Father’s Day Getaway Ideas for Car Enthusiasts


If you have a car buff in the family, consider combining that interest with a Father’s Day getaway. There are more than a hundred automotive museums from coast to coast, so wherever you go, you’re likely to find one nearby.

The first thing you’ll see at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is the striking stainless-steel ribbon façade. And inside, there are more than 200 vehicles on three floors that explore the artistry, technology and history of the automobile. You’ll find early automobiles, such as a 1910 Ford Model T Roadster, to vehicles from the movies, like a DeLorean from “Back to the Future.” The exhibit “Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy,” opens on May 5. Nearby attractions include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and, for a look at prehistoric Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits.

Auto-racing enthusiasts will want to make a pilgrimage to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, built in 1909 and site of the Indianapolis 500, a race held on Memorial Day weekend. The Speedway Museum includes automobiles and artifacts from more than a century of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, plus vehicles from NASCAR, Formula One, drag racing and motorcycles. While you’re visiting Indianapolis, spend some time walking around one of the city’s seven Cultural Districts, where you’ll find historic buildings as well as unique shops, restaurants and nightlife.

Newport, Rhode Island, was the summer playground for America’s elite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and you can tour their mansions, as well as the area’s two automotive museums. The Newport Car Museum, in nearby Portsmouth, holds a monthly Hoods Up Weekend, when every car’s engine is ready to be inspected. The Audrain Automobile Museum, in a 116-year-old Newport building, has a small collection with rotating exhibits that often focus on history, such as “Horseless to Horsepower: Gilded and Golden Age Automobiles.”

It’s easy to combine a trip to Seattle with a visit to America’s Car Museum, in Tacoma, Washington, about a 40-minute drive away. The museum’s collection spans more than 100 years of automotive history, and open storage galleries allow visitors to see most of it. Exhibits include “Legends of Motorsports: The NASCAR Story” and “The British Invasion,” covering both the cars and culture that came to America. While in Seattle, be sure to visit the Pike Place Market and take the monorail to Chihuly Garden and Glass, a display of intricate and colorful glass sculptures.

Nashville’s Lane Motor Museum is one of the few in the United States that specializes in European automobiles. It’s also the place to see rare or unusual vehicles, including motorcycles, bicycles, the smallest microcars, prototypes, military vehicles, amphibious cars and ones that use alternative fuels. Of course you’ll want to check out other attractions Music City has to offer, like the Country Music Hall of Fame and historic Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974.

For help planning a Father’s Day vacation, contact your travel advisor or find one through Travel Leaders Network at www.travelleaders.com.