By Lyn Mettler
While moms tend to be the family members who do the vacation planning, that doesn’t mean that Dad’s wishes should be overlooked. We’ve compiled some great destinations that cater to many interests common to dads from golf and the outdoors to cowboys and cars.
credit Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Located in the heart of the Midwest, Indianapolis is the perfect getaway for a sports aficionado. Home the NCAA headquarters, which features the NCAA Hall of Champions museum open to the public, Indianapolis is perhaps best known for the Indianapolis 500 car race, which just had its hundredth running in 2016. Basketball fans should stop by Butler University’s 1928 Hinkle Fieldhouse, where the movie “Hoosiers” was filmed, and it’s worth a day trip two hours north to South Bend to visit the campus of the University of Notre Dame and see iconic sites like Notre Dame Stadium and “touchdown Jesus.” Downtown Indianapolis has many excellent hotels, including The Alexander art hotel and Le Meridien Indianapolis with hints of racing throughout its decor.
Fort Worth, Texas
If Dad fantasizes about joining the cattle drive and riding horseback with spurs and boots, a trip to Fort Worth might be in store. At the city’s Stockyard National Historic District, he can get a true taste of the American West with twice-daily cattle drives, weekly rodeos and Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s largest honky tonk. There are also miles of walking trails, a selection of golf courses and a burgeoning craft beer scene where he can visit nine craft breweries along the Fort Worth Ale Trail. Lay your hat at the historic Stockyards Hotel, a favorite hide-out of Bonnie and Clyde.
Dude Ranch, U.S.
To really experience cowboy life firsthand, the family can spend a week at a dude ranch. The Dude Ranchers’ Association has nearly 100 member ranches in the Western U.S. and Canada that allow families to spend usually a week at a time, often all inclusive, horseback riding, enjoying campfires, hiking and, of course, true cowboy-style dining. Some luxury dude ranches even have spas, hot tubs, heated pools and tennis courts.
Newport Beach, California
Does dad dream of fancy cars? Newport Beach, located in California’s prestigious Orange County, is home to car dealerships for 11 luxury automobile makers, including Mclaren, Maserati, Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari and Porsche. The world’s largest Mercedes-Benz dealership located in Newport Beach has free shuttles to Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, while the $70 million Newport Lexus dealership has a coffee bar, plasma TVs and even a putting green. Or if he loves classic cars, he can check out the many auto museums and collections in town. After a day of car shopping, return back to your deluxe room at the Island Hotel Newport Beach. Don’t be surprised is Dad arrives home with a new vehicle after this trip!
San Diego, California
For military-minded dads, there’s no better U.S. destination than San Diego. The beautiful Coronado Island, just across San Diego Bay from downtown, is consistently voted best beach in America. The island is home to the North Island Naval Air Station, so expect helicopters flying over and even a Navy SEAL in training sighting or two, swimming down the shore or running down the beach. The iconic Hotel del Coronado, built in 1888, is a gorgeous beach resort ideal for families. Visit the U.S.S. Midway Museum aircraft carrier and the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial with incredible views of the Pacific. The San Diego Air & Space Museum in beautiful Balboa Park has a variety of historic aircraft and spacecraft along with an Observation Deck with wonderful views of downtown San Diego.
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Golf lovers will be in paradise in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which is also one of the most family-friendly beaches in America with seemingly endless amusement parks, water parks, arcades and putt putt courses. The area has nearly 100 golf courses to choose from designed by architects like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman, and which feature Lowcountry scenery, including moss-draped oaks, marsh grass and ocean views. Plus, at most Myrtle Beach golf courses kids golf free. The whole family will be entertained while Dad is golfing at Myrtle Beach’s Crown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark, which offers a full waterpark with 4-story water slides, lazy river, kids play area and multiple pools.
Lyn Mettler is a freelance travel writer, who blogs at GotoTravelGal.com. She is also author of “The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning Your Southwest Companion Pass and Flying Free Around the U.S.” and provides public relations services to Crown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark.