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Mendo Lake Family Life

24 Great Places for Daddy-Daughter Dates

By Christina Katz

Just as moms and daughters can bond by spending special time together, dads and daughters need quality time, too. I have learned that making memories with her dad is just as important for my daughter as making memories with me or with the entire family. 

So the next time your husband and daughter are due for some quality time together, pull up this list of delightful destinations, choose one or two, and shoo them out the door. They’ll come home worn-out, happy, and more bonded, and these are gifts that last them both a lifetime. 

1. Breakfasts out. Test-drive joints until they discover their faves. 

2. Trips to San Francisco. Take the bus, the train, and/or the ferry. Then walk everywhere else. 

3. Visits to the San Francisco Zoo. Besides animals, there are rides, too. See

4. Bowling dates. Who can win the best of five? 

5. Amusement park romps. Spin around first; eat cotton candy after. 

6. Tourist traps. Is there a famous something-or-other shop nearby that they’ll love? Succumb to the hype. 

7. High-wire acts. Zip lines, air-trams, and skyscrapers—anything with a view, just for the thrill of it. 

8. Arcade outings. Zing-bang-pop! Make those tokens last, so you can play for hours and combine your prize tickets. 

9. Miniature golfing. Try a new course within a 30-mile radius every time you go. 

10. Historical landmarks. Take indoor or outdoor tours. Try to learn little-known facts. 

11. Day hikes. Wear two pairs of socks and sturdy shoes. Bring Band-Aids, trail mix, and water.

12. Bike rides. They can both ride. Or if dad runs, make it a run/ride combo. 

13. Out to ball games. Baseball, basketball, football—she’ll love a game at the stadium. 

14. Hit concerts. Pack a picnic for the outdoors or earplugs for the rock-and-roll. 

15. All-you-can-eat buffets. Go hungry and then pace yourselves once you get there. 

16. Waterslides or waterparks. Bathing suit up and scream all the way down. 

17. Horse or racecar tracks. Decide how much you will each bet and stick to it. 

18. Short road trips. Pick nearby towns you’ve never been to, jump in the car, and go. 

19. Go fishin’. Dad can hook the worms if she doesn’t want to, but she just might surprise you. 

20. Geocaching. Download the official Geocaching app at, and off to hunt you go. 

21. Grab a matinée. Ticket prices are cheaper so splurge for popcorn, candy, and a drink. 

22. Roller- or ice-skating. Check out open skate times and party themes like neon or disco skates. 

23. Attend local festivals. Arts, collectibles, rocks, literary—whatever she’s into! 

24. Go out for ice cream cones. Take walks along a local scenic path or visit a town park. 

Shhh! Don’t tell them you didn’t want to go. I’ve got a little secret when it comes to daddy-daughter dates: I often encourage my husband to take our daughter to places I would rather not go. You know what I mean—those noisy, crowded, high-up-in-the-air places you may not always be all that crazy about either. 

The fact is, great daddy-daughter date destinations are often raucous, dusty, or sweaty places moms might rather avoid. As for when they choose places I enjoy visiting, that’s okay. I can take a pass. I’m perfectly happy staying behind so my husband and daughter can have some adventures together that are just about the two of them.  

Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz tries not to dance a jig after her husband and daughter leave for some together time, but she usually just can’t stop herself.