A Father’s Day Gift Guide for National Park Dads

Man hiking with his son through the woods

How many among us were first introduced to the beauty of national parks by our fathers? Fishing and camping trips loom large in childhood memories, and this upcoming Father's Day offers a chance to give back. Here are five perfect national park trips for you and Dad, and a few Father’s Day gift ideas to go along with them.

Hiking at Shenandoah National Park

With more than 500 miles of trails, including 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is a hiker's paradise. The scenery is unmatched, with wooded hollows, tumbling waterfalls, and panoramic mountaintop views. The dozens of options for day hikes along Skyline Drive range from easy to strenuous – for the experienced hiking dad, try the trek up Old Rag Mountain for an unforgettable adventure this Father’s Day.

The National Park Foundation has partnered with REI to create a new line of National Parks Centennial Gear that's perfect for hikers. The Osprey Kestrel 32 National Park Service PackREI National Park Service Traverse PL Cork Trekking Poles, and CamelBak National Park Service Eddy Water Bottle will have you and your dad ready to tackle any trail you come upon. 

Stargazing at Great Basin National Park

Minimal humidity, high elevation, and nearly nonexistent light pollution make the night skies above Nevada’s Great Basin National Park some of the darkest and clearest in the United States. On a clear night, you can see thousands of stars, five planets, man-made satellites, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Milky Way with the naked eye.

Whether your dad is an experienced stargazer or a relative novice, Great Basin is the perfect place to experience the night sky in a new way. Celestron offers a full line of products that are perfect for aspiring astronomers, from power packs and hand warmers to binoculars and telescopes.

Camping at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Family in a tent at Great Sand Dunes National Park
Dan Tennessen, Share the Experience

Whether you prefer to head deep into the wilderness or stay somewhat closer to civilization, camping is a tried and true Father's Day tradition. Many campsites at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve have views of the tallest dunes in North America. Take Dad on a sand-sledding adventure or splash around in Medano Creek!

Columbia's outdoor wear will keep you warm or cool, depending on what the weather calls for, and you'll find just about all the camping supplies you could ever need from Coleman. The new line of official gear in honor of the National Park Service Centennial is a great place to start on your gift search. Chances are, the Coleman Northstar Propane Lantern is pretty similar to the lantern that kept your campsite bright when you were a kid.

Picnic at Greenbelt Park

Picnic tables at Greenbelt Park
National Park Service

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy Father’s Day at a park. If you live near the Washington D.C. metro area, you can make a day trip to Greenbelt Park for a day of family fun! Only 12 miles away from Washington, D.C., this urban oasis is home to 3 picnic areas, a baseball field, and nine miles of trails! Keep in mind that this park also boasts a 174 site campground if you want to escape the city for more than an afternoon.

The national parks line of blankets from Pendleton are perfect for a picnic, and then there's the classic lineup of grills, coolers, and other gear from Coleman.

Father's Day is the perfect time to take a family trip to a national park, but you don’t have to limit yourself to a single day. You can also give Dad the gift of free national park access for a full year with the America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. REI will donate 10% of Park Pass sale proceeds to the National Park Foundation through 2016!

Last updated June 10, 2016.

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