Father’s Day rolls around every year in June just as summer is getting started. If your family needs some fresh inspiration for celebrating the dad, grandpa or uncle in your life, here are some fun ideas that are tailor-made for Austinites.

Car Wash for Dad

My grandpa used to say that his car ran better when it was clean. He was in jest, but maybe a car wash is a way to show Dad some love this Father’s Day. Roll up your sleeves and clean his car—both inside and out. There are dozens of car washes around Austin, some with DIY complimentary features like cleaning products and vacuums. Kids can help vacuum the automobile’s interior. Or you can do it all from home. Have kids get on bathing suits to keep cool while you wash the car’s exterior in your driveway. When the job is all done, add a new air freshener to the rearview mirror and leave a few homemade cards for Dad in the driver’s seat.

Gone Fishin’

There’s something paternal and old-fashioned about going fishing, and this Father’s Day it might be just the way to help your kids celebrate their dad or grandpa in a new way. You don’t need fancy equipment either, just poles and some bait (and maybe some snacks for kids). Austin boasts some great fishing holes, such as Mills Pond, McKinney Falls State Park and Onion Creek. You can catch bass, catfish and even some Rainbow Trout. The accompanying adult does need a fishing license to fish public waters but not to fish from the shore at a Texas state park. Remember to snap some photos before you release the fish back into the water!

Make a Splash!

Speaking of enjoying Austin water sources…if fishing seems a little too involved for your kids, why not simply rent a paddleboard or kayak and have a day of fun on Ladybird Lake? There are several companies to rent from in Austin, most of which charge about $35 a day to use the kayaks or paddle boards. Better yet, gift Dad a paddleboard of his own and take it out for a float on Father’s Day. There are eight different launching points off Ladybird Lake and plenty of room on the water for everyone.

Grill Master

Austin weather is perfect in June for a cookout. Give Dad some new grilling tools and plan to have a cookout to celebrate him. Just don’t make him do all the work! Sometimes all we need are some new tools to get inspired. Plan to purchase Dad some grilling tools, such as seasoning rubs, heat resistant spatulas, outdoor kitchen towels, meat thermometer and maybe even an apron with his name on it. You can keep it local and purchase your grilling meats from Austin’s iconic Salt Lick.

Scavenger Hunt

Kids love participating in scavenger hunts, but they also love creating them too. So let them help plan one for Dad. Purchase some inexpensive themed gifts like car tools, BBQ tools, toiletries or favorite drinks or snacks and have the kids write up funny clues for where to find the items in the house. Then let Dad do the hunting. It’s a great way to bond, and it’s sure to induce lots of giggles.  Plus, a scavenger hunt for little fun gifts doesn’t have to break the bank.

Camp Out!

Most dads love a good campout with their kids. Lucky for us, Austin has some fantastic campsites to choose from. Camping doesn’t have to be complicated at a state or local park. One overnight of camping is sure to bring smiles to you and your kids. Bring the basics: sleeping bags, a tent, some hot dogs and snacks. Kids will be thrilled just to spend some quality time with their dad in nature. McKinney Falls State Park, Emma Long Metropolitan Park, Bastrop State Park, Krause Springs and Pedernales Falls State Park all boast beautiful views and campsites. You’ll be sure to make special outdoor memories with Dad this Father’s Day. Remember to book your campsite early.

Hike to the Top

If you’re looking for a fun thing to do on Father’s Day in Austin, why not take a family hike to the highest point in the city? Mount Bonnell is 785 feet up and total of 106 steps. For most people, even with children, it takes about 10 minutes to get to the top and the view of Austin is unbeatable. There’s a snow cone trailer at the base of Mount Bonnell, so after your hike, buy Dad a sweet treat on his special day.


Jess Archer is a writer, a mom of two kids and a wife. She is the author of the memoir, “Finding Home with the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Billy Graham.

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