Whether you’re organizing a vacation or choosing a college, finding a place that’s going to give you the right vibe, beautiful views all around, and fun things to do in town is key. These eight colleges across the United States combine all those things. With stunning architecture to serene campus greens, plus great local activities, these are the prettiest college campuses you should add to your itinerary.
1. University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The Gothic style Chicago university is easily one of the most impressive sights in the United States. The University of Chicago sits in the city’s Hyde Park on the South Side and features the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, with a 72-bell tower and magnificent stained glass windows all around. A number of the buildings in the university’s campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the campus is even home to a botanical garden. The university is ranked one of the top in the country — currently number three — but you don’t need to be a genius to enter the stunning campus. University of Chicago’s campus is open to the public. While in the Windy City, check out these Airbnbs in Chicago to stay like a local.
2. Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
Head up to New England to check out one of the prettiest campuses in the United States. Wellesley College, notably the alma mater of Hillary Clinton, is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. The women’s college campus sits above Lake Waban, with tree-lined paths and a spacious, green quad. Head over to Green Hall, who’s Gothic bell tower is sure to impress. With forest trails to follow, rolling hills, a botanical garden and arboretum, and even ice skating in the winter on Paramecium Pond, it’s easy to see why Wellesley College fits the list.
3. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Princeton University, as are all of the Ivies, is filled with stunning architecture, ample green spaces, and innovative design. With 500 acres of green spaces, Gothic architectural style, and nearly 200 buildings, the campus is just begging for a visit and a stroll around. The campus’s oldest building, Nassau Hall, was built in 1756, with dozens of newer buildings across various designs. Lake Carnegie sits on the southern edge of the campus, and on campus, you can find the Princeton University Chapel, the largest university chapel in the country.
4. Berry College, Rome, GA
Berry College, set in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia, is a true hidden gem. The college features over 30,000 acres of forest land in the mountains of the Northwestern corner of the state. With lakes, streams, ponds, and all the peace and quiet that make it a perfect spot to relax for stressed-out college students, Berry College’s woodland area is ideal. The campus is also home to magnificent buildings across varying architectural designs, as well as a cozy, small campus vibe making it truly feel like home.
5. Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Upstate New York’s natural beauty brings you one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States — Bard College. The campus along the Hudson River, just north of New York City, features a beautiful Italian garden set amongst a mix of modern buildings and older styles of architecture, such as the Greek Revival style of the campus’s main library. Bard College’s student body is spoiled with the unique beauty around every twist and turn, from the quad to the library, and back again.
6. Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA
This women’s college right outside of Philadelphia is filled with classic Gothic style buildings everywhere you look, giving it a prestigious and awe-inspiring look. Check out the courtyard of the Cloisters, the impressive Marjorie Walter Goodhart Theater, and Pembroke Hall, one of the original buildings on campus. Bryn Mawr College is also surrounded by a charming and quaint college town, filled with small cafes, great restaurants, and quirky shopping.
7. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Laidback, mountain vibes typical of New Hampshire plus natural New England beauty combine to give Dartmouth College one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States. With historic buildings like Dartmouth Hall having a large presence on campus, as well as views of the White Mountains all around from the top of Gile Fire Tower (even better in fall when you can catch the spectacular foliage), and the Georgian style architecture of Sanborn Library and FOCO (Class of 1953 Commons), it’s easy to see how you can get lost wandering around the campus greens. While on school grounds, don’t forget to check out a view from above from the Bell Tower, giving off the best perspective of the campus.
8. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA
Head out to the West Coast for one of the best college campuses in the country. Loyola Marymount University sits right by the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles’s Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. The school’s palm tree-lined campus features white buildings with brown tiled roofs, typical of the region, in a very Spanish colonial style, as well as stunning views from LA’s Del Rey Hills, a full Sculpture Garden, and art all around. The campus is as pleasant as the sunny West Coast weather. Don’t forget to check out the beaches in town, too, with our list of the best beaches in Los Angeles.