44 Father’s Day Ideas Dad Will Have a Blast Doing
Looking for the perfect activity for the big day? From golf to go-karts, these fun Father’s Day ideas will become memories he treasures forever.
Celebrate Dad with these creative Father’s Day ideas
You’ve gotten Dad the perfect Father’s Day gift and Father’s Day card, complete with a great Father’s Day message or quote. But what should you do on Father’s Day itself? Father’s Day, celebrated on the third Sunday every June, usually brings nice weather and plenty of opportunities for family fun … and, of course, you want to choose something he’ll really love. Whether you opt to spend some quality time with just you and Dad or get the whole family involved, here are some great Father’s Day ideas for you and your favorite guy.
Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for more fun family activities, humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.
Make him breakfast in bed
Breakfast in bed doesn’t have to be just for Mom! Make Dad feel special by bringing him some of his favorite foods on his big day. Make a morning of it by cuddling up alongside him and giving him his gifts while he feasts—though this will set the bar high for Father’s Day activities for the rest of the day! You can even write one of these funny Father’s Day quotes on his napkin to make him laugh at breakfast.
Watch a movie
Whether you and your dad love a side-splitting comedy or a good tearjerker, there are plenty of good flicks to watch on Father’s Day. End the day with a movie night, or if you don’t have the best weather, opt for a movie marathon! From family-friendly classics like Finding Nemo to action movies like Taken with Liam Neeson, our list of the best Father’s Day movies has something for everyone.
Fishing is one of the most classic Father’s Day activities for a reason. When else do you get to stand side by side and catch up on life while you enjoy the great outdoors? Impress your dad with this neat fishing trick this year: Use WD-40 to spray your lures. It attracts fish and masks human odor that can scare them off. After he marvels at your knowledge, make him laugh with these dad jokes.
Race each other in go-karts
Don’t give him yet another tie or golf shirt this year. For a truly memorable gift, take Dad out for a thrill ride. Set him up on a speedway with a go-kart and a helmet, and challenge him to a race! You’ll both have the time of your life, and you’ll be talking about this for years to come. Go for the day, or combine it with a weekend getaway for some serious quality time.
Challenge him to an epic paintball battle
Unleash Dad’s inner warrior—and yours—on the paintball field. After all, nothing says “I love you” like a little friendly competition between the generations. If paintball is too rough (getting hit can hurt, and you do need some special gear), try an airsoft or Nerf gun fight in the backyard instead. You’ll be transported right back to your childhood and his early days as a dad. If you have a new dad in your life, on the other hand, check out our list of the best first Father’s Day gifts.
Plan a beer-tasting day
Go ahead and make his day by toasting him at a local beer- or wine-tasting event. This is one of those Father’s Day ideas that even comes with a built-in gift: Bring home some of the day’s best bottles so he’ll remember the day for weeks to come. Take a look a these funny Father’s Day memes while sipping on your brews, then share them with the rest of the fam.
Hit the amusement park
You likely gave your dad a roller coaster of emotions growing up, so pay him back by treating him to a more fun type of roller coaster! Thrilling rides, funnel cake, tacky souvenirs—that’s just some of the fun you’ll get to experience at a theme park. Whether you go to a small local fave or something big like Disney World, if that’s in your proverbial backyard, you’ll both feel like kids again and totally rejuvenated by the end of the day. If you’re celebrating your stepfather, give him a card with one of these heartwarming stepdad quotes in it.
Practice your swing
They say golf is a good walk spoiled, but not when you spend 18 holes worth of quality time with Dad. You can hire a PGA instructor for a series of golf lessons for the two of you—a great excuse to hang out together, pick up tips from a pro and improve your game. You can also head to the driving range or play some mini-golf, if that’s more your (or his) speed. This could even work as a last-minute Father’s Day gift.
Make him a custom craft
This Father’s Day idea is great for the pint-size set. Set up the kids with some art supplies, and let them go to town with the glitter, googly eyes and glue to make a one-of-a-kind Father’s Day craft. Dads and grandpas will truly cherish these kid creations forever—and thank you for facilitating these sweet gifts.
If Dad is handy, pull out the nails, sander and paint and tackle a construction project together. Of course, we’re not talking about run-of-the-mill home-improvement projects here, unless you and Dad really do love that, of course. Work on building a bird house (or if you want to go really big, a tree house!), or paint a piece of furniture a cool color to give new life to an old piece. If you have little ones at home, you can have them work on a LEGO creation together.
Catch a ballgame
Tickets to his favorite sporting event are pretty much always a winning idea—and definitely a winning Father’s Day idea. Many stadiums offer Father’s Day deals, so see if your local teams are offering discounted tickets. Just be sure to join him on this father-child outing so you can spend time together. Want to be the favorite child? Surprise him by splurging on season tickets.
Go on an overnight camping trip
This year, start a family camping tradition. Pitch a tent, kindle a campfire and swap memories about growing up—it’s bonding at its best. Look for a campground near you, pack up your camping gear and go wild (literally). Bonus: The tech-free time translates to more opportunities to have meaningful conversations and create new memories.
Plan a spa day
Dads enjoy getting pampered too! Book him a luxurious massage, haircut or professional shave at a nice salon. Or DIY it at home with face masks, a bubble bath and a foot soak. Here’s how to have a relaxing spa day at home.
Take in a car show
Is your dad an absolute car nut? Contact local car clubs to find a nearby show featuring vintage hot rods or the latest electric car. Bond over stories of what it was like for him to drive his first car—or laugh over what he went through to teach you how to drive. (Enough time has elapsed since that traumatic experience … probably.)
Learn something new
Got a dad who’s a history or science buff? Take him to a free day at a local museum. Check with your local library or historical society, and ask if tours are available in their stacks and archives. Many organizations will also be happy to show you a behind-the-scenes look at your town’s history, and it’s always fun to play tourist in your hometown or a nearby city.
Play board games
Here’s another way to tap into his competitive side, but without the risk for personal injury. (Sorry, he’s not 25 anymore, and you might not be either!) But board games exercise that all-important mental muscle, and you can pick something fun from his top category, whether it’s a strategy board game or a classic. One idea: Find out what his favorite game was growing up and see if he’s still got it.
Get tickets to a concert
Outdoor concerts are particularly fun at this time of year, so check local listings for his favorite band, a tribute band playing faves from his teen years or an outdoor music festival. Find one with food trucks and make a night of it, or bring snacks, a cooler and a picnic blanket. Or just head to a great local restaurant with live music. Earn extra brownie points by including the tickets in a Father’s Day gift basket made specially for him.
Many local art museums have dad-friendly works to look at, or you can find a specialized collection or gallery that he might find more interesting. You can also check out cool art installations in a nearby city (think: murals or sculptures) for a neat alternative to a more traditional museum—and a fun adventure.
Take a cooking class
You can treat Dad to dinner anytime, but getting in the kitchen together opens up the possibilities for a different sort of bonding—and noshing. Sur La Table, local restaurants and culinary schools are all good places to start your search. The best part of this Father’s Day idea? At the end of your chef session, you’ll get to enjoy the meal you created together … and replicate it for many meals to come.
Embark on a road trip
From the coast of Maine to Florida’s Key West, or wherever else you’re based, June is a great month to get away—especially if you live in an area where it’s just starting to feel like summer. Pack up the car, buy some snacks, put together a Father’s Day playlist (so you can both agree on the tunes!) and get ready for some serious bonding. Throw in a well-timed “Are we there yet?” to hearken back to the good ol’ days of family road trips.
He’s given you so much—now it’s time for both of you to give back. If he’s a community-minded guy, turn Father’s Day into an even more meaningful day by helping those in your community. Consider a Habitat for Humanity build, a Red Cross blood donation or a volunteer shift at a food bank. Here are some other creative ways to volunteer.
Grab some ice cream
Sometimes the basics are the best. Just like when you were a kid, your dad will love indulging in some sweet treats with you, and with this Father’s Day activity, he’ll get two of his favorite things: dessert and spending time with his favorite person. Go ahead and indulge in the hot-fudge sundae with all the fixings.
Rent his favorite car
Has your dad always dreamed of driving a Ferrari? Or maybe a Lamborghini? Fulfill his fantasy and rent his dream car for a couple hours and take a spin together. Talk about what kind of car you’d design if you had unlimited funds—or maybe plan an EV road trip in a scenic spot like the California coast for next year’s Father’s Day activities!
Go on a bike ride
Remember when he patiently taught you how to ride your bike in your driveway, then around the block and eventually on your own without those training wheels? This is a fun throwback activity, with an adult twist, especially if he loves being outside. Take him to his favorite park, or try a trail neither of you has been to before and go exploring. Get him a new helmet as a present, and consider making this a regular father-child date.
Listen to old records
Vinyl is back in style, so you should be able to find a vintage record player. Find out what your dad’s favorite records were, or check the basement to see if he’s still got some lying around. He’ll feel nostalgic dusting off his records and listening to his old favorites. Even better, he’ll love sharing his past with his children. It may even spark some stories that will help you get to know your dad on a deeper level. This is also a terrific Father’s Day idea for Grandpa.
Solve an escape room
Escape rooms are one of the hottest activities right now, and for good reason—these life-size puzzles offer mental and physical challenges in a fun themed setting. You’ll have to work together as a team to escape in time, making it a great family bonding activity. Take a picture at the end to commemorate your great escape … even if you don’t actually escape.
Take him to a garden show
If gardening or landscaping is more of a passion than a chore for your dad, treat him to tickets to a garden show, a walk around botanical gardens or just a trip to your local nursery. Or you can get outside together, work in his pride and joy of a garden, or even build your own DIY hydroponic garden together.
Knock out something on his chore list
Chances are, your pop has a list of things he’s been meaning to get done around the house but hasn’t had the time or energy to do yet. Find a big project that needs doing and offer to help, or if you’re able, do it yourself and take it off his plate. Think of things like changing the oil in the car, clearing out the attic, cleaning the dryer vents, painting, filling holes in the walls or tilling the garden. He’ll be so appreciative!
Go indoor skydiving
Dads who like an adrenaline rush will love spending an afternoon at an indoor skydiving facility. You can jump, flip and fly (safely) to your heart’s delight, and you’ll get some great pictures. If you have a little extra money to spend, are feeling extra brave and want a Father’s Day experience of a lifetime, book a real skydiving trip.
It’s a two-for-one Father’s Day gift: The work of art you create together will become a precious souvenir for years to come. Book a time slot at a local painting or pottery studio, choose what type of project you’d like to make, and then have fun making it beautiful (or silly) together. And yes, this can be an excellent adult Father’s Day activity (some facilities even have paint-and-sip sessions), but you can also give it a kid-friendly twist by bringing the grandkids along.
Create a signature cocktail for him
Having a signature drink is a badge of honor! Not only is creating a custom cocktail a fun way to celebrate the day and a unique take on a personalized Father’s Day gift, but it can also become a tradition for future Father’s Days. Treat Dad to a trip to a local speakeasy or cocktail lounge. (Call ahead to see if they do custom drinks, and expect to pay and tip more for this service.) You could also look up interesting recipes online, or take a mixology class together, and have fun creating it at home.
Treat him to a relaxing staycation
Use the holiday as an excuse to fully disconnect and escape daily life—either together with the family or on his own if he needs some alone time. If you don’t have the time or money to splurge on a vacation, try these staycation ideas for a treat close to home.
Read him your Top 10 dad list
Dads don’t get enough credit for being sentimental, but even the toughest fathers are often softies at heart. And we can pretty much guarantee that any dad will love a “Top 10” all about him, created by you. It could be the 10 things you love about him, your 10 favorite memories of him, the 10 best things you’ve done with him, 10 things he said to you that you’ll always remember or anything else you can think up. Read him the list, and watch him melt.
Take a hike
There’s nothing better than heading outdoors to take in one of Mother Nature’s grand displays. Do it together to check out the sunrise over the mountains or the sunset at the beach. Take him on one of his favorite hikes, or choose a new one from our list of the best hiking trails in every state.
Regardless of whether your dad has always secretly wanted to be an opera star or he sings like a cat in a tin bucket, karaoke is fun for all skill levels. In fact, karaoke at home or a local bar just may be the secret to happiness. You’ll laugh, you’ll bond and you’ll make some serious memories while singing his favorite tunes.
Pickleball is America’s fastest growing sport, and it’s easy to see why—it combines the skills of tennis, the fun of badminton and the whimsy of Wiffle ball. If he’s a newbie, you can take a lesson together, or if he’s played before, grab your gear and head to the nearest court. Just remember to stay out of the kitchen! (Yep, it’s a pickleball thing!)
Take him to a comedy show
Laughter really is the best medicine! Check your local comedy clubs for father-themed shows around Father’s Day, take him to a local bar for open mic night or check out an improv show. And if Dad feels like staying in, you can watch comedy specials online. Don’t forget to buy a funny Father’s Day gift to go with this activity.
Hit up a water park
From the local pool to the community center to an epic water park, there are so many ways to have fun in the sun with your dad and the rest of the family. Make sure to pack your sunscreen, towels and snacks—and be prepared for a lot of water fights (and happy memories).
Maps, hiking, the great outdoors, a hunt, cool tech and a prize—geocaching incorporates all the dad favorites. Known as the “world’s largest treasure hunt,” geocaching uses GPS-enabled devices to locate hidden containers called “caches.” People hide these caches all over the world, then post the locations on geocaching sites online for others to try and find. They are often cleverly hidden and contain fun notes and prizes. Download an app or look up geocaches in your area, and then take Dad on an adventure.
Play family capture-the-flag (or capture-the-dad)
Capture the flag and other outdoor games are perfect for extended families who like to celebrate Father’s Day all together. To play, divide into two teams (dads vs. kids?), mark off the playing area and tell each team to set their flag. For a fun twist, have a dad hold each flag, then try to “kidnap” the other team’s dad and get him back across the dividing line! Whoever gets the other team’s flag first wins bragging rights for the entire year.
Take him on a picnic
Pack up all your dad’s favorite foods and drinks, and head outdoors for a celebratory picnic. Pancakes, pizza and liverwurst? It doesn’t matter if the foods go together. In fact, it’s even more fun when they don’t. Remember: The best Father’s Day ideas don’t have to be expensive or posh—they just have to be fun!
Connect him to all the dads in his family line
Where is your dad’s family from? What is his heritage? Use a genealogy website, like Ancestry.com or Family Search, to look up your dad’s relatives—and yours! There are millions of records already online, and some families have records dating back centuries. You can find pictures, stories, recipes and other historical goodies to share together.
Have a Star Wars marathon
Dedicate the day to watching your dad’s favorite movie franchise. Whether he’s into Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or the Marvel universe, you’ll have a blast rewatching his favorite shows. Bonus points if you watch them all in order! Or watch one of the greatest sports movies of all time.
Is it even Father’s Day if you don’t grill something? Keep it simple with hot dogs or burgers, get fancy with delicious grill recipes or get creative with things you never knew you could grill (but totally should). If you have a dad who’s a grill chef, just be sure to ask first if he’d like to do the cooking or if he’d prefer to have the day off to celebrate.
Additional reporting by Chandni Jhunjhunwala.