You may not have had this thought, but you will never hear a man say, “I wish my father had done a few less activities with me when I was growing up”. It may be just kicking a ball around the back garden or watching your (your father’s) favourite team get thrashed by their closest rivals. It doesn’t matter too much what the activity is if you are doing it with your dad, it’s always great.
The thought of being out in the pouring rain in the middle of nowhere, staying in flimsy, supposedly waterproof tent, may have seemed like a nightmare that wasted valuable computer game time, but 20 years later it can be one of your fondest memories, even with soaking clothing and boots that squelch with every step.
You may not realise it but one of the best opportunities for father and son bonding is on a family vacation. If you think about it logically, it makes perfect sense – for once dad doesn’t have to go to work or worry about the car MOT, he can spend serious time not being serious with his son.
Here at 10 suggested activities to incorporate into your next holiday to guaranteed memories to last two lifeltimes!
Swimming is a major part of most holidays with the vast majority of hotels having a pool. Swimming and snorkelling in the sea, however, is a completely different experience. Seeing what lies beneath the water is a real step into an alien world and seeing this for the first time with your son is something very special. Florida, especially the Keys are home to some idyllic spots to indulge in swimming and more especially snorkelling
In some parts of Europe you take your life in your hands when you ride a bike on the roads, on the continent however, you are highly respected. There are even designated cycle lanes on busy roads to ensure you come to no harm, and motorists are more courteous to cyclists than they are to pedestrians. Hire a bike each, plan a route, and hit the open road for a great time together. Spain has some of the finest cycle routes, long and short in the world, with areas such as Calpe on the Costa Blanca playing home to amateurs and Tour de France training.
Many a father and son have put the world to rights while relaxing by a river bank with their fishing rods, and fishing on holiday is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of busy resorts and spend some special time together. Fishing is widely accessible through Europe, and there are many websites which tell you where are the best places to fish and whether you need permits or not. Obviously there are huge numbers of destinations for fishing enthusiast, with salmon being caught in Canada on the Fraser River to fly fishing in a quiet French backwater, the opportunities are endless.
Exploring a country 6ft in the air is quite something, and in many places abroad riding a horse around the country roads is as common as driving a car is over here. Trotting around the countryside and chancing upon hidden gems is the stuff that dreams are made of, and there is no other mode of transport that gets so close to nature as horse riding. Texas is perhaps the major horse riding destination in the world, well at least if you have ever dreamt of being a cowboy and what young lad (and his father) has not wondered what it would be like.
Messing about on the water, in the safest possible way of course, can give both fathers and sons a wonderful bonding experience. If neither of you have sailed before you can learn together, or a father can pass on his knowledge to his son and get him interested in one of the most enjoyable pastimes possible. There are all kinds of sailing opportunities available from the wilds of Alaska to the warm Caribbean waters, but be warned this sport can certainly be addictive.
Europe boasts some of the best golf courses in the world bar none. Taking in a course overlooking the Mediterranean under a clear blue sky is something very special. If your son has been reluctant to try out this most popular of pastimes at home, the lush green fairways coupled with the weather will suddenly have a whole new appeal. Two very different destinations are Scotland, the historic home of golf and the fairways of St Andrews and Spain which is teeming with stunning courses and pleasant weather.
If you like nothing better than putting your boots on, strapping on your backpack and heading out into the wide blue yonder, taking your son along will only increase your enjoyment. Wherever you stay on holiday, be it a tiny village or a bustling resort, you are never far from an area that begs to be explored on foot. Whether it be walking through lush countryside, or tackling hills and mountains, father and son hiking trips are something to cherish. Denali National Park in Alaska is often voted as arguably the best hiking destination in the US.
There are more go-karting tracks than you might think peppered throughout Europe and chances are there will be one close to where you are staying. Pulling on a helmet and getting behind the wheel is something most boys will jump at the chance of doing, so taking a trip to a go karting centre will give you both a thrill. Most major cities and huge numbers of tourist resorts all around the globe boast at least one go kart track so there really is no excuse for not giving it a try.
It depends on where you are holidaying which of these activities you will take part in. A destination with ocean and waves and tides is where you will surf, whereas if you are staying in a Mediterranean resort it will be windsurfing. These are both exciting sports to take part in with your son and the mutual encouragement as you go through the various steps of learning just adds to the fun. Newquay in Cornwall is perhaps the best known European surfing destination, but its spiritual home is Hawaii
Whichever of these activities you choose to do as a father and son team you will not only create a special bond but also memories that last a lifetime. The time we spend on holidays with our children are one of the most enjoyable parts of their childhood, and these experiences lay the foundations for what they will share in the future with their own children. So don’t miss out on these amazing opportunities to change the life of your son.