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How To: Honor Thy Father

Father’s Day is a great opportunity to say thank you for good parenting. We like to think of every day as Father’s Day, but it’s nice that on at least one day of the year, dad doesn’t have to take out the garbage, clean the garage, or empty the dishwasher. The day of honor got started in Spokane, Washington, (who would have guessed) in 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd arranged for her pastor to give a sermon in recognition of fatherhood at the local YMCA. Her father, a Civil War vet, had raised her and her five brothers as a single parent after her mother had died in childbirth. The previous year, Dodd had listened to a sermon about Mother’s Day and decided that dads shouldn’t be left out.

While there were many early supporters of Father’s Day, it wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a presidential proclamation honoring fathers on the third Sunday in June. And in 1972, President Richard Nixon made it a permanent national holiday.

We are in total agreement that dads deserve their own special day. This year, how about giving him something unique—like time with you. Here are some of our favorite ideas of ways to spend Father’s Day.

Go Fishing 
Most places you find water, you’ll find fish. Look up a local outfitter and hire a fishing guide for the day. That way you and your dad can concentrate on the important things in life, like tying flies, perfecting your casts, tilting back cold ones, and swapping stories of the one that got away.

Take A Hike
Pick a trail that you and your dad hiked as a kid, and recreate the experience—but this time you carry the food and gear. If there’s no family tradition, pick a day hike or an overnighter to an iconic overlook or viewpoint. You could even pick an end-of-the-summer goal and use Father’s Day to launch your pre-trip training.

Promote an Active Lifestyle
Buy your dad a month’s membership to a local gym. Sign him up for a yoga class, climbing lessons, or tai chi. And don’t forget to include a day of personal training and a post-workout massage.

Visit A Mountain Town
Pick three destinations that are in your budget and give your dad a choice of where he’d like to go. Pick a trio of activities you can do together (lift-accessed biking in Vail, Colorado; fishing in Jackson, Wyoming; hiking in Squaw Valley, California; golf in Banff, Canada). Or invite him over to help wallpaper the baby’s room and whisk him away to a backcountry lodge for some R & R for the weekend. Better yet, if he’s already into the active scene, do some research on one of the sport’s Mecca destinations (mountain biking in Moab, fly-fishing in Montana) and plan a trip.


If all else fails to whet his appetite for quality bonding time, consider renting his favorite sports car for a weekend trip, or enrolling the both of you in race car driving school. There are driving schools around the country (Jaguar Performance Driving Academy, Racing Adventures, Hooked On Driving) that will give both you and your dad a taste of what life was like before you came along.

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