Vacations of the Presidents

PHOTO: Menemsha Harbor, Vineyard's Fishing Town, in Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard, Mass., is shown in this file photo.
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When you're the leader of the free world, things can get a little stressful. Even the president needs a break from time to time. So where does the commander-in-chief go when he needs a little R&R?

Over the next few pages, discover where presidents take their vacations. Pictured here is Martha's Vineyard, the vacation destination of choice of two recent presidents.

PHOTO: A field of brilliant yellow sedum form a carpet in front of the Highland Light Lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore.
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Cape Cod

Perhaps some of the most famous photographs of the Kennedys were taken playing football and sailing while visiting their compound in Hyannis port on Cape Cod. The Cape's 550 miles of shoreline is home to some of the world's finest beaches. Golf, fried seafood and vodka mixed with cranberry juice (a Cape Codder) are musts on any Cape Cod vacation.

PHOTO: Kauai beach is shown at sunset, in this file photo.
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Hawaii

A Hawaii vacation has always been on every travelers' "must-visit' list, but it jumped to the top of the list for political watchers, as well, after Obama took office and started vacationing there. No matter what your affiliation, there's no disputing Hawaii's stunning beauty. Obama chooses the Kailua section on the island of Oahu, most famous for being the home of Waikiki Beach.

PHOTO: Kennebunkport, Maine, New England, is seen here in this undated photo.
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Kennebunkport, Maine

Father-and-son presidents they were, but that doesn't mean they saw eye-to-eye on everything. The Bushes differed in their choice of vacation destinations. While President George H.W. Bush preferred his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, his son preferred the solitude of his Texas ranch (see no. 8). That's not to say that the entire Bush clan didn't descend on Kennebunkport from time to time. When they did, it's likely they enjoyed the lobster and blueberry pie that make Maine famous.

PHOTO: Crandon Beach in Key Biscayne, Fla. is shown.
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Key Biscayne, Fl.

This island in Florida was such a favorite of President Richard Nixon's that his vacation home there was known as "The Florida White House." And what's not to love about Key Biscayne? It's home to some of the nation's top-rated beaches and is just a stone's throw from downtown Miami (although it's probably safe to say you wouldn't catch Nixon out at the clubs).

PHOTO: An aerial view of Oak Bluffs Massachusetts on the island of Martha's Vineyard, is shown.
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Martha's Vineyard

This island off the coast of Massachusetts has been the preferred vacation destination of not one but two recent presidents. Both President Clinton and President Obama have vacationed with their families on "the Vineyard," as it's known, Obama favoring the Chilmark area and Clinton enjoying Edgartown. No matter where a visitor stays on the Vineyard, the main activities are the beach, golf and ice cream.

PHOTO: The Zaca Mesa Vineyard, in Santa Barbara, Calif. is shown.
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Santa Barbara

Rancho del Cielo, also known as the "Western White House," was the beloved home of President and Nancy Reagan. The president was often photographed wearing jeans and riding horses on the 680-acre property. Santa Barbara, Calif., is no stranger to the rich and famous, drawn to its beautiful beaches, temperate climate, rich history and Mediterranean-style architecture.

PHOTO: A cowboy trots on his horse through the morning Texas haze.
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Texas

It might not be the first place that comes to mind when you start planning a vacation, but it was most certainly President George W. Bush's favorite place to unwind. His 1,500-acre ranch in Crawford, Texas, was known as the "Western Whitehouse" during his eight years as president, and his wife, Laura, has said they've hosted heads of state there, too. What did the Bush family do to unwind while at the ranch? Puzzles.

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