Vacations are times when we can disconnect from our working lives, and reconnect with family, friends and ourselves. U.S. presidents are no different. Here, we take a look at vacation spots throughout the United States that presidents have chosen for their getaways.
Though he was in town for business, President Truman threw in a little time for fun during his visit to Little Rock. The night before the dedication of the War Memorial Park, Truman got together with his 35th Army Division buddies with whom he served in World War I.
In 1969, college football fan President Nixon arrived in Fayetteville to watch the Razorbacks play the Texas Longhorns for the national championship; the game was known as “The Big Shootout.”
It must be in the name — President Theodore Roosevelt visited Hot Springs in 1910, and President Franklin Roosevelt followed with a visit in 1936.
Eight U.S. presidents have visited Rancho Mirage in California, including President Obama after he left office in January 2017.
President Eisenhower was an avid golfer who loved playing the course at Augusta National Golf Club in, well, Augusta, while President Franklin Roosevelt retreated to his Little White House in Warm Springs, about an hour south of Atlanta.
The call of the river was heard by President Carter when he took a rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, a premier whitewater river, in 1978. The river itself runs through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, encompassing a total of more than 2.3 million acres and the largest contiguous wilderness in the lower 48.
In 2005, President George W. Bush and his family spent a few nights in the small town of Donnelly, Idaho, about 90 miles north of Boise. Year-round recreation within Donnelly and the surrounding area, including mountain biking, hiking, watersports, paddle sports and ziplining, draw visitors to this part of the Gem State.
Not far from Washington, D.C., Martha’s Vineyard has been a vacation spot of the Clintons and the Obamas during their time in the White House.
The undulating hills of Asheville appealed to President Obama when he vacationed in the North Carolina town early on in his presidency.
President Theodore Roosevelt spent a lot of his vacation time in the Badlands of western North Dakota, and enjoyed his time in the western part of the state so much that he eventually built his Elkhorn Ranch here. Appropriately, the Badlands are part of what was first established as Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park in 1947, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 1978.
Mt. Sterling, Ohio was President Harding’s retreat of choice — he would regularly vacation in a cabin known as The Shack along the Deer Creek River in an area which is now a state park.
Presidents Hoover, Carter and Bush have all visited the wild and scenic Rogue River in Southern Oregon.
Since their discovery in 1796, the Allegheny Region’s Bedford Springs and its eight mineral springs became a popular presidential vacation destination — 13 presidents have been said to have vacationed there, the first of which being President Jefferson in 1819. Afterwards, Presidents Harrison, Garfield, Eisenhower, Reagan, George W. Bush are just a handful of the U.S. presidents who followed in his footsteps. President Buchanan enjoyed the springs so much that he set up his “Summer White House” there, and continued to vacation in the area after he left office.
In 1927, President Coolidge spent the summer in South Dakota’s Custer State Park, and even made the State Game Lodge his “summer White House.” When not tending to his presidential duties, Coolidge spent a lot of time fishing the area’s lakes and even helped kick off the construction of Mount Rushmore. He must have enjoyed his time in South Dakota — what started as a three-week trip turned into three months.
His home in the Texas Hill Country just outside of Austin was President Johnson’s vacation spot of choice, and is now the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch National Historic Park. A self-guided tour of the ranch in Stonewall takes visitors past the president’s birthplace, as well as the family cemetery and the ranch house that was known as the “Texas White House.”
Even before he became the first President of the United States, George Washington sought out what would become a vacation spot he returned to time and again — Berkeley Springs. Washington enjoyed sitting in the warm springs from the early age of 16, and visited many times after with his family.
The Bois Brule River in the northwest corner of Wisconsin is a popular vacation fishing spot for not just one U.S. president, but five: Presidents Coolidge, Grant, Cleveland, Hoover and Eisenhower have all cast lines into the river’s flowing waters. In 1928, President Coolidge spent the entire summer fishing on the river, using a local high school as his “summer vacation White House.”
Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park has been a notable retreat for a number of U.S. presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Carter and Obama.