville Slugger was made, and he’ll even get to see how the bats are created today.
Motorcycle Machu Picchu
Starts at $2,900; book now at motoquest.com
Sure, maybe your dad’s been all over Europe, but it’s likely that he hasn’t seen Machu Picchu or South Africa from the seat of a bike. In one of its stateside tours, history buffs can even enjoy the “historical odyssey” tour that takes riders to the sites where Lewis and Clark once explored. And while you’re visiting these historical havens, tell your dad these 30 Crazy Facts That Will Change Your View of History.
Paint Like Picasso in an Italian Castle
$75 per person; book now at viator.com
Any dad with an appreciation for the arts will love this boozy painting class housed in a 17th century palace in Rome. As you paint, you and your dad will learn about the history of the city, from its food to its culture. Your pop might surprise you with his hidden talents—nothing gets those creative juices flowing quite like an unlimited supply of Italian wine!
Command Drones by the Golden Gate Bridge
$600 per person; book now at ifonly.com
Like any good game, piloting a drone takes practice and precision, which is why your dad will benefit from a two-hour flying lesson courtesy of the Bay Area’s finest.
Climb 7,000 Feet up California Mountains
$799 per person; book now at REI.com
What fearless father doesn’t dream of climbing every mountain and fording every stream? The folks at outdoor retailer REI offer a vast selection of guided adventures, like a 3-day climb up Mount Shasta in California. Though arduous, the trip will make you and your pops one with the great outdoors—and your abs will look as sculpted as the mountain after 7,000 feet of climbing.
Visit Long Island’s Finest Hidden Wineries
Starts at $79 per person; book now at hamptonluxuryliner.com
Known for its luxurious living and breathtaking beaches, the Hamptons is the go-to summer spot for the rich and the famous. But what few people realize is that this summer town is also home to bountiful vineyards, several of which you can tour (and taste) with dad through this private group wine tour. Did we mention that transportation comes in the form of a limousine? Oh, and speaking of vino: Here’s How to Never Overpay for Wine.
Take a Guided Foodie Tour of a Major City
Starts at $50 per person; book now at ifonly.com
The best way to get to know a new city is through its food. This walking tour, guided by a local food enthusiast, will introduce you to the culinary creations of either New York, San Francisco, or Las Vegas, allowing you to both taste the city’s wonders and meet the people behind them. Any foodie father will relish in the opportunity to eat and explore—and extra points for you if you happen to come across The 50 Best Foods for Your Brain.
Drive 100 mph in a Porsche 911
Starts at $225; book now at milehighdrives.com
You probably can’t afford a race car this Father’s Day, but you can afford the next-best thing—a luxury car rental. In Denver, Colorado, you can enjoy everything from the Porsche 911 to the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder and make all of your dad’s driving dreams come true. Now is your father’s moment to live out all of his favorite Fast and Furious fantasies!
Learn to Cook a Strawberry Shortcake Cobbler
Starts at $10; buy now at surlatable.com
Both dad and mom will enjoy the thoughtful Father’s Day gift of a cooking class at Sur La Table. Dad can choose from a plethora of options, from “Summer Berry Desserts” to “Family Fun: All About The Grill.” While dad will have fun learning new recipes and cooking techniques, mom will enjoy getting to eat all of dad’s new creations!
Rock Out with Four Days of Jam Bands
Starts at $95 per ticket; buy now at eventbrite.com
Why should dads have to leave their jam band days behind them just because they’re “responsible adults” now? If your dad enjoys blasting the music of bands like the Grateful Dead, Phish, or Fleetwood Mac, then he’ll enjoy FloydFest 18 four-day music festival in Floyd, Virginia. (Just remember to snatch up a hotel room for him quickly.)
Catch Your Dinner—and Eat It, Too
$1,700 for 12 hours; book now at homeruncharters.com
Home Run Charters’ offshore fishing excursion can bring up to six people along for the ride, which means that this Father’s Day gift is actually a gift for the whole fam. Out on the Louisiana Gulf, you and your clan can catch everything from speckled trout in the summer to flounder in the spring. And if you’d prefer to lounge around while dad does the dirty work, bean-bag chairs are provided so you can catch some rays and get some rest. Just don’t forget to bring sunscreen, or run the risk of running into these harmful sunburn side effects.
Learn the Guitar Solo from “Free Bird”
Starts at $50; buy now at takelessons.com
Your dad has always talked about taking music lessons, but he’s never actually done anything to make his dreams a reality. Enter TakeLessons. It’s a completely online learning tool that connects students and teachers—and it could be the secret to making your dad the next Angus Young or Eddie Van Halen.
Have Dinner—And a Drink—at the Movies
Starts at $16; buy now at drafthouse.com
Going to the movies has been an American pastime since the early 20th century, but today’s moviegoing experience is getting more an more innovative and interesting. At Alamo Draft House, for instance, you and dad can enjoy dinner and drinks from the comfort of your seat, with menu items like fried pickles, jerk chicken sandwich, and pancetta mac & cheese to choose from.
Whether your dad enjoys action-packed adventures like Top Gun or horror flicks a la A Quiet Place, he’ll enjoy using this Father’s Day gift to take in his favorite flicks and foods. And after the film, the two of you can enjoy laughing at these 40 Hilariously Impractical Things That Always Happen in Movies.
Take In The Latest Tony Award-Winning Show
Prices vary; book now at broadwaybox.com
Does your dad hum “Getting To Know You” every day like his life depends on it? Well, taking him to another broadway show might not help him kick this bad habit, but he’ll definitely love you all the more for it.
Go Behind-the-Scenes at a Brewery—and Stay There Overnight
Starts at $279 per night; book now at dogfish.com
Every beer buff’s dream is to go behind-the-scenes at a brewery and learn about what goes into making their favorite ales. And at Dogfish Head Brewery in Lewes, Delaware, you can do all of this—plus secure lodging on the brewery’s premises. Did we mention that each room comes with a 32 oz. growler that dad gets to fill and keep?
Learn to Dance the Tango
Starts at $45; book now at fredastaire.com
So maybe this is a bit more of a gift for mom, but you know what they say: Happy wife, happy life! Your parents will love trying something new together, and an intimate dance class will bring them closer together than ever before. The gift of love = priceless.
Search For The “Big Five” on an African Safari
Starts at $7,754 per person; book now at smithsonianjourneys.org
Every person should experience an African adventure at least once in their lifetime. This Smithsonian Journeys tour will take your dad to the parks of Botswana, the falls of Zambia, and the historic sites of South Africa. After this two-week excursion, your dad will be an expert on all things African wildlife. And if this trip doesn’t quite sound right for you, you can always try these other Safaris and Luxury Desert Experiences instead.
Track Down Ghosts in The City of The Dead
$30 per person; book now at ghostcitytours.com
Do you have a paranormal-loving pops? Then you won’t boo-lieve how much he’ll love a trip down to New Orleans for one of the city’s famous ghost tours. The Killers and Thrillers Ghost Tour offers “tales of female serial killers and mad madams… as well as their ghosts who refuse to rest or leave the living alone.” And the tours are only offered at night—sans children, to boot—so your dad will get an authentically eerie experience.
Explore The Depths of The Ocean
Starts at $1,300 per person; book now at scubatraveladventures.com
There is a treasure trove of exotic wildlife living under the sea (and we don’t just mean Ariel). If your dad has a penchant for exploring the unknown, then he’ll want to dive head-first into a scuba-diving experience, which offers several days of under-the-water exploration and, when he’s ready to come up for air, a relaxing pina colada by the pool.
Relax and Recover at The Spa
Starts at $75; book now at massageenvy.com
Why should mom be the only one who’s allowed to hit the spa? This Father’s Day, remind your dad that men can get pampered too with a gift card for a massage, a facial, or even a mani-pedi. If athletes can get massages, then so you can dad!
Hundreds of Gym Classes at His Fingertips
Starts at $50; buy now at classpass.com
Nothing bonds two people quite like a shared sweat sesh. Seriously: One study published in PLos One found that “moderate intensity group exercise leads to cooperative social bonds among participants.” If you think your dad is up for a challenge, give him the gift of ClassPass—every month, he’ll be able to try a bunch of new workout classes (and this is a great excuse for you to finally hit up that new aerial yoga studio).
Kayak Down Jackson Lake
Starts at $519; book now at oars.com
You don’t have to travel far to experience the wonders of Mother Nature. In Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, you and your dad can kayak on Jackson Lake and fall asleep to the sound of running waters. The waters are calm, the park is serene, and there is neither a car nor a phone in sight to disrupt your solitude.
Bicycle Through Scotland with Whiskey in Hand
Starts at $2,500 per person; book now at bicycleadventures.com
Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the warm weather and book a biking tour with your dad. Whether you want to bike across Hawaii’s Big Island (and stop for some snorkeling) or head to Scotland for a weeklong bike ride (with whiskey, of course), Bicycle Adventures offers a plethora of trips worldwide.
Tour a Famous Hollywood Set
$65 per person; buy now at wbstudiotour.com
Your dad loves to watch movies and read up on actors’ every move, but now it’s time for him to see where the magic happens. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour will take your dad behind the scenes of all of his favorite movies—he’ll even get to see the original Batmobiles!
Learn How to Look Through a Lens
$199; buy now at creativelive.com
Whenever you ask your dad to take a photograph of you, you find the photo to be blurry, uncentered, and zoomed in in all the wrong places. Well, after this online photography course with seasoned professional John Greengo, your dad will be taking photographs like an Annie Leibovitz protégé. Plus, if he ever wants to brush up on his skills, he can access the course any time.
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