Top 5 Presidential Winter Vacation Spots

PHOTO: President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Sasha disembark Air Force One after arriving at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for their family Christmas vacation, Dec. 20, 2013, in Honolulu.
Eugene Tanner/AP Photo

From Florida to Hawaii and nearly everywhere in between, American presidents have had winter getaway spots, often bringing their work along with them to these retreats. But don't feel sorry for the commanders in chief -- working from home never looked so good as from these locations.

PHOTO: President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Sasha disembark Air Force One after arriving at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for their family Christmas vacation, Dec. 20, 2013, in Honolulu.
Eugene Tanner/AP Photo
1.
Barack Obama: Plantation Estate, Oahu, Hawaii

The Obamas have made it a tradition to return to the president's home state of Hawaii every year for their winter vacation, and it's easy to understand their affinity for the Aloha State when looking at their residence of choice.

Located in a gated community in Kailua, Oahu, the Plantation Estate is a 5,000-square-foot beachfront property with a "lagoon-style pool pavilion" complete with tropical waterfalls. The five-bedroom estate also includes a stone-tiled "island spa area" in the outdoor courtyard and "African mahogany" detailing inside the house.

Interested in vacationing like the commander in chief? Start saving up -- the Plantation Estate costs anywhere from $3,500 to $7,500 a night with a seven-day minimum. The Obamas pay for it out of pocket.

Despite the hefty price tag, the Obamas vacationed at the Plantation Estate every winter during the president's first term in office. However, planning a winter trip in December 2012 proved difficult in more ways than one. Not only was the president's winter vacation postponed because of the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations, but his residence of choice was occupied by its original owner, forcing the first family to vacation at another Oahu rental.

This year, the president was able to depart without delay but stated that he plans to "reflect and see what [he] can do better" in 2014 during his time away from the Oval Office.

PHOTO: George W. Bush points out features of his Texas house to reporters during a tour of Praire Chapel Ranch, Jan 2, 2003, near Crawford, Texas. The President and his family have been vacationing on the ranch over the New Years Day holiday.
Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
2.
George W. Bush: Prairie Chapel Ranch, Crawford, Texas

For President George W. Bush, going on an undisturbed winter vacation wasn't always an option. Throughout the course of his two terms in office, his winter residence of choice, the Prairie Chapel Ranch, was often used to host foreign dignitaries, as well as being the site of anti-war protests during the peak of the Iraq War. The former president spent enough time working at his Texas getaway that the location of the ranch became the subject of its own documentary, "Crawford."

Often called the Western White House, Prairie Chapel Ranch breaks its rugged namesake's stereotype by offering its residents modern, eco-friendly technology on a secluded 1.5 acre estate. According to a story in USA Today, the ranch "has geothermal heating and cooling" systems, and uses "rainwater and household wastewater ... for irrigation."

But Prairie Chapel Ranch isn't all work and no play, and under the appropriate weather conditions, visitors are urged to compete for a coveted souvenir. Should the weather hit triple-digit temperatures, visitors can run three miles or bike 10 miles in order to be awarded a gray Under Armour shirt and certificate that marks their spot in the President's 100-Degree Club.

PHOTO: Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan at their ranch, Rancho del Cielo, near Santa Barbara, Calif., February 1985.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
3.
Ronald Reagan: Rancho del Cielo, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Before President Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch, President Ronald Reagan's California estate at Rancho del Cielo held the title of Western White House.

Although the one-acre estate primarily served as a warm-weather retreat for the Reagans, the Western White House was also used as a functioning extension of the Oval Office. During his time as president, Reagan hosted a number of foreign dignitaries, including Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev, at Rancho del Cielo, and in 1981, Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act at his Western White House desk.

Reagan last visited the ranch in 1995, and former first lady Nancy Reagan sold the property to the conservative group, Young America's Foundation, in 1998. The foundation still preserves the property today, claiming it as a "living monument" to the former president.

PHOTO: Gerald Ford as he completed his family day of skiing at Vail, Colo., Jan. 9, 1975.
Steve Larson/The Denver Post/Getty Images
4.
Gerald Ford: Ford Ski Retreat, Beaver Creek, Colo.

Not all presidents preferred warm climate winter escapes - President Gerald Ford chose to retreat to Beaver Creek near Vail, Colo., after losing the 1976 election.

The 11,800-square-foot estate includes a pool house, seven bedrooms, a ski room, wine cellar and theater room, all with the added bonus of spanning mountain views. According to a report by Time magazine, President Ford used the indoor swimming pool "at age 91, when he swam twice a day to keep fit." An avid skier, the president also left his mark on the property's ski run, which was named "President Ford's Run."

Ford owned the home until his death in 2006. According to Associated Press reports, the property was most recently listed for sale in 2011 for the bargain price of $11 million.

PHOTO: Then vice president Richard Nixon poses for a picture, Dec. 31, 1957, on  holiday vacation, on Key Biscayne, Fla.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
5.
Richard Nixon: Key Biscayne, Fla.

President Nixon's winter getaway in Key Biscayne, Fla., has one of the more complex back stories in presidential real estate, earning a place in both American history books and cinematic archives.

Before retreating to Key Biscayne during the Watergate scandal, Nixon first ran into controversy when his Florida neighbor and confidant, Charles Rebozo, was indicted for laundering a $100,000 donation from Howard Hughes to the Nixon campaign. Rebozo's Key Biscayne Bank was eventually monitored by the FBI as a potential Mafia-related pipeline, and the Secret Service subsequently advised Nixon to cut ties with his Florida friend.

Key Biscayne's Mafia theme extended far beyond the Nixon presidency; in the early 1980s, parts of the Al Pacino classic "Scarface" were filmed at the estate.

Unfortunately, for crime history aficionados, the home was seized by the U.S. government and demolished in 2004.

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