- Carlos Barria/Reuters
Washington can be a tough town, where scandals abound and never-ending political drama rules the day.
Perhaps the hustle and bustle of life in the US capital takes a greater toll on nobody more than the president.
“Over the years, presidents struggle so hard to get to the White House and then they’re almost desperate to get away from the place once they’re there,” journalist Kenneth Walsh said during an interview in 2009.
Vacations and weekend getaways help US presidents cope with the pressures of leading the country. John F. Kennedy frequented Hyannis Port in Massachusetts. Ronald Reagan had a ranch in California. And President Donald Trump has a golf course in New Jersey and his famous Mar-a-Lago private resort in Florida.
Here’s how some US presidents vacationed as compared to Trump, who is taking a “working vacation” at his private golf club in Bedminister, New Jersey this week:
Abraham Lincoln’s preferred hideaway was a mansion-sized “cottage” that was only four miles from the White House. It served as a useful retreat during the summer to escape the oppressive heat of downtown Washington.
- Wikipedia Commons
Source: The Washington Post
Teddy Roosevelt’s “Summer White House” in Sagamore Hill, New York, served as an ideal location for the president to enjoy the outdoors, away from Washington.
Source: National Parks
Roosevelt was a prominent conservationist who laid the groundwork for the establishment of many of America’s national monuments, forests, and parks.
Calivin Coolidge had a variety of vacation spots, including the Black Hills in South Dakota, Massachusetts, upstate New York, and his hometown of Plymouth Notch, Vermont.
A year before leaving office, Coolidge and his wife spent three months at a lodge in Brule Wisconsin. The president spent most of his time fishing and shooting clay pigeons.
Source: Wisconsin State Journal
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt needed time away the pressures of wartime in Washington, he ventured to his estate called “Springwood” in Hyde Park, New York. Roosevelt often hosted foreign dignitaries at the home and devised domestic political strategies there with his aides.
During the winter, Roosevelt often stayed at his vacation home in Warm Springs, Georgia. He built the home, which was nicknamed “Little White House,” after first visiting the area in 1924 in search of polio treatment. He loved swimming in the 88-degree, natural spring waters nearby.
Source: Georgia State Parks
Roosevelt also spent a great deal of time at sea. In his first year in office, the president went on a cruise vacation aboard the Amberjack II. He also had an official presidential yacht, which he frequently used for fishing expeditions and entertaining guests.
John F. Kennedy’s family home in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was the president’s “emotional center,” where he often found “inspiration” amid the many national crises that he was faced with.
Source: JFK Library
JFK was often pictured relaxing on the beach or sailing with his wife. “I always go to Hyannis Port to be revived, to know again the power of the sea,” Kennedy once said.
La Casa Pacifica — formerly dubbed the “Western White House” — was Richard Nixon’s popular getaway destination while in office. After resigning in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Nixon retreated to the home to write his memoir.
Source: Business Insider
Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, spent much of their vacation time at their private ranch in Santa Barbara, California. Rancho del Cielo, as Reagan called it, “cast a spell over us,” the president said. “No place before or since has ever given Nancy and me the joy and serenity it does.”
Source: Young America’s Foundation
George W. Bush made 77 separate trips to his Prairie Chapel Ranch in small-town Crawford, Texas. In total, he spent about 490 of his 2,922 days in office at the ranch.
- Mike Theiler/Reuters
Bush often went biking, jogging, fishing, and hunting there.
Barack Obama spent nearly every summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, where he was often seen golfing, biking, and spending time with his family.
Source: The Hill
During the winter holidays, Obama often spent time in Kailua on the island of Oahu in his native state of Hawaii.
- Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Obama wasn’t the only president to frequent Martha’s Vineyard. Ulysses S. Grant, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton also spent significant time there.
- Marcy Nighswander
Donald Trump’s opulent Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida is one of his favorite places to go. In his first full year in office, Trump spent 58 days at the resort, which he has nicknamed the “Winter White House.”
- John Raedle/Getty Images
Trump has used the property for campaign events and official meetings with world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
During the warmer summer months, Trump heads to his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
This August, he’s taking a “working vacation” at Bedminster, hosting dinners for supporters and business leaders at night and golfing during the day.
Trump’s frequent travel to his resorts has sparked criticism over how much it costs taxpayers.
But historian Douglas Brinkley told CNN in 2010 that “criticism’s always been there” when presidents take vacations. It’s a time-honored American tradition.