Arts/Culture

America’s 12 Most Beautiful College Campuses

America is loaded with beautiful college and university campuses that not only drive students to attend these schools but visitors from all over the world. From a University that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to campuses that look more like resorts than schools to breathtaking surrounding landscapes, it’s hard to believe the students here can actually concentrate on their studies. Between the stunning architecture, elaborate fountains, mountain landscapes and amazing students; here are our choices for the 12 most beautiful campuses across America.

12. Kenyon College -Gambier, Ohio

Whether you are a student here, visitor to the campus or happen to be a resident in the tiny town of Gambier; you have one thing in common, you are surrounded by the stunning Kenyon College campus. Placed on the hilltop in the tiny town, the campus features one of the most incredible walkways in America, the famous 10 foot wide Middle Path. The Middle Path spans the entire length of the campus and right into town, surrounded by humungous overhanging trees on both sides. Fall is absolutely the most beautiful time as the leave change to brilliant shades of red and orange, and it is truly like something out of a painting. The rest of the campus isn’t so shabby either, think castle-like halls, stunning columns, surrounding rock walls and beautiful churches. This campus is so pretty and serene; you will have a hard time leaving once you are here.

11. University of Virginia -Charlottesville, Virginia

This university is the only university in the USA to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was designed by the one and only Thomas Jefferson. Since that time the university’s layout has been copied but none have come close to this incredible campus. Jefferson not only planned the layout of the property but also hired the initial faculty and created the curriculum, a feat he was so proud of it ended up as one of his three proudest moments on his gravestone. The shining star of this campus is the neoclassical domed Rotunda which was created to replicate the Pantheon in Rome. An interesting fact about this building is that it actually burnt down in 1895 so what you see today is a replica. The Small Special Collections Library hosts early printing of the Declaration of Independence and for any history buff, this campus is truly breathtaking.

10. Stanford University -Palo Alto, California

Sunny blue skies and warm temperatures help push this campus onto the list of the most beautiful campuses across America, but there are many other factors to consider as well. Even though this university continually goes through expansive growth, they have managed to maintain their cohesiveness and safeguard their beauty. Entering the university through its dramatic entrance via Palm Drive is a one of a kind experience, with its romantic Spanish red-tile roofs and myriad patches of green. Throughout the campus students and visitors will find timeless buildings from the early California Mission Revival architecture combined with tasteful and modern new additions such as the Science and Engineering Quad. While the academics may be rigorous, the campus sends out a feeling of tranquility and with students and staff interacting all over the grounds, you certainly will feel welcome here.

9. Furman University -Greenville, South Carolina

The lush South Carolina landscape at this campus includes Asia-inspired gardens, a sparkling blue lake and a collection of diverse buildings. The campus is spread over 750 acres of wooded grounds and circles the beautiful lake and the landmark Bell Tower, offering miles of walking trails and even an 18-hole golf course. From a former Buddhist Temple to an environmentally sustainable show home to the beautiful Georgian architecture; the landscape here certainly isn’t mediocre. The Bell Tower that stretches out into the lake looks best during fall when the trees leading up to it turns into splashes of red and orange as the leave change with the season. The fountains strategically placed throughout, the rose gardens and the breathtaking sunsets help make this one of the most beautiful campuses across the country.

Furman University

8. University of Washington -Seattle, Washington

If you are looking for a campus with a view, go no further than the University of Washington, which boasts views of both the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Rainer and the shimmering waters of Lake Washington. Spring time is the best time of year here though as the Quad features 31 Yoshino Cherry trees that bloom beautiful, delicate pink pedals, which enthrall visitors in both March and April. One of the favorite buildings on campus here is the Suzzallo Library, featuring 35-foot high stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings that soar up to 65 feet in the air. The glass fronted Paccar Hall puts a modern twist on the campus with its unique levels and abundance of light it lets in and out. Students can be found here at the newly renovated Neptune Theatre taking in some musical acts or hanging out by the Drumheller Fountain.

7. Lewis & Clark College -Portland, Oregon

First things first, although the spelling is different, who wouldn’t want to attend a school that is called “Lewis and Clark”? Secondly this college campus is downright breathtaking, partly because of the surrounding scenery and partly because of its pristine location. Located on top of Palatine Hill in the Collins View neighborhood of Portland, Oregon this campus offers students towering trees and trillium lined creeks. The architecture here has won numerous awards for its environmentally sustainable buildings while others buildings have significant history attached to them. 600 acres of wooded trails, an outdoor swimming pool and a reflection pool with views of Mt. Hood only add to the prettiness of this campus. This college is also known for having really attractive students, just adding to the prettiness of the campus.

"L&C Flanagan Chapel" by M.O. Stevens - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

L&C Flanagan Chapel” by M.O. StevensOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

6. Dartmouth College -Hanover, New Hampshire

Not only is the campus here beautiful but the people as well, as this university boasts some of the happiest students across the country. This could be due to the magnificent surroundings that they live in, the fresh mountain air and the sense of community that is felt here. It also happens to be the ninth oldest college in the country. There are huge elms trees here that provide the perfect shady study spots for students as well as beautiful red brick buildings that tower high into the sky. The surrounding pastel mountains and picturesque Connecticut River on the west side of the campus only makes this University even more inviting. Placid forests, the smell of fresh air and students who are always smiling; it doesn’t get much better than this.

5. Elon University -Elon, North Carolina

It is often described as the campus with the best grass, and as strange as it may sound it truly looks like each blade of grass has been individually cut with a sharp pair of scissors. In fact everywhere you look on this campus is a picture perfect moment. From the classic collegiate architecture of the South to the wide variety of trees to the picture perfect blue skies that always seem to hang overhead, this campus is the epitome of beauty. The fountains throughout the campus must not be forgotten though, the famous KOBC fountain sparkles and sprays in the sunlight, the fountains in the lake shine and everywhere you turn, keep an eye out for these awesome features. The new admissions building stands strong and proud, a beautiful architectural piece of work that provides the perfect entrance to the perfect campus.

4. Berry College -Mount Berry, Georgia

It holds the title of being one of the largest campuses in the world, spread out over 27,000 acres. Each acre is teeming with fields, forests, mountains and/or lakes that provide an absolutely breathtaking setting. This school was founded in 1902, specifically for enterprising rural boys and it wasn’t long before a girls school was added in 1909. Some of the best features about this campus include the numerous fountains and reflection pools located around the buildings which offer a serene and relaxing environment. Breathtaking gardens can be found throughout the entire campus, as are trails for bikers, hikers and even horseback riders. The English Gothic inspired buildings only add more beauty and character to this campus. Make sure to check out the Ford Dining Hall and Ford Auditorium to see some of the prettiest buildings here.

Berry College Georgia

3. University of Hawai’i at Mānoa -Honolulu, Hawaii

It is unsure how any students can possibly concentrate on studying at this beautiful campus located in Honolulu Hawaii. Surrounded by lush green tropical foliage, bright beautiful flowers and wide walking paths throughout the campus, it is easy to understand why most students study outdoors. Dramatic hills and cliffs frame the background as this campus is located in the Manoa Valley. Graduate students especially enjoy it here as they are encouraged to study coral reef at the marine biology lab, built on a coral reef. This campus combines natural beauty with world class research facilities along with a highly competitive sports program, which draws students from all over the world. In addition, and one of the favorite natural occurrences here are the abundance of rainbows that are always filling the skies.

2. Cornell University -Ithaca, New York

Set in the Finger Lakes region, the planners that built this campus were both ambitious and geniuses. With beauty in mind they placed the campus on twenty three hundred acres of land which includes lakes, gardens, waterfalls and more. The main quad was placed over the dramatic Cayuga Lake, the longest in the region and was done so to invoke the thoughts of putting education on a high platform and the views are simply stunning. The mix of buildings from historic to modern and dramatic creates the perfect landscape of learning. One of the most impressive features of this campus though is Cascadilla Gorge, where eight waterfalls drop 400 feet from the campus into downtown, along with an array of beautiful gardens and 150-acre arboretum. Students here love to head off the campus as well to the vibrant city of Ithaca, recently voted as one of the top 100 places to live in the world.

Cornell University Ithaca

1. Rollins College -Winter Park, Florida

It is Florida’s oldest post-secondary institution and the most beautiful campus in America, as ranked by the Princeton Review for 2015. The location itself is enough to warrant some attention as it is directly located on Lake Virginia, which leads to some pretty incredible views. Add in lush gardens, the greenhouse oasis, overhanging trees, rose gardens and pedestrian pathways that run through the scenery and you have a pretty incredible place to study. Students love the outdoor classroom spaces, the three-story atrium in the Bush Science Center and Olin Library that offers view of both the lake and the campus. The green grass, the palm trees and the modern buildings make this campus look more like a resort you want to spend a week at rather than a campus. At night when the moon rises and shimmers off the lake it turns the colors into deep blues and combined with the twinkling lights of the buildings, it is a perfect setting.

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