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45 fun Father's Day activities the whole family will love

The best thing you can do on Father's Day? Spend quality time with Dad.

Sunday, June 18, is Father's Day and if anyone deserves a celebration to remember, it's your dad.

After all, your dad's the hero who hoisted you up on his shoulders to see the parade, as well as being the guy to ensure you don't accidentally cool down the entire neighborhood by leaving the front door open.

If you've already picked him up a thoughtful gift and are planning to send him Father's Day wishes in a homemade card, well done because you're ahead of the game.

But spending time together is probably what he'd like the most, so we've gathered a variety of Father's Day activities that you and your pop, stepdad, grandfather, uncle, husband or any other special someone can do together this year.

Because each dad is unique in his own way (although they all seem to be on the same page when it comes to telling dad jokes), there's a little something for every kind of guy, whether he's a backyard botanist, astronomy enthusiast or fan of the fairway.

With so many different things to do on Father's Day, it shouldn't be hard to find an activity or two that’s just right for the man in your life. So, read on and get ready to make memories that'll last a lifetime.

Look up at the stars

Every night the sky becomes a majestic blanket of sparkling stars. On Father's Day (or any other clear night) take your pop to a park, field or out to the backyard to do some stargazing. Pro tip: To read star charts without blinding everyone, make a night-friendly light by placing a piece of red cellophane on the end of a flashlight using a rubber band to hold it in place.

Hit the track

Does your dad have a need for speed? Let him put the pedal to the metal by taking him kart racing at a local track. Since the odds are pretty good that he'll never cross the finish line at the Daytona 500 (but, hey, you never know), let him experience the next best thing with you by his side or waving him on from the sidelines.

Go golfing

Dads and golf go together like, well, dads and golf. You can't go wrong being his caddy for the day while he practices his chip shot on the fairway. Not much of a golfer? No worries, miniature golf is a blast and an activity the whole family can join in on.

Plan a fishing trip

Catching fish is usually less important than the time spent out on the water taking in the scenery and enjoying the great outdoors. Whether you nab a couple for dinner or just toss back a few beers while hanging out with your dad, you can't go wrong taking him fishing on Father's Day.

Invent a Dad-inspired cocktail

Take Father's Day to the next level by giving your father, grandpa, stepdad, father-in-law, husband or any other special guy a cocktail of his very own. Moscow Mule? Spiced Old-Fashioned? Spicy Margarita? Whatever his preferred drink is, he'll love it even more when you give a fun name and customize it just for him. Dad-tini, anyone?

Soar through the skies

If he's got an adventurous soul, Dad will love a day of zip lining. Just about every state offers the thrilling activity, whether it's at an adventure park or flying over mountain tops. All you need to do is find the one that is best suited to your father and harness up for a fun day of soarin'.

DIY barbecue sauce

Dads love the grill. Steak, hamburgers, hotdogs ... whatever it is, if the barbie's fired up, your father is sure to be right there supervising. Customize this year's backyard barbecue with your own homemade sauce. Better yet, collaborate with your father on the recipe. Make enough for everyone, jar and label it, and, voila, you have your very own Father's Day sauce.

Throw a surprise party

Surprise parties aren't just for birthdays. Send out invites and gather his best pals or family members for an impromptu get-together. He'll love seeing all his favorite people in one place.

Build a birdhouse

Spend the day building a birdhouse together either from scratch or using an easy DIY kit. Along with encouraging his favorite fowl to nest nearby, the time you spend working together on the project is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

Play pickleball

Think tennis meets ping pong, and you've got the latest sports craze taking over the country. Pickleball courts are popping up everywhere, so find one near you and take Dad for a fun day out in the sun.

Host Father's Day dinner

Sometimes simple is the best way to go. For the guy who enjoys hanging out at home, make his favorite dinner or try a new Father's Day dinner recipe to shake things up. Wrap up the day by watching a dad-inspired movie or taking him out for ice cream.

Host an at-home wine tasting

Pick up a few bottles of vino — white, red, rosé, you name it — and organize a tasting for your wine-loving dad. Pass out scorecards, so everyone can rate the pours (and you can remember their favorites for future gifts).

Build a fort

Make him feel like a kid again by building a fort for Father’s Day. If you’re up to the task, install a shed. After all, everyone knows that sheds are really just forts for grown-ups. For a temporary solution, throw sheets and blankets over a few chairs and call it a day.

Visit an arcade

Almost everyone does their gaming at home these days, which is what makes going to the arcade such a blast. He’ll be reminded of his childhood playing pinball, Pac-Man or another not-so-forgotten favorite.

Rent a boat or kayak

If you’re lucky enough to own a kayak or boat, there’s no better day to take it out — weather-permitting, of course. Otherwise, find a local place with available rentals, so you can spend Father's Day out on the water.

Create a backyard leisure zone

Sometimes, staycations are the ultimate escape. All you need to make the backyard feel like an island getaway is a lawn chair, cool drink (umbrella included) and playlist of his favorite songs. Throw in a kiddie pool for good measure.

Have a campout

June is the perfect time to plan a campout under the stars, whether it's in his backyard or at a nearby park. One thing's for sure: He’ll enjoy telling stories around the fire and spending time with you in the great outdoors.

Ice cream sundae bar

There’s nothing dads like more than ice cream. Nothing. Assemble a sweet spread, complete with an assortment of ice cream flavors and toppings. Hand him a super-size bowl and spoon, then let him eat to his heart’s content.  

Host a backyard movie night

Transform your backyard into a movie theater. Pick up an outdoor projector or rent one from a local rental store, so you can get a taste of under-the-stars viewings before you make the splurge. Once you’ve got everything sorted out, invite the neighbors, pop some corn and press play.

Take a road trip

Dads just love hitting the open road. It’s in their DNA. Whether you’ve got the time for an extended vacation or just a single day, hop in the car and head out for a drive. Like the old saying goes, "Life is about the journey, not the destination."

Gary John Norman / Getty Images

Spend a day at the beach

You don’t need to live near the ocean to enjoy a day on the shore. Grab a lounge chair, pack a lunch and head to the nearest beach or lake for a leisurely day of lounging in the sun.

Go to a sports game

It's baseball season! Find a game to attend, whether it's the majors, minors or just the local softball league playing down the street. A game’s still a game, no matter where it’s played.

Take a trip down memory lane

Where there’s a dad, there’s a story. Ask him to take you to all of his most cherished spots: the house where he grew up, the restaurant he worked at in high school, the place where he first locked eyes with your mom and so on. It's really a gift for the both of you: He’ll get to relive old times and you'll learn something new about his past.

Help with a project or errand

Lend him a helping hand with one of the many projects on his to-do list. Whether he needs help cleaning the basement or finally tackling the pile of recycling, your assistance will be the greatest gift of all.

Take him to a deli

The only thing Dad loves more than ice cream is a Dagwood sandwich. Swing by your local deli for lunch or if you want to make a game out of it, visit a few different locations to find the best sandwich in town.

Go to an antique fair or flea market

Waxing nostalgic is one of dad’s favorite pastimes. With summer in full swing, there are plenty of flea markets and antique shows to attend that’ll help him relive the past. He’ll love examining old gadgets and looking through found items from days gone by.

Family buying trees at a garden store in springtime
ArtMarie / Getty Images

Bring out his green thumb

Take him to a local nursery or garden center and pick out something to plant. It can be as simple as a potted flower or more time-consuming, like a vegetable garden. Either way, you’ll get to watch it grow and remember time spent together.

Explore history

Do some homework and find a new historical site to visit, ranging from victorian homes to colonial forts to national parks. Every state has its own unique history, along with a collection of designated landmarks waiting to be explored.

Attend an air show

If “Top Gun” is his favorite film, then an air show is a must-do. Depending on where you live, there's a good chance that you'll find one within driving distance. Don't forget to bring your camera!

Go bird-watching

Even if he's not the outdoorsy type, he'll enjoy spending a day (okay, an hour or two) in nature. Grab a pair of binoculars, head outside and try to decode what you're seeing by looking through the National Audubon Society's guides.

Watch old videos

Dig up old tapes out of the basement and watch them all over again. You’ll laugh and cry reliving some of your family's most cherished memories.

Host a multigenerational meal

If your family members happen to live nearby, gather them together for a special backyard barbecue. Dads, grandfathers, uncles and brothers will enjoy reconnecting and it’s the perfect opportunity to take that long-overdue family photo.

Take a (new) hike

Going for a hike on Father’s Day is standard fare, which is why it’s time to shake things up and find a completely new trail to blaze. Pack a picnic lunch to make a day of it.

Make homemade pasta

If he's never made pasta from scratch, Father's Day is the perfect time to give it a try. First things first: Give him a pasta maker with the attachments to make his favorite pasta type (think: ravioli and gnocchi). It's totally up to you whether you go the distance and make homemade sauce or settle for the jarred variety.

Play lawn games

Take the Father's Day celebration outside and play a couple rounds of croquet, frisbee and badminton. A warning: These games may bring out his — and everyone else's — competitive side.

Dance the day away

Make a playlist of songs that are guaranteed to get him moving and grooving. Crank up the tunes and convince the whole family to join in on the fun. The best part: Everyone can participate and it doesn't cost a dime.

Visit a brewery or vineyard

If he enjoys his spirits, take dad to a microbrewery or vineyard to see what goes into making his beverage of choice. Test a few samples before leaving or stay for the afternoon to give you ample time to enjoy a glass or two.

skynesher / Getty Images

Try a new recipe

Dad doesn’t have to be a chef to enjoy cooking. Start by finding a dish you’d both like to try, then pick up all the ingredients at the store. You can be the sous chef and do all the prep work, while he makes the magic happen on the stove. If it doesn’t work out, there’s always takeout.

Plan a scavenger hunt

Everyone likes a treasure hunt, including dad. Stash found items from around the house or, better yet, his Father’s Day gifts, then hand him a treasure map to track them down. He’ll love the challenge of finding the items, one by one.

Host a movie marathon

Even if you’ve seen them all before, binge all of his favorite movies from sunrise to sundown on Father's Day. All the better if instead of sunny skies, Father's Day weekend is an absolute washout.

Play games

Puzzling or playing a quiet game of backgammon is exactly the kind of chill activity dad needs to decompress after a busy week. Round up a bunch of his go-to games — a mix of puzzles, board games and card games — and let him choose what's on the agenda for the day.

Wash the car

Your dad is very particular about his car. Lend him a helping hand to make this monthly — or in his case, weekly — task less of a chore. A sudsy bucket of soap, a sponge and some old-school tunes are sure to make it a top ten day.

Check out a new restaurant

It’s easy to get stuck in the same old routine, especially when it comes to eating out. Do some research and find a new spot to help shake things up. Who knows, it just might become a new family tradition.

Attend a car show

Not all dads care for cars, but for the ones who do, a car show is the perfect Father’s Day activity. He can spend his day admiring all the classic and vintage vehicles on display, while you enjoy the food, music and other offerings at the show.

Go shopping

He's not always down to go shopping — unless it’s for something he actually likes. Skip the mall and head over to an electronics store, hobby shop or other niche retailer instead. You might be surprised to learn just how much he does like shopping after all.