10 Father-Son Trip Ideas for Some Serious Bonding

From Scottsdale to Scotland

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father-son-trip-ideas: A photograph of the main honky tonk strip in Nashville. The photo focuses on the neon signs for each of the bars.
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Dad and son are overdue for some special bonding time, so a memorable trip that highlights mutual interests and provides for plenty of quality time is in order. But which destinations can cater to two different generations? Fortunately, our roundup of father-son trip ideas should give you a headstart on vacation planning, whether you plan on going abroad or bonding stateside. Read on and start putting together your itinerary stat.

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1. Outdoor Adventure in Scottsdale

  • Best For: outdoor recreation and resort amenities
  • Best Time to Visit: late September to November; March to early May
  • Best Time to Save: June to August
  • How to Get There: fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International AIrport and drive 15 minutes
  • Where to Stay: JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn & Resort, Old Town Oasis

Located on the outskirts of the beautiful Sonoran Desert just outside of Phoenix, Scottsdale is a charming city that provides easy access to hiking, mountain biking, rafting, ATV and pretty much any other outdoor activity you can think of. Just be sure to pencil in some time to enjoy the championship golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools and other resort amenities at our recommended accommodation when you’re done with the desert adventure.

2. Snorkeling and Ziplining in Punta Cana

A tropical paradise awaits in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where the weather is always warm (quite steamy, in fact), the countryside is lush and the 32km of pristine beach boasts clear turquoise waters and powder soft sand.  The region is also known for its posh all-inclusive resorts, and Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana is a stunning example. Best of all, the resort will help coordinate a wide range of excursions for guests—including snorkeling, fishing, reef exploration and ziplining through a jungle known, for good reason, as monkeyland.

3. Spring Training in Tampa

Father and son duos who share a love of sports, should head to sunny Tampa—home to the Tampa Bay Bucanneers and also spring training HQ for the NY Yankees. Catch a spring training game at Steinbrenner Field and then take a stroll along the beautiful Tampa Riverwalk. For visitors who want to enjoy a beach day, Davis beach is the most popular spot within the city limits—though we recommend you take a short drive to Fred Howard Park, a nearby nature preserve and beach with a quieter vibe and plenty of wildlife to watch. (You might even catch a glimpse of dolphins and manatees in the water, if you’re lucky.)

4. Kid-Friendly Attractions in San Diego

San Diego has plenty for everyone, but if the son in question is a kid, you certainly won’t be wanting for things to do. Aside from the beautiful beaches and famously perfect weather (sunny and mild all year long), the city boasts a boatload of family-friendly attractions—including Sea World, Balboa Park, Legoland, the sprawling Wild Animal Park and, last but not least, the World Famous San Diego Zoo.  Yep, we see a father-son scrapbook in your future.

5. Urban Escape in Atlanta

If big city energy is what you want, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Atlanta. Georgia’s capital serves up a diverse cultural experience and Cajun crawfish boils, gorgeous urban parks and music festivals are among the highlights. Also, be sure to check out the Georgia Aquarium before you go for a truly incredible view of marine life. Bottom line: There’s plenty to do and see in the Deep South’s largest population center (and arguably most exciting cultural hub).

6. Crabbing in Chesapeake

  • Best For: history lovers and wildlife enthusiasts
  • Best Time to Visit: late May to October
  • Best Time to Save: from March to May
  • How to Get There: fly into Norfolk International Airport
  • Where to Stay: The Sparks Home, Sweet Suite

Virginia’s second most populous city is a vibrant place to visit that’s rich with history and replete with natural beauty. Despite the name, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is actually a delight, and the Chesapeake Arboretum and Northwest River Park are two other attractions that will surely impress nature-loving fathers and sons. Go on a crabbing excursion, relax on the pristine Chesapeake Bay beaches, do some bird watching or walk a Civil War trail; let’s just say you’ve got plenty of activities to choose from when planning your itinerary.

7. Natural Attractions and Northern Lights in Reykjavik

  • Best For: nature lovers
  • Best Time to Visit: September to March (Northern Lights); June to August (summer activities)
  • Best Time to Save: March to May
  • How to Get There: fly into Reykjavik-Keflavik Airport
  • Where to Stay: Reykjavik Domes, Reykjavik Residence Hotel

Nature lovers will agree that Iceland might as well have been plucked out of a fairytale—and Reykjavik, the capital, is a perfect place to visit if you want to enjoy the amenities of a city without missing out on the majestic beauty of the region. Hot springs, geothermal geysers, waterfalls and the breathtaking spectacle of the Northern Lights are all on the menu and make for a very memorable outdoor experience. Plus, the city itself serves up a unique Nordic cultural experience, complete with top-notch restaurants and a nightlife scene where hip indie and electronic music features prominently.

8. Hiking in Yosemite

  • Best For: hikers
  • Best Time to Visit: late May and September
  • Best Time to Save: December to February
  • How to Get There: fly into San Francisco National Airport and drive 3 hours 40 minutes; fly into Sacramento International airport and drive 3 hours.
  • Where to Stay: Cozy Yosemite Cabin in the Pines, Bonanza Chalet

Yosemite National Park is one of California’s most stunning natural attractions and father-son duos who enjoy hiking and backpacking will not be disappointed by the myriad trails on offer. The misty Vernal and Nevada falls trails serve up amazing views of the falls and the Mist trail that connects to them treats hikers to a refreshing climb that features a gorgeous rainbow at the end. The park also has natural swimming holes, breathtaking viewpoints and more scenic beauty than you’d believe—just be sure to plan your hikes in advance because some are more strenuous than others and a realistic itinerary is key.

9. Whiskey Tasting in Scotland

  • Best For: whiskey connoisseurs
  • Best Time to Visit: May, June, September and October
  • Best Time to Save: November to March
  • How to Get There: fly into Glasgow or Edinburgh International Airport
  • Where to Stay: Dakota Glasgow, The Balmoral Hotel

Take a private whiskey tasting tour throughout the beautiful Scottish highlands and lowlands. You can customize the accommodations and the destinations with a bespoke experience organized by Experience Scotland’s Wild that features the country’s finest distilleries and most beautiful natural landscapes. Plus, the tours will begin at any starting point you prefer and we found top-notch hotels in both of Scotland’s biggest cities.

10. Rocking Out in Nashville

  • Best For: music enthusiasts and creatives
  • Best Time to Visit: May to early October
  • Best Time to Save: December to February
  • How to Get There: fly into Nashville International Airport
  • Where to Stay: The Vinyl at Music Row, Dreamy Tiny House Cottage

You’re guaranteed a pleasing soundtrack to your father-son trip when you visit Nashville. It’s long-standing reputation as the capital of country music is well-deserved and the music scene is still going strong. Visit the Grand Ole Opry for bigger musical acts, but be sure to also check out the street performers and honky tonks on Lower Broadway. And don’t neglect the vibrant visual art scene, because this cultural hub has a whole lot to offer beyond good tunes.

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Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...