The United States have known a fair number of great Presidents, inspiring leaders who dedicated (a part of) their life to leading their country, sometimes repairing it, other times defending it, but always with the wellbeing of the American people in mind. Famous examples are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, who are incidentally the four U.S. Presidents depicted at Mount Rushmore. Many of the homes or residences where influential Presidents used to live are now open to the public. Below, you will find an overview of the greatest US presidential homes open to the public.
Greatest US Presidential Homes Open to the Public
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Virginia
Arguably the crown jewel of the US presidential homes open to the public is George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Overlooking the scenic Potomac River in northern Virginia, a short drive from Washington, D.C., Mount Vernon is a charming plantation house, once the residence of the first President of the United States. Operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the historic home is one of the absolute highlights of a visit to Mount Vernon in the state of Virginia.
More information: George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Virginia
The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson used to travel all over the U.S. East Coast and even Western Europe, but was never happier than when he was home at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is the only one of the US presidential homes open to the public that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the United States. Jefferson’s plantation house is set atop a hill and surrounded by flower and vegetable gardens and wineries. (It was him who introduced viticulture to the United States.)
More information: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
James Madison’s Montpelier, Virginia
A close friend of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison succeeded the former as fourth President of the United States. He also lived at a plantation house in central Virginia, known as Montpelier. The site encompasses the former home of James and Dolly Madison, several miles of hiking trails, an award-winning restaurant and former slave houses.
More information: James Madison’s Montpelier
James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland, Virginia
James Monroe was the fifth U.S. President, the last Founding Father to become President and the last President of the so-called “Virginian dynasty.” (Of the first five Presidents, four were from Virginia—the first four Presidents featured in this list. Only John Adams, the second President (see below), was from a northern state, New York.) James Monroe’s Ash Lawn is also situated in Charlottesville, Virginia, pretty much across the street from Jefferson’s Monticello. Monroe referred to his home as Highland; it didn’t get the name Ash Lawn until after his death.
More information: James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland
Adams National Historic Site, Massachusetts
John Adams, the second President of the United States, spent most of his life in Quincy, Massachusetts. The Adams National Historic Site includes the birthplace homes of both John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams, who both were President of the United States, the family home, stables, gardens and a library.
More information: Adams National Historic Site
Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
The Eisenhower National Historic Site is the former farm and residence of five-star general and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It served mainly as a retreat and as a venue to receive world leaders. Located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this is one of the great US presidential homes open to the public, not in the least because of its location adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield.
More information: Eisenhower National Historic Site
Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois
One of the most iconic and influential U.S. Presidents, Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield, Illinois. Although the home itself isn’t of any major architectural significance, it’s the man who lived there that makes it such a hugely important site. The home is part of a four-block area in Springfield that has been renovated to resemble the era of Lincoln. Nearby, you can visit the grave of Lincoln and the old state capitol where he delivered his famous “house divided” speech.
More information: Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, New York
The home of Theodore Roosevelt between 1885 and his death in 1919, Sagamore Hill served more or less as Roosevelt’s “summer White House” during his presidency. An industrious naturalist, hunter and adventurer, Theodore Roosevelt is one of the most admired of all U.S. Presidents. His home is decorated with stuffed animals and trophies, reflecting his fascinating life and is one of the US presidential homes open to the public. The national historic site also comprises a museum, a natural wildlife refuge and a visitor center.
More information: Sagamore Hill National Historic Site