The pair was seen enjoying the water in a tandem kayak.

By Stacey Leasca
December 28, 2020
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Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, aren’t letting the global pandemic get in the way of their winter vacation plans. 

Over the Christmas holiday, the duo escaped the chill of Washington, D.C., for the warm winds in Hawaii. According to the local television station Khon2, Obama, who was born in the Aloha State, was first spotted in early December at the Mid-Pacific Country Club in Kailua.

Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach
Credit: Tony Shi Photography/Getty

“The Punahou graduate is a frequent visitor of Oahu during the winter holidays, which included visits while he was in the White House,” the station explained. “The country club is also one of his regular stops where he plays golf with his Punahou School buddy Bobby Titcomb.” 

Then, on Wednesday, the couple was once again photographed by the Daily Mail kayaking in the beautiful blue ocean surrounding the islands.  

The family has made it their annual tradition to fly to Hawaii to regroup and recharge at the end of each year, including during their time in the White House.

In 2017, Travel + Leisure reported on their frequent vacation home, nicknamed “The Winter White House,” where the Obamas stayed from 2008 to 2011. The luxury vacation home, actually known as Paradise Point Estates, is easily big enough to fit the entire family and their secret service staff as it comes with five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, and a few extra rooms to comfortably fit up to 10 guests. 

Barack and Michelle Obama
Barack Obama addresses troops with Michelle Obama at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kailua on December 25, 2016.
| Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty

It also comes with an expansive kitchen space, gorgeous outdoor garden areas, its own lagoon, a fitness center, and direct access to Kailua Bay Beach. The best part? You can rent it too. All you need to do is inquire about nightly rates.

This place, and this mental space, have become perhaps more important to the couple than their time leading the nation. 

“On my deathbed, I am confident I will not remember any bill I passed. I will not remember any speech I gave, any crowds. I won’t be thinking about the inauguration,” Obama shared in December 2019. “I will be thinking about holding hands with my daughters and taking them to a park or seeing them laugh while they’re playing in the water. That is going to be the thing that lasts.”

Stacey Leasca is a journalist, photographer, and media professor. Send tips and follow her on Instagram now.