travel The All-Time Best Presidential Vacation Spots  

Mike Rothschild
383 votes 84 voters 11.1k views 20 items

List Rules Vote for the vacation spot that you wouldn't mind traveling to

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.

Key West is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All-Time Best Presidential Vacation Spots
Photo: Theo/Flickr
President Harry Truman made Key West his "Little White House," spending every winter of his presidency in a converted officer's quarters there - almost half a year in total. Other Presidents who spent time in Key West include William Howard Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and John F. Kennedy.

Also Ranked

#50 on The Best Tourist Attractions in America

#16 on The Best Cruise Destinations

#13 on The Best Beaches in Florida

#56 on The Best U.S. Cities for Vacations

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Santa Barbara is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All-Time Best Presidential Vacation Spots
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY
President Reagan made his second home in the beach-side California town, spending nearly every vacation of his political career there.

Also Ranked

#10 on The Best Beaches in the US

#86 on The World's Best Cities To Eat Well

#27 on The Best U.S. Cities for Vacations

#19 on America's Coolest Cities

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Newport is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All-Time Best Presidential Vacation Spots
Photo: Elliot Gilfix/Flickr
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.

Also Ranked

#87 on America's Coolest Cities

#21 on The Best Beaches in New England

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Kennebunkport is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All-Time Best Presidential Vacation Spots
Photo: Freebase/GNU Free Documentation License
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.

Also Ranked

#52 on The Best Beaches in the US

#15 on The Best Beaches in New England

see more on Kennebunkport