Take a tour of Camp David, where presidents host world leaders and escape Washington

Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty ImagesU.S. President George W. Bush (R) and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak laugh as they leave their joint news conference after their meeting April 19, 2008 at Camp David in Maryland.

Nestled in the countryside of Maryland, in the Catoctin Mountain Park, is the presidential country retreat known as Camp David.

The first parts of the complex were built by the Works Progress Administration in 1935, and Franklin D. Roosevelt made it the presidential retreat. FDR originally named the property “Shangri-La,” a name it kept until the Eisenhower administration, who named it Camp David after his grandson.

The compound has expanded over the years, with new cabins being built and even a pool. It has also been the site of diplomatic events like the Camp David Accords in 1978 and the G8 summit in 2012.

Take a tour of Camp David, where presidents go to escape Washington:


The original name of Camp David was Shangri-La, the name of a fictional Himalayan paradise in the 1933 novel “Lost Horizon.”

National Park ServiceThe original sign to Camp David during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s term

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower took office, he renamed the property “Camp David,” after his father and grandson who had the same name.

White HouseDavid Eisenhower (age 12), grandson of President Eisenhower, poses with sign named in his honour, 1960.

By the end of the Eisenhower administration, Camp David looked like this. The president’s cabin — Aspen Lodge — was originally called the Bear’s Den by FDR.


From the beginning, Camp David gave presidents a chance to enjoy the countryside. Here, FDR and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill fish in the woods around “Shangri La.” The two men reportedly planned the D-Day invasion from a porch on one of the cabins.


Since Camp David is in the Catoctin Mountain Park, it has a number of trails around it that presidents and their families can enjoy.


Horseback riding is also a common activity for the trails, as seen here with President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush.


Originally, the pool at Camp David was far from Aspen Lodge. Here President Johnson can be seen enjoying the pool with family, friends, and staff.


Here’s another shot of Johnson at the Camp David pool.


President Richard Nixon added a pool behind the Aspen Lodge in the 1970s. President Barack Obama apparently still enjoyed it decades later.

White HousePresident Barack Obama and his daughter Sasha play at the Camp David pool, 2011.

Obama White House photographer Pete Souza snapped a number of great behind-the-scenes shots of life at Camp David, which also has tennis and basketball courts.

Obama White House/FlickrPresident Barack Obama plays basketball with senior staff and their family members during a retreat at Camp David on July 18, 2009.

As well as a pool table.

Official White House Photo by Pete SouzaFollowing the conclusion of the G8 Summit, President Barack Obama plays a game of pool in the Holly Cabin at Camp David on May 19, 2012.

Camp David can provide a relaxing setting for presidents to do their work, away from the chaos of Washington.

Obama White House/FlickrPresident Barack Obama reads briefing material while meeting with advisors inside his cabin at Camp David, October 21, 2012.

Many presidents have spent Christmas at Camp David.


It’s pretty nice in winter too.

Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.Three unidentified children sled down the hill outside Aspen Lodge, the Presidential residence at Camp David, Frederick County, Maryland on February 10 1962.

President Carter turned Camp David into a place where diplomacy was conducted, like the landmark Camp David Accords in 1978.


Like Carter, President Bill Clinton used Camp David as a location for talks between Israel and Palestine.


Obama also used Camp David as a place for diplomatic events.


In 2012, he hosted the leaders of the G8 nations at Camp David.


It’s not all work, though. European leaders took a break during the 2012 G8 to watch the overtime shootout of the Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich Champions League final.


President Donald Trump visited Camp David five times in his first year in office, calling it “a very special place” in one tweet.


Most recently, Trump brought senior Republicans to Camp David for a leadership retreat.

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