Sometimes I give them a budget and say how far I’m willing to drive, and then they do all the planning. Other times I’m like, “hey, let’s fly to Norway because this airline deal is too good to pass up!” But no matter the genesis of the trips, traveling with my tween and teen daughters is always a thrilling experience. It gives us the chance to bond and make unique memories that end up being the best kind of inside jokes imaginable.
Want to plan a father-daughter trip with your girl? These are nine of the best father-daughter getaways to book right now.
1. Broadway Blitz
It’s become an annual tradition for my musical-theater obsessed teen daughter and I to spend a dizzying 36 hours in midtown Manhattan seeing a trio of Broadway and off-Broadway shows—and we do it without spending a fortune! We visit the different box offices as soon as they open to get rush tickets for anywhere between $30 to $50 (depending on the show) if we haven’t already locked them down using TodayTix or StubHub.
In between performances, we’ll share freshly-fried falafel and a bowl of the creamiest hummus and pita in the city at Hummus Kitchen, then stroll around the Disney and Line Friends stores in Times Square. After each show, we wait outside stage doors to get photos with the stars and her Playbills signed by as many actors as possible.
Once back home, we frame those Playbills and hang them up in her bedroom, slowly transforming the space into a kind of defacto New York deli (sans the pastrami) with signed mementos on every wall.
Recommended Hotel: Lord & Moris – Times Square Hotel
2. All-Inclusive Resort in Mexico
Picture yourself at the Club Med Cancun Yucatan in a vibrantly decorated, nearly 700-square-foot, two-bedroom suite complete with a furnished balcony looking out over the sea. This is dad and daughter vacation perfection!
Now picture yourself barely in the room because you and your best girl will be doing acrobatics at the trapeze school, learning archery together, setting sail on a Hobie Cat 15 catamaran, windsurfing, and lounging by the family pool and/or secluded beach with fruity slushy drinks delivered on demand.
And we haven’t even discussed the food, theatrical entertainment each evening, cooking demonstrations and salsa dance classes. Everything mentioned above is included in your stay.
Recommended Hotel: Club Med Cancun Yucatan
Last summer my teen and I spent seven magnificent days together on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas in Europe. We participated in a treasure hunt in and around an old villa on the Spanish island of Mallorca; made a travel video as we zigzagged Cassis, France; went shopping in La Spezia, Italy for clothes none of her friends would be able to duplicate; found Italian silks in Naples for her and her sister’s homemade jewelry business; and sampled vegetarian tapas in Barcelona.
Along the way, as we cruised from port to port, we got up the courage to zipline across the ship, had a classic diner breakfast at Johnny Rockets on the Symphony’s stunning Boardwalk, went ice skating, sang along with Hairspray the Musical, played laser tag, ate our weight in gelato, and took so many goofy selfies and classy portraits, too. These are photos and memories we will always cherish.
For a cruise leaving from U.S., the newly opened Perfect Day at CocoCay from Royal Caribbean, with its private beaches, pools, ziplines, epic waterslides, and tethered balloon rising 450 feet above the Bahamas, makes a stellar dad and daughter getaway vacation experience!
Related: 10 Best Cruise Ships for Teens
4. Thrift Shopping in Richmond
While we will still indulge in new clothes from time to time, my girls get the biggest thrill from finding funky consignment threads in different cities when we travel. Thanks to The Clothes Rack, Ashby, Clementine, Bygones, and Buffalo Exchange, Virginia’s capital city—specifically Richmond’s hip Carytown neighborhood—is home to some first-rate thrifting to go along with delicious independent restaurants, ice cream parlors, a fantastic toy store, and cool bookshop (not to mention the stellar Virginia Museum of Fine Arts).
I relish the opportunity to explore hip new places with my daughters and watch as they put pieces together at thrift shops to make fresh outfits that speak to the kind of brilliant, inventive, and daring young women they’re becoming.
Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Downtown Richmond
5. Stargazing on the California Coast
Want to see the stars in her eyes, dad? Of course you do. Book a stargazing getaway at the Little River Inn, a stunning full-service, family-owned resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the breathtaking Mendocino Coast, just about halfway between San Francisco and the Redwoods of Northern California.
They’ve got an affordable two-night package for $430 that allows you and your daughter to snuggle up beneath your very own Little River Inn blanket, borrow their custom stargazing kit with special binoculars, star map, star guide and flashlight, and sip hot chocolate while looking up to the heavens together.
Recommended Hotel: Little River Inn
6. An Epic Post-World Cup NWSL Weekend
Celebrate the return of our U.S. Women’s National Team after (hopefully) a World Cup victory in France by spending a weekend on the East Coast (New York and Washington, D.C.) watching Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle, Carli Lloyd, Julie Ertz, and Megan Rapinoe and more of the most talented athletes in America. Stick around after the matches with your remarkable young woman to get autographs and photos with these remarkable young women soccer players!
7. Free Spirit Camping on Vancouver Island
That they will garner ALL OF THE LIKES on Instagram is only the tip of the iceberg for reasons to stay with your daughter in a Free Spirit Sphere.
Located on the rugged east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, these rotund accommodations—which look like oversized hand-painted Christmas ball ornaments—are truly one-of-a-kind spherical treehouses that offer a unique take on glamping. They are guaranteed to elevate you and your daughter’s camping experience and, honestly, probably raise the bar so high that no future camping adventure will match it!
Recommended Hotel: Free Spirit Spheres
8. A Bergen Dreamscape
It may seem like an impossible dream to get away with your daughters to Norway for a long weekend—but it’s not!
Thanks to reasonable fares (but really, a mind-boggling sale to Scandinavian destinations this past spring), my girls and I escaped to Bergen, Norway, from JFK Airport in New York on Norwegian Air for only $190 roundtrip each!
Paired with a cool and affordable 100-year-old, three-story rental apartment in the downtown area of the fabulous city, we enjoyed local food; a couple of picnics; tours of the KODE art museums to see Picasso’s “Girl with a Ponytail”; walks around Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen dating back to the 14th-century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site; a clothing shopping spree at Sundt (kind of like a cooler H&M); an SK Brann soccer match; and a scenic drive to see the famous fjords of western Norway.
Recommended Hotel: Citybox Bergen
While going global with your daughter is the dream for many, a staycation can be just as rewarding! No matter where you hang your hat, the local area that surrounds home has places absolutely worth visiting—museums, hiking trails, nature preserves, major and minor league sports, theme parks, theaters and more. Whether you splurge for a room at a local hotel that has a swimming pool or set forth every day from your own front door, there’s unlimited potential for fun, bonding, and memory-making during a father-daughter staycation.