On Friday, the Obamas headed to Hawaii for their annual vacation, and after seven years, it's safe to say the first family has pretty much perfected their routine.
Here are seven reasons POTUS wants to come to Hawaii for the seventh year in a row:
2014 has been an exceedingly rough year for the president. After having to deal with Ebola, ISIS, and the brutal midterm elections, Obama probably needs nothing more than a five-hour time difference and a 5,000-mile buffer between him and Washington, D.C.
After all, Hawaii is the most isolated landmass on earth, making it the ideal place to just get away from it all.
Though Obama grew up in Honolulu, he and his family have stayed in Kailua, on Oahu's east shore, for the past seven years. Once you see their vacation rental, you’ll understand why they're so attached.
Known for its gorgeous white sand beaches and laid-back lifestyle, the upscale neighborhood boasts some of the most beautiful scenery on the island -- and that turquoise water is just steps from the Obamas' rental. It also doesn't hurt that Kailua is close to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, providing easy and essential security.
In the wake of the White House chef’s recent departure, we’re sure the president is hankering for some familiar comfort food –- and he’ll get just that in Hawaii.
POTUS has his go-to upscale restaurants on Oahu, including Alan Wong’s and Nobu Waikiki, but he also has a soft spot for the local favorites of his childhood, like spam musubi and Hawaii’s favorite frozen treat -- shave ice.
Island Snow, a shave ice and surf shop in Kailua, is the Obamas' spot of choice when in need of a post-beach sugar rush.
But, this is no mere snow cone -- the ice is fine and fluffy, and many of the syrups at Island Snow, such as lychee and lilikoi, are made locally. Obama's go-to combination is lemon-lime, cherry, and passion-guava, AKA the “Snowbama” at Island Snow.
For an authentic shave ice experience, get ice cream, mochi balls, or azuki beans added to the bottom of your cup. (Or all three. #yolo)
The Obamas have their pick of beautiful beaches when they come to Hawaii, but they tend to stick to a few favorites, including a gorgeous stretch of beach on Bellows Air Force Station. The gentle waves at Bellows are perfect for boogie boarding.
When Barry's looking for something a little more thrilling, however, he likes to revisit his high school days spent bodysurfing at Sandy Beach. (Earlier this year, there was a proposal to rename the beach after Obama. It didn’t go over well.)
The waves at this famed shorebreak can be neck-breaking -- more injuries occur here than on any other beach in Hawaii -- so we hope POTUS stays safe out there.
President Obama is an avid golfer whenever he is in Hawaii. The Olomana Golf Links and the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club are regulars in the rotation, but the Kaneohe Klipper golf course on Marine Corps Base Hawaii is his clear favorite. Featuring both mountain and ocean views, it’s no wonder the president heads here multiple times per visit. Feast your eyes on the 13th hole:
If you’ve seen “Lilo & Stitch,” you know that ohana means family and is of the utmost importance in Hawaii. When POTUS is in the islands, he takes full advantage of that sentiment.
He has regular dinners with his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, who still lives in Hawaii, and makes trips to Punchbowl cemetery to visit the grave of his maternal grandfather, World War II veteran Stanley Dunham. The cemetery, used to honor service members, is situated in a volcanic crater with sweeping views of Honolulu.
The president also gets to spend some much-needed quality time with Sasha and Malia. After all, who knows how much longer they’ll let him hold their hands after a long day of snorkeling at Hanauma Bay?
Michelle Obama has said “You can’t really understand Barack until you understand Hawaii.” Well, you can't really understand Hawaii until you understand aloha.
Aloha is somewhat of a catch-all word, but it is something you cannot quite comprehend until you’ve spent time on the islands. The word is a greeting, an expression of love, and a way of life. The aloha spirit is everywhere, and it is something that permeates the lives of those who live and have lived in Hawaii, including the president.
Once you know the meaning of aloha, Hawaii will hold a place in your heart, just as it does for the Obamas.