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Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father's Day, Dad and son surfers on the beach

10 affordable Southern California experiences to share with Dad!


Whether you’re planning ahead or need a last minute Father’s Day gift idea, we’ve got you covered thoughtful, fun gifts for Father’s Day.  So for the man who snuck you that extra scoop of ice cream, told far too many Dad Jokes and always managed to be there for you, let’s look beyond the obligatory BBQ tongs or Sports cap and consider some unique papa loving thrills!

Here’s a quick guide to 10 Unique Dad’s Day Thrills for you to consider.  There’s something for every budget and the best news is you still have time to pull it off!

1.     11th Annual Father’s Day Car Show – Newport Beach & Brea, San Clemente

There’s something about Dads and cars, right? Easy Papa pleasing events in Newport Beach and Brea this Sunday.

NEWPORT BEACH: Dad can enjoy a fine collection of rare, classic, custom and antique cars, great music and family merriment at the Balboa Bay Club.  Free entrance, 11 am – 3 pm. Balboa Bay City Club & Resort – Upper Resort Parking Deck, 1221 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach. Cocktails and concessions available for purchase. Just be sure to charge your phone’s battery for many Instagram worthy dad shots! More info, Father’s Day Car Show.

BREA: CRUSIN’ BREA CLASSIC CAR SHOW. Drive Dad down to Brea for this annual Father’s day car show that draws well over 10,000 attendees to see the classics; street rods, muscle cars, trucks, exotics, sports cars and antiques. Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm, Birch Street & Brea Blvd, Brea.

SAN CLEMENTE Saturday June 16th, 10 am – 3 pm. – The show boasts 300 quality show cars from classic to exotic and is free to the public. The venue will host food trucks, vendors, DJ entertainment and a live band. Also, this year will include vintage camper trailers available for show and tours.

2.     Whale Watching off Dana Point Harbor – Father’s Day Sunset Cruise

There is still time to reserve seats on one of the comfortable vessels cruising out of Dana Point Harbor, such as Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari. Consider the special Father’s Day Sunset Cruise aboard the 65-foot luxury power catamaran, LILY. This extended 4-hour tour comes with complimentary glass of beer or champagne for adults to toast Dad. Pops will never forget this world class adventure — magnificent mammals and abundant sea life all around.  (Book online, use promo code: DAD20 for 20% savings.)

But Daddy likes speed? Book him on the FAST CAT, a 12-passenger turbo-charged vessel that sees the whales and dolphins up close and personal –plasters many a smile on Dad’s face.

The weather is perfect and blue whales are in abundance so call 949-488-2828 or book online at

3.     Angels Stadium Day

Tread Dad like an all-star at the Angel Stadium this weekend. While the day’s game is away at Oakland, there’s still a one-of-a-kind opportunity to make memories with dad playing catch in the outfield, hitting in the Angel’s Batting Cages or a behind the scenes stadium tour. A delicious BBQ picnic buffet awaits in the Lexus Diamond Club. Enjoy Trivia and Raffle giveaways and games. Kids under 5 are free, various prices for season seat holders and non-season holders. To purchase tickets, email or call (714) 940-2007.

4.     Chili at the Beach

Pack up dad and the fam and head to Huntington Beach for this tasty free family event! CHILI AT THE BEACH will feature a one-of-a-kind Chili and Salsa competition, live music on two stages and dozens of vendors and a kid zone including Carnival games. For Fido, there’s a kissing booth for dogs! While the entrance to this chili-extravaganza is free, you will need a ticket to taste the chili and salsa.  Tasting tickets are $10.00 and available through Eventbrite. Proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club. Saturday, June 16, 11 am – 5 pm. Main Street & 5th, Huntington Beach.

5.     Star Wars Day at the OC Zoo

The force will be with Dad and the entire family this Saturday at the OC Zoo in Irvine Park, Orange. All visitors are encouraged to come in Star Wars attire. The first 100 children 12 & under in Star Wars costumes will receive a free gift and free train ride at the Irvine Park Railroad. Visitors are encouraged to bring their cameras and pose for free photos with Star Wars characters. Activities free with $2 paid admission, parking $5 per car. Star Wars Day runs from 10 am – 3 pm,  OC ZOO is located at 1 Irvine Park Road in Orange. (714) 973-6847

6.     Hot Air Balloon Ride

After Dad’s brunch or barbecue, bring out Dad’s cultural side by treating him to an afternoon of Baroque Music, held in select venues from Costa Mesa to Corona Del Mar.

Audiences are invited to enjoy Baroque music performed al fresco by the South Coast Brass beginning 45 minutes before each concert. Following all performances, audience members and musicians enjoy mingling for conversation and refreshment at a wine and waters reception. On Fathers Day, June 17, Parisian Divertissements will be held at St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 2200 San Joaquin Hills Road, Newport Beach, 4 p.m. Tickets are $40.

7.     Escape Room Fun, Several Locations in OC

Does Dad love a challenge? Does his skip a beat over problem solving? Then book an Escape Room for him and the family at one of several different locations throughout the OC or LA Counties.  An escape room is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Players are given a set time limit to solve the mystery which is hidden within the themed rooms.

Book your adventure today. In Lake Forest, ESCAPE THE PLACE had various themes for puzzle happy papas. 26469 Rancho Parkway South, Lake Forest. (949) 916-7977. Also, PUZZLE WORKSHOP in Irvine is open this Sunday from 11 am – 9 pm and is located at 18003 Sky Park Circle, Irvine. (949) 536-5228. There’s also BRAINY ACTZ in Irvine, EXODUS ESCAPE ROOM in Anaheim Hills and PUZZLE MAZEMENT in Anaheim (Sunday, 4 pm – 10 pm)  that boasts the Creepy Doll House and occupies three stories of the house.

8.     Outdoor Movies

Dana Point: On Father’s Day weekend, surprise Dad with a picnic meal replete with his favorite theater snacks and head to Lantern Bay Park in Dana Point for a FREE outdoor screening of Guardians of the Galaxy. Free popcorn! And concessions will be available. Friday, June 15, 8 pm. Movie in the Park, Lantern Bay Park, 25111 Park Lantern Road, Dana Point.

In Huntington Beach, catch Wonder Woman in Beach Front Cinema Saturday, June 16th, 8 pm (gates open at 5 pm). While no outside food is allowed in the venue, there is a picnic area next to the venue to nosh on dad’s favorites. There will also be food vendors available. Tickets range from $9.99 on up. Located at Huntington State Beach, 21899 Pacific Coast Hwy, Newland & PCH, Tower 14, Huntington Beach.

9.     Newport Dunes

Water fun for everyone!  A lagoon and nature reserve is the picturesque setting for this waterfront resort.  There are cottages, a premier RV park, Marina, a waterfront restaurant and a complete water park. Moe B’s Watersports Park is open from 10 am to 6 pm. Families and dads can rent watercrafts and bikes to enjoy in the lagoon and surrounding area. Park in the Newport Dunes parking lot and follow the pathway at the water’s edge around to the entrance of the Watersports Park. Newport Dunes, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach (949) 729-3863.

10.    Father’s Day Super Dad Games

Celebrate Father’s Day at the PRETEND CITY CHILDREN’S MUSEUM in Irvine with lots of activities that highlight that special caregiver in your family’s life. Activities include “Shaving your Super Dad,” “Super Dad Dance-off,”and “Super Dad Obstacle Course Relay,” to name a few. Come on down Saturday, June 16th, 10 am to 5 pm to Pretend City Children’s Museum, 29 Hubble, Irvine. (949) 428-3900.

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Gift an unforgettable dolphin and whale watching experience! With year-round whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and more, any time is a great time for your recipient to enjoy their gift.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods…” – Dr. Thomas Gilovich