One of the best things that a father and son can do is take a trip together. It can be an incredible opportunity, allowing you both to forge shared memories and build the father-son bond – which, if you’re lucky enough to experience it, can last a lifetime.
However, the problem is deciding where to go on a father-son vacation. In this article, we’ll break down the best father-son trips and vacation ideas, spanning a variety of interest areas, lengths, and categories.
Best Father-Son Trips & Vacation Ideas
1. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park is nestled just south of the historical sites of Washington, D.C., but you wouldn’t know it. The 311-square-mile park abounds with crystalline waterfalls, towering peaks, and ancient trees, making it perfect for a father-son day trip or a more extended getaway.
While you’re in the area, you can also stop into any number of rustic bed-and-breakfasts like Silver Lake Farm Bed and Breakfast to tour historic regions.
If staying in the park itself isn’t your speed, you can always take a self-driven audio tour of the area, giving you the chance to experience the awesome majesty of nature from the comfort of your car.
2. Everglades National Park, Florida
The Everglades has been a fixture of the American imagination since the Spanish first colonized the state, and one trip to Everglades National Park will show you why.
The Everglades’ sprawling swamp ecosystem is teeming with wildlife you rarely see elsewhere, such as the alligator or Florida Panther. You can also spot more familiar creatures, like the bottlenose dolphin.
Appropriate for this grand size, there are also a wide variety of father-son vacation ideas that feature the Everglades. You might go on an airboat trip to see the unimaginable wildlife, kayak through the wilderness, or simply take in the scenery during a fly fishing trip.
In any case, you’ll be crafting memories that will last a lifetime – and you’ll be able to hop back to civilization at hotels like the Garden Inn Homestead at a moment’s notice. And at the end of the day, you’ll end up with a father-son trip, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Tampa, Florida
3. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of the most acclaimed father-son trip destinations for a reason. Grand Canyon National Park, which measures over 1,900 square miles, is nothing short of an iconic sight, giving breathtaking views of nature’s sublime power. The only problem is that you might just be so stunned that you won’t have time to do everything you want!
The park is so large that there are numerous accommodation options, whether outdoor lodging at Zion’s View Camping, glamping, or staying in a hotel or cabin.
Whichever you choose, you’ll still have many opportunities to see the wonders of the park – including rock climbing, hiking, donkey and horseback riding, and railroad sightseeing.
If you want to see a visual guide about Grand Canyon watch our Grand Canyon National Park YouTube video below.
See Related: How to Take a Grand Canyon Road Trip
4. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Along with the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the United States – and a dream destination for a father’s day trip. In addition to its enormous 3,400 square miles, Yellowstone is also steeped in history.
It was the first national park in the US and one of the first in the world. The possibilities for fun and bonding in Yellowstone are almost endless.
You can visit the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone to view the majesty of its cascading waterfall, encounter the astonishingly predictable beauty of the Old Faithful Geyser, or gaze upon the alien landscape of Mammoth Hot Springs.
In any case, you’ll be able to choose your level of intensity. If you want a father-son trip that’s on the more intense side, you can camp in the park or book a multi-day tour or a whitewater rafting expedition. For a more leisurely trip, you can post up in a Yellowstone Lodge, just outside the park.
See Related: Best Things to do in Yellowstone National Park
5. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California
Nestled outside of San Francisco, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the most awe-inspiring tracts of arboreal natural beauty on the planet–and it makes for a once-in-a-lifetime bonding experience.
The park, which comprises over 82,000 acres of land, actually includes a wide variety of subsections. With so many regions available, this just multiplies the possibilities for fun and exploration.
Whether you’re looking to stay the night or explore for a day of San Francisco Redwoods and Wine Tasting tour before heading back home to the Lodge at Tiburon, there’s plenty to do, like mountain biking or checking out the wonders of the California Academy of Sciences.
See Related: Most Exotic Places in Califonia to Visit
6. Route 66 – Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, California
Made famous by films like Cars and songs like Nat King Cole’s “(Get Your Kicks) on Route 66), Route 66 is actually one of the oldest highways in the United States, existing even before the Interstate System – it was established in 1926, linking the Midwest hub of Chicago to Santa Monica.
Though officials decommission it as an official highway in the 80s, Route 66 still lingers in the American popular consciousness as a symbol of the early 20th century.
Appropriately, the road is still saturated with history. You’ll find scenic restaurants and shops that represent the history of Route 66 scattered along the road.
Plus, you can stop by the numerous landmarks, national parks, and major cities on the way. That means that you’ll be able to spend a night in Las Vegas or the Desert Palms Hotel & Suites Resort in Anaheim and be right back on the road the next day.
What makes the Route 66 road trip such a special one is that it can easily dovetail into several father-son activities, whether seeing national parks or simply experiencing the wide vistas of the road itself. If you’re a motorhead, you cannot pass on this vacation idea.
See Related: best things to do in Chicago, Illinois
7. Disneyland to Walt Disney World, USA
If you form part of a father-son duo that loves theme parks, why not bundle that love into a road trip between the two Disney theme parks?
Framing this awesome road trip, you’ll be able to unwind and enjoy each theme park!
At one end of the journey, you can drink around the world at EPCOT or enjoy a love letter to Disney animation. On the other, you can see all of the innovations and history at Disneyland when you’re not relaxing at a comfortable hotel like the Portofino Inn and Suites.
And apart from the amusement parks, there are fantastic golf courses for you to enjoy the glorious walk.
8. Los Angeles, CA to New York, NY
An impressive 2,700 miles separate the City of Angels from the City that Never Sleeps, and along that path are several father-son trip destinations that make it one of the best father-son trips.
In the former, you can stay in a Hilton Hotel and take a tour of a Hollywood studio or see Santa Monica Pier. Then, in New York, you can explore exciting neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan, visit chic breweries in Brooklyn, or experience art at a world-famous museum.
But what’s more, the trip will also take you on a tour of the marvels of the Midwest and Southwestern United States. Just one possible path takes you through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada in between New York and California–and in each one of those places, there’s a multitude of things to see and places to experience.
It’s one of the lengthier trips on this list, but if you’re looking for a quintessential American experience, you’re hard-pressed to find many trips better than the New York/Los Angeles drive.
9. Key West, FL to Lubec, ME
If you’re looking for where to go for a father-son vacation on the East Coast, you can always drive the length of the coast itself! Key West is the southernmost city in the contiguous United States.
While Lubec isn’t the northernmost, it is the furthest northeast. When you drive the 2,000 miles between them, you’ll see the entirety of the first US territories.
In addition to exploring the entirety of the I-95 highway, you’ll also be able to have plenty of fun in the cities themselves. In Key West, you both can sail on a schooner, go snorkeling, or take a tour of the city’s various districts, which are saturated with centuries of history.
In Lubec, gaze out on the Atlantic Ocean from a quaint lodge, like West Quoddy Station, visit Quoddy Head State Park, or visit the lighthouse at West Quoddy Head Light–the easternmost point in the United States.
At the end of this trip, you won’t just have seen some of the greatest historic extremes in the nation – you’ll also have had some unforgettable experiences.
10. San Diego, CA to Seattle, WA
If the west coast is more your speed, you still have great options for father-son trip ideas! Consider driving from Imperial Beach, in San Diego, California, to Seattle, Washington.
While this trip doesn’t perfectly encapsulate the northern and southern extremes of the west coast, it does give you the chance to see some fantastic things along the way.
On the other end, you can use your time in Seattle to visit the Space Needle (you can even stay in the Mediterranean Inn, which is just nearby!), see the Great Wheel, or simply take in the indescribable ambiance of the Pacific Northwest.
In any case, you’ll have lots of opportunities to see wonderful sights and have father-son bonding time throughout California, Oregon, and Washington State.
See Related: Best Breweries in San Diego, California
11. San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a gorgeous and unique city that’s one of the best father-son trips out there. This city is full of iconic architecture, beautiful art, and historic sites. This city is perfect for a weekend of fun and educational activities.
Start with visiting famous locations like the Golden Gate Bridge or the exterior of the house from Full House, and then ride one of the famous cable cars to grab a bite to eat in Chinatown.
If you fellas are history buffs, you’ll love taking a tour of Alcatraz, the infamous island prison in San Francisco Bay. For animal lovers, you absolutely have to spend some time at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens and the Aquarium of the Bay.
San Francisco is also an excellent location for some education in fine arts: take your son to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which houses some of the most recognizable artworks from the last century. The city also has some great opportunities to see live theater or live music.
For more ideas on what to do on a father-son trip in San Francisco, check out these tickets to the California Academy of Sciences. If you need some inspiration on where to stay, here are the latest deals on hotels in the city, like the Fairmont San Francisco.
12. Austin, Texas
If music, food, and hippie cultures are your family’s scene, you can’t go wrong with taking a memorable father-son weekend getaway to Austin, Texas. Austin is an eclectic and artsy city that will spark your child’s imagination and lead to some genuinely epic bonding moments.
One of the best parts of Austin is the food. During your visit, be sure to take your son on a tour of all the most popular taco joints in the city. Tex-Mex is Austin’s cuisine specialty, and there’s plenty of it!
For more yummy food, check out The Picnic, where all the best food trucks are parked. In between tasty meals, you can indulge your outdoorsy sides with a hike or bike ride along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, a 10-mile nature trail at Lady Bird Lake.
If museums are more your speed, explore the art housed at The Contemporary Austin, or visit the Thinkery, Austin’s interactive children’s museum. If you’re animation nerds, let’s play junkies or co-op buds, check out Rooster Teeth’s awesome annual event RTX!
Other popular attractions include Peter Pan Mini Golf, a campy mini-golf course that kids will love, as well as the Paramount Theatre, a historic movie theater in Downtown Austin where you can introduce your son to a classic film.
13. Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida, is the best place to be for a magical Floridian father-son trip. Between the gorgeous beaches, unique restaurants, and thriving cultural scene, this will be a trip that you boys will remember for a lifetime.
Miami is a city of culture, which means there are some great museums that kids and adults alike love exploring, such as the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science or the outdoor art museum Wynwood Walls.
Miami has you covered if you want to spend lots of time outside. There are plenty of fun beaches in the Miami area, but the nature parks are probably the most enriching and kid-friendly.
Matheson Hammock Park is the perfect access point for gentle and safe ocean swimming, while Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park has a super tall lighthouse that kids will love to climb up.
Other fantastic family-fun activities include the many famous luxury pools, such as the Venetian Pool or the water park Tidal Cove. If you want to engage your children in the theater, be sure to visit the Miami Theater Center or the Miami Children’s Theater.
14. Durham, North Carolina
While it might seem like a weird addition to this list, Raleigh-Durham has recently been rated the second-best place to live in the United States – and it might just be time for you to add it to a list of ideas for a father-and-son trip.
In addition to its year-round mild weather, Durham is quickly becoming one of the most popular food spots in the American South. If you’re both foodies, stop into any of the critically acclaimed barbecue joints, plant-based comfort food shops, Indian bars, Italian trattorias, diners, or Asian fusion restaurants nestled in or around the downtown.
If you’re looking for a father-son day trip or father-son weekend ideas, there are plenty of options to explore nature, experience some culture, or take a leisurely stroll. If you want to see the immaculate ecology of the Carolinas, pop over to Duke University’s Sarah P. Duke Gardens or any of the numerous Eno River State Park trails.
If you’re looking for some cultural refinement, go to a lecture at Duke, an independent art gallery, like Cecy’s, or stay at a chic downtown hotel like Unscripted. If you want to see more of what the Carolinas have to offer, it’s a quick jaunt to destinations like Charlotte, where you can go on a chilling ghost tour.
Hopefully, this list will give you some inspiration when planning your next father-son trip. Have any other destinations you’ve shown the boy, or taken the old man?