California Day Trips Your Dad Will Love

California Day Trips Your Dad Will Love

By California.com June 11, 2020

As communities across the world and in California mitigate health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are shifting our content focus and not encouraging any travel or social activities during this time. We will, however, continue to shine a light on and celebrate the many beautiful aspects of our State with the intention of being a source of inspiration and joy during this difficult period. Thank you for reading, and stay safe.

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 minuscule 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 by taking him on a special Father’s Day trip in California. No matter what kind of dad you have, you know you love him—dad jokes and all—so treat him to something he’ll really enjoy.

The Ultimate List of Father’s Day Getaway Ideas

While there are plenty of Father’s Day gifts to choose from, nothing quite compares to spending some quality time together, so make sure to pair your present with a mini getaway. From using his grill in the great outdoors and throwing on the wetsuit to catch some waves as a family to drinking a cup of coffee and watching television together, there are endless activities to enjoy no matter where the day takes you. Here are a few Father’s Day getaway ideas for every interest.

The Surfer

Head to San Diego's Oceanside Beach and spend the day riding the waves with your dad.

Catch some waves in Oceanside

Venture out to the beach to spend some one-on-one time together riding San Diego’s swells. Oceanside 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, share a picnic in the car overlooking the sandy shores before returning home. 

If you live closer to the Bay Area, check out San Francisco’s surf spots to find your ideal father-daughter trips for this year, and plan a trip to San Diego for next year’s adventures.

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The Adventurer

Thrill-seeking dads are bound to love the feeling of soaring among the trees at 55 miles per hour. Photo courtesy of Ziplines at Pacific Crest.

Go ziplining in 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—making it the one of the best day trips for dads. 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.

Then, check out more of Angeles National Forest. Whether you’re interested in hiking, climbing, fishing, or swimming, you can find a bit of everything in this California national forest

The Golfer

While away the afternoon with dad on the greens of the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links. Photo courtesy of Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Play a round at Pebble Beach

Take a swing on the greens of the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links, where legendary golfers—including Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, and Phil Mickelson—have teed off. Look out at the dazzling waters of the Pacific Ocean and let your dad know how much you care by taking part in his favorite sport. Even if golfing isn’t normally your go-to, there’s plenty to love about making lifelong memories together on the Monterey Peninsula.  

After conquering the course, cruise south to Carmel-by-the-Sea, or head north to Santa Cruz to take in the sunshine.

The Outdoor Enthusiast

Take a scenic drive to Big Sur for a day of adventure with your outdoor-loving dad.

Hike in Big Sur

Take a road trip to Big Sur for the day and visit Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to hike the various trails—including the Tanbark, Tin House, and Partington Cove Trails—for a Father's Day getaway your dad will remember forever. The trails in this region are fairly easy-going and range from 1-mile round-trip to 3.2 miles one-way, so you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the scenery together. 

The Nature Lover

Kick off Father's Day with an easy-going hike to Marin County's Cascade Falls. Photo courtesy of Conrad Lowry and Alltrails.

Hike to Cascade Falls

When it comes to trips for dads, it doesn’t get much better than an adventure in the North Bay, so take your dad on a hike he won’t easily forget. Cascade Falls is a gorgeous, 25-foot-tall waterfall in Marin County’s Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve 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 near San Francisco, check out some of our favorite coastal trails, mountain trails, and East Bay trails

The Drama King

Even if you can't make it to San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre, you can still catch one of Broadway's biggest sensations on TV.

Watch Hamilton

If you have to schedule a belated Father’s Day experience, invite dad over for a backyard movie day later this summer: Hamilton will be available on Disney+ starting in July, making it easier than ever to enjoy theatre together. Though you should still plan to see a live show at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre at some point in the future, you’ll be able to appreciate the epic musical that brings America’s history to life from the comfort of your own home. Combining stunning set designs; elaborate costumes; and a score that melds jazz, Broadway, hip-hop, rap, and blues, Hamilton offers a unique experience your theatrical dad will love sharing with you.

Take things up a notch by getting brunch to-go from the Bay Area’s best breakfast spots or hosting a chocolate taste test to go along with the show.

The (Sea)Foodie

Grab some fresh oysters for you and your dad, and tune in to the virtual Arcata Bay Oyster Festival.

Experience the (virtual) Arcata Bay Oyster Festival

Join the Humboldt County town of Arcata—the oyster capital of California—to celebrate the Arcata Bay Oyster Festival’s 30th anniversary. The zero-waste festival typically draws 15,000-plus attendees to Arcata Plaza each year, but due to the unexpected twists of 2020, you’ll have to enjoy all the festivities at home this year. 

If you live in Arcata or the surrounding areas (including Eureka and Ferndale), place an order for your oyster fest package and schedule your pick-up time. Packages can include everything from T-shirts, to commemorative cups, to fresh Arcata Bay oysters.

Those who live further away can still get in on the action; grab your own oysters and tune in to the festival’s live stream on Saturday, June 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Still want more? Plan a future road trip down the coast to sample selections from these amazing oyster bars.

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