Travel enthusiasts on the fence about who to vote for in the 2012 presidential election may want to consider where the candidates spend their precious time off. After all, where people vacation can say a lot about them. Are they adventurous and prone to taking risks? Do they vacation in different places, or do they prefer to visit their tried-and-true favorite destinations time and again?
While President Obama and Mitt Romney definitely have their differences, they seem to share one thing in common: They take their big family vacations stateside.
Which candidate, in your opinion, vacations better? Click through the next few pages to see where Barack Obama and Mitt Romney go to relax.
|Park City, Utah|
Until 2009, the Romeys owned a ski home in venerable Park City, Utah, home to three world-class ski resorts: Deer Valley Resort, Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort. No word on the preferences of the Romney family, but diehard skiers love Deer Valley, where there's no snowboarding allowed.
Of course, one of Mitt Romney's biggest claims to fame is his role as the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee of the 2002 Winter Olympics. A visitor to the area today would certainly want to stop in at Utah Olympic Park, where it's possible to watch athletes in training, ride the bobsled or try the luge.
|Big Sky Resort, Mont.|
In the summer of 2009, Big Sky Resort received a phone call from the White House asking it to host a special guest on Aug. 14. When the White House calls, you listen, and the resort was thrilled to welcome the first family for a night before the Obamas set off for Yellowstone National Park.
The resort said the first family took part in many area activities, including white-water rafting and zip lining. The president even tried his hand at fly fishing. The kids enjoyed s'mores prepared over a fire pit during their visit, and the whole group took a trip to the most popular of Yellowstone sites, Old Faithful.
|Mount Desert Island, Maine|
The Obama family's July 2009 Maine vacation was all about the great outdoors. And why not? The Bar Harbor area is home to Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain, which offer countless opportunities for hiking and biking. The first family reportedly hiked a trail along Witch Hole Pond. And since no summer vacation would be complete without ice cream, the Obamas did make a pit stop at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, where the president went with coconut, according to the shop.
|La Jolla, Calif.|
In 2008, the Romneys purchased a vacation home in La Jolla, an upscale enclave of Southern California. Real estate website Zillow said the Romneys filed for permits to renovate the home, turning it from a single-story house to a two-story home.
Ann Romney reportedly headed to the La Jolla home after a scare in September when the cabin of her plane filled with smoke, forcing it to make an emergency landing in Colorado.
|Panama City Beach, Fla.|
The summer of 2010 proved to be a difficult one for tourism on Florida's Gulf Coast after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Fearing oil on the beaches and in the Gulf's pristine waters, visitors chose other vacation destinations. The president sought to quell those fears by taking his own family on vacation in Panama City Beach that August, swimming in the water with daughter Sasha.
Ann and Mitt Romney and their large clan, including their five sons and daughters-in-law and 18 grandchildren, gather each summer at their lakefront estate on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H. The vacation is reportedly "mandatory" for the family. Daytime activities include Jet-Skiing, all-family boat rides and the "Romney Olympics," ABC News reported. The Romney vacation tradition has been going on for decades: The GOP presidential candidate first began vacationing in Wolfeboro with his father.
The first family spends every Christmas and New Year's in Honolulu, in the president's home state, in the same vacation rental home -- Hale Reena a 7,000-square-foot home on Oahu's windward coast. But it was put on the market – for a cool $7.9 million – after the family's 2011 visit, so it's not known where they'll stay over the holidays this year.
According to GoHawaii.com, the president has been known to eat at the restaurtants of Kapahulu on the outskirts of Waikiki. He's been known to order a local-style plate lunch from the Rainbow Drive-In and the 24-hour Oahu mainstay, Zippy's. On one trip, Obama and his daughters cooled off with a shave ice, the local version of a snow cone, at Island Snow in Kailua.