Travel like a President: Presidential Vacations Over the Years

President Richard Nixon's ‘Western White House’ mansion in Oceanside, California, where he spent his presidential vacation days
"Nixon’s ‘Western White House’" by manhei, used under CC BY / Cropped from original*

See highlights of where U.S. presidents have spent their vacations, which presidents have spent the most time on vacation and other fun presidential vacation facts:

Calvin Coolidge - Sapelo Island, Georgia 

During the Christmas holidays of 1928, President Coolidge planted a commemorative live oak on the grounds of newly-constructed Spanish Revival style hotel, The Cloister at Sea Island. Now considered one of the top luxury resorts in the country, with a Five-Star rating from Forbes, Sea Island has hosted the G8 summit and many international events.

Franklin D. Roosevelt - Warm Springs, Georgia

The town of Warm Springs drew President Roosevelt, who sought relief from polio in its therapeutic waters. He ultimately built a six-room cottage called ‘The Little White House’ where many New Deal programs were conceived. Today, the National Park Service offers tours of Roosevelt’s personal retreat and the nearby rehabilitation center named for him. 

Harry S. Truman - Key West, Florida

After 19 months in office, Truman’s doctor ordered a warm vacation and so he visited Key West in November 1946. During the Truman years, Cabinet members and foreign officials were regular visitors for fishing trips and poker games. Today, the "Harry S. Truman Little White House" is a state historic site and museum, which has been visited by other presidents including Clinton, Kennedy and Carter.

Also read: 8 Great Florida Vacation Destinations

Dwight D. Eisenhower - Augusta, Georgia

President Eisenhower was an avid golfer who loved playing the course at Augusta National and visited Georgia over 45 times during his lifetime. Eisenhower took issue with a Loblolly pine tree planted on the 17th hole on the course. He hit the tree so many times during his games, that he proposed removing it. He was overruled however, and it’s gone on to become perhaps the most infamous tree in golf.

See how travel insurance can help on a golfing trip

John F. Kennedy - Palm Beach, Florida 

The Kennedy family owned a sprawling estate on Millionaire’s Row in Palm Beach. The Mediterranean-style home earned the name "winter White House" as President Kennedy made frequent trips with the first family for vacations and holidays. President Kennedy met with advisors and cabinet officials at the beachfront home and spent his last weekend in Palm Beach before his assassination in 1963. 

Also see: Best Places to Rent a Beach House in the U.S.

Gerald Ford - Beaver Creek, Colorado 

An avid skier and golfer, President Ford first visited Vail as a member of Congress. After becoming the country’s 38th President, he drew international attention to Colorado’s ski resorts. The Fords bought their home in Beaver Creek in 1980 when the resort opened to the public and is now available as a rental property.

Also read: Six Great Colorado Small-Town Getaways

Ronald Reagan - Santa Barbara, California 

Rancho del Cielo or Sky Ranch, served as the ‘Western White House’ for President Reagan. The Reagans hosted world leaders like British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth II and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at their vacation home in the Santa Ynez mountains. The Young America’s Foundation now owns the ranch and offers tours on a limited basis.

Also read: 7 Great Destinations for Your Next California Vacation

George H.W. Bush - Kennebunkport, Maine

The family compound at Walker’s Point on the shores of Maine became a ‘summer White House’ during Bush’s years as President. The residence includes a swimming pool, tennis court, golf green and private boat dock. The Bushes hosted British Prime Minister John Major and Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin, along with many political supporters. 

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Bill Clinton - Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

President Clinton took several vacations to the island off the coast of Massachusetts during his two terms in office. President Clinton was a popular figure in the beach community and was often in the public eye, whether attending political fundraisers or biking to town for an ice cream cone. The Clintons generally stayed in borrowed homes for their vacations, including that of Robert McNamara, the former Defense Secretary to President Lyndon Johnson.

Barack Obama - Kailua, Hawaii 

Spectacular Kailua Beach was the location of President Obama’s ‘winter White House’ in Hawaii. Visiting his birthplace was a regular event for Obama, who vacationed in Kailua many times over his eight years as our 44th president. The luxurious beachfront where the first family stayed is a rental property that's available to anyone who can afford the $4,500 nightly fee.

Find the Hawaiian Island You Should Visit 

Presidential Vacation Days:

Which presidents took the most vacation time while in office? Here are the top five:
  1. George W. Bush - 1,020 days
  2. Franklin D. Roosevelt - 958 days
  3. George H. W. Bush - 534 days
  4. Lyndon B. Johnson - 484 days
  5. Dwight D. Eisenhower - 456 days

Fast Presidential Vacation Facts:

  • Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to travel outside of the country.
  • In 1945, Harry S. Truman became the first U.S. president to use air travel when he flew to Washington state.
  • President Kennedy escaped the White House by sailing his yacht on the nearby Potomac river.
  • During his first year in office President Clinton didn’t want to take vacations and his staff had to practically force him to take a break.
  • FDR, Carter, Hoover and both Bush presidents enjoyed fishing. Eisenhower and Clinton liked to golf, Ford enjoyed snow skiing vacations, Obama played basketball and Nixon appreciated a beach retreat. 

If one of the busiest people on earth can find time to carve out some R&R, the rest of us have no excuse. Take the three days off and plan a getaway for President's Day weekend. Make the most of your long weekend by protecting your presidential vacation with a travel insurance plan from Generali Global Assistance.

*"Nixon’s ‘Western White House’" by manhei, used under CC BY / Cropped from original

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