Take a Memorable President's Day Vacation This Year

While President's Day overlaps with many schools' spring holidays, it's more than just an excuse to take some time off and relax. This holiday celebrates the lives of the people who helped shape America into what it is today. Known officially as Washington's Birthday, the holiday can also include Lincoln or Jefferson. The state holiday varies from one state to another, but almost every state celebrates the holiday in some way. February 22 has been celebrated as Washington's birthday since very early in our country's history, and February 12 was celebrated as Lincoln's birthday in 1865. The two holidays were consolidated on a national level by President Nixon, and since then, the third Monday in February has been a time to remember our history and the great men who made it.

Take a Historical President's Day Vacation

This year, brush up on your history and make this President's Day holiday a patriotic outing. You don't need to sit through stuffy textbook lectures – there are plenty of hands-on activities to see and do. Here are just a few ways you can get the entire family excited and feeling the patriotic spirit.

presidents day williamsburg vacationColonial Williamsburg

What better way to bring history to life than to see people living and breathing the way things were in a historical era? Colonial Williamsburg is like a living museum, with historical reenactors dressing the part of 18th century townspeople. Learn about life in the Colonial period in the town where important historical figures like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison served in the Virginian government, people who would later become president. In Williamsburg, you can walk authentic streets between original or recreated buildings from the era, guided by interpreters who wear the clothing and speak the language of the era. Watch skilled craftsmen work their trade where visitors can see. President's Day is the perfect holiday to visit Williamsburg, because on the weekend of February 14-15, you and your family can see presidents of the past brought to life. Three Virginia-born presidents – Washington, Jefferson, and Madison – all return to Williamsburg to give your kids a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience history firsthand. Rent a vacation home in Williamsburg, Virginia and surround yourself with living history.

Washington DC

What a monumental year to be visiting Washington DC! Some of the energy of the presidential inauguration will certainly still linger around the city, perfect to get you in the festive patriotic mood. Now that new history has been made, it's time to look back at history, and DC hosts some of the best museums and other locations to learn about the nation's beginnings. Celebrate George Washington's birthday by paying a visit to his home in Mount Vernon and learning more about his life. The estate is set up like a museum, and you can tour the grounds and the house. 2009 offers even more interesting experiences for visitors, as a visit during this season will coincide with the 200-year anniversary of Lincoln's birthday. The entire city has prepared celebrations of one of America's greatest presidents, and these are things no history buff should miss. View the actual Emancipation Proclamation (especially relevant because February is Black History Month), watch a birthday ceremony with authentic period music and patriotic classics at the Lincoln Memorial, or attend the opening (or just stop by once they're open) of Lincoln-themed exhibits at local museums. Stay in a Washington, DC rental home and you'll be near plenty of other museums, gardens, and societies with events specially prepared for the holiday.

President's Day Vacation - Not Just for History Buffs

presidents day ski vacationNot the history type? Don't worry - President's Day isn't just for dwelling on the past. It's also time to celebrate the present! If you're just looking for a way to get away from your stressful everyday life, President's Day brings deals and specials, and many students get extended school holidays at this time. Whether you can get away for a full week or for just a long weekend, squeeze in or stretch out your holiday time to have the best possible vacation.


In February, the weather is perfect for skiing, and many ski resorts take advantage of the weather and the vacation days that coincide with it to offer special packages. The upside is that the slopes will be great and you'll meet a ton of interesting people (talk about a great time to meet singles or have your kids make new friends!), but the downside is that resorts raise the rates because this is a prime vacation week. Cut down on the costs by staying in a vacation rental, which you can comfortably split with a larger group and still have plenty of privacy and space. Try skiing from a rental cabin in Lake Tahoe or a Breckenridge ski in out condo and you won't look back.


Follow a classic family tradition and visit the House of Mouse on your President's Day vacation. The park will be cooler in February than in the hot, humid summer months, so you won't have to worry as much about being uncomfortable. And since President's Day isn't a universal holiday, the park won't be quite as crowded as during the summer. However, it's still a popular destination for families who can take the President's Day holiday off, so prepare for crowds. If you can, plan your visit so that you go to the park after President's Day itself, possibly on the following Wednesday. Make the most of your holiday by renting a vacation home in Florida and taking it easy for the first few days, then make the park part of your trip later in the week when the crowds have mostly gone home. If you're up to braving the crowds, stay in a Disney vacation rental right in the middle of things and you can reach the park early, before the crowds form.


Think you missed your chance for a great President's Day vacation? Think again; with last-minute vacation rental deals, you just might be able to score the rental home of your dreams.

For other distinctly American vacation ideas, read about the Best Memorial Weekend Destinations.