Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) is returning to his summer home on Nantucket for four days before he accepts his party's nomination at the convention.

The Massachusetts senator will spend Saturday through Tuesday at the beachfront home owned by his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry (search), who is planning to join him for the weekend. Kerry aides said he'll be working on his speech and other preparations for the convention, which begins July 26.

Kerry is making his second trip to Nantucket (search) this summer. He also spent Father's Day weekend on the island with his wife and two daughters.

Even though he's locked in a tight race with President Bush (search), Kerry tries to take time off so he can stay fresh for the campaign's long hauls. Kerry is planning a trip through battleground states in the days before the convention and another marathon coast-to-coast swing after it ends.

The last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, was a workaholic who rarely took vacations. He didn't own a home and spent most of his weekends at the White House or Camp David, although he would sometimes stay with friends on Martha's Vineyard.

President Bush spent most weekends home in Texas during his race in 2000 and has taken more than 30 trips to his ranch in Crawford since his inauguration.

Al Gore took a break on the North Carolina beach two weeks before he was nominated as the Democratic candidate four years ago. Donna Brazile, who was Gore's campaign manager, said it was crucial for him to take some time to focus on his acceptance speech. For Kerry, the speech probably will be the most important he's made yet in his political career.

"It's important to get off the roller coaster for 24 to 48 hours and catch their breath," Brazile said.

Kerry has taken more than 25 days off this year — at family vacation homes in Nantucket and Idaho's ski country and his other homes that he and his wife own in Boston, Washington and outside Pittsburgh. Kerry also tries to take occasional breaks to enjoy a dinner out or a bike ride, as he did Wednesday after two days of working on his speech in his Boston home.

Now that he's picked North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as his running mate, Kerry can afford to take more time off the campaign trail. While Kerry is at his island getaway, Edwards will be asking for dollars and votes in California, Florida and North Carolina. Kerry plans to speak with Edwards daily, aides said.

"I'm glad John Kerry is taking his work with him for a long weekend with his family, because heading into the Democratic convention this campaign marathon is about to become a sprint through election day," Kerry spokesman David Wade said.