It’s the first week of August, Congress is in recess and Washington has emptied out. Almost. You’re still here. You’ve been too busy working to make vacation plans. You’ve opened up Google Flights on your browser but don’t know where to start.
POLITICO Magazine has got you covered with a vacation guide specifically tailored to meet your political tastes. We know that — in this day and age — where you choose to vacation can be a political statement as much as where you do your social media thing, so here’s a guide to summer destinations for every politico out there. But politics has consequences (for most of us) so choose wisely. The last thing you want to do is wander into the wrong partisan silo on your way to the pool. With that in mind, here’s our guide to ensuring you make the right — not to mention fun — decision for your summertime escape.
Young Republican Hill staffer on a budget
Virginia Beach, Va.
Just four hours from D.C., Virginia Beach is a nearby summer getaway with classic beach town vibes — long strolls on the boardwalk, jungle-themed mini-golf courses and pastel-colored beach houses named “Beach Bum Bungalow” and “Ships Ahoy.” If you’re a young Republican staffer looking for political inspiration, you can trace the roots of rising star Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who grew up in the area. And while you’re at it, head over to the Cavalier, where you can make friends with old-money Virginians from Bay Colony over cocktails — after all, they might one day be your future donors. Bonus draw: The Cavalier has an on-site distillery called, wait for it … Tarnished Truth.
Young Dem Hill staffer on a budget
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
For young, eager and broke Democratic staffers on the Hill, there’s no better getaway than Rehoboth Beach. The relatively short travel time from D.C. (three hours) is an added bonus. The real attraction is President Joe Biden, who has been spotted soaking up the sun at his beach home. Attend services at St. Edmond Roman Catholic Church along with the Bidens, and you might even be able to network your way into a spot on his reelection campaign. Or you can just lurk around the president’s favorite ice cream shops — The Ice Cream Store where you can sample a Better Than Sex ice cream cone (yes, that’s a real flavor), or scarf a waffle cone with vanilla chocolate chip (Biden’s reputed go-to) at Double Dippers.
Libertarian tech bro who still owns a Bored Ape NFT
El Zonte, El Salvador
Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged with fraud, Congress is angling to regulate the crypto market and NFTs are crashing. But you still believe bitcoin is the future. Head straight over to El Zonte in El Salvador, the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. Also known as Bitcoin Beach, El Zonte is a safe haven for crypto users — hotels, pupusas stands and souvenir shops all accept Bitcoin. The country’s murder rate has plummeted under President Nayib Bukele, but we can’t promise no one is going to steal your ape. The one downside: If Bitcoin’s price fluctuates while you’re in town, it might be hard to figure out how much you’re really going to have to spend.
Over-exposed far-right culture warrior
Hungary, well-known for its thermal spas — hotter and smellier than the Metro — has a new booming industry: far-right tourism. American conservatives have been embracing the autocratic government and its iron-fisted leader Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. So much so that provocateurs the likes of Tucker Carlson and Christopher Rufo are spending quality time in the country’s baroque salons and think tanks. If you’re hoping to score a spot on a CPAC panel raging against critical race theory, look no further than Budapest, or even better, beguiling Lake Balaton, whose historic abbeys, palaces, vineyards and charming lakeside towns manage to combine many of the features of better-known European destinations. Don’t forget to pack a copy of Hungarian economist Janos Kornai’s critique of command economies, The Socialist System from 1988, which you can read while sipping a glass of local olaszrizling in Badacsony.
Democrat who wants to flaunt their wealth
Cape Cod, Mass.
No place screams “old money Democrats” louder than Cape Cod, home to the Kennedy family’s compound. The peninsula itself is a historic summer destination, serving as a playground for the rich and famous. You’ll be brushing shoulders with people like Ben Affleck or the Clintons, a flex for those who consider proximity to power a feat. Don’t forget to bring your white linen shirt and leather boat shoes.
Republican who wants to hide their wealth
Adirondack Mountains, N.Y.
If you’re looking to downplay your wealth when you travel, head straight to the Adirondack Mountains. Aside from being home to the highest summits in New York state, it’s also a great place for a stealth-mode vacation: Just ask Clarence Thomas. Shaded by acres of old-growth forests, you’ll be able to hide from the prying eyes of the press. Harlan Crow’s private resort is off-limits (unless you’re a Supreme Court justice), but there are plenty of luxury lodges for you to choose from.
Right-wing influencer on Truth Social
It’s no secret that Miami’s beaches are a beautiful backdrop for any Instagram pic. But if you’re a MAGA influencer looking to boost your status on Truth Social, head straight to the lobby of Trump’s golf resort in Doral. Where else would you be able to take selfies with people adjacent to Trump World and make yourself look like an insider too? You might not find as many blockbuster names as are hanging out in Mar-a-Lago, but at least it’s cheaper than a pricey yearlong membership there.
Dem politician trying to butter up blue-collar, middle-class voters
Traverse City, Mich.
If you’re trying to convince voters that you’re not an establishment politician, what better way to connect with them than by participating in America’s favorite pastime? (Hint: that would be fishing.) Show the masses that you’re just like them by knocking back a beer while waiting for the next big catch. Traverse City, which sits next to Lake Michigan, is a fishing hot spot in the summer with plenty of salmon and steelhead to go around. Don’t forget to post a picture with your catch at the end of your trip. Maintain your enviro cred by practicing catch and release.
Recently unemployed Ron DeSantis staffers shopping for a new gig
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign is going through a major makeover right now, and if you’re one of the unlucky souls who got laid off, now is the time for a restart. You can get some rest and relaxation while pondering your future by scoping out South Carolina, home to rising star Sen. Tim Scott and former Gov. Nikki Haley. Myrtle Beach boasts a 60-mile stretch of beautiful sandy beaches, and as you read America, a Redemption Story by Scott in the sun (or Haley’s own bio, Can’t Is Not an Option), begin to think of ways to use your South Carolina vacation as leverage to join another potentially more viable campaign.
The love it and leave it liberal
We heard it after 2016, again in 2020 and will likely be hearing it in 2024 too. If you’re one of those Democrats who has been threatening to relocate in the case of a second Trump victory, make this the year you scope out a new home. Test out Canada, our friendly neighbor, by visiting Whistler — a lush and quaint town that provides plenty of hiking, mountain biking and canoeing in the summer. Make a side trip to theBrackendale Eagles Park where our Canadian friends have even created a haven for our national symbol, the bald eagle. You might love it so much that you’ll apply for a visa as soon as you’re back.
Centrist who’s sick of the culture wars
Disney World, Fla.
Disney World had always been about family values prized by conservatives – that is until Ron DeSantis waged war against the company for its “woke” agenda. His followers may be boycotting the signature theme park, but if you’re a moderate (Republican or Democrat) sick of the culture wars and having to deny yourself an immersion into Disney’s saccharine Americana, then don your Mickey Mouse ears and spend a week exploring the Magic Kingdom. And if you really want to make a statement, wear a Pride shirt as well.
Former Obama Cabinet member clinging to the dream of a post-racial America
Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
While many Northeast summer getaway spots have a reputation for lacking diversity, Martha’s Vineyard is the one welcome exception, serving as a safe haven for vacationing Black families for nearly two centuries. (Particularly in the town of Oak Bluffs.) It’s the perfect place to enjoy classic New England beachtown vibes, while also distancing yourself from the very white Nantucket crowd. If you’re lucky enough to score an invitation to your former boss’ mansion, make sure you take him out to his favorite restaurant, Red Cat Kitchen.
Climate denier Republican who likes to swing (a club, that is)
A record heatwave has hit Arizona (well, most the world actually), and experts are pointing their fingers at climate change. But if you’re an oil-guzzling, plastic-water-bottle-tossing Republican who believes climate change is a hoax, then putt your putter where your politics is and head straight to Scottsdale for two-a-day rounds of golf. You’ve got 200 courses to choose from and the rates are usually lower in summer! Let people know that the scorching temperatures aren’t as bad as the lamestream media says (“It’s a dry heat!”). Careful not to burn your fingers on your overheating smartphone.
Liberal who likes to golf but wants to keep it on the down low
Hilton Head, S.C.
Because of its reputation as being capitalistic and business-centric, golf is seen as a conservative man’s sport. But hey, liberals love to ride tiny carts and search for lost balls too! If you’re looking to keep your love for the sport under the radar but want to enjoy world-class golf courses with like-minded folks, head straight on over to Hilton Head — also known as Golf Island. Former President Bill Clinton, avid golf lover, can attest that the green pastures are worth returning to year after year.
Country music-obsessed lefty with a fondness for Dolly Parton
You adored the Chicks even in their pre-cancelled Dixie days, you love dope-smoking Willie Nelson and you’ve always had a sweet spot for Garth Brooks. You’re a liberal who loves country music. Which means you need a pilgrimage to the hippest (and not so secretly blue-leaning) southern city that can make you sing along without fear you’re betraying your political values. Dolly Parton has made a career about being politically neutral (her latest song, “World on Fire,” slams greedy politicians on both sides of the aisle,) but liberals love her, so make time for the three-and-a-half-hour side trip to Dollywood.
Joe Rogan Bro-publican
Avid fans of Joe Rogan’s podcast tend to be conservative, young men that are majorly white and revel in “bro talk” that can be both racist and sexist. The “boys will be boys” mentality that drives the podcast can also be found on the sandy beaches in Cancún, a main attraction for rowdy frat bros who throw back tequila shots and ogle bikini-clad women. Cancún’s ungodly displays of testosterone, gaggles of white men and nights of bad decisions are basically an embodiment of a viral Joe Rogan episode.
Young, progressive creative director living in Brooklyn
Tokyo, Japan or Seoul, South Korea
A hallmark of being a good progressive is to be open-minded to new cultures. There’s no better way to show people how open to diverse experiences you are than to jet off to Tokyo or Seoul — two very distant cities that also happen to be cultural juggernauts. Shop in Seoul’s underground shopping mall in Gangnam or relax in one of Tokyo’s famous cat cafes and make sure to take plenty of pictures to let people know how worldly you are. But when people ask how you afforded the $1,800 plane ticket on your creative director income, don’t mention you went on your parents’ dime because #EatTheRich.
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