Commander-in-Chill: Unveiling the Vacation Homes of America’s Past Presidents

July 5, 2023

Commander-in-Chill: Unveiling the Vacation Homes of America’s Past Presidents

This week marked the 247th birthday of America. The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, symbolizes the nation’s hard-fought journey to freedom after proclaiming liberty from British rule.  Today we still celebrate our freedom with parades, fireworks, and all-American cuisine like hamburgers and hotdogs.  Presidents deliver patriotic speeches, attend flag-raising ceremonies, and participate in national events.  Yet even presidents need a break from work.

Behind the scenes of the Oval Office and the hectic pace of political life, many past presidents sought solace and relaxation during the 4th of July in their personal vacation homes. From George Washington’s Mount Vernon to John F. Kennedy’s Hyannis Port, these vacation homes hold historical significance and reflect the unique personalities of their inhabitants.  The same can be said about your vacation home – if your vacation home is passed down from generation to generation, your family can unravel the layers of your history and pass it to future generations.  Before we explore the proper way to pass on your vacation homes, let us take a look at 10 “chillaxing” vacation homes used by our past presidents:


  • Camp David: Camp David, located in Maryland, is the official country retreat for the President of the United States. It has been used by numerous presidents as a place for relaxation and diplomatic meetings.
  • The “Summer White House”: Presidents often referred to their summer residences as the “Summer White House.” For example, President John F. Kennedy used the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, as his Summer White House.
  • President Lincoln’s Cottage: President Abraham Lincoln sought refuge from the heat and stresses of the White House at the Soldiers’ Home, now known as President Lincoln’s Cottage, located in Washington, D.C.
  • President Grant’s Cottage: President Ulysses S. Grant spent his summers at Grant Cottage, located in Saratoga Springs, New York. It was there that he completed his memoirs shortly before his death.
  • “Western White House”: President Richard Nixon used his private estate in San Clemente, California, known as the “Western White House,” as a summer retreat during his presidency.
  • Bush Compound: The Bush family has a compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, which has been used as a summer residence by Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. It offers scenic views of the Maine coastline.
  • Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest: Poplar Forest, located near Lynchburg, Virginia, was Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat during the summer months. It was an architectural and intellectual sanctuary for him.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Little White House”: Warm Springs, Georgia, was the location of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Little White House.” He used this retreat for therapy and relaxation due to its mineral springs.
  • Woodrow Wilson’s “Summer White House”: President Woodrow Wilson used his summer residence in Cornish, New Hampshire, often referred to as his “Summer White House,” as a place to escape from the pressures of the presidency.
  • Harry S. Truman’s “Little White House”: President Harry S. Truman had a “Little White House” in Key West, Florida. He used it as a retreat for rest and relaxation during his presidency.


Being the president does not make you immune from America’s inheritance laws and the dreaded court appointed probate process.  In order to properly pass down your vacation home (or any other real estate property) to your family, you need to consult an estate planning attorney and see what is best for your particular situation.  Often, Revocable Trusts are used as a vehicle to pass real estate to your loved ones with the least amount of hassle, in a private manner, whilst avoiding any courts getting involved.  If your family has a shore house, getaway villa, or even a small cottage to enjoy smores at, make sure it stays within your family so your loved ones can continue to enjoy, even after the rightful owner has long passed away.


We can help provide you with peace of mind that your family retreat will remain in good hands. Contact OC Estate and Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or to get started with your free consultation. Our attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish and Russian.