Saturday, January 7, 2012

President Obama at Camp David

As of 7/31/2016 -  Number of visits to Camp David:  39

Last Updated: July 31, 2016

President Obama and his family spent their first weekend at Camp David in February 2009.  He described his visit to reporters:  "It was beautiful. The girls just had a great time. They had a lot of fun. You can see during the summer it's going to be a nice place to spend a lot of time."  He hit some golf balls and played basketball there that weekend.

In June 2009, Time Magazine reported that President Obama was going to make the Evergreen Chapel at Camp David his primary place of worship because his presence at local church services was often disruptive due to the security requirements. President Obama confirmed this in an NBC interview in 2010:  "We love the chapel at Camp David."

President Obama plays basketball at Camp David with senior staff and their family during a retreat on July 18, 2009 

According to the recently published book The Obamas, the First Lady planned a surprise birthday party for the President in 2009. On the first weekend in August, the first family headed to Camp David for a supposedly quiet weekend.  Upon arrival, the President was called to Laurel Lodge for an important phone call. When he walked in, his closest friends from Hawaii and Chicago, some college friends, and David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs shouted "Surprise!". They had all arrived the night before. They spent the weekend playing basketball, pool, golf, shuffleboard, bowling and Scrabble. Gibbs reported to the press upon returning to the White House that the President bowled a 144 that weekend.

Later in August, Boston University basketball player Sherrod Smith got the chance to play basketball with President Obama at Camp David. The story, photo and video about this opportunity is on the BU website. Politico reported that Oprah Winfrey joined the Obama family at Camp David for a "quiet weekend" also some time in 2009.

The President and First Lady celebrated Valentine's Day at Camp David in 2010. Later in April, Michelle  took Malia and Sasha skiing for the day at Ski Liberty in Pennsylvania. The President met them at Camp David that evening for an overnight stay. President Obama invited the Cabinet secretaries and their families to Camp David later that year in October.

President Obama, VP Joe Biden, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan's daughter Claire watch a tennis match at Camp David during a Cabinet retreat held in October 2010

After an eight month absence from Camp David, the Obama family celebrated Sasha's tenth birthday at the retreat in June 2011. They returned again a few weeks later for the Fourth of July weekend; also the weekend after that; and again in August after President Obama's 50th birthday; and over Labor Day weekend in September and Columbus Day weekend in October 2011.

President Obama playing with daughter Sasha on her birthday weekend in June 2011

President Obama in his office at Laurel Lodge - August 6, 2011

In May 2012, President Obama hosted the G8 Summit at Camp David. View more photos of the G8 Summit. He returned a couple weeks later in early June for an overnight visit. For the fourth year in a row, the Obama family spent the long weekend prior to the Fourth of July (which is also Malia's birthday) at the presidential retreat. He returned to Camp David the following weekend. President Obama celebrated his 51st birthday there in early August and went back there with his daughters and their friends for a weekend at the end of the month. In mid-October, the President headed to Camp David to prepare for his last presidential debate.

G8 Summit dinner in Laurel Lodge
President Obama meets with leaders in Aspen Lodge

President Obama reads briefing material while meeting with advisors inside Aspen Lodge - October  21, 2012

In January 2013, President Obama told The New Republic in an interview that he goes skeet shooting "all the time" with his guests when he's up at the retreat. Some people were skeptical about this and wanted to see some proof. The White House released the photo below on 2/2/2013.

President Obama took his 30th trip to Camp David the weekend following the Fourth of July holiday to spend time there with his family. On July 26th, he invited his Cabinet members and their families to Camp David for the day. President Obama returned to the presidential retreat for the weekend of August 3rd to celebrate his 52nd birthday on August 4th.

President Barack Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Md., Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. 
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama went on a family trip to Camp David on the weekend of July 18-20.  He returned a couple weeks later (Aug 2-3) to celebrate his 53rd birthday. He went back again for a weekend stay in mid-September.

President Obama's first trip to the retreat in 2015 was for a weekend visit (May 2-3). On May 14th, the President held a summit meeting with representatives from the six nations that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). He returned to Camp David the first weekend in August for an early-birthday celebration with his high school, college and Chicago friends.

President Barack Obama shakes hands with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait, as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders prepare to have a group photo with the President outside of the Laurel Cabin at the conclusion of a summit meeting at Camp David, Md., May 14, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama celebrated his 55th birthday at Camp David a few days early over the last weekend in July (7/30-31).


The dates of the visits below came from various news reports and the GPO's "Public Papers of the Presidents" website:

2009:  Feb 7-8; March 7-8; March 21-22; March 27-29; May 23-24; July 3-4; July 18-19; Aug 1-2; Aug 21-23; Sept 2-6; Nov 7-8

2010:  Feb 14; March 26-27; July 2-3; Sept 3-5; Oct 2-3

2011:  June 10-12; July 1-3; July 9-10; Aug 5-7; Sept 2-5; Oct 8-9

2012:  May 18-19; June 2-3, June 30 - July 4; July 6-8; August 4-5; August 24-26; Oct 19-22

2013:  July 5-7; July 26; August 3-4

2014:  July 18-20; August 2-3, September 19-21

2015:  May 2-3; May 14; August 1-2

2016:  July 30-31

As of July 31, 2016
Total number of visits: 39
Total number of days at Camp David: 96

Sources: Huffington Post; CBS News; The Swamp; Politico; Washington Post; Time; New York Times; Obama Foodorama; The Obamas by Jodi Kantor; White House; GPO Obama schedule 2009; GPO Obama schedule 2010; GPO Obama schedule 2011; @MarkKnoller; GPO Obama schedule 2012; GPO Obama schedule 2013; GPO Obama schedule 2014;  The New Republic; Chicago Sun-Times; GPO Obama schedule 2015; GPO Obama schedule 2016