Next week, President Obama will take his family to Hawaii for their annual Christmas vacation — if, that is, Congress passes an extension to the payroll tax holiday. After Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney criticized Obama’s plans – suggesting that the President should be focused on fixing the economy rather than golf — the President vowed to stay in town until the extension is passed.
Even if Congress acts in time, however, the Obama vacation will differ from the family’s holiday routine. For three years running, the “Winter White House” has been a luxurious oceanfront rental house in Kailua. This year, the home’s owner plans to use it himself, so the Obama’s will sojourn elsewhere.
Presidents have always had their favorite places to go for their vacations. Many recent presidents have spent off time at their family estates. President John F. Kennedy usually took breaks at the family compound in Hyannisport, Mass.; the Reagans headed to their home in Santa Barbara, Calif.; and President Jimmy Carter went back to his southern roots in Plains, Ga. President George H.W. Bush preferred his home in Kennebunkport, Me., while his son enjoyed many vacation days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
While our presidents can take as many vacation days as they want, some presidents seem to enjoy vacations more than others. Ronald Reagan spent 436 days away from the White House, including 349 days in Santa Barbara during his two presidential terms. Bush senior was frequently criticized for spending too much time at his home in Maine. President Clinton took 689 vacation days in his eight years and George W. spent 490 days in Crawford, 487 days at Camp David and 43 days at his father’s New England home during his two terms.