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7 of the US’s Most Beautiful College Campuses

The most beautiful college campuses in the US range from beachside paradises to big-city schools of ivy-covered brick.

While the look of a college campus may not be the most important factor in choosing which school to attend, it is an important consideration, as you will be calling this campus home for the next four years or so.  But not to worry. Whether big or small, rural or urban, modern or reminiscent of Hogwarts, there are beautiful college campuses to suit the tastes of all, and they can be found in every region of the country.

To give you a taste, in no particular order, here are a few of the prettiest college campuses our country has to offer:

UC Boulder campus

Image by Hustvedt.

1. University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO

Nestled among the Rocky Mountains, the University of Colorado at Boulder secured its place on our list of some of the most beautiful college campuses with its unique blend of beautiful architecture and surrounding natural splendor. Founded in 1877, this public ivy boasts a unique style of architecture that juxtaposes buildings in the traditional gothic style of older East-coast schools with rustic buildings of sandstone and red-tiled roofs reminiscent of the Tuscan countryside. The surreally blue sky and snow-capped mountains looming over the campus complete the picture of this incomparably beautiful college.

Northwestern University Arch

Image by Dan Smith.

2. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Situated just outside of Chicago, Northwestern University has the best of both worlds. With a sprawling campus along the shores of Lake Michigan, and a picturesque lagoon known as the “lakefill,” where students come to lie out and study or play (when the wintry winds are not wreaking their havoc), Northwestern has all the charm of a small-town college. But city-slickers need not despair, as this beautiful campus is just a hop, skip and a short L ride away from the bustling metropolis of the Windy City.

Rollins College campus

3. Rollins College, Winter Park, FL

Founded in 1885, this small liberal arts school lies along Lake Virginia, just outside of Orlando, Florida. Apart from its proximity to Disney (something which the school actually encourages students to take advantage of each year), Rollins College ranks among the prettiest college campuses in the US because of its unique Floridian charm. The Spanish-influenced architecture, spacious courtyards and quintessential palm trees are not things typically associated with US college campuses, and that’s what makes Rollins College so attractive. The sunny weather doesn’t hurt either.

Columbia University library

Image by Matthiasb.

4. Columbia University, New York, NY

While going to college in a big city usually means giving up the traditional campus lifestyle, with dorms and school buildings scattered throughout the city, Columbia is an exception. This Ivy League school is located in Manhattan and still manages to maintain one of the prettiest campuses out there. Columbia’s beautiful campus, sprawled out over 6 city blocks with neoclassical buildings and a big communal field flanked by “The Steps” (an iconic spot perfect for meeting friends or basking in the sun and people watching), almost makes you forget that you are in one of the world’s most lively, populous, bustling cities.

Duke University campus

5. Duke University, Durham, NC

This university’s massive campus is often referred to as “the Gothic Wonderland.” The towering cathedrals that seem to have popped out of the pages of a Harry Potter book are not the only reason this school ranks among the most beautiful college campuses in the US though. The beautifully manicured lawns, Georgian-style brick buildings with pillars reminiscent of colonial times, and the lush gardens and forests give Duke a real sense of Southern charm.

USD courtyard

Image by Chris Palmer.

6. University of San Diego, San Diego, CA

By far the youngest school on our list, the University of San Diego has been in business only since 1952. But what USD lacks in age, it makes up for in beauty. Situated at the edge of Mission Bay, this college campus certainly lives up to its founders’ convictions that students perform better academically when learning amongst beautiful surroundings. The architecture, inspired by the 16th century Spanish Renaissance, plays off of the natural beauty and truly transports you to another time and place. Who needs to study abroad in Spain when this college campus is right here in your own country?

Bryn Mawr entrance

7. Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA

The last, though certainly not least, college to make our list of the US’s prettiest campuses, Bryn Mawr is an all-girls school situated amongst beautiful rolling hills on the outskirts of Philadelphia. The traditional gothic architecture, modeled after the UK’s Cambridge University, gives the campus a very distinguished, collegiate feel. The wondrous landscaping and lush vegetation surrounding the school add to the college’s entrancing appeal and have merited the campus being designated an arboretum. The sense of serene solitude that Bryn Mawr exudes may have you forgetting that you are only a stone’s throw away from one of the country’s most vibrant, historic metropoles.

These are just a few of the most beautiful college campuses the US has to offer. Feel free to comment and tell us which colleges you think have the prettiest campuses!

13 Responses to “7 of the US’s Most Beautiful College Campuses”

  1. janelle Says:

    Wesmont college Santa Barbara, Ca. Hands down, one of the most beautiful campuses ever!!! (and I’ve seen a few of the campuses on this list too)

  2. Ronen at University Language Says:

    Wow, that is a gorgeous campus! Thanks for bringing that one to our attention, Janelle.

  3. Adrian Says:

    These are all beautiful, but Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL take the cake!

  4. Adrian Says:

    *takes the cake, rather. oops!

  5. Kelly Says:

    That is a terrible picture of Rollins. It’s 100x more gorgeous in person.

  6. Patti Says:

    Rollins is the most beautiful campus!! One happy alum

  7. Margie Says:

    Rollins!! The architecture, the lake, the trees covered in Spanish moss, the palm trees! Absolutely gorgeous!!

  8. Eric Says:

    Rollins is absolutely stunning! That, however, is a very inaccurate picture. The Spanish moss, Lake Virginia, beautiful architecture — definitely much more accurately illustrated when visiting the campus!

  9. Cathleen Says:

    My daughter and I became entranced with Rollins the first visit. She loved her 4 years there. However, I think Princeton, with its awe-inspiring architecture and lovely little town should be in your list

  10. Marli Says:

    I agree with everyone that the picture used for Rollins College is terrible. The campus is so much more beautiful than that picture shows. Love Rollins College!!!

  11. james Says:

    Rollins is supreme. Two beaches… two public parks on the lake, one of which is enclosed within the campus… the terraces, all the quiet and deep and silent and powerful and pensive ancient cyprus trees… so much to say, yet impossible to illustrate with language… transcendental

  12. R. Says:

    Rollins is spectacular! I echo the comments re: the photo- definitely not the best. Need some pictures of the blue skies, the spanish style buildings, the moss on the trees and the gorgeous lawns and courtyards. Loved every second of living there.

  13. Jess Says:

    Yay for Columbia making the list! It truly is beautiful.

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