The USA is home to hundreds of colleges. Whether you’re trying to narrow down the list for school or travel, these visually stunning places are worth visiting.
25 Most Beautiful College Campuses in the USA in 2022
There are so many colleges to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re looking to spend the next four years of your life in one place, chances are you want it to be beautiful.
To get you started, here is a list of the 25 most beautiful college campuses in the USA. Not only do these places have marvelous buildings, but they also boast some of the best grounds, flora, attractions, and scenery.
1. Berry College, Georgia
If you live by the motto “go big or go home,” then you need to head to Berry College. Not only is Berry college the biggest in the USA, but with an over 27,000-acre campus, it’s the largest in the world!
Founded in 1902 and home to mere 2,000 students, Berry College is a sight to behold. While the campus spans miles, the main buildings cluster together within walking distance.
The college is more reminiscent of a European castle than a school. Berry College features arched walkways, stone towers, a decorative pond, and immaculate lawns.
2. The University of Notre Dame du Lac, Indiana
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a gorgeous example of luxury architecture. It showcases a glistening golden dome on the main building and a neo-gothic Basilica. This campus is rife with beauty and personality.
Beyond the classic buildings, there is also a massive football stadium, sprawling lawns, forests, and a lake in the heart of campus. Between the unique architecture, lush grounds, and rich history, this college has one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.
3. University of San Diego, California
If ever there were such a thing as a Californian castle, it would look like the University of San Diego. It looks more like a Moroccan palace than a university from certain angles. This school is a massive hub for progressive students.
This campus has views over the city and the ocean. The main building stands like a beacon above San Diego. This campus is a glorious spot to wander, hang out, take photos, or watch the sunset.
4. Rice University, Texas
Rice University has over 70 buildings done in the Mediterranean Revival style. Rice University’s campus boasts 300 acres of immaculate lawns, sprawling buildings, and Byzantine influences.
Located in Houston’s museum district, this college fits right in with the area’s rich history. The college serves all those who seek a window to the past.
The main attraction is the oldest building on campus; Lovett Hall. The campus is also home to a wide array of tree species including ancient elms, maple, and hickory.
5. University of Virginia, Virginia
A rounded building that combines Grecian and Jeffersonian architecture. And stands at half the size of the great Grecian Pantheon.
The building was erected in 1819 by the orders of Thomas Jefferson. The campus is also home to sprawling lawns, forests, and an amphitheater.
6. Pepperdine University, California
Pepperdine University lies at the edge of the Pacific Coast near Malibu. The many red-roofed, Mediterranean Revival-style buildings sprawl across rolling hills encapsulated by the natural beauty of the area.
Home to vast species of flora with lakes and the ocean in view, this campus embraces the rugged glory of nature.
Don’t worry, though. The campus has plenty of well-equipped buildings and modern facilities. These facilities make it one of the most cutting-edge schools in the country.
7. College of William and Mary, Virginia
If you’re looking for a beautiful campus rife with history, then look no further than the College of William and Mary. It is the second oldest college in the country. So this campus is chock-full of historic buildings and mysteries.
This small and unassuming college boasts some of the most striking architecture and views. From the bronze statues to the cobbled paths to the brick-boarded courtyard. The college dates back to 1693 and has a long, rich history.
8. Duke University, North Carolina
Duke University is an eclectic mix of architectural styles. Duke Chapel is the product of Julian Abele, one of the first prominent black architects in the USA. While the Karl and Mary Ellen von der Heyden Pavilion is a modern, glass-walled marvel.
The Rafael Viñoly-designed Nasher Museum of Art is another must-see spot.
As it consists of five pavilions and houses the works of Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. Much of the campus is old stone. and grand wooden doors as the campus was founded in 1892.
9. Middlebury College, Vermont
For uniquely gorgeous architecture, head to Middlebury College in Vermont. The ivy-covered colonial-style buildings are particular to this rural spot in the mountains. And they offer a special perspective into the past.
Founded in 1800, this college is like no other. Dappled throughout with trees and showcasing a surprisingly uniform style.
Middlebury is a must-see locale. This campus remains one of the best examples of colonial architecture in the USA. Aside from a few more modern buildings like the stadium.
10. Bard College, New York
Bard College has 540 acres of wondrous green spaces and historic buildings. Founded in 1860, this school has a uniformly Victorian style. Many of the buildings are made of old stone and look like miniature castles.
The ivy climbing the walls and arched walkways only lend further to the historic setting.
Ward Manor, in particular, has the same aura as Toronto’s Casa Loma and was indeed built only a few years after. The campus is also home to such features as the Italian gardens.
11. Stanford University, California
At the end of a mile-long, palm tree-lined drive at the heart of the 8,180-acre campus lies the architectural jewel of Stanford University: Memorial Church. This campus boasts red-roofed buildings, mosaic facades, and a view spanning San Francisco.
To get the best views, climb up Hoover Tower to the observation platform. Only up there can you truly appreciate the sheer scale of the campus.
12. Sewanee University, Tennessee
With a 13,000-acre campus, Sewanee University is the fourth-largest university by acre. And it is home to under 2,000 students. Founded in 1857, this school is surrounded by hundreds of miles of natural forest and has an architectural style reminiscent of Hogwarts.
Its stone buildings and isolated setting make this campus feel like stepping into the past. Great towers and arched windows are just a few of the marvels you can expect at Sewanee.
13. Indiana University, Indiana
Indiana University is a pretty campus with Victorian, Edwardian, Gothic, and Romantic architecture. It has some of the nicest outdoor spaces with red brick pathways, boulevard gardens, and prominent gateways.
Founded in 1820, Indiana University is home to more than 40,000 students. And takes up almost 2,000 acres of land. It has seven campuses in total.
14. University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado
Founded in 1876, the University of Colorado Boulder has a truly unique look. Most of the buildings are made of sand brick with red roofs. And they would look more at home in New Mexico than in the snowy hills of Colorado.
Thirty minutes from Denver, this school is known for its Tuscan Vernacular Revival-style architecture. The Norlin Quad is not only a beautiful focal point for the campus.
But it is also a nationally registered historic site. The campus also included two creeks and a serene lake shrouded by the Rocky Mountains.
15. Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania
Swarthmore College is a 400-acre getaway just southwest of Philadelphia. The idyllic setting is home to magnificent buildings and curated, yet mystical-looking green spaces.
The Scott Arboretum, amphitheater, and accompanying gardens are a highlight of the campus with over 4,000 ornamental plants. If you’re looking for a campus with an abundance of natural beauty, then you need to go to Swarthmore College.
The main building is a crowning jewel that marks both the entrance to and heart of the campus. It stands over six stories high and is a remnant of the university’s founding in 1864.
16. Princeton University, New Jersey
Most people recognize Princeton for its 1756 Nassau Hall. But it is home to a plethora of architectural styles and eras. These styles include High Victorian Gothic, Romanesque Revival, and Collegiate Gothic.
All the buildings at Princeton carry the same grandeur and prestige no matter the style.
The many courtyards and crisscrossing paths are another famous staple of Princeton. And they showcase the true age of the campus.
17. John’s College Santa Fe, New Mexico
Often forgotten, St. John’s College in Santa Fe is another spectacular example of a uniform and unique university setting. Founded in 1964, this college has made a name for itself through its reputation in education and its beautiful campus.
Most of the buildings are flat-roofed Pueblo Revival or Santa Fe styles unique to the area. It is a shining example of New Mexican architecture and American-style buildings. There are three campuses throughout the states.
18. Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts
Mount Holyoke College is one of the historic Seven Sisters women’s colleges in the USA. It was founded in 1837 and is the oldest of the Seven Sisters colleges.
Interestingly, it was the first of the schools to open applications to transgender and non-binary students. Graduate programs are open to all genders.
The standout feature of the campus is the old clock tower in the main building. Like the rest of campus, it’s done in a Gothic Revival and very early Victorian style.
19. University of Vermont, Vermont
The University of Vermont has been around since 1791. And is an agricultural public land-grant university. The monogram UVM stands for the Latin name Universitas Viridis Montis. Meaning University of the Green Mountains.
The campus is an eclectic mix of eras and architectural styles dating back to its founding. It is home to over 11,000 students and spans 460 acres. The campus has views of the lake and mountains and is covered in trees of all kinds.
20. United States Naval Academy, Maryland
The United States Naval Academy is one of the best examples in the world of the Beaux-Arts architecture style. This style became popular in the USA during the Renaissance movement. From the 1830s to the latter half of the 19th century.
It features symmetrical designs, grandiose boxy buildings, and elaborate ornamentation.
These designs borrow from ancient Greece, English Regency, and European Imperialism. Established in 1845, the Naval Academy spans 340 acres and teaches 4,500 students.
21. Lewis and Clark College, Oregon
While a small campus at only 137 acres, the Lewis and Clark College is a sight to behold. It stands at the top of a hill surrounded by dense forests. This college campus is rife with beauty.
Such as the constructed waterfall and reflection pool. The main building was once a manor house built in 1924. And it was purchased along with the estate by the university in 1942.
22. Belmont University, Tennessee
Belmont University has been around since 1890. And it teaches women from elementary age to junior college. One of the most notable buildings on campus is the 1853 mansion for Adelicia Acklen.
Which has since become a museum. It earned a spot on the national historical sites registry in 1971. And is recognizable for its Grecian and Italian Revival elements.
There are many large buildings and sprawling lawns that occupy the 75-acre property. And magnificent domed roofs cap off most of the main buildings.
23. Furman University, South Carolina
Perhaps the most resplendent of all campuses, Furman University is considered one of the most beautiful sites in the USA. Across the 750-acre property, you can find perfectly maintained foliage, Asian-inspired gardens, a glistening lake, and Georgian-inspired buildings.
One of the most recognized features of the campus is the stand-alone bell tower that resides on a spit stretching into the lake. Furman University was also named 2020’s Green Ribbon School.
24. Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
Washington University is home to over 100 acres of land filled with Collegiate Gothic-style buildings. The centerpiece is the majestic Brookings Hall from 1902.
The 1909 Benjamin Brown Graham Chapel is another stunning piece with red granite and stained glass windows. Many modern glass-walled buildings also bring fresh life to the campus.
With over 15,000 students, the campus is bustling and lively at all times and has been since its founding in 1853.
25. University of Washington, Washington
The University of Washington, not to be confused with Washington University, is nestled right in Seattle. Giving it an urban landscape with a mountain backdrop.
With over 700 acres of land, this campus is awash with things to see. Opening in 1895, the campus is home to many French Renaissance Revival-style buildings. This university offers some of the most fantastic views on and off-campus.
From campus, you can see downtown Seattle and the river. While on campus you can see hundreds of cherry blossoms blooming in spring. It’s gorgeous no matter where you look.
Things to Consider
All these universities are gorgeous, and it’s a treat to visit or attend any of them. But there are a few things to consider before attending. Keep in mind that you could be spending four or more years on this campus.
It needs to be beautiful according to your tastes, easy to traverse, and have the programs you’re looking for. And make sure that it aligns with your views, and is open to you.
Here are a few key points to look into for any university you’re interested in.
- Proximity to cities
- Gender restrictions
- Religious affiliation
- Size and walkability
- Architectural style
- Distance from home
- Recent controversies or shortcomings
Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for quick answers to top-ranking questions? Start here:
What college has the prettiest campus?
Stanford University, the University of Virginia, and Pepperdine University are some of the most attractive campuses according to some surveys. But appearance is mostly subjective. And you may find you strongly dislike the architectural style of one of these campuses or agree.
What is the coolest looking college?
Furman University, Princeton University, and Stanford University are some of the coolest looking universities thanks to their unique architectural landscapes and environments. You may notice that most of the colleges that are considered cool-looking have something unique to them. Whether it’s a particular building, a lake, or its layout.
What college has the prettiest students?
According to Business Insider, the top three most attractive student bodies reside at Yale University, Vanderbilt University, and Brown University. While they got their data from OkCupid, there’s no real scale for ranking the looks of college students. Especially because the student body changes completely every four years or so.
So, What’s the Best College Campus in the USA?
There’s absolutely no way to determine the best campus in the USA. But some standout picks include Furman University, Berry College, the University of Notre Dame, and Middlebury College.
These unique campuses stand out amongst the crowd thanks to their lush beauty and vibrant architecture. Each campus offers a historic perspective unlike any other and a personality all its own. If you have an eye for beauty, you’ll want to check these out.