If you’re lucky enough to have a father as adventurous and active as mine, then you likely love finding ways to explore Ohio with new experiences, especially on Father’s Day. And, if you and your dad don’t typically step out of your comfort zone, then Father’s Day is the perfect time to spice things up a bit. Ditch the neckties and sweaters, and instead invest in a fun-filled Ohio adventure with your old man. Because, after all, what do you get for the guy who has it all (including way too many socks)?
Here are a few ideas of things to do with your dad on Father’s Day – or any day – in all corners of Ohio:
Paddle boarding on Hinckley Lake in Medina County
Previously, I introduced my dad to the sport of paddle boarding. My dad initially felt it would be totally out of his league, for a number of reasons. But, as any good son would do, I basically pressured him into taking the leap of faith, trusting that he would be fully capable. After a demonstration where they adjusted our oars, showed us the tricks to getting on (start on your knees then work your way up to standing), and taught us how to paddle (keep your arms straight, one on top of the oar, one halfway down, creating a triangle with your arms and the oar) — we were soon off on our own in the wide open waters! My dad did great on his first paddle board trip, and I encourage you to take your dad out as well!
Other paddle spots and companies to try are Aloha SUP in Columbus, Lake Logan Marina in Hocking Hills (where you can rent paddle boards for outing), Burning River Adventures, Portage Paddling Co. and Winston Woods Lake in Springfield Township – just outside Cincinnati.
Kayaking in Trumbull-County
Canoeing & Kayaking
If you want to be on the water, but don’t feel that paddle boarding is quite your speed, you can always try a traditional canoe or kayaking experience with your dad. You can go tandem in one of these watercraft, or each get your own and go side-by-side. The main difference between canoeing and kayaking is the type of oar you have (single blade in canoes and double blade in kayaks), So, whichever of these lightweight boats you decide upon, you’ll be able to find seemingly endless places offering rentals in Ohio
Some suggestions of unique and scenic canoe and kayak spots in Ohio are: Kayak The Bay in Put-In-Bay (where you get to explore all around the Lake Erie island), Trailhead Canoe Livery in Stark County, Trapper John’s Canoe Livery just south of Columbus, Loudonville Canoe Livery, Little Miami Canoe Rental in Warren County and Hocking Hills Canoeing.
If you’ve got a really daring dad, take him zip-lining! I was able to convince both my mom and my dad to come along for the ride at the tallest, fastest,and longest zip-line course in the state of Ohio: Tree Frog Canopy Tours in Mohican Country. My dad was like a pro by the end of our 7-line course, complete with two rappels. I don’t think I even saw a single drop of sweat while he did it, either!
Other great spots in Ohio to experience the thrill of zip-lining with your dad are Common Ground Canopy Tours in Oberlin, O-Zone Zipline Adventures in Warren County, and The Wilds Zipline Safari in Cumberland and Hocking Hills Canopy Tours.
If all of these outdoor activities get rained out, or if you end up needed to grab a bit to eat after a day of dad adventures, then you can never go wrong filling your father’s belly with some good eats. What type of food do I consider to be “dad dining”? The types of places that come to mind are barbecue joints, seafood restaurants and good ol’ fashioned brew pubs.
Some great ideas for places I’d take my dad are Millstone BBQ in Logan, Packo’s in Toledo, Thurman Cafe in German Village and Yellow Springs Brewery. If you’re looking to continue exploring as part of your Father’s Day, then try out some of the stops on the Summit Brew Path in Akron.
Learning New Things
If team sports are a favorite, then plan a visit to several of Ohio’s sports museums. The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton is always a classic, or you can take a tour of the Wilson Football Factory in Ada – The Football Capital of the World. If baseball is more your thing, then head over to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. And if you need more trip inspiration, try some of the stops on the Winning Drive Road Trip.
Another idea for a dad’s educational trip are visits to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, National Veterans Memorial and Museum and the International Women’s Air & Space Museum in Cleveland.
If it’s fashion over function for dad this Father’s Day, then outfit with a (bow) tie from Ohio shops like Cleveland’s The What the Knot Bow Tie Company or Columbus-based Pursuit. Or you can pamper him with grooming essentials (like beard oil) from Cliff Original and Huckstle.
Other ideas that are great for dad are a selection of great reads from local bookstores. Or you can go more outdoorsy with camping, gardening supplies and plants from places like Yelo Aple, STUMP, Groovy Plant Ranch and Yellowood Design. Or bring on the inner DIY with tools from Hartville Hardware.
- *Portions of this piece were originally published in June 2017