The 4 Best National Park Adventures for Father’s Day

There’s nothing like exploring nature with the man who raised you.

Thinking back to your first visit to a National or State Park – was it Dad that brought you? Maybe it was a school field trip, summer camp, or fishing trip, and chances are, your love for nature likely started a long time ago.

Being a great father takes a lot of hard work. This Father’s Day, say thank you to Dad for all he’s done for you with a vacation to the great outdoors. We have a few suggestions if you’re looking to plan a trip that you’ll both remember for years to come.

The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park features unforgettable views, especially during sunset.
The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park features unforgettable views, especially during sunset.

Camp at Grand Canyon National Park

It’s tough to beat camping in the open air at one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Whether you want to rough it in a tent or stay in your RV (or choose to stay in a hotel – we won’t judge), any visit to the Grand Canyon is spectacular in itself. Add a bonding element with Dad, and you’ve got one memorable trip.

Choose from Mather or Desert View Campgrounds on the South Rim, the North Rim Campground or the Trailer Village RV Park. If you’re feeling extra adventurous and have backpacking experience, Havasupai Falls is an epic destination for camping. If you want to stay at a hotel inside the park, Yavapai Lodge at the South Rim is a great option.

Kayak in Kenai Fjords National Park

Experienced kayakers, get ready to dip your paddle into water at one of the most magnificent backdrops in nature. Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska is a well-worth-it trek, especially if you’re looking for a unique kayaking trip. You won’t be jumping in to take a swim, and if you’re not an advanced paddler you’ll want to travel with a guide. But this is one experience Dad will never forget.

Paddling by whales, otters and sea lions and feeling the power of the tidewater glacier is quite the adventure. The fjords have a few protected coves, but they are exposed to the Gulf of Alaska, which can make for some gnarly conditions depending on the weather.

Explore the lush and magical Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park.
Explore the lush and magical Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park.
The Ridgeline Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado offers families the perfect vacation spot.
The Ridgeline Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado offers families the perfect vacation spot.

Explore a Rainforest at Olympic National Park

Is Dad the quiet type? Let nature do the talking. Hoh Rainforest at Olympic National Park in Washington (the nation’s only temperate rainforest) will make you feel like you’re in the Amazon.

While “rainforest” might not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of Washington state, at Hoh, you’ll have a chance to wander through lush forests filled with giant trees and hundreds of types of mosses and ferns. You’ll hear Canada gray jays, barred owls, robins and maybe even the endangered northern spotted owl. Keep your eyes out for river otters, black bears and even bobcats.

Fly Fish at Rocky Mountain National Park

If Dad is a fishing enthusiast, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado has fly fishing experiences you just won’t find anywhere else. With a name like Dream Lake, can you really expect any less?

What the park lacks in (easily accessible) trophy-sized trout, it makes up for with 150 alpine lakes and nearly 450 miles of streams to choose from—although only 48 lakes have fish populations. Backcountry lake fishing is where Rocky Mountain really shines, and you’ll have a chance to catch cutthroat trout, brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout.

Wherever and whenever you venture with Dad, we can’t wait to hear about your experience.

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Lindsay Kensy is a copywriter for Delaware North’s Creative Studio, based in Buffalo, New York.