Image: Lake Austin Spa Resort
Lake Austin Spa Resort
This isn’t for all fathers, but for men who enjoy being coddled and massaged in spas, you can send him and of course Mom to Lake Austin Spa Resort for the Ultimate Spa Pampering package.
updated 6/17/2009 11:11:23 AM ET 2009-06-17T15:11:23

Q: What do these five items have in common?

  • Soap-on-a-rope
  • Aftershave and/or cologne
  • Designer necktie
  • Tool kit
  • “Kiss the cook” barbecue apron

A: All are gifts that your dad has probably received for Father’s Day.


This year Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 21st and while he’d pretend to be happy with any of the above, would you be happy giving them? Can you do better than that? Yes you can.

This year, rise above the usual and give your dad a gift he'll remember forever: an adventure designed specifically for him. Plan the kind of journey he’s always wanted to take, but has been too busy to plan for himself. And since Father’s Day is, ultimately, a celebration of family, feel free to tag along. Yes, you can even invite your mother!

The first step is to zero in on your dad’s history. Is there something in his background worth revisiting? Sharon Joseph, of Elixir Holidays, tells of one son “whose father had been in Turkey during World War II and had always wanted to return.” So the son surprised his Mythology Buff Dad with a tailor-made trip exploring the ancient battlegrounds and temples of Turkey. They spent their days with a private guide, driving a specially fitted-out end Mercedes or Audi, and their evenings in luxury accommodations.

Maybe you have more of a Thrill-Seeker Dad. Send this kind of dad on Extreme Adventures South Africa & Botswana: Seeking the Ultimate Thrill. He’ll fly to South Africa, and for his first adventure he’ll be strapped into a racecar and taken out on a Grand Prix course. Day four will see him strafing mountains and pulling Gs in a Hunter Hawk fighter jet. If he hasn’t had a heart attack by then, he’ll go shark diving on day five, explore the Kalahari Desert on days six and seven, ATV-ing on days eight, nine and ten, and end his thrill-seeking adventure with a walking safari led by Zu/'hoasi Bushmen trackers.

Image: Fire eating, clown Dad
William Perlman  /  Star Ledger/Corbis
Dad a clown? While other dads were pulling fish from the ocean or an engine from a sedan, yours was hiding a whoopee cushion under your seat.  Send him to the sword-swallowing and fire-eating classes at the Sideshow Skills Workshop.
Sporty fathers have a lot of options too, especially the Baseball Dad. Loads of major league baseball teams sponsor adult fantasy camps. He could learn how to pitch with the Dodgers or see first-hand if he thinks the Cubs are going to break their century-long World Series drought this year. They won’t.

For the Clown Dad who—for better or worse—was fond of pulling quarters out of your ear and making balloon animals for your friends, there are sword-swallowing and fire-eating classes at the Sideshow Skills Workshop at Coney Island, N.Y. If he's the kind of clown who enjoys defying death, sign him up for the flying trapeze at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vt.

For the Shutterbug Dad, there are photography workshops, such as Chris Golson’s Pacific Coast Photography Adventures, which combine tutorials in Half Moon Bay, Calif., with a ride aboard a zeppelin.

Image: Golfers teeing off at Gleneagles Resort Golf Course
Annie Belt  /  Corbis
Crystal Cruise’s “High Tea & Golf Tees” allows your father to practice on-board with PGA golf pros and then stop off and play at some of the UK’s highest rated courses in Scotland, Ireland and England.
Finally, for the Single Dad, you wouldn’t want to send him on a cheesy singles cruise, but maybe a small, elite tour would suit him. More and more people are traveling solo these days, and agencies like cater to these intrepid types.

The first and most important step is figuring out what dad wants. No small task, we know—fathers aren’t always the best at communicating their dreams. Maybe sign him up for a fractional ownership car club, and put him behind the wheel of a Lamborghini or Rolls Royce. Or heck, just rent a private jet and let him choose his own adventure.

With all these options, there’s no reason in the world your father should be anywhere near home this Father’s Day.

Video: Budget Father’s Day getaways


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