Presidential vacations are a tricky thing. Instead of being able to go anywhere they want, the leader of the free world needs to go somewhere they can handle a crisis, be safe and secure, and look both outdoorsy and relaxed. Optics matter, but being able to house hundreds of staff members, Secret Service agents, and media members matters more. Oh, and having a good time is nice, too. So presidents tend to go to the same places over and over - small towns or resorts where they can escape brutal Washington D.C. winters and suffocating politics while still getting done what needs to get done.
Every US president has had somewhere they called home when they weren't in the White House. From George Washington's sprawling Mount Vernon in Virgina to Barack Obama's hometown of Kailua, presidential vacation spots don't seem to have much in common. Some are huge coastal mansions, others are isolated getaways in the middle of nowhere. A few are famous tourist destinations like Palm Springs, Martha's Vineyard, and Vail, while others, like Lyndon Johnson's ranch or Teddy Roosevelt's windswept mansion in a town with 200 people, barely exist on a map.But all have become legendary as the preferred vacation spots of various Presidents of the United States. Where do presidents go on vacation days? Here are 20 of the most well-known places presidents on vacation kick their feet up. You can actually visit most of these spots, but only as a tourist.
President George H. W. Bush vacationed almost exclusively at his seaside home in this small Maine community. He fished, walked on the beach, and hobnobbed with locals.
#42 on The Best Beaches in the US
Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy both had vacation homes in Newport, and John and Jackie Kennedy were actually married in the small seaside city.
#85 on America's Coolest Cities
Gerald Ford made the Colorado ski resort his vacation spot, spending so much time there that he bought a ski chalet called "The Lodge."
President Reagan made his second home in the beach-side California town, spending nearly every vacation of his political career there.