Take it from me, a man with a beard: when it comes to celebrating Father’s Day the right way, you’ve only got so many chances to prove to your pop what an amazing dude he really is. After all, while your career through adulthood has steadily kept climbing, his time has been slipping further and further away. And, as much as we’d all hate to admit it, the chance to take Dad on the Father’s Day adventure he’s always deserved gets more and more limited with each go around the sun.
So this year, leave those silly socks behind at Ross, T.J. Maxx or whatever off-price department store you typically shop at for the man who gave you life. Forget about buying ties, button-ups and other clothing he’d rather string together and hang himself with than wear. And don’t make any reservations at local golf courses or restaurants where he already eats regularly. Instead, treat your old man to the kind of occasion he deserves, no matter how much trouble it might cause.
Completing 18 holes along with 18 beers can certainly be seen as an accomplishment of sorts. But let’s be honest here: putt-putting around on some nicely manicured greens and tip-toeing through sand traps can’t hold a candle to the excitement that rafting down a roaring river together would bring. For those seeking to surprise dad with a journey even Kevin Bacon could enjoy, check out the Salmon River Experience, deep in the heart of Idaho. Reward the big guy with some big water, and turn a typical Father’s Day weekend into a three-day adventure through Hells Canyon, one that the two of you can brow beat the rest of the family about for years and years to come.
Unless your parents had a “love at first sight” moment in front of a skee-ball game at the arcade in their local mall, it’s likely that your dad has never played Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto or any other gun-rattling games of the modern video game era. As such, he has no clue how great it feels to come home after a long day, and unload an automatic weapon with reckless abandon. But just because he’s a man of a different generation doesn’t mean he can’t still find the same kind of enjoyment — that’s what Vegas is for! So book some tickets, flag down a cab and head on over to The Gun Store, where you both can finally (legally) shoot a REAL machine gun! Yippe ki-yay…
Make no mistake, as they get up there in age, every man starts questioning life and the meaning of it all. And when this happens, there’s no better way to bring the old man back down to planet Earth than by pushing him out of a plane. From the North Pole to Patagonia, skydiving facilities can be found everywhere. But perhaps no other place in the United States will provide a more infinite view of the horizon than Texas, at Skydive San Marcos. Be sure to laugh at his awkward look when he realizes he has to jump with another man strapped to his back, because when he touches down, he’ll feel the weight of something far grander deep within: immortality (metaphorically speaking).
How many steaks has your dad has eaten in his day? 50? 100? Really, unless you answered “zero,” a piece of beef is nothing new. It’s high time you treated the guy to something a little more out of the ordinary, off the wall and, yes, exotic. And while you yourself might feel comfortable taking a chance with whatever former animals the local Chinatown has to offer, your father’s stomach is too valuable to take such a gamble. Enter Fossil Farms, where you can find meats of varieties you never even knew existed. From alligator and rattlesnake to antelope, elk and yak, there’s little doubt your pop will finally experience a cut quite unlike anything he’s ever salivated over before.
Jack Daniel’s fine spirits have been an institution of manhood since long before an event like Father’s Day even existed. So, unless your dad is in AA, or prefers Jim Beam for some reason, taking him to the legendary Jack Daniel’s Distillery is akin to taking a poor blond boy and his greedy grandfather to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. With daily tours telling the entire backstory of the booze that’s caused so much heartbreak and tragedy on your nights out on the town, you’re both guaranteed to walk away with enough fodder for educating your friends for the foreseeable future. Just one word of advice before going: don’t expect to drink on the tour; Lynchburg is in a dry county.
Some of life’s best experiences are the ones where we’re sure, right from the start, of the overblown story we’re bound to tell later. That’s because no one else we know has ever experienced anything similar. Yet while friends have tasted gator, and family members have jumped from airplanes, it’s a damn-near guarantee that no one your dad knows has ever come face to face with a great white shark. So, give him the ballsiest possible bragging rights by locking him in a cage and plunging him deep into the Northern California Pacific, courtesy of Great White Adventures. (Note: if you head there with him, just don’t forget to practice your best Richard Dreyfus impersonation before you go.)
NASCAR Racing (photo credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
There was no more fearful moment to live when young than sitting in the backseat as the old man gunned it on the freeway, taking both his car and his helpless family to the most senseless speeds imaginable. But as reckless as such a moment might have been, no one held it against him for the momentary lapse in safety/sanity. After all, how often did dad really get to live like that? Well, here’s your chance to let him relive a moment like that, TIMES A HUNDRED! At the Richard Petty Driving Experience, he won’t just be allowed to let loose; he’ll be celebrated for it. So go ahead and give him the opportunity to drive a real NASCAR racecar, because when it comes down to it, there’s not even a backseat for you to ride in!
Got a Father’s Day adventure of your own? We’d love to hear about it — leave a message down below and tell us what we’ve missed!
When he’s not pumping out pieces for CBS Local, Elijah Bates provides creative direction for a social media company in Venice Beach. Otherwise, you’ll find him surfing up and down the California coast, evading stingrays like trips to the dentist.