Harman Patil (Editor)

Camp David

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Military base

Open to the public

Controlled by
United States Navy

Year built

Camp David

Built by
Works Progress Administration

President of the United States First Lady of the United States

Catoctin Mountain Park, 10, Hauvers, MD 21788, USA

Federal government of the United States

Camp David Accords, The 38th G8 Summit

Catoctin Mountain Park, White House, Catoctin Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains, Catoctin Furnace

Camp david tour

Camp David is the country retreat of the President of the United States. It is located in wooded hills of Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont, Maryland, about 62 miles (100 km) north-northwest of Washington, D.C.. It is officially known as the Naval Support Facility Thurmont, because it is technically a military installation, and staffing is primarily provided by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps.


Originally known as Hi-Catoctin, Camp David was built as a camp for federal government agents and their families by the WPA. Construction started in 1935 and was completed in 1938. In 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt converted it to a presidential retreat and renamed it "Shangri-La" (for the fictional Himalayan paradise in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton, which he had jokingly referenced as the source of the Doolittle Raid earlier that year). Camp David received its present name from Dwight D. Eisenhower, in honor of his father and grandson, both named David.

The Catoctin Mountain Park does not indicate the location of Camp David on park maps due to privacy and security concerns.

The presidential motorcade to camp david

Presidential use

Since it was built, every president up to and including Barack Obama has made use of the retreat.

  • Roosevelt hosted Sir Winston Churchill in May 1943.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower held his first cabinet meeting there on November 22, 1955 following hospitalization and convalescence required after a heart attack suffered in Denver, Colorado on September 24.
  • John F. Kennedy and his family often enjoyed riding and other recreational activities there, and Kennedy often allowed White House staff and cabinet members to use the retreat when he or his family were not there.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson met with advisors in this setting and hosted both Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt and Canadian Prime minister Lester B. Pearson there.
  • Richard Nixon was a frequent visitor. He personally directed the construction of a swimming pool and other improvements to Aspen Lodge.
  • Gerald Ford often rode his snowmobile around Camp David and hosted Indonesian President Suharto there.
  • Jimmy Carter brokered the Camp David Accords there in September 1978 between Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
  • Ronald Reagan visited the retreat more than any other president. In 1984, Reagan hosted British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
  • George H. W. Bush's daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch, was married there in 1992, in the first ever wedding held at Camp David.
  • Bill Clinton used Camp David more as his tenure in office progressed and hosted the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on several occasions in addition to numerous celebrities.
  • George W. Bush hosted dignitaries, including President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, there in 2003, and hosted British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in 2007. George W. Bush also hosted Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen in June 2006.
  • Barack Obama chose Camp David to host the 38th G8 summit in 2012. President Obama also hosted Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at Camp David, as well as the GCC Summit there in 2015.
  • Donald Trump thus far has used his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as his preferred retreat location, in lieu of Camp David. When asked about Camp David in an interview with the Times of London and the German newspaper Bild in January 2017, Trump stated that Camp David was "very rustic" and "It's nice, you'd like it. You know how long you’d like it? For about 30 minutes."
  • Security issues

    On July 2, 2011, an F-15 intercepted a small two-seat passenger plane flying near Camp David, when President Obama was in residence. The civilian aircraft, which was out of radio communication, was intercepted approximately 6 miles (10 km) from the presidential retreat. The F-15 escorted the aircraft out of the area, and it landed in nearby Hagerstown, Maryland, without incident. The civilian plane's occupants were flying between two Maryland towns and were released without charge.

    On July 10, 2011, an F-15 intercepted another small two-seat passenger plane flying near Camp David when President Barack Obama was again in residence; a total of three planes were intercepted over that July 9 weekend.


    Camp David Wikipedia