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The 10 Most Beautiful College Campuses

Remember the first time you stepped onto your campus? Perhaps it was during a college tour, or maybe it was right at the beginning of fall term freshman year. Either way, we definitely recall gazing up at the seemingly enormous, elegant buildings, awestruck that we were going to live here for the next four years. Whether you’re looking forward to heading back to adobe-inspired academic buildings by the coast, a metropolitan campus or a truly Hogwarts-inspired castle amidst Northeastern foliage, take a few minutes to check out these gorgeous campuses around the nation! 

1. College of the Atlantic: Bar Harbor, Maine

Though perhaps not what you might think when you hear the words “island school,” College of the Atlantic is aptly named, nestled in the charming town of Bar Harbor on the quaint Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine. Its dedication to being environmentally sustainable makes the incredible ocean views an added benefit. CoA is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and is also surrounded by acres of farmland, forest and orchards. 

2. Kenyon College: Gambier, Ohio

In the midst of suburban Ohio, Kenyon College’s mix of Victorian gothic and Greek revival architecture truly comes alive in the fall when the 10-foot-wide Middle Path, which spans the entire college and into downtown, bursts into fiery orange foliage. Though fall is short-lived, the first midwestern snowstorm promises to turn campus into a winter wonderland.

3. Pepperdine University: Malibu, California

Who wouldn’t want to go to a college just minutes away from a Malibu beach? Pepperdine University’s 830-acre campus is just steps away from the Pacific Ocean and sees sunshine almost every day of the year. No wonder this college was voted The Princeton Review’s #1 most beautiful campus in 2006 and 2007!

4. Lewis & Clark College: Portland, Oregon

Exploring this 137-acre campus is bound to be like Lewis and Clark’s own expedition into the west! The centerpiece of the college’s stunning architecture is the Frank Manor House, which was originally built as a mansion. The campus also features a trail lined with native tree species discovered by the college’s namesake. 

5. Dartmouth College: Hanover, New Hampshire

Dartmouth isn’t all brains! This Ivy League campus screams quintessential New England, with its 18th century colonial architecture, its location in a classic college town and the miles of pine forest surrounding the campus. Hiking trails along the Connecticut River and Upper Valley promise phenomenal views year-round. 

6. Florida Southern College: Lakeland, Florida

Florida Southern College students get to soak up some sun on a gorgeous campus full of sandstone architecture. In fact, the college is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright structures, which he named Child of the Sun, inspired by Floridian weather. The surrounding town, Lakeland, boasts 38 named lakes that students can make use of.

7. University of California, San Diego: San Diego, California

UC San Diego might just have it all. With its southern California sunshine and palm-tree-lined walkways, the campus is a prime example of Spanish Renaissance architecture. Students also enjoy an ocean view, as the beach is just a short distance from campus.

8. Illinois Institute of Technology: Chicago, Illinois

While most campuses might boast of their traditional ivy-covered brick buildings, Illinois Institute of Technology breaks out of the mold with its innovative, modern buildings. Inspired by factories and warehouses, modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe constructed the main buildings almost entirely of steel and glass.

9. Yale University: New Haven, Connecticut

Yale’s bragging rights aren’t limited to its stellar academics – it also has a gorgeous campus. Most of the college is built in classic gothic style with a few centerpieces, including Connecticut Hall, built in the Georgian style. Walking through Yale’s sprawling green quads, brick paths and ivy-covered iron gateways will definitely transport you back to the Middle Ages. 

10. Duke University: Durham, North Carolina

The Duke Chapel is without a doubt the highlight of this campus. Built in Collegiate Gothic style as most of the rest of campus is, the chapel is known for its soaring stone arches, stained glass windows and intricate detailing on every rooftop turret and ridge. The 8,600-acre campus also features Duke Forest and the Duke Memorial Gardens, which are filled with local trees and flowers for students’ enjoyment and study.

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