If there’s one thing we’ve all learned from this pandemic (and let’s hope there’s at least one lesson), it’s that time spent together is an invaluable gift. That’s why this year we’re suggesting some unique ways to create memories with the dads and other influential men in your life in celebration of Father’s Day. We recognize that these special guys come with all different abilities and interests so we’ve created a very diverse list of Dadventures.
Let fresh air, rolling waves and stunning vistas set the scene for an adventure you will both long remember. He doesn’t have to be a pirate to enjoy setting sail on a tall ship, though if that is his cup o’ rum, then head to South Haven to hop aboard a pirate chaser from the Michigan Maritime Museum, or just enjoy a sunset sail. Bay Sail has excursions that take you out into the Saginaw Bay. For some truly spectacular views, climb aboard the Tall Ship Manitou in Traverse City or its little cousin, Scout, and explore the Grand Traverse Bay. If you pick the right voyage, it’ll even include some infamous, and scrumptious, Moomers ice cream.
Take In a Minor League Ball Game
Few traditions are as time-honored as fathers and their kids heading to a baseball game. Perhaps dad even took you to your first Major League Baseball game. Here’s your chance to return the favor by taking him to his first minor league game to root for any one or all of these Michigan teams: Lansing Lugnuts, West Michigan Whitecaps, Great Lake Loons, Traverse City Pit Spitters, or head to the latest addition on the scene, the United Shore Professional Baseball League in downtown Utica. Present him with ice cold Michigan craft beer and/or some peanuts from Germack or Ferris to create excitement before game day.
Learn How to Blow Glass
If your dad is the type who loves to know how things are made, then this is an experience for him. The Glass Academy in Dearborn hosts a variety of classes to teach the incredible art of glassblowing. You’ll each develop your own unique colors, patterns and styles to shape the glass in these original and unique hands-on classes. Chances are, he’s never tried anything like this before. Choose a class that allows you to make a piece of your own, or go for the Happy Hour experience, where you let the pros do the hard work, while you watch and learn. You’re welcome to bring food and beverages to make it a party, and the mug or wine glass you design will be shipped to you as a keepsake.
When you’re surrounded by lakes that can have ocean-sized waves, it stands to reason that you’ll be surrounded by shipwrecks too. Don your scuba gear with dad and head out on an underwater adventure to visit some of these epic sites. If you’re not both certified then snorkeling is an excellent alternative. One of the best places in the state to go is the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which protects 116 of the wrecks in a 448-square-mile area. Scuba divers will love this spot, but because some of the ships are in water less than 20 feet deep, it’s also an ideal snorkeling destination. You can book dives and rent gear at Thunder Bay Scuba. If your dad is more interested in the shipwrecks than getting into the water then combine a visit to the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center with a glass bottom boat shipwreck tour. While in Alpena, quench your thirst at Austin Brothers Beer Company or Thunder Bay Winery.
Travel a Wine Trail
Wherever you are in the state, you’re not too far from an excellent wine trail. Set out to sample and savor some of the state’s most impressive libations. For example, try out the Lake Michigan Wine Shore, Pioneer Wine Trail, Old Mission Wineries, Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, or Petoskey Wine Region. If your dad is low key, pick a couple of stops and enjoy some good conversation and delectable wines. If he’s more adventurous then consider adding cycling, kayaking, or even snowshoeing (if you wait until winter) into this dadventure. If you’re waiting until after Father’s Day for the actual experience, then gift it with a bottle of local wine to get his juices flowing.
Kayak Pictured Rocks
If he’s never seen the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, then that is reason enough to plan a trip to the U.P. The stunning dunes, gushing waterfalls, and colorful shoreline are spectacular, but even the most seasoned visitor hasn’t really seen it like you can from the seat of a kayak. A guide accompanies your group and you can team up in a 2-person vessel so there’s really no experience necessary. The Paddling Michigan team will take you out in a boat to get close to the rocks, and then assist as your kayak is dropped into the cool waters of Lake Superior. You’ll get so close that the colors become even more vibrant and the magical destination takes on a whole new charm.
Ride in a Vintage Vehicle
Nestled in Hickory Corners, just outside of Kalamazoo is a paradise for car lovers. The Gilmore Car Museum houses a massive collection of vehicles in a nostalgic country setting. Any visit is a great gift, but if you pick the right day, your dad can take a chauffeured spin in an amazing car from days gone by. Their Ride Classics program is available from 1am-3pm on select days. Some of the vehicles featured include: 1973 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible, 1929 Ford Model A Phaeton, 1971 Ford LTD Convertible, 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible 4-door, 1963 Cadillac Convertible, 1935 Austin London Taxi, and a 1931 Ford Model A Woody Wagon. While in the area, head into Kalamazoo for a phenomenal farm-to-table meal at Food Dance or enjoy a tasty ale, and unique drinking experience at the Beer Exchange.
Take a Flight from Yesteryear
Can you imagine what it was like to fly in a WW II aircraft like those famously built in our Arsenal of Democracy? You don’t have to just imagine it, you can actually do it, through the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville. Book an Air Adventure on one of its five historic aircraft and you’ll not only take a ride into history together, the dollars you spend, will help sustain this significant slice of our Michigan heritage. Yankee Air Museum’s historic plane rides feature the B-17 Yankee Lady and B-25 Rosie’s Reply bombers, the C-47 Hairless Joe Skytrain, the UH-1 Huey, and the magnificent Ford Tri-Motor.
Charter a Fishing Boat
Perhaps you and your dad have spent some time at a favorite local fishing hole or pier. Maybe it’s time to cast in some fresh waters. Pick a new direction, literally any direction, and you can book one of the amazing charters available from marinas all over the state. Let some experts guide you out to fish in an area where you have never been before. When you surprise him with this dadventure, be sure to gift it with a bottle of Fessler’s Original Sauce so you have the perfect complement for your tasty haul.
Play a World Class Golf Course
Golf courses are almost as prevalent as fishing piers in this state, and you don’t always have to be a member or know one to get in. While many are at private clubs, did you know that there are over 650 public courses in Michigan? In fact, some rank among the best in the state. Make a reservation and hit the links with dad on a truly challenging and beautiful course. Arcadia Bluffs sits on 265 acres of windswept bluffs 180 feet above Lake Michigan, and Golf Digest considers it the 3rd best course in the state, and tops among public courses. Coming in at #5 is Forest Dunes in Roscommon. Set against the serenity of the Huron National Forest, its famous course, The Loop, is known for its revolutionary reversible design, allowing players to play the same course forward and backwards. It was once a walking only course, but now has electric golf cars available, making it a more accessible option than before. There’s also The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort. Designed by one of the most famous golfers of all time, Jack Nicklaus, this tough course is appropriately named.
Happy Father’s Day to all the hard working dads and father figures out there.