Barbecuing in Colorado Springs
In preparation for the UAE’s beautiful winters in a few months, dads should head to BBQ University at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado to take your BBQ skills to the next level with a programme that will see renowned American author and TV host Steven Raichlen teach you various techniques and recipes. The master of fire combines lecture and hands-on cooking to help you master live-fire cooking and grill almost every meat imaginable in more than three dozen grills and smokers. It’s a brilliant experience for foodies – and all in a beautiful resort among mountains, streams, and canyons. In the afternoons, take excursions to the Colorado Springs, or bliss out with spa treatments, or a spot of golf. From $2,425 (Dh8,905) per person, based on double occupancy. Visit broadmoor.com.
Science expedition in Peru
Want to go on a heroic adventure to save the planet, and have fun while at it? Sign up as a volunteer for Earthwatch’s expedition to Zorritos, Tumbes, Peru, where you’ll get to join scientists off the sandy beaches of Peru’s northern coast and snorkel along giant manta rays, monitoring the highly vulnerable species. You’ll photograph them, document markers such as scars, and assist in collecting genetic samples so that researchers can learn where they migrate. You’ll also get up close and personal with seabirds and marine megafauna – think whale sharks, dolphins, humpback whales, and sea turtles. All this while immersing yourself in the natural world of one of the earth’s most remote, wild locations. So not only do you get your dose of adventure, you’re also doing your bit for marine conservation. The $2,750 (about Dh10,100) fee includes accommodations, food, and all related research costs.
Creative festival in the UK
At next month’s Manchester International Festival, 18 days of theatre, dance and music will converge at the world stage for the arts. The biennial festival only celebrates original work, so expect world premieres and special events. This summer, Yoko Ono, Skepta, Janelle Monáe, Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah have all been announced to feature at the festival. For more on the line-up and to book, visit mif.co.uk. You can also extend your stay in the UK (hey, why waste that visa) and arrive earlier for the highlight of the foodie calendar, Taste of London. Or to catch one of the biggest sporting events, Wimbledon. The sports offerings don’t end there, of course – cricket-mad dads also have the chance to hit up the ongoing Cricket World Cup, remember.
Digital detox at Villa Stephanie, Baden-Baden, Germany
Unplugged destinations are now all the rage – and dads, if you prefer texting to talking, we have a problem. Say goodbye to digital fatigue at wellness retreat Villa Stéphanie, located in the centre of the famous spa town of Baden-Baden, in the heart of the Black Forest. The key to your social media addiction is (ironically) a silver switch – with one click, you block all electric and Wi-Fi signals from your room. Special wall paint keeps out 96 per cent of any additional external Wi-Fi signals, so no late night scrolling here. Keep yourself occupied with walks in the leafy parkland and walks by the Oos river, which flows near the hotel. From €690 (about Dh2,875) per night for a deluxe room.
Food tour in Vietnam
There’s no better way to sink your teeth into a destination than with a food tour – book in for Intrepid Travel’s Vietnam Real Food Adventure. Nom your way through Vietnam and uncover everything from streets eats to bustling markets and fruits sold in wicker baskets, sampling specialities like pho, bun cha, aromatic noddle soups and the golden-yellow xoi xeo. You’ll travel on the back of a motorcycle through riverside towns, cycle through herb gardens, sleep at a homestay on the Mekong Delta and go on an overnight boat cruise – from Hanoi to Hue to Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City. Plus, you also get to train at various cooking schools. From $1,455 (about Dh5,345), intrepidtravel.com.
Here’s a mountain getaway to beat them all – just four glass-fronted cabins, 8,000 feet in the Himalayas. In the unspoiled region of Kumaon in the northern hill state of Uttarakhand in India lies Shakti 360 Leti, an exclusive, solar-powered remote retreat. Getting here isn’t easy, but the journey provides so much of the thrill. With it comes a privately guided village-to-village walk with stays in village houses, and days spent trekking, taking in the sweeping views. With news that forest bathing – spending time in the woods – is set to be among activities recommended by doctors for well-being, slowing down and connecting with nature can’t hurt. And you won’t forget the scenery here in this lifetime. Double rooms from about Dh5,250, visit shaktihimalaya.com.
Spa holiday in Kamalaya, Thailand
If (like us) you prefer a spa break over a far-flung adventure break, take a stress-sapping vacation at spa resort Kamalaya on the southern coastline of Koh Samui. Integrating healing therapies from East and West, with views of the jungle or the shoreline, acupuncturists, massage therapists, Ayurvedic doctors and physiotherapists are on call for everything from Reiki rubs to Taoist Abdominal Massages and Lotus Seed Scrubs. The focus is on sleep enhancement and emotional balance with Qi gong, tai chi, and yoga, so it’s as much a spiritual journey as a spa one. Plus, the resort has its own meditation cave – that’s some serious commitment to meditation. From about Dh730 for a room, visit kamalaya.com.
Fitness getaway in St Lucia, Caribbean
What better way to get rid of that dad bod than in a natural paradise of waterfalls and unspoilt rainforests? At luxury resort The Body Holiday in St Lucia, world-class athletes will develop a personalised fitness programme for you in a getaway at the edge of the Caribbean Sea. There’s 200+ weekly group classes, sports and activities so you never get bored, and just in case you’re done challenging yourself, there’s also an 18-hole championship golf course, three swimming pools, PADI diving, tennis courts and an award-winning spa. It’s the perfect combination of sweat, exploration and relaxation. From $695 (about Dh2,550) per night, visit thebodyholiday.com.
Culture and horseriding in South Dakota
Always wanted to discover a Native American tribe? And no, we don’t mean settling down for a night of inaccurate films on the subject. For a fortnight, exchange your glitzy Dubai for life in the northern Great Plains, riding the prairie on paint horses. You will live among the Lakota people on and around their reservations, and experience everything from a night under the stars in a tipi to horse riding under the tutelage of a Lakota horse-breeder, watching exhilarating dance displays at a powwow, and visits to see paint horses, bison and mustangs. This is a lesson in living as the Lakota Sioux did – in harmony with the plants, animals, stars and land. Visit spirit-trails.com for prices and to book.
Fishing in Kola Peninsula, Russia
Angling for equal measures of calm and thrill? Wild fishing is the answer. And whether you’re passionate about the sport or just want to give it a go, Russia has built up quite a reputation for Atlantic salmon fishing. For three weeks every season, around August, on the Atlantic Salmon Reserve you can fish at three of the greatest salmon-filled rivers – the Kharlovka, Litza and Rynda. There’s a promise of catching 15kg salmon every week. You can also explore the breathtaking Kola wilderness as you stay in individual cabins – and take helicopter rides in and out. Prices vary, but expect to pay steeply – around Dh25,000. Visit wherewisemenfish.com.