Treat Dad to a special RV outing for Father’s Day in the Southeast. Stay in your comfort zone with a traditional fishing trip, expand your horizons with challenging rock-climbing adventures or take a leisurely tubing trip down a lazy river. Celebrate the cool camping dads in your life with a trip to remember in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Hitting Top Speed in Talladega, Alabama
Home to the Talladega Superspeedway, this northern Alabama town occupies an essential place in the NASCAR universe. But even as stock car racing is resuming this year, many of the races hit the track without spectators, leaving fans to watch at home on TV. The good news: racing fans visiting Talladega, home to the Talladega Superspeedway, can still get a high-speed fix.
Honor Racing Greats: Take dad for a walk along the Davey Allison Memorial-Walk of Fame, a beautifully landscaped park that occupies an entire city block in downtown Talladega. Dedicated to a legendary driver who died tragically in a helicopter crash, the walk displays plaques devoted to almost 20 drivers, including Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace and other icons of the sport. Engraved on each plaque is information about the inductee’s life and accomplishments.
High-Speed Fun: Thrill-seeking dads can get an adrenaline jolt just east of town at the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail. Choose from the four-mile, fast-descending Bomb Dog to the three-mile climb of the Tortoise Trail. In all, there are 14 trails for all skill levels winding through the red-dirt terrain. East of town, the Talladega National Forest has some of the most scenic trails in the South.
Stay: Montgomery South RV Park & Cabins, Hope Hull
Tubing on the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Georgia
Running southward from northern Georgia to its southern border, the Chattahoochee River packs thrilling whitewater stretches along with sedate segments for tubing and fishing. Spend a day with dad on the portion of the waterway that runs through Atlanta, an adventure that mixes urban and wild.
Tubular Fun: Beat the early summer heat with a tubing excursion on the current. Trips range from 1 mile to 8 miles, and the best part is that the current does all the work. As you ride, enjoy views of the lush forests that drift by. If dad prefers dry land, you can take him on a hike in the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, with miles of trails that wind through lush terrain in Atlanta’s suburbs. See gorgeous wildlife just a few miles from the big city. If dad is a fishing enthusiast, he can drop a line in several places for trout, catfish and bass.
Stay: Stone Mountain Park Campground, Stone Mountain
Kayaking on Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve, Florida
Nothing brings a family together like a kayaking trip, and Florida is home to some of the best paddling environments in North America. Protecting a long stretch of ocean channel near Fort Myers, the Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve entices kayakers with sightings of fish, dolphins, manatees, ospreys, pelicans, herons and even otters.
Get Close to Nature: Paddle under the branches of densely packed mangrove trees and watch wading birds along untouched shorelines. Adventurous kayakers can hit the Great Calusa Blueway, a marked 190-mile long trail following the Sanibel Causeway from the mainland. The course leads kayakers to gorgeous rivers, beaches, lagoons and islands, each inhabited with vibrant wildlife. Visitors will find several launch points on Sanibel Island.
Stay: Woodsmoke Camping Resort, Fort Myers
Trotting to Top Horses in Lexington, Kentucky
Go on a horse hike to see where future racing thoroughbreds are raised in the Horse Capital of the World. The 10.5-mile Legacy Rail Trail stretches from downtown Lexington north of the famed Kentucky Horse Park, a sprawling horse farm and theme park that is home to some of the most exquisite equines on the planet.
The trail winds through beautiful suburbs and along the tranquil banks of Cane Creek. The last two miles of the trail pass through the 1,000-acre Horse Park. Although facilities in the building are closed, visitors can still get close glimpses of future champions trotting on the grounds. Extend your fun by taking the 3-mile spur trail to Cold Creek Park, a research campus of the University of Kentucky with lush green spaces. Tip: You don’t have to walk all 10 miles; find a spot in the middle and start your journey.
Stay: Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown
Boating on the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
For boating dads, it’s hard to beat the Chesapeake Bay. As the largest estuary in the United States, the Chesapeake and tributaries connect six states, with the lion’s share of the coast taken up by Maryland. Significant ports like Baltimore Harbor and Annapolis attract countless leisure boaters, while smaller, laid-back marinas and ports in places like Abingdon and St. Michael cater to folks seeking a quieter environment.
Covering almost 5,000 square miles, the Chesapeake offers limitless adventures. History buffs can sail to iconic destinations like Poole’s Island, home to the oldest lighthouse in Maryland. Head to Baltimore Harbor for a view of Fort McHenry. Anglers can catch bass, channel catfish and perch; if you prefer someone else to do the angling, tie your boat up to one of the many dockside restaurants along the coast.
Stay: Ramblin’ Pines Family Campground & RV Park, Woodbine
Fishing in Vicksburg, Mississippi
Treat your dad to a good ole’ fishing trip with a dash of Civil War history thrown in. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, Vicksburg is a charming Southern city that caters to fishing buffs seeking hefty freshwater catches. North of town, Eagle Lake is home to wooden fishing piers that lure big bass fish. Lower your watercraft down the boat ramp and head to the deep areas for abundant catfish. Closer to town, the mighty Mississippi entices anglers to catch giant blue catfish from places like Harbor Front and Collin’s Point.
Back on land, the Vicksburg National Military Park preserves a Confederate stronghold that was besieged by Union forces for more than a year. Tour the battlefield to see the cannons and earthworks that made this one of the Civil War’s deadliest clashes. At the USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum, visitors can see the remains of a Union ironclad vessel that wreaked havoc on Confederate supply lines.
Stay: River Town Campground, Vicksburg
Catching Waves in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
Dads who love watersports should head to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a narrow strip of sand dividing the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound. The country’s first national seashore is the perfect place to catch a wave for intense surfing, bodyboarding, windsurfing or ocean kayaking.
This is where the Wave Jam windsurfing competition and the Eastern Surfing Association’s championships are held annually. For calmer waters, drift into the blue estuary of Pamlico Sound, where you can dive in for a guided snorkeling tour, take a spin on a paddleboard, kayak around the Pamlico Sound or cast out a line to enjoy some of the best fishing in the region.
Stay: Hatteras Sands Campground, Hatteras
Golfing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Golfing dads, rejoice. Myrtle Beach, nicknamed “The Golf Capital of the World,” has reopened most of the area’s major golf courses as the Palmetto State gets back to business. That means iconic courses like Grande Dunes Resort Club, Heritage Club and International Club are once again challenging golfers with long, lush fairways, sprawling greens and confounding hazards.
Set Your Course: There are about 120 courses in the Myrtle Beach area, making it difficult to choose where to tee off. Fortunately, visitors can select a package that gives them a nice sampling of some of the best links in the region. If you’re picky about golf course designers, check out the courses and choose from courses envisioned by icons like champion Jack Nicklaus and designing genius Robert Trent Jones.
Stay: Hideaway RV Resort, Myrtle Beach
Hiking in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountain National Park is undergoing a phased reopening, and many of the park’s 150 trails are now open to hikers. Give dad a chance to break in those new hiking boots with a trip along scenic trails that lead hikers to waterfalls, streams and amazing overlooks. In all there are more than 800 miles worth of hiking in the park, giving visitors a great excuse to prolong their trip.
Top Trails: Catch the Appalachian trail to the distinct Charlies Bunion rock outcropping, with jaw-dropping views of the valley below. Take the 2.7-mile hike to Rainbow Falls, so named for the colorful light that appears in its mists.
Stay: Riveredge RV Park & Cabin Rentals, Pigeon Forge
Biking and Golfing in the Historic Triangle, Virginia
Past meets present beautifully in the Historic Triangle, located on the state’s Atlantic Coast. Although popular attractions like Historic Jamestowne and Historic Williamsburg currently are closed, the natural beauty of the region is well worth visiting. Witness the serene forest and marshland scenery while pedaling down the Historic Jamestown Bike Trail or venture into Freedom Park to traverse 20 miles of mountain biking trails.
The area is quickly becoming a popular golf destination, too, with over a dozen courses at your disposal. Many of the links have been designed by renowned architects like Arnold Palmer and Pete Dye and are set behind dramatic woodlands and rolling hills. Clubs you should consider teeing off at include the Golden Horseshoe, Kingsmill Resort and the Tradition Golf Club at Stonehouse.
Stay: American Heritage RV Park, Williamsburg
Climbing High at Nelson Rocks, West Virginia
West Virginia is a rock climber’s paradise, with an estimated 3,000 routes throughout the state, according to Mountain Project. Give dad a chance to broaden his horizons with a trip that defies gravity. If you’re new to the sport, start slow with a visit to Via Ferrata in the Nelson Rocks Preserve in western West Virginia. Translated from Italian, “Via Ferrata” means “iron path” and this is one of the few such courses in the world.
This climbing course, which scales hundreds of feet, consists of ladders and cables. Novice climbers can learn how to use slings and carabiners for the ascent. If you’re ready for the big time, head just a few miles up U.S. Route 33 and visit Seneca Rocks, with much tougher climbs.
Stay: Sand Springs Campground, Morgantown