12 Free or Cheap Father’s Day Activities He Will Love

Father’s Day is almost here, and I don’t know about you, but I typically struggle to figure out what to get my husband. He typically tells me not to get him anything, and my father says the same thing – what is wrong with them? That’s when I realized they would prefer Father’s Day activities over gifts.

Don’t get me wrong; my husband loves gifts. Gift-giving and receiving is a love language, so for some people, it truly matters to them, and if your husband or father has that love language, get him one of my favorite Father’s Day gifts.

However, if your husband tells you he doesn’t want anything, he might be happier spending the day with his kids and his partner, making memories and having a wonderful day together. Plan one or more of these cheap Father’s Day activities, and I guarantee at the end of the day, he will be happy!

12 Free or Cheap Father’s Day Activities

1. Take Dad Fishing

If you already have fishing gear, then taking dad fishing for the day is one of the best Father’s Day activities. When you go fishing, you have to bring snacks – it’s a must!

I don’t suggest taking dad fishing if this isn’t an activity that he doesn’t already enjoy. First, fishing gear is a bit pricey, and second, this is a day for him to enjoy. Fishing isn’t for everyone, but if this is something your father or husband enjoys, men appreciate when we take time to do things that they enjoy.

2. Go on a Hike and Have a Picnic

Hiking is another activity that is free and enjoyable for families. Depending on the ages of your children, check out the local trails and pack a backpack with lunch. Take time to actually enjoy the hike – remember, this is for dad! Point out plants, birds, and anything else cool, and encourage your kids to take the time to enjoy this for their father.

I spent time hiking with my parents as a child, and I always loved the lunches in the middle when you felt starved. A hoagie with some chips tastes so good.

If possible, combine hiking and the next Father’s Day activity for the perfect day out together.

3. Visit a Local Lake and Go Swimming

Pick a local lake and head there for the day with dad. Most lakes have a minimal entrance fee, so while this isn’t totally free, it’s an affordable activity. Many lakes have marked hiking trails, so it’s possible to take a hike and then take a swim; that will feel so good when you’re sweaty!

Make sure to bring food or budget in money for food at the concession stand. I always love hitting up local lakes because the food tends to be so cheap. You can beat pizza slices for $1, and when you spend all day swimming, that pizza tastes so good – am I right?

My husband loves when we go to the lake for a day of swimming, and by the end of the day, all of us sleep great.

4. Plan a Movie Night

If your husband or father prefers a chill day at home rather than leaving on Father’s Day, another fun idea is to play a movie night – bonus points if you can project the movie outside for a backyard movie. If you don’t have a projection machine, that’s no big deal; dads don’t mind movies on the couch or a blow-up mattress in the middle of the living room.

Make pizza for dinner and load up on all the popcorn and snacks possible. Pick a movie or movie series that you know he will enjoy – Marvel perhaps? – and settle in for a lot of snuggling and popcorn fights. If he falls asleep, let him! We’ll let it slide this one time.

5. Give Dad a Free Day

Here’s a simple idea that involves no planning on your part.

Tell Dad to beat it for the day and go do whatever it is that he wants to do solo.

Some people don’t like this idea, but this dad is supposed to be about showing our appreciation to fathers and doing things that they enjoy. He might enjoy fishing alone or riding his motorcycle alone. Every person needs to take time alone – moms and dads alike – so if you think this is something he would prefer, don’t be afraid to tell him you’ll see him at dinner time and to have a good day.

It might be the best decision! Chances are he will come back feeling recharged and happy.

6. Do a Puzzle Together

Doing a puzzle might be something that dad enjoys, and puzzles rarely cost more than $10. It’s a cheap and fun activity that you can spend most of the day doing with your dad if you get a 1,000 piece puzzle!

My husband and I have spent time doing puzzles together. It’s always enjoyable and relaxing, especially when you add a few glasses of wine. So, if you think your man will enjoy a day in his pjs with puzzles and some good drinks, this is a cheap Father’s Day activity.

7. Cook Outside and Play in the Sprinkler

If there is anything my husband loves, it’s a day when we grill outside with some delicious meats and watch the kids play in the pool and sprinkler. He typically joins in with their craziness while I watch from the porch. He loves these laidback type of days, so consider planning on having a nice meal centered around grilling on Father’s Day. It can be something simple, like burgers, or nicer, like steaks or ribs.

No matter what you cook, he will surely love a day to unwind with his kids, making memories.

8. Visit the Beach

Taking a vacation to the beach is far from cheap or free, but if you live within driving distance of the beach, I think that would be the perfect way to spend Father’s Day. My husband and I both love the beach, so he would rank this as one of his favorite Father’s Day activities.

Pack up your car with all of the beach essentials and goodies for snacking, and head out to the beach for the day. Plan to spend the day splashing in the water and building sandcastles, and then grab a pizza on the way home. I don’t know about you, but the idea of cooking after a long day at the beach sounds horrible. Your man will appreciate grabbing pizza and chowing down at home.

9. Have a Fire and Roast Marshmallows

Something else that my husband enjoys is nights that we spend around a fire outside. We set up chairs, make a small fire, and roast marshmallows with the kids. Once the kids go to sleep, we bring out some wine and spend the evening talking and laughing.

This is another simple idea, but that’s okay. The more that I get to know my husband (and men in general), the more I realize that they often prefer the simplicity over the fancy. They might enjoy going out to dinner at a nice restaurant or going to a concert with friends, but they also enjoy simple, relaxed evenings with their family.

10. Have a Family Game Night

Having a family game night is one of the best Father’s Day activities if you have older kids. I can’t wait until my kids are older and we can play even more board games. There are so many different options out there, and it’s a fun way to spend time with your family without electronics.

Of course, even if you have younger kids, a family game night is still possible. Games like Apples to Apples, Junior Monopoly, Chutes & Ladders, and Candyland are perfect for little kids. No matter what games you play, you’ll end up with all kinds of laughter in your house, and that makes for fantastic memories together.

11. Bake Dad Dessert

Do your kids love to cook and bake? Most kids do!

Instead of buying a cake or cookies for Father’s Day, consider surprising him with a homemade dessert created by his children. I’ve seen my husband eat some less than amazing cookies that our kids baked, simply because his kids made them. Dad’s are awesome like that; they understand that intention matters more than the end results of the recipe.

12. Go Camping

If you already have camping gear, take dad camping! This has to be one of the best Father’s Day activities if you have an outdoor enthusiast, but camping gear is pricey. If you try to buy it all for Father’s Day, it will be far from free or cheap. Hopefully, you have some gear stored away from previous camping trips.

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