Fall is just around the corner, and in addition to cooler weather, turning leaves and snuggly sweaters, that also means it’s time to start thinking about gift-giving.
A poll was recently conducted among American shoppers, and the largest percentage of shoppers (41%) agree that when it comes to giving gifts, Dad is the hardest person to buy for any time of the year.
Help yourself out a little this year by giving your dad an amazing experience he’ll cherish for a lifetime instead of another material possession that he probably doesn’t really need. Here are 30 of the best experience gifts for any type of dad.
Experience Gift Ideas For Your Dad
Experience the Park in a Whole New Way: Golden Gate Park Segway Tour, San Francisco, CA
Even if your dad is a native San Franciscan, he’s probably never experienced the city quite like this. On this tour, he’ll be traveling on a motorized Segway through the 1,000+ acres of Golden Gate Park.
It’s a guided tour, so he’ll get a great history lesson about the city and the park from the tour guide. He’ll also get to see some of the park’s most famous sights and attractions including the Japanese Tea Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, the Music Concourse, the Temple of Music, the Historic Carousel and so much more.
He’ll get insider information on all the sights from the experienced tour guide.
Totally Rev His Engine: Supercar Driving Experience, Las Vegas, NV
For the dad who loves NASCAR and has always wanted to know what it feels like to drive something moving that fast, this experience can’t be topped. While he won’t be driving a NASCAR car, he will be driving some of the world’s most exotic, fastest cars.
He’ll get to choose between ten different cars – Porsches, Lamborghinis, Corvettes, Aston Martins and more – and then take them for a spin. Whether he chooses two different cars to drive or three, he’ll get five laps around the track in each.
It’s a breathtaking experience he won’t soon forget.
For the Martial Arts Enthusiast: Private Ninja Lesson, Yonkers, NY
If your dad loves Bruce Lee, is a martial arts enthusiast or has just always thought he would make a great ninja, give him the chance to try. He’ll be training at one of NYC’s oldest Bujinkan schools under the instruction of a true Shidoshi master.
He’ll learn about the history, traditions and philosophy of the art. He’ll also be taught their self-defense techniques, as well as combat strategy methods and how to use heightened awareness. He’ll be trained in budo taijutsu, which uses timing, relaxed, natural movement and distance control against opponents.
Fun in the Snow: Intro to Snow Kiting, Hopkins, MN
Send your dad out into the cold snows of Minneapolis where he’ll be taught to “harness the power of the wind” to help him glide over the hills in this unique, exciting snow kiting experience. Whether he’s been snow kiting before or has never stepped foot on a snowy mountain, the experienced instructors will have him snow kiting before the day is done.
He’ll learn about safety, how to use and ride the equipment and kite control from instructors who’ve taught hundreds of students over the last nine years. He’ll practice on smaller kites in a safe environment before heading out to use the larger kites on more exciting rides.
Tell Him to Go Jump off a Bridge: Bridge to Nowhere Bungee Jump, Azusa, CA
This is a fun, exciting day from beginning to finish. He’ll start the day off with a five-mile hike through Angeles National Forest out to the Bridge to Nowhere, which is a 10-story-high bridge above a raging river in California.
The bridge is exclusively owned by the company your dad will be using, which happens to be the oldest bungee jumping company in the entire U.S. You can buy him a two jump, three jump or five jump package.
After his jumps, he can choose to start the hike back, or he can stay and swim in the beautiful river.
An Outdoor Adventure Not Soon Forgotten: Kilauea Volcano Evening Tour, Big Island, HI
If your dad’s the type of person who’s always wanted to visit a volcano, make that dream come true for him. He’ll start out driving through a quaint Hilo town to get to the fishing village of Kalapana.
There he’ll meet his guide who’ll tell him all about the history of the Kilauea volcano and geology and volcanology in general. They’ll head out to Kaimu Beach, where your dad will get to witness a cycle of destruction and rebirth that gives the Big Island a strange, exotic atmosphere that seems straight out of a fairy tale.
He’ll also see the black sand beach, Star of the Sea Painted Church, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and more.
A Little Dirt Never Hurt: Dirt Bike Riding, Plympton, MA
This is a great one for you and your dad to do together. This is a five-hour session that’ll teach anyone to ride dirt bikes, even if they have literally no experience with the sport. If you guys haven’t ridden before, you can learn in a safe, controlled space, which should give you the confidence and understanding you need to ride.
You’ll be able to drive in straight lines, circles, up and down hills and more as your experience levels increase. If you’re already regular dirt bike riders, you can hit the more challenging and demanding courses.
Send Him on Down the River: Overnight Whitewater Adventure, Buena Vista, CO
This 24-hour rafting and camping experience is any outdoorsman’s dream come true. Send your dad to Browns Canyon for a Whitewater Adventure like no other. He’ll work with award-winning, experienced guides to raft the class II and class III rapids of the Arkansas River.
When he isn’t rafting, he can play games, fish or hike at his campsite by the river while the guides fix the meals. At night he can choose to camp in a tent or out under the stars.
A Total Body Workout: Pedal & Paddle Tour, Oleta River State Park, FL
This experience combines two exciting, calorie-burning activities into one great package. Your dad will start out on a beautiful kayaking adventure out to an island in the Bay of Biscayne, where he’ll get to explore some of the mangrove canopies and sea marshes for which the island is known.
Once there, he’ll hop on the back of a bike and go biking through the island’s 15-mile trail system, where he’ll see all kinds of native wildlife, including dolphins, manatees and other land and sea creatures.
For the Father who Loves to Fish: Lake Norman Guided Fishing, Lake Norman, NC
If your dad’s a fisherman, let him spend the day doing what he loves, fishing the peaceful waters of Lake Norman. He’ll have a professional guide with over 50 years of experience to show him where all the hot spots are located.
Along with his guide, your dad will boat out on a 25-foot, center console, Ranger Ray Boat for a day of fishing all types of different fish including catfish, crappie, bass, perch and more. His guide will give him tips and pointers to help him catch whatever he’s most interested in catching, and he’ll even provide him with some premium spinning and baiting casting tackle.
Your dad can bring his own gear as well, of course.
A Safe Way to Shoot: Paintball Adventure, Nashville, IN
If you and your dad have a competitive relationship where you’re always trying to one-up each other, take him out to the paintball adventure course in Nashville and spend the day seeing who’s best. Each paintball package includes everything you’d need to play including unlimited CO2, 500 paintballs (though you guys may need more), a goggle/mask system and your paintball marker.
You can choose from 10 different fields and stalk each other across 400 acres of extreme tactical grounds.
A Whale of a Good Time: 3-Day Eagles & Orcas Kayak Tour, San Juan Island, WA
This is a three-day adventure that’s fun for just about anyone. Your dad will head out into the waters of the San Juan and Gulf Islands where he’ll be surrounded by Orca whales, eagles and other native wildlife.
On the first day, he’ll kayak down the west side of San Juan Island headed to Reid Harbor, where he’ll camp in a beautiful forest and have a three-course dinner and wine to unwind. The next day, he’ll ride around Stuart Island where he’ll see all kinds of native birds including cormorants, bald eagles and blue herons.
He’ll camp at Stuart again with another great dinner, followed by a paddle out to witness bioluminescence in action. The third day, he’ll head back to the put-in point, and along the way, he should run into many of the gorgeous Orca whales out enjoying their day.
A Pirate’s Life for Dad: Pirates Dinner Adventure, Orlando, FL
This is a crazy dinner adventure for dads who like a little levity with their food. Known as the “World’s Most Unique Interactive Dinner Show for Families,” this adventure features a three-course meal, swordplay, action and adventure, comedy and romance, aerial artistry and some amazing special effects.
With this package, your dad and his guests will get front row seats to the action, as well as access to the Governor’s VIP Lounge. Plus, the food is excellent and consists of soups, salads, a main course and a delicious, decadent dessert.
Buy Him a Drink (or Two!): Denver Microbrew Tour, Denver, CO
For the dad who enjoys a good drink, there’s no better way to experience Denver than on the Denver Microbrew Tour. It’s one and a half miles of strolling through some of the most historic districts of the city, where he’ll get to experience no fewer than 10 different beer tastings at four different microbreweries and taprooms.
The experienced guide will give him all kinds of great, sometimes scandalous information about Denver’s past, and for two hours, your dad will get to learn everything there is to know about the history of beer, the making of beer, the differences between beers and which beers in Denver are the most delicious.
Ready Him for Lift-Off: Hot Air Balloon Ride, Woodstock, VA
As long as your dad isn’t terrified of heights, he’s sure to love this tranquil, gorgeous ride in a hot air balloon drifting over Woodstock, Virginia. He’ll get fantastic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah River, many of Virginia’s lovely vineyards and more.
Before the ride, he can actually help with getting the balloon ready to go if he wants, and after rising to up to 3,000 feet above the ground, with nothing between him and the sky, he’ll truly feel like he’s in another world.
The Triple Threat: Horseback, Sunset & BBQ, Las Vegas, NV
This is the ultimate experience for any dad who’s ever wanted to be a cowboy or wished he was living in an old western. When the day begins, he’ll meet his guide and the horse he’ll be riding. If needed, he’ll get a riding lesson before heading to the floor of the canyon, where he’ll see lots of native wildlife and some ancient rock formations.
As the sun sets, he’ll get stunning views of Spring Mountain, Red Rock Canyon and the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip. He’ll be served some delicious BBQ and have the chance to roast marshmallows under the stars before heading back.
For the Cowboy: Bull Riding School, Zolfo Springs, FL
This is another one for the wannabe cowboys dads. He’ll actually learn to ride bulls. On his very first day, he’ll practice riding on bucking bulls. His teacher is a national rodeo competitor who has over 30+ years of teaching experience, and he’ll pair him with livestock that’s perfectly suited to his age, energy level and athletic ability.
After each ride he takes, he’ll get to watch a video of his performance, and the teacher will talk to him about what he did right and wrong to better improve his next ride. By the second day, he’ll be riding like a pro.
Pig out on Pizza: Pizza Tour, Chicago, IL
When it comes to cities with great pizza, Chicago definitely tops the list. With this delicious Chicago Pizza Tour, your dad will eat his fill of pizza from some of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods and pizzerias.
He’ll visit Printers Row, Lincoln Park, River West, the Loop and more. He’ll stop at four different pizzerias for a taste of all Chicago’s best pizza. Whether he likes deep dish, Neapolitan or thin crust, he’ll get a taste on this tour.
Have Him Playing like a Pro: Playing Lesson with a PGA Pro, Celebration, FL
If your dad’s a golfer looking to improve his game, this is the experience gift for him. He’ll visit Celebration Golf Club and train from one of the course’s many PGA professional golfers. Together they’ll work on reading the terrain, overcoming some of the game’s mental challenges, playing from challenging lies and more.
The package includes the green fees and the golf cart rental. There are numerous instructors with whom your dad may be paired, but no matter which he works with, he’s sure to be a pro, some of the finest in Florida.
For the Aspiring Photographer: Photo Tour of Boston, Boston, MA
On this trip, your dad will be paired with a professional photographer who’ll help ensure he gets the most perfect shots in all of Boston. In addition to being a professional photographer, he’s also a certified tour guide.
He’ll take your dad to some of the original areas of Boston and give him a comprehensive history of the area. He can choose from six different tours, and depending on which he picks, he’ll see different areas of the city.
All of them, though, are optimal for beautiful, postcard quality photos.
Pamper Him a Little: Facial for Him, Miami, FL
If your dad is the type of guy who enjoys being pampered from time to time, this facial specifically designed for men is the perfect gift. He’ll have a private session with a therapist who’ll customize the facial specifically for your dad’s skin type and needs.
At the same time, he’ll also get a facial massage. It will be the most relaxing, amazing experience, and he’ll come out of it feeling energized and much less stressed than when he went in initially.
Rocky Mountain High: Leadville Railway & Zip Line Tour, Leadville, CO
This is the perfect gift for the dad who’s looking for a little more adventure in his life. He’ll have a chance to take a gorgeous, scenic train ride through the wilderness of the Rockies. After that, he’ll take a ride down over 9,000 feet of double-cabled zip lines.
He will reach unimaginable speeds as he soars down the world’s only zip line constructed over a moving train. It’s the perfect mixture of gorgeous scenery and exciting thrill. Each zip line varies in length, but all range somewhere between 450 to 800 feet.
He’ll have a blast zipping from one platform to another all the way back down again.
Send Him Soaring through the Clouds: Learn to Fly a Cessna, Portage Des Sioux, MO
For the father who’s always wanted to fly, this experience gives him exactly that chance. He’ll meet with an FAA-Certified Flight Instructor who’ll teach him all the basics of flying a Cessna. He starts out with pre-flight inspection and ground school, and then he’ll head into the air for his first real flight.
Even if he’s never even ridden a plane before, the instructors will have him flying by the end of the lesson. Once he’s up in the air, he’ll take a 30-minute flight over the scenic Missouri countryside.
You can choose to buy your dad a private lesson, or you can choose an option that lets him bring you along for the ride.
Give Him an Adrenaline Rush: Dive with Great White Sharks, Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
This is one of the more expensive experience gifts on the list, but it’s also one of the most fun and exciting. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for your dad to literally swim with sharks.
He’ll visit Isla Guadalupe and be lowered inside of a cage into the water to see, swim with and take pictures of actual Great White Sharks. In total, it’s a five-day trip. The 105-foot boat he’ll take has some of the largest shark cages in the industry.
The rooms are great, and the food is excellent. There are private bathrooms, included WiFi and rocking stabilizers. It’s basically a luxury cruise that ends with your dad in a shark cage.
For the Creative Dad: Private Pottery Class, Charlotte, NC
This experience is great for the dad who’s a little more hands-on and artistic in nature. He’ll receive private instruction from experienced potters with years of teaching experience. He’ll learn all about the art of pottery, which includes lessons on how to throw on the potter’s wheel, how to shape the clay, how to work with molds, coils and slabs, etc.
There’s something here for him to learn no matter how experienced or inexperienced he is in the art of pottery-making. You can buy him as many lessons as you’d like, with each lesson building off the one that came before it.
Experience the Water by Night: Moonlight Canoe Trip, Newton, MA
For this trip, your dad will hook up with an experienced guide and a few other canoe paddlers to head downriver for about two to three miles. In total, it’s a three-hour tour (no Gilligan jokes, please) that’ll include a small picnic, a lot of good history about the area and some lovely sights.
He’ll get to see the wildlife that usually only comes out at night; it’s a lovely evening for anyone who enjoys spending time on the water.
Work out the Kinks: Swedish Massage, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Anyone who thinks massages are just for women is dead wrong. Your dad will appreciate a good Swedish massage, especially if he’s someone who does a lot of physical activity or manual labor. He’ll meet with his own private massage therapist to discuss his most pressing aches and pains.
Together, they’ll decide on which massage oils will best benefit him, and then the massage will begin. The massage consists of light to medium strokes that help him relax and can increase circulation and improve both muscle and skin tone.
He’ll walk away from the experience feeling like a new man, or least like the same man in a new and improved body that gives him more flexibility and less pain.
For the Sherlocks: Murder Mystery Dinner Show, Denver, CO
If your dad’s just looking for a little extra fun in his life, this is the experience for him. He can go alone, with you or with a date of his choice. It’s an elegant night out with a delicious dinner.
.. until somebody gets murdered. After that, chaos reigns, and a detective will show up and start to ask questions, and he’ll need your dad’s help to find the answers he needs. This is a great gift for any dad who loves watching murder mystery shows and Whodunnits.
He’ll be a part of the show as the whole dinner party works to find out who killed the hapless victim. Additionally, it really is an elegant dinner party, complete with a four-course meal that is absolutely delicious.
He’ll have a hard time deciding which he enjoys more – the food or the entertainment.
A Swampy Ride: Night Airboat Swamp Tour, Kissimmee, FL
Send your dad down to the Florida Everglades to experience a swamp airboat ride by night. It’s the scariest time to be riding around the swamp, which is full of alligators, snakes and all kinds of other critters, but it’s also one of the most exciting trips he’ll ever take.
The tour guide is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard and has nearly 20 years of experience leading these types of tours, so while the night ride may be a little scary, it isn’t at all dangerous. Your dad and the others on the boat will go searching the swamp for gators, and they’re very likely to find some.
They’ll probably even get up close and personal with a few. It truly is a thrill like no other.
Finding the Right Experience for Your Dad
Whether you’ve been on this earth for 15 years or 50, your dad has most likely been a huge part of your life. If there’s anyone who should be able to find him the perfect gift, it’s you. Logically, you probably already know that, but that doesn’t make it any easier when it actually comes time to buy him a gift.
According to experts, the best gift you can give your dad is simply getting to know him on a deep, personal, real level. Next to that, though, giving him experiences that he’ll never forget and that’ll provide him with wonderful new memories is the next best thing, especially if you can share these experiences with him. Many of the experiences listed above are things you could do with your dad. There are a couple that are for him only, but most of them have room for one more. So if you really want to give him the perfect gift, buy him the experience, and then go with him to share in it.
Use all the years of knowledge you have getting to know your dad to help you find the perfect experience for him. If he’s an avid rodeo watcher, he might enjoy learning to ride a bull himself.
If he’s always wanted to fly, send him up in a plane that he can actually pilot himself. If he just loves to sit back and enjoy a nice, cold beer, a tour of local breweries would probably be a hit, but remember, an experience shared is always better than an experience taken alone, so if you can buy two tickets, two plane rides or two spots at the bar, go ahead and spring for the extra. It may be double the money, but your dad will also love it twice as much.
What’s the best thing you and your dad have ever experienced together?
Do the two of you have a dream vacation you’ve always wanted to take together? Tell us all about your best moments and memories with your dad. Plus, everyone’s dad has that something special that makes him just a little better than everyone else’s dad.
We’d love to hear about what makes your dad special to you. Tell us all of that and more down below in the comments section, and as always, please like and share our article with all your friends.
Come back and see us again soon!