Sometime during the blur of summer jobs, college degrees and apartment hunting, your father transitioned from a guardian to a friend. No more doling out chores or threatening to take your car keys for a week; now he’s a consistent source of a place to crash and some sage advice. Your Father’s Day gift should probably make the transition, too — he deserves more than a hastily wrapped tie and some tee time vouchers. God knows his college buddy with a beer gut isn’t slogging along with him on an adventure anytime soon, so request some alone time with your old man. Go see some sights, talk some talks and experience something you can both enjoy. These three journeys are plenty out of the ordinary but don’t require a year’s worth of planning (or salary).
MORE TRIP IDEAS: 3 Dive Adventures | Five American Adventures | Or Consider a Trip to Our Closest Communist Neighbor
City of New Orleans Amtrak Ride
Beginning in Chicago, bisecting the country with 900 miles of railroad over five states and ending in New Orleans, the City of New Orleans Amtrak Ride is 19 hours of rolling hills and midwestern jazz. The train ride begins in Chicago, a destination city in its own right, spewing blues, house and the smell of deep dish pizza out across Lake Michigan. The train leaves from Chicago at 8:05 p.m. each night (giving some flexibility if you want to grab a Goose Island at Wrigley’s Field) and arrives in Memphis, the “Birthplace of Blues” early the next morning. Here you can wander around Graceland, once home to Elvis Presley, or make the four-hour trek to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery Tour (worth it). Once back on board the train, sit in the Sightseer Lounge to watch the day-lit view of Mississippi rush past as you half listen to the Trails and Rails program dole out historical and cultural information. The train ride ends in New Orleans, where jazz swings at every street corner, the creole food will change your view of jambalaya forever and, most important, lax open container laws mean you can walk bar to bar with a drink in your hand and your father in tow.
Eat: In Chicago, order deep dish pizza at Pequod’s Pizza (2207 N. Clybourn Ave); in New Orleans, go to Coop’s Place (1109 Decatur St) for real creole food without the tourists.
Stay: In Chicago, snag one of six rooms at the Longman & Eagle if you can, for a unique rooms that shy away from traditional hotel styling; in New Orleans, stay at Hotel Monteleone for comfortable lodging in the French Quarter without the noise Bourbon St.
Do: In Memphis, halfway through your trip, tour Graceland to see where the King lived and died.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
The oldest and most famous golf course in the would is the Old Course, one of seven public courses making up the St. Andrews Links in Scotland. The newest addition at this prestigious course came in 2008 with the completion of the Castle Course, designed by Scottish architect David McLay Kidd. A decade earlier Kidd had made a name for himself by designing the Bandon Dunes course, launching Bandon Dunes Golf Resort as a premiere golf destination on the Oregon coast. All this is to say, if you want traditional designs from the nation who invented the sport but don’t want to fly over to Scotland in the hopes of landing a tee time, head to the northwest U.S. Sitting 2.5 hours from the Eugene Airport, the golf resort is an amazing getaway, housing three courses currently ranked in the top 50 of Golf Digest‘s best American links. Rustic, on-site lodging, a ban on golf carts and a sauna/spa give plenty of options for catching up with your old man.
Eat: While The Gallery serves the best dinner on the course, for our money the $8 breakfast burritos at Trail’s End are the best way to work off the hangover from a late night at the Bunker Bar with dad.
Stay: Of the five on-site accommodations, The Lodge is the most centrally located and allows you and your father spacious and separate rooms.
Do: When you aren’t golfing, the resort offers on-site massages along with walking tours and fishing excursions in the neighboring coastal town of Bandon, Oregon.
Sitting on the equator 600 miles west of Ecuador are the 20 volcanic islands famous for serving as the inspiration to Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species. While human visitation and introduced species have threatened the endemic species since the Galapagos islands were first discovered, the islands are still extremely isolated and home to animals rarely seen elsewhere, including Galapagos tortoises, Marine iguanas, Blue-footed boobies, Galapagos penguins and Galapagos finches. And the islands are surprisingly easy to get to from the U.S. A four and a half hour flight from Miami to Ecuador followed by another two and a half hours by plane from Ecuador will land you on the San Cristobal or Baltra island. But because 97.5 percent of the islands is classified as a national park, visiting requires a guide and a good bit of preplanning. For this reason — despite normally supporting paving our own way — we recommend shelling out the extra dough for an all-inclusive expedition to take you from mainland South America to the islands for kayaking, snorkeling and hiking in one of the most unique ecosystems in the world.