California Day Trips Your Dad Will Love

California Day Trips Your Dad Will Love

By Oliver Jenkyns June 08, 2019

He’s done it all for you: From picking you up when you fell off your bicycle, to paying for those guitar lessons, to helping you through every miniscule problem that weighed on your mind, your dad has been one of the people you can count on most in life—and it’s time to start paying him back. Whether your dad lives across the hall or across the state, show him your appreciation this Father’s Day by taking him somewhere special in California. No matter what type of dad you have, you know you love him—dad jokes and all—so treat him to something he will really enjoy this Father’s Day.

for The Animal Lover

Roar & Snore Safari

California article
Take dad on a unique adventure at San Diego Zoo Safari Park to see cheetahs, giraffes, elephants, and other exotic animals.

Location: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Treat the whole family to a sleepover at San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido for a night they’ll never forget. Transport your dad back to his childhood with classic camp activities and bonfires, then enjoy an after-hours look at the wild animals and a guided tour through the park.

For The Grill Master

Father’s Day Concert & BBQ

California article
Spend the day with dad by savoring delicious barbecue on the beach and listening to live music at Hotel del Coronado's annual Father's Day Concert and BBQ.

Location: Hotel del Coronado

This is not your dad’s barbecue—but it is one he will love to attend. Get to the Hotel del Coronado beach early to experience a full day of eating and soaking up the sun. Vendors start doling out BBQ favorites at 2 p.m., but make sure to stick around for the skydiving demonstration and live music beginning at 5 p.m. As you fill your senses with the smells and tastes of quality barbecue, take in the beauty of Coronado and give dad a hug.

For the Surfer

Catch some waves 

California article
Ride the waves along San Diego's pristine coastline at Oceanside Beach, then take dad to the California Surf Museum to view surf art, memorabilia, photographs, videos, and more.

Location: San Diego

Venture out to the beach to spend some one-on-one time together riding San Diego’s swells. Ocean Beach is a great place for beginners to get their feet wet and experiment with everything from small waves to full-on barrels. After a nice morning on the water, head inland for a bite to eat before returning home.

For The Adventurer

Ziplines at Pacific Crest

California article
Thrill-seeking dads can get their fix while ziplining in the San Gabriel Mountains, where they can soar above towering pine trees at up to 55 miles per hour.

Location: Wrightwood

Nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains just 75 miles outside of Los Angeles, Ziplines at Pacific Crest offers two of the most intense zipline courses in the country. Take the two-and-a-half-hour Mountain View Tour to soar across six ziplines at up to 55 miles per hour and to experience two controlled free-falls as you leap from platforms high up in the tree canopies. For an extra thrill, go on the Canopy Tour so you can fly across nine ziplines as long as 1,500 feet, rappel from trees up to 90 feet tall, hike among the pines, and cross adrenaline-inducing suspension bridges. Can’t choose between the two incredible excursions? Opt for the Ultimate All-Day Adventure package.

For The Music Lover

See the Goo Goo Dolls and Train in concert

California article
The Goo Goo Dolls and Train take the stage at Irvine's FivePoint Amphitheatre this Father's Day, so treat your music-loving dad to concert tickets.

Location: FivePoint Amphitheatre

Celebrate Father’s Day by rocking out with your dad at a concert under the stars. Watch Allen Stone, Train, and Goo Goo Dolls; grab a burger and garlic fries; and enjoy some quality time together in the Southern California evening air.  

For The Foodie

Brunch at Descanso Gardens

California article
Any foodie dad is bound to love the eggs Benedict, avocado toast, and other brunch classics at Maple, a rustic-chic eatery nestled among the lush Descanso Gardens. 

Location: Maple

Head to Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge to meander through the five-acre rose garden, oak and ancient forests, and native California blooms before sitting down for brunch with the best dad out there. Maple offers a wide selection of Southern-inspired brunch favorites highlighting seasonal produce. Order a cup of Intelligentsia coffee and chow down on the elegant avocado toast adorned with hazelnut ricotta, Meyer lemon emulsion, herb oil, fleur de sel, and cracked pepper; savor the decadent eggs Benedict featuring toasted brioche, perfectly smoked bacon, poached farm eggs, creamed spinach, and rich hollandaise; and indulge in the buttermilk fried chicken and beignets for the perfect comforting bite.

For The Auto Aficionado

2019 Father’s Day Car Show

California article
Get a close-up look at cutting-edge vehicles, vintage hot rods, and classic autos during the 2019 Father's Day Car Show at Oxnard’s Harbor View Park.

Location: Harbor View Park

Ride out to Oxnard’s Harbor View Park between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to get up close and personal with classic cars, hot rods, and custom autos. Take in the California sunshine, grab a bite to eat, admire the ocean views, listen to live music, and dream about your future car garage. Enter the cornhole tournament to round out a day your dad is sure to love.

For The Golfer

2019 U.S. Open Championship

California article
Celebrate Father's Day on the green of the 100-year-old Pebble Beach Golf Links, which hosts the prestigious U.S. Open Championship this year.

Location: Pebble Beach Golf Links

Watch history in the making as legendary golfers like Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, and Phil Mickelson tee off at the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links overlooking the unparalleled Pacific Ocean. Let your dad know how much you care by making lifelong memories together on the Monterey Peninsula, observing his favorite sport.  

For The Nature Lover

Hike to Cascade Falls

California article
Spend the day chasing waterfalls with dad in Marin County, where you can hike the High Water Trail to reach the rushing Cascade Falls.

Location: Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve

Take dad on a hike he won’t easily forget. Cascade Falls is a gorgeous, 25-foot-tall waterfall in Marin County that can be reached via a 1.5-mile hike along the High Water Trail. The moderate hike is a perfect way to start Father’s Day (plus parking can be challenging later into the afternoon), so grab the pup, lots of water, natural bug spray, and dad—of course—before hitting the trail. If you’re looking for more hiking opportunities in the Bay Area, check out some of our other favorite coastal trails.

For The Sports Fan

Catch an Oakland A’s or San Francisco Giants game

California article
Bond with dad during a baseball game at Oracle Park, where you can watch the San Francisco Giants take on the Milwaukee Brewers over Father's Day weekend.

Locations: Oakland Coliseum or Oracle Park

Take dad out to a ball game (and buy him some crackerjacks) at either the Oakland Coliseum or San Francisco’s Oracle Park during Father’s Day weekend. Watch the Giants take on the Milwaukee Brewers and the A’s battle the Seattle Mariners from Friday through Sunday, with fireworks at both stadiums on Friday night.

For The Outdoor Enthusiast

Camp along the coast

California article
Pick up some snacks, crank up the radio, and hit the road with dad to enjoy a weekend camping along the gorgeous Big Sur coastline.

Location: Big Sur

Take a road trip down to Big Sur for the weekend and rough it in the wilderness. Stay at Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground to enjoy access to miles of trails and dozens of swimming holes—though you may need to plan ahead for this one because spots sell out quickly. You can also check out Ventana Campground or Treebones Resort, or stop by one of the state’s other incredible campsites.

For The Cowboy

Country Summer Music Festival

California article
Tim McGraw headlines this year's Country Summer Music Festival in Santa Rosa alongside megastars Chase Rice and Jake Owen.

Location: Sonoma County Fairgrounds

Head to the city of Santa Rosa to experience Northern California’s largest country music festival, featuring three days of renowned artists, culinary creations, and fun attractions. Stay for the whole weekend to watch live performances by Chase Rice, Jake Owen, and Tim McGraw, or pick up a one-day ticket and chill with dad on Sunday to see Big & Rich and Old Dominion.

For The Drama King


California article
The critically acclaimed musical Hamilton returns to San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre this summer, so treat your favorite theater buff to an experience of a lifetime. 

Location: Orpheum Theatre

Splurge on the experience of a lifetime by purchasing tickets for you and dad to see the award-winning Hamilton at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre. The epic musical brings America’s history to life with stunning set designs, elaborate costumes, and a score that melds jazz, Broadway, hip-hop, rap, and blues. The unique experience is sure to culminate in a Father’s Day he will remember forever.

For The Cool Dad

Biscuits and Blues

California article
Get your dad's toes tapping and fingers snapping while watching a riveting performance at the Biscuits and Blues club in San Francisco.

Location: San Francisco

Is your dad too cool for school? Take him to Biscuits and Blues, one of the top blues clubs in the nation, for some true Southern cooking and energetic live music. Watch the Shane Dwight Band on Father’s Day while savoring the fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and fried chicken.

For The (Sea)Foodie

Arcata Oyster Festival

California article
Head to Arcata, the state's oyster capital, over Father's Day weekend to get your fill of freshly shucked oysters at the zero-waste Arcata Bay Oyster Festival. 

Location: Arcata

Go to the Humboldt County town of Arcata—the oyster capital of California—to treat dad a day early. On Saturday, June 15th, the 29th annual Arcata Bay Oyster Festival descends on Arcata Plaza. This zero-waste extravaganza draws 15,000-plus attendees each year with its freshly shucked oysters, games, and contests. Can’t get enough oysters? Road trip down the coast to sample selections from these amazing California oyster bars.


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