The best thing about America is the abundance of colleges and universities. Better, most of them are defined in exquisite surroundings. This makes going for a higher education an elated experience where a person can become connected to education and nature simultaneously. Take a look at this nation’s 30 most beautiful college campuses in the fall.
Pepperdine University—Malibu, California
While the ocean beacons people to come and bask in its view, the lucky students who attend Pepperdine University have the privilege to wake up every morning to those views. The Catalina Islands are a destination spot for visitors and students alike. Pepperdine also has some of the best student dorms in the county. Even better the buildings on campus reflect a true Mediterranean architecture. The famed Phillips Theme Tower is completely surrounded by lush landscaping making this university a high value destination for higher education.
Lewis and Clark College-- Portland, Oregon
How about looking out your dorm window to see a huge glaciered mountain peak? The Pacific Northwest is wrapped in rugged and eclectic beauty. The palatial view of Mt. Hood beckons students to get outside. This 130 acre campus is perched on top of Palatine Hill in Portland, Oregon. Right next to the campus is the Tryon Creek State Natural Area, which helped the college to go ‘green’. The amazing architecture of this school has claimed awards by design experts. But Mother Nature has a few designs of herself all wrapped around this college.
University of Notre Dame—South Bend, Indiana
If the architectural designs found in the golden dome of the 19th century Main Building and at the Neo-Gothic Basilica of the Sacred Heart don’t move you, stick around for fall splendors. This 1,250 acre campus just swirls in deep oranges, reds and yellows of leaves. The leaf-coated pathways are a delight for students going to classes. One campus trail takes students through an autumnal fortress to the “God Quad”. Both on-campus bodies of water, St. Mary’s Lake and St. Joseph’s Lake are artsy expressions of the season. The arches of the seasonal trees create an ominous trail through a nature reserve.
Duke University – Durham, North Carolina
Duke University is deemed the ‘university in the forest’ due to over 7,044 acres of the university being in the Duke Forest. The university grounds feature over 15,000 trees. This woodland campus is home to century-old pastel-colored willow oak. On the West campus sit a three-centuries-old red-brown ‘grandfather’ white oak. The biggest highlight in the fall is the Sarah P. Duke Gardens which holds everything from maple trees to local plant species.
Furman University-- Greenville, South Carolina
Right outside the Appalachian Mountains sits the 750 acre campus of Furman University. This pristine campus has 2,000 trees from 30 species which are meticulously maintained. The university Tree Campus USA status rests on several miles of woodland trails, opening up to the breathtaking Swan Lake and Florentine bell tower. The great oaks bend in fall colors over the serene Asia Garden nearby. To walk amongst the best of the fall highlights, take a stroll towards the main quad.
Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Three types of red maple trees warm the quads of Heam Plaza and Manchester Plaza. One of the quads features trees known as “October Glory” which features deep red seeds in the fall and pushes out white magnolias come spring. The biggest highlight on Wake Forest University is the Reynolda Gardens. These gardens used to be an old, early 20th century estate. Fall visitors can take the nature trail into a meadow and friendly wetlands to experience autumn essence at its best.
Middlebury College – Middlebury, Vermont
Tucked away in the Champlain Valley of Vermont and located less than a two-hours from the Green Mountains is the magnificent Middlebury College. Many of those beautiful pictures you see of Vermont begin here. It is this university which creates some of the state’s most picturesque foliage of varying hues. The 350-acre main campus sits in secludes awe with a background of in excess of 2,200 named trees, including an approximately 250-year-old bur oak. This campus has received the title of Tree Campus USA since 2010. Amongst the open spaces in front of historic 19th century structures, such as old stone’s throw are fall’s best vibrant colors.
University of Colorado Boulder – Boulder, Colorado
Colorado alone is home to the mesmerizing Rocky Mountains, so University o f Colorado in Boulder is going to paint a glorious fall scene. The school’s 600-acre campus has more than 5,000 trees of over 61 different varieties. Sitting dramatically under the Rocky Mountains, the pretty campus complements the backdrop in Tuscan Vermicular Revival-style roofs on the university buildings, blending against the scarlet and orange maples. Lucky students get to feel the natural connection between earth and man.
University of Montana—Missoula, Montana
Another well-loved Rocky Mountain University is found deep-center in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. Sitting beneath the 1,958 foot Mount Sentinel is the University of Montana’s 56-acre l campus. Rolling Stone magazine has dubbed it the “most scenic campus in America.” The ascending “M” trail up Mt. Sentential is a hiking favorite for students and locales as it provides a glorious view of Missoula below and of the famous Grizzly Football Stadium. From the top of the mountain, you can take in the Renaissance Revival-style structures, complete with green-tiled roofs of the campus buildings. You can also take in the amazing Clark Fork River which gently caresses the edges of the campus. The oval boasts a graceful ponderosa pine-lined avenue, with all paths to buildings leading from it.
University of Washington – Seattle, Washington
While cherry blossoms dominate this lovely campus in the spring, the punchy orange-red colors in the fall rise to the occasion. The University of Washington is home to around 480 varieties of tree on the 703-acre main campus, including sugar maples, and Japanese maples, which all offer fantastic fall colors. The fall ritual continues with the onset of football season where fans notoriously decorate Lake Washington with their tailgating boats, opening up the fall rite of passage.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is home to a famous 300 year old tulip poplar tree named after a Revolutionary War general. The tree called the “Davie Poplar sits majestically between Polk Place and McCorkle Place, the central quads. This university is recognized as a national landmark and contains stunning scenery. The university takes advantage of its beauty with an open-air Forest Theater, which remains concealed among the fall foliage around Battle Park, and a huge 700 acre botanical garden. This is the campus designed to get in touch with nature and history.
Kenyon College—Gambier, Ohio
Known for its Gothic Revival architecture, the campus has inspired designers around the country. Old Kenyan Hall, built in 1827 is said to be the oldest Gothic Revival building in the whole country. The college campus is warm and rustic and is considered one of the most picturesque colleges in the nation. Forbes named Kenyon College as one of the most beautiful colleges in the country in 2010. Kenyon College is also recognized nationally for superior swimming and diving teams. The burnt orange and scarlet reds of fall make this an enticing and heavenly walk for anyone.
Elon University—Elon, North Carolina
In 2005, the campus became designated as a botanical garden, using the garden as a part of the educational experience. This beautiful dual resource campus has been the site of several films. Elon has been deemed the prettiest campus on multiple occasions even by the Princeton Review and the New York Times. The aesthetic surroundings prove it to be a top contender. One walk through this landscaping and you might feel the itch to enroll.
Sewanee University-- The University of the South
If you are big on southern charm than Sewanee is the University of the South which is the ultimate experience in southern living and education. Almost all the buildings pay homage to classic Goth-style architecture. The most notable is the All Saints building and the Tennessee Williams Center. The ominous feeling of history hits your bones immediately upon arrival at this university. Amongst the fall foliage blends architecture which sets the backdrop for some intense story telling. This campus is rich in ways beyond fall spectaculars.
Loyola Marymount University—Del Rey Hills, California
California might not be privy to fall colors, still the essence exists in the sunrises. The air while sitting on top of a bluff in the Del Rey Hill offers crisp remembrance in changing of the season.. This classic California school boasts picturesque views of both Playa del Rey and the Pacific Ocean. Loyola is an art-inspired university which includes the Sculpture Gardens. Even the paths between educational buildings offer students glimpses to amazing artwork.
University of Hawai—Manoa, Hawaii
Not your typical fall season, yet Hawaii contain a prestigious university with a long waiting list. The campus features spectacular views of the famous volcano Diamond Head and is located just a few steps from the famous Waikiki Beach. This campus location is known as one of the most beautiful places in the United States. Students are treated to extraordinary experiences and have unbridled access to the Polynesian Cultural Center, a hub for the history of the Hawaiian Islands. This is the place where a new fall memory is created.
Mount Holyoke College-- South Hadley, Massachusetts
What makes Mount Holyoke College exceptional is their lead in the “green” initiative among elite college campuses. Inside all the colors of fall lives a drive for sustainability in the region. They are tops in protecting the natural environment and the Connecticut River. The college now has over five buildings LEED certified. The leaf covered paths provide a breathtaking hike, jog, or bike into untouched and protected areas.
University of Virginia— Charlottesville, Virginia
The University of Virginia always seems to take top honors as a beautiful campus. This could be due to the unique Jeffersonian architecture, which has the famous Rotunda. Not only do students have the luxury of admiring their beautiful rolling landscapes, but thousands of visitors adorn this campus as well. It has been called “the proudest achievement of American architecture in the past 200 years” by the American Institute of Architects.
Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut
Sitting on over a 1,153-acre site, Yale University is meant to be adorned in fall colors. The Yale Nature Walk, reveals the pin oak, the red and orange Japanese Stewartia and the autumnal hues of the sugar maple, as well as fruit-bearing fall flora like the American mountain ash and the “dead man’s fingers” plant. There are botanical gardens to explore and architectural influences to ponder on. This is a showcase university, especially getting applause in the advent of fall.
Wellesley College – Wellesley, Massachusetts
This college was meant to hold an all-encompassing beauty. In 1902 a famous Boston landscaper named Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. designed a campus plan to create “a peculiar kind of intricate beauty” that promised to be unlike any other American college. The 500-acre site Massachusetts landscape includes a well-cultivated botanical garden, a dozen walking trails and an arboretum. In the fall, around 8,000 trees bend with beautiful deep-red fall foliage provided by the ubiquitous red oak and the centuries-old white oak, while the tulip and golden larch trees all dance in golden autumn leaves. The incredible scenery can be glimpsed from almost anywhere on campus.
Western New England University – Springfield, Massachusetts
This is Pioneer Valley. Located four miles out of town, the university is a woodland paradise. A small campus with only 21 significant buildings across its 215-acre campus, it sits in nature’s backyard beautifully. When the summer fades, the brilliance of autumn increases the aesthetic appeal of this tiny campus. If this is not enough to connect to nature, a 785 acre Forest Park is directly nearby. Every shade of fall compliments the buildings and paths of this quaint university.
Georgetown University – Washington, D.C.
Georgetown University sits pristinely on a hilltop above the powerful Potomac River. This 104 acre campus is hidden amongst a magnificent tree-lined river bank. In the fall, you can barely see beyond the brilliant exchanges of different fall hues. The natural setting leads the way to a Neo- Medieval architecture masterpiece designed by celebrated architect Paul J. Pelz at Healy Hall. It is right here between Healy Lawn and Copley Lawn, autumn can be experienced in the fullest way.
St. Olaf College – Northfield, Minnesota
Also referred to as “The Hill”, St. Olaf College in is incredible when autumn appears. The architectural focal point on the 300 acre campus is the Gothic Old Main, built in 1877. The many quads are dominated by maple trees and is adjunct to the Norway valley, another campus highlight. The area is an astounding 700 acres of college-owned land filled with wetlands and prairies, all which are available to local farmers to lease.
Dartmouth College – Hanover, New Hampshire
Stand in the middle of Dartmouth College’s central green for a spectacular immersion into autumn colors. It is lined with a variety of trees from the gold hues of the gingko tree to the rich yellow of the Kentucky coffee tree. There are over 200 elm trees planted on this 269 acre campus. The Japanese Zelkova tree delicately brings the color over Wentworth Hall. It was former president Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1953, who said, “This is what a college should look like.”
Scripps College – Claremont, California
Believe it or not, this is one area of southern California to reap the beauty of autumn. It was the landscape architects Edward Huntsman-Trout and Gordon Kaufmann who designed Scripps College’ to include plenty of deciduous trees that blush when summer turns to fall. Amongst the Mediterranean Revival architecture is flora like the American elm trees, Sycamore and Tulip, all which give way to the changing of the seasons. The campus also include 73 other tree varieties such as the famous olive and orange trees. This is comparable to the best of both worlds.
Princeton University – Princeton, New Jersey
The wonderful difference about Princeton University in comparison to other universities is the creeping evergreen ivy on the gray stones. In the autumn, this campus turns into a carnival of brilliant colors. Along the lower end of Elm Drive is an abundance of Japanese Zelkova and Red Oak trees bending with every blush of fall colors. . Boston architect Mark DeShong once revealed to Travel & Leisure magazine that, “Princeton has beautiful buildings, but the exquisite landscaping amplifies them even more.” You can witness this sentiment simply by standing under the Katsura trees next to the University Chapel.
Ohio University—Athens, Ohio
Ohio University is one of five regional campuses and over 21,000 students attend the Athens campus alone. This particular campus is known for the fall foliage which can be seen and felt from every direction. The brisk air complements the deep hues of oranges, reds, and yellows delicately falling into the paths. The autumn hues become even more intense if you walk through the quaint town of Athens. The only word to describe this calm, painted picture is charmed.
Pacific Union College – Angwin, California
Pacific Union College is a well-kept secret in an abundance of raw beauty. The 1,900 acre campus stretches right into Howell Mountain. It is on this mountain, you can take in Napa Valley wine country. The campus lives the outdoor life with cycling and hiking on over 30 miles of trails. The school biggest pride is the magnificent 4,000 pipe organ that towers some 50 feet overhead. Music and nature marry to make this college campus almost sacred.
University of Richmond – Richmond, Virginia
In 2000, The Princeton Review named The University of Richmond’s 350-acre grounds the most beautiful in the country. The picturesque location is set amid the rolling hills of Richmond with a wealth of open green space. Behind the university is Westhampton Lake. The first glimpse of this campus leaves most breathless due to the magnificent buildings resting on such a artistic backdrop. The university was originally established in 1830 as a school for aspiring ministers, finally establishing as Richmond College in 1840.
Whitman College – Walla Walla, Washington
The most notable natural event at Whitman College in Walla, Walla is the two beautiful areas of water gently running through the area. College Creek completes its course all the across the 117 acre grounds. A notorious geothermal spring called Lakum Duckum welcomes both humans and avian life. Imagine all of this set against the colors of fall. On top of this, the Richardson Romanesque-style Whitman memorial building holds great honors on the National Register of Historic Places with roots back to 1859.
Wagner College – New York City, New York
This Liberal Arts College was completed with Ivy League overtones in 1930 based on the designs of New York architect George W. Conable. It was relocated to Staten Island in 1918, to become a charming place to get panoramic views of New York Harbor. Surrounded by lush greenery, this college is picturesque and provides an overall aesthetically-pleasing college experience.