Being the leader of the free world is stressful. Do you pick up the red phone and make a continent-altering decision? Or do you fight off the dozen or so candidates gunning for your job next November? When things are getting too intense in the oval office, our fearless leaders really know how to kick back and relax. Some of these destinations are famous, others infamous, but all of them helped our Presidents wash their worries away.
New York City, New York
Who: John F. Kennedy
Fact: In the sixties, JFK made his second home in an apartment on the 34th floor of the Carlyle Hotel. Rumor has it that Kennedy used the many tunnels underneath the Carlyle to sneak Marilyn Monroe up to his bedroom.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Who: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton
When: 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Fact: Bill Clinton spent six of his eight presidential summers in and around Edgartown on the Vineyard. Barack Obama stays at Blue Heron Farm during his yearly vacations to the area. Built in 1993, the Vineyard estate has hosted the Obama family for vacation every summer since 2009.
Who: George W. Bush
Fact: Prairie Chapel Ranch breaks its rugged namesake’s stereotype by offering its residents modern, eco-friendly technology on a secluded 1.5 acre estate. If the weather hits triple-digit temperatures, visitors can run three miles or bike 10 miles in order to be awarded a gray Under Armour shirt and certificate that marks their spot in the President’s 100-Degree Club.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Who: Gerald Ford
Fact: The 11,800-square-foot Ford Ski Retreat includes a pool house, seven bedrooms, a ski room, wine cellar and theater room, all with the added bonus of spanning mountain views. An avid skier, the president also left his mark on the property’s ski run, which was named President Ford’s Run. According to Associated Press reports, the property was most recently listed for sale in 2011 for the bargain price of $11 million.
Key Biscane, Florida
Who: Richard Nixon
When: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s
Fact: President Nixon’s winter getaway in Key Biscayne, Fla., has one of the more complex back stories in presidential real estate, earning a place in both American history books and cinematic archives due to money laundering and deep Mafia connections. Scenes from “Scarface” were even shot in the area. Unfortunately, for crime history aficionados, the home was seized by the U.S. government and demolished in 2004.
Who: Barack Obama
Fact: Barack Obama and his family have vacationed in Kailua, Hawaii for years. The “Winter White House” goes for $3,500 a day, with a seven-day minimum depending on the season and comes complete with a tropical beach in the backyard. Other famous renters include Bradley Cooper, Angelina Jolie and Charlie Sheen
Smedes Station, Mississippi
Who: Teddy Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt, an ardent hunter traveled to Smedes Station, Mississippi in 1902 hoping to shoot a bear. When most of the hunting party other than Roosevelt had killed an animal, the president’s attendants cornered an exhausted black bear and tied it to a tree. Roosevelt refused to shoot the animal. Satirizing the president’s decision, a political cartoon showed Roosevelt refusing to shoot a frightened bear cub. The cartoon inspired a New York couple to make a stuffed animal they dubbed the “Teddy Bear.” (It’s long, but I still cut it down a bit, can it fit? Otherwise lets shave off more)
Santa Barbara, California
Who: Ronald Regan
President Ronald Reagan and his First Lady Nancy Reagan acquired Rancho de Cielo in Santa Barbara, CA while serving as Governor of California and continued to vacation there all throughout his presidency, hosting many diplomats – even Queen Elizabeth II. The President spent about one year of his 8 years in office vacationing in California. Considering that the Reagan’s visit the ranch at least three times a year and Palm Springs each New Year’s expenses for the presidential vacations in California easily topped $8 million.
- President GW Bush spent 32% of his presidency on vacation. (1020 days in 8 years)
- Presidents Clinton and Carter vacationed the least of any of the last seven chief executives.
- JFK took 1 vacation day for every 3.5 days in office.