Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Trips That Dads Love

by | June 16, 2020

Dad hasn’t had a trip in a while and could probably use an escape to look forward to.  For Father’s Day, why not give him the gift of a future trip, once he’s comfortable getting back out there again?  Here are a few ideas for you. They are past trips taken by your fellow travelers, reviewed by fathers (and grandfathers), and often enjoyed by the whole family. These top-notch experiences were all arranged by destination specialists recommended by Wendy, of course.  To find the right destination specialist for Dad’s specific needs and goals, click to The WOW List or Ask Wendy.

“Paragliding in Grindelwald, a canyon swing, a jet boat in Interlaken, a private cave tour…”

Couple at hiking in the area of Zermatt with the Matterhorn in the background.

Hiking in Zermatt with the Matterhorn in the distance. Photo: Switzerland Tourism/Ivo Scholz

Nina created an itinerary that included many excellent suggestions that we were not aware of, even though I had done a fair amount of research on my own to know what Switzerland had to offer. Paragliding in Grindelwald, a canyon swing, a jet boat in Interlaken, a private cave tour, glacier trekking, a helicopter transfer from Jungfraujoch to Gstaad, the Via Ferrata in Mürren-Gimmelwald, the Gorner Gorge adventure in Zermatt….AWESOME! The execution of the trip was flawless: When the helicopter landed in Gstaad in a grassy field, the driver was right there waiting for us. There would have been no way to plan this trip on our own and have everything run as smoothly as it did.” —Travis Schmitt

“Our single favorite experience was visiting a winery, where we somehow spent almost six hours on a sweltering 104-degree day…”

Herdade do Esporão vineyards, Alentejo Portugal

Herdade do Esporão vineyards, Alentejo Portugal. Photo: Herdade do Esporão

“We submitted Wendy’s questionnaire and then had a very substantive call with Goncalo to talk about what we particularly enjoyed about prior trips and specific likes and dislikes. Our travel dates were totally inflexible because they were dictated by our kids’ summer camp schedules. This meant we had only one week for Portugal—in peak season. Our goal was to somehow thread the needle between exploring a country we’d never visited, having deep and personal experiences, avoiding tons of crowds, not bouncing around too much, and relaxing. Got it? Goncalo put together an itinerary that fit exactly what we were looking for. He had us stay in three different, small, unique, hotels—Areias do Seixo (on the coast an hour north of Lisbon), Barrocal in the Alentejo, and Santiago de Alfama in Lisbon—and each really enriched our experience of the location. Our favorite stop was the Alentejo region, and we would highly encourage others to include it in their plans. It’s beautiful, serene, has very special medieval towns, is extremely welcoming to visitors, and is much less visited than Lisbon, Porto, and the Douro Valley. Barrocal, a farm converted into a 5-star hotel, was a phenomenal home base there. Our single favorite experience was visiting Herdade de Esparao winery, where we somehow spent almost six hours on a sweltering 104-degree day. Our private tour was followed by a private tasting and then an amazing five-course lunch with wine pairings. It was probably the best meal we had in Portugal.” —Jeremy Silverman

“The right mix of adventure, nature, fun, and relaxation…”

Turquoise Wedgemount Lake and wild alpine flowers, Whistler, British Columbia Canada

Whistler, British Columbia. Photo: Shutterstock

“Our family of four had an amazing time in Vancouver, Whistler, and Sonora Island, British Columbia. Marc put together an itinerary that met the various wish-list items of everyone in the family, with the right mix of adventure, nature, fun, and relaxation. For an active family there is no end to the amazing experiences that can be had in Whistler, where we particularly enjoyed the zip-line, whitewater rafting, and tree-top adventure course. The second half of the trip was at the Sonora Resort, which was everything Marc said it would be and more. From the hiking to the photography, fishing, eco-tours, and fine dining, it was a wonderful experience and a relaxing time to reconnect as a family.” —Jay Matthews

“Visits to Mozart’s and Beethoven’s apartments…and access to the Strahov Library…”

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - mathematical hall of the Strahov convent library

The Strahov Convent Library, Prague, Czech Republic. Photo: Shutterstock

“I told Gwen that our 17-year-old son is passionate about playing piano, particularly the music of Classical- and Romantic-era composers. She asked questions to understand how we like to travel, especially when it came to what would interest our son, and then planned and executed an absolutely amazing trip to Vienna and Prague for us. Our itinerary included visits to Mozart’s and Beethoven’s apartments in Vienna; the cemetery where Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, and Schönberg are buried; and an exhibit that included one of Mozart’s original manuscripts. In Prague she arranged visits to a collection that included the original score to Beethoven’s third symphony, as well as access to the Strahov Library, which travelers typically only get to view from a distance but where we got to wander among the stacks!” —Adam Amsterdam

“We really enjoyed getting to visit the highest tower at Bran Castle, an area generally off-limits to the public…”

Legendary Bran (Dracula) historical castle of Transylvania, Brasov region, Romania, Eastern Europe

Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romania. Photo: Shutterstock

Raluca found us extraordinary accommodations in Romania. She tracked down a private residence in Bucharest where we had a private suite and were treated like personal friends of the family. We had three nights in Brasov in a lovely three-room hotel and four nights in Maremures in our own house on a 70-hectare property. The house was probably 100 years old and had been saved from destruction in the local village, moved to the host’s property, and completely remodeled inside. Raluca even arranged for a cook to come to the house and make us breakfast and dinner—truly special. Greg, our guide, made adjustments to the itinerary on the fly to accommodate our requests and suggested activities as he came to know us. For example, he arranged a trail ride for our daughter at a horse ranch. And Wendy, thanks for the WOW Moment. We really enjoyed getting to visit the highest tower at Bran Castle, an area generally off-limits to the public. Our very experienced guide had never been there.” —George Stephens

“We had a specialized cyclo-ride architectural tour, which helped us understand the history of the capital as well as the politics of the country…”

Villa Chandara pond and gardens, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Villa Chandara pond and gardens, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: ABOUTAsia Travel

“We used Andy and Josh to plan our two-week trip to Cambodia and Laos during our kids’ spring break. We had many amazing adventures, from giving alms to the monks as they walked down the street, to being blessed by the elder monk and meditating in a monastery before sunrise, to ox cart rides through a local village and swimming below a waterfall. We spent hours on a river boat visiting floating villages where not many tourists venture; we had a specialized cyclo-ride architectural tour in Phnom Penh, which helped us understand the history of the capital as well as the politics of the country; and we did a tuk-tuk dine-out city tour. We were able to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat, and for the most part the guide avoided the crowds, which we very much appreciated. We took our kids to a couple of night markets—which was fun and far from the tourists—and visited the restaurant Villa Chandara, where Andy has created an oasis in the midst of cow fields and a local village for a truly memorable afternoon and evening. We had fantastic family time and loved both Laos and Cambodia—their people and their sights!” —Elliot Laskin

“A memorable 10-day Thanksgiving trip in the mountains…”

Four Seasons Jackson Hole hotel room with balcony doors open overlooking mountains

Four Seasons Jackson Hole. Photo: Four Seasons

“We—my wife and I and our six-year-old twins—were searching for a memorable 10-day Thanksgiving trip in the mountains anywhere in the West that had the best chance of snow. After advising us as to the pros and cons of every mountain area from Colorado to British Columbia, Wendy’s trusted American West specialist steered us toward Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She found us the perfect cabin in the Tetons for half of the time and then obtained a truly phenomenal suite for us at the Four Seasons. We booked excursions in the refuge to see bison, hundreds of elk, and bighorn sheep, and we were directed to great hills to sled on and wonderful hiking areas. It was a five-star experience.” —Garrett Bandy

“Excursions which we never could have arranged by ourselves and about which my three grandchildren never stop talking…”

Gros Morne Western Brook Pond fjord, Newfoundland

Gros Morne Western Brook Pond fjord, Newfoundland. Photo: Maxxim Vacations

“For our three-generation family trip to Atlantic Canada—Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland—Jill arranged excursions which we never could have arranged by ourselves and about which my three grandchildren never stop talking. These included a boat trip where we dug for clams, pulled up lobster traps, gathered fresh mussels and oysters, and had a wonderful lobster boil on a secluded beach. Another boat excursion was to islands dark with puffins, murres, razor bills, cormorants and other birds, and a boat tour of coastal resettled communities during which we saw whales. We also had a songfest in a private home with guitar and accordion. And we (and some say this was the best) hiked along the shore with Lori, a chef, who pointed out plants which were edible and then used them to make a sumptuous lunch. The vistas of inland lakes, pine forests, and ocean fronts were magnificent. This was a visit of a lifetime.” —Richard Goldin

“The guide Greg picked for us was amazing and a delight to our three pre-teen/teenage boys…”

Saint Isaac Cathedral across Moyka river, St Petersburg, Russia

Saint Isaac Cathedral across Moyka river, St Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Shutterstock

“Two things really set our trip to St. Petersburg apart: First, the guide that Greg picked for us, Eugenia, was AMAZING and a delight to our three pre-teen/teenage boys. We learned all about her fascinating family. Eugenia’s grandfather was the official photographer at the Hermitage, and she knows the museum like her own home. We spent seven magical hours there with her, and I’d gladly spend another seven magical days! She also adjusted our plans on the fly so we could fit in the Fabergé Museum and helped us know what to look for in the ballet Giselle before we went. Second, the itinerary was very thoughtful, given our interests. For example, the Peterhof tour included the grottoes (where we went from massive crowds to serenity in seconds!) and Monplaisir Palace but not the crowded main house. For us, this was perfect. Also, the Museum of Political History was fascinating, given our interests, and we understand that it doesn’t get included on many shorter itineraries. The built-in flexibility in the Hermitage day was also ideal. It was an amazing trip!” —Jonathan Marek

“If there is one aspect of the trip that deserves special mention, it is our WOW Moment…”


The Lerner family in Belize

“We worked with Patricia to plan a special vacation to Belize with our adult children and a girlfriend. We loved literally every minute but, if there is one aspect of the trip that deserves special mention, it is our WOW Moment at Naia Resort in Placencia, on the Caribbean coast. We really didn’t know what to expect as we were escorted down to the beach… until we could hear the beating of the drums and see the flaming bonfire awaiting us at sunset. Richard and his family taught us about the indigenous Garifuna people and their very interesting history and culture. The many dances, including the ‘Go Mommy’ chant for my wife Julie’s birthday, were so much fun. The entire resort came out to watch and dance with us.” —Stephen Lerner

“We were the only people in the tomb besides the two security guards…”

two tourists Riding camels to the pyramids in Egypt

Riding camels to the pyramids. Photo: Stephen Behnen

“[In Egypt] my wife, my daughter, and I were the only people in Nefertari’s Tomb besides the two security guards, which was wonderful for a variety of reasons. When you’re all by yourselves, you don’t have other people chattering around you and you’re not stumbling over everybody. You’re in a place that’s as quiet as can be—a place where somebody was buried, for crying out loud, and this is where they were going to spend their afterlife. …There are signs everywhere reminding you that the maximum time is ten minutes, but because our guide was careful to arrange for us to arrive when nobody else was there, the guards were more lenient. They didn’t speak English, but they were motioning you might want to come over here and take a look at this. They didn’t try to shoo us out at ten minutes, and we didn’t volunteer to leave. We just drank it in.” —Stephen Behnen

“We proceeded to have the most amazing meal using Moroccan ingredients but in a totally different way…”

Cuisine at Nur Restaurant, Fez, Morocco. Photo: Nur Restaurant

Cuisine at Chef Najat’s Nur, Fez, Morocco. Photo: Nur Restaurant

“It was a complete surprise. It came at the beginning of our trip, on day two or three. We walked to this restaurant, and of course, in Fez you can never tell what anything looks like from the outside, because everything looks like it did in the eighth or ninth century. We walked inside, and there was this beautiful restaurant. It was small—eight, nine tables—and the art was incredible. The seven of us were seated in a very private area, where we proceeded to have the most amazing meal using Moroccan ingredients but in a totally different way. There were Moroccan spices but combined differently, with different presentations. We had a ten-course meal with different wines. I don’t eat at every super-duper restaurant in the world, but this was certainly one of the top ten meals of my life. Chef Najat came out before dessert and introduced herself. She and her partner [Charles Accivatti, Najat’s husband and business partner] made us feel 100 percent at home. After the meal, we sat around with the two of them for an hour and just talked. We talked food, we talked Morocco, we talked travel, we talked restaurants….She’s very picky about every ingredient; the meal changes every night based upon what comes from the market.” —Ron Klausner

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