10 Presidential Getaways Slideshow
It's all lobster rolls, blueberry jam, and bike rides in the postcard-perfect Maine town of Kennebunkport, where the Bush clan has summered for more than a century. Their nine-bedroom compound sits on Walker's Point, a lushly wooded finger of land jutting into the ink-blue Atlantic, but you can stay just as comfortably in one of the sophisticated one- and two-bedroom cottages at Hidden Pond, where days start with baskets of house-baked pastries hanging on your door and end with dinner at Earth, the hotel restaurant run by James Beard Award winner Ken Oringer. From $399/night.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan spent so much time on their Rancho del Cielo outside Santa Barbara it became known at the Western White House. Spend an afternoon like the 40th president, riding horses through the Santa Ynez Mountains before retiring to the 97-room Canary Hotel (pictured) in downtown. Dinner at Coast features Santa Barbara abalone and uni, delivered by servers sporting locally made, biodegradable shoes. From $260/night.
Courtesy of the Canary Hotel
Presidents Harding and Hoover found Fort Myers, Fla., to be a welcome respite while vacationing at friend Thomas Edison's winter estate on the Caloosahatchee River. You can visit his breezy, veranda-wrapped bungalow today, preserved down to the oyster plates in the dining room, before lunch of stone crab claws and coconut-crusted mahimahi at the Island Cow on nearby Sanibel Island, just a few miles from pristine Bowman's Beach, one of the isle’s most secluded
In the summer of 1791, Thomas Jefferson sailed up Lake Champlain, the slender freshwater corridor between New York and Vermont, chronicling the inns he stayed at along the way. He'd have loved the sunny cottages at Basin Harbor Club, a 126-year-old retreat on the southern tip of the Lake. Some have screened-in porches, and others have native stone fireplaces for curling up after dinner at the club's dining room, where the menu features ingredients sourced through Vermont Fresh Network. From $150/night.
At $3,500 a night, the five-bedroom Kailua Beach house the Obamas rented during two of their trips to Oahu might not be within everyone's budget, but the Big Island has plenty of values, from charming HomeAway cottages on the North Shore (many less than $200 a night) and Kahuku shrimp trucks to burgers at Kua 'Aina Sandwich Shop, an Obama favorite.
Like so many snowbirds, Richard Nixon flew south for the winter to Miami, where his Key Biscayne pad was so slick, Scarface was filmed there. After dinner at James Beard Award winner Michael Schwartz's Design District restaurant, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, sleep off the whole local snapper (rubbed in fennel pollen and wood-roasted) at one of the Kelly Wearstler-designed, bay-view suites at the Viceroy downtown (pictured). From $195/night.
Both the Clintons and the Obamas have vacationed here, but the Cape and its islands are especially synonymous with the Kennedys, whose clapboard "Compound" still stands in Hyannis Port (pictured). Glimpse the presidential estate from the deck of the Eventide, an agile sailboat built in 1933 that runs excursions May through October from Hyannis Harbor. The views are best served with a frosty gin and tonic and lobster roll, prepared in the onboard galley.
Though the Hamptons are more the Clintons' speed these days, Bill Clinton vacationed twice at the breathtaking ski resort of Jackson Hole during his terms. Had it been open during his presidency, he'd have likely booked one of the plush, stone-and-fir-furnished suites at Amangani, Aman's first resort in North America (pictured). Heated to 80 degrees all year round, the quartzite-tiled pool is the perfect place for an après-ski drink — and for drinking in the jaw-dropping views of the Teton Mountains and Snake River Valley beyond. From $595/night.
You can still visit Harry Truman's "Little White House" on Front Street in the southernmost of the Florida Keys. It's a living museum now, and just a short walk to the Orchid Key Inn, a historic Art Deco property that's cushy studio-style rooms boast Terrazzo marble floors, i-Home systems, and complimentary Wi-Fi, and the bar features freshly infused cocktails and poolside breakfasts. From $184/night.
Franklin D. Roosevelt loved cruising so much, he had the USS Houston outfitted with wheelchair ramps. One favorite port of call: Puerto Rico. During Roosevelt's term, the lush isle of Vieques off the east coast became an important U.S. naval base. The military has since quit the island, and has been replaced by wildlife preservationists and hotels like the W hotel, which features Alain Ducasse dinners and coconut-and-coffee body scrubs on their north shore retreat. From $284/night.