The White House may be the most recognizable official residence in the U.S., but it’s not the only place where presidential pups have hung out over the years. After all, these powerful pooches needed summer vacations to make sure they were in tiptop condition to help run the country! You and your First Dog are welcome to explore the grounds of these incredible estates that once belonged to our nation’s leaders.
Summer White Houses You Can Visit with Fido
Posted by Billy Francis
Take a Tour of Teddy’s Grounds
As featured in the latest edition of our book, Ruff Guide to the United States, Theodore Roosevelt’s beloved Sagamore Hill is a historic jewel among Long Island’s Gold Coast Mansions. Although only humans are permitted to enter Teddy's home, you and your leashed pup can spend hours exploring the 83 acres of forests, meadows, and salt marshes on the property’s trails and boardwalks. Afterwards, head to Sands Point Preserve, where you and your pooch can wander along six trails that wind through 216 acres of property. The preserve is also home to four historic mansions, including the Hempstead House and Castle Gould. Dogs must remain leashed at all times on the trails, but you can let Fido loose in the fenced dog run on site. Wind down the day with a well-deserved brew at nearby Oyster Bay Brewing Company.
Guarded by magnificent formal gardens and infused with rich Long Island history, the French-style chateau known as Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate conjures up images from "The Great Gatsby." Dogs are not permitted on the historic mansion tours, but Fido can sleep like a king in the guest rooms and suites of this storied mansion, which has served as the filming location for numerous movies and TV series.
Bring Your Canine to Coolidge’s Lodge
Tucked among the ponderosa pines beside Grace Coolidge Creek lies the State Game Lodge, once the "Summer White House" during President Calvin Coolidge’s administration. Now, you and your pup can be a guest of the lodge in one of the property’s 19 pet-friendly cabins. After a restful night’s sleep, take Fido for a morning walk on the adjacent Creekside Trail, feast on Buffalo Benedict in the main dining room, and discover Custer State Park on the nearby Wildlife Loop Road, home to one of the nation’s largest free-roaming bison herds.
Walk Around Washington’s Plantation
Although technically the first president’s plantation rather than a summer White House, George Washington’s Mount Vernon still deserves a mention for its illustrious canine history. During George Washington’s lifetime, many beloved dogs lived with him and Martha at Mount Vernon in Alexandria. While your pooch is not able to venture inside the historic mansion today, there is still plenty to keep both of you busy on the 50-acre estate. Spend time in the gardens, visit George Washington’s tomb, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Potomac River from the piazza.
Fido can experience his own summer White House and play off-leash in the fenced backyard at the National Nest.
Visit Florida’s Only Presidential Museum
Harry. S. Truman was ahead of the pack when it came to remote working, electing to spend 175 days of his presidency at Truman Little White House in Key West, FL. The 33rd president escaped to the former naval officer’s housing when winter weather in Washington D.C. began to bite. Taft, Eisenhower and JFK all called the palm tree-lined pad their vacation home while serving as POTUS, too. Dogs aren’t allowed inside the house, but are welcome on the lawn to snap a picture and join you for a walk around Truman Annex, as long as they are leashed. Share a Little White House Correspondents’ Dinner with your canine on the patio at Smokin' Tuna Saloon down the road.
Enjoy an evening stroll to the Southernmost Point, then return to your own Truman Annex home away from home.
Bring Your Springer to Springwood
Pay a visit to another Roosevelt family presidential estate in the Empire State. Originally built in 1793 and enlarged by the Roosevelts in 1915-16, Springwood at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site was the birthplace of the 32nd president. Roosevelt spent much of his life in the home as a child and as an adult, returning often during personal and political crises. He lies buried on the property, and it was his wish to leave the house to the American people. The Roosevelts shared their estate with many dogs, including perhaps the most famous presidential pup, Fala, so it’s only fitting that dogs are allowed on the grounds today. Stroll through Sara Roosevelt’s rose garden, where the final resting places of Franklin and Eleanor are located, walk the path Eleanor took daily, stop by the Walled Garden at Bellefield, and tour the Val-Kill Cottage to discover what life was like for Mrs. Roosevelt while at Springwood.
Retire to this pet-friendly historic home on the Hudson with your hound of state.
Make Your Way to Montpelier
In the early 1760s, the family of Founding Father James Madison moved to a new home on a 2,600-acre tobacco plantation, which they called Montpelier. When his father passed away in 1801, Madison inherited the plantation and after his presidency retired there with his wife, Dolley. Leashed dogs are welcome on the grounds, which include over 8 miles of walking trails through the Old Growth Landmark Forest, the archaeological remains of a Confederate war camp, and the Annie DuPont Formal Garden. Pack a picnic lunch and relax at a table in the shade of historic trees, or grab a seat on the outdoor patio of the on-site cafe. Take a self-guided tour to see where the Montpelier enslaved community lived, Mr. Madison’s temple, and the Madison Family cemetery. Dogs are also allowed on the outdoor walking tours.
The Hen & Hound Cottage welcomes dogs and horses to spend the night. There’s a private fenced yard for Fido to enjoy and stalls and pastures for horses passing through.
Ready for a Road Trip?
The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the best dog-friendly things to do across the country. And we've assembled it all in our new book, Ruff Guide to the United States.
Now in its second edition, the book features over 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Order your copy today and save 50% off the retail price when you use the discount code HOUSE.
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Banner photo by BringFido.