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The 53 Prettiest College Campuses in America

Did your alma mater make the list?

University of Hawaii at Mānoa (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Located right outside of downtown Honolulu within the lush Mānoa Valley, the University of Hawaii at Mānoa is the oldest of the schools within the University of Hawaii system. Though the campus has many beautiful buildings, its view of Diamond Head truly stands out.


Photo: Ben Gibbs Photography

St. John’s College Santa Fe (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

The Santa Fe campus of St. John’s College features low-slung, Southwestern-style architecture. As the institution describes it, the “Santa Fe [campus] hugs the slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico.” For those looking to explore the mountains more, the campus has a number of hiking trails that lead into the surrounding nature.


a stately brick building with a flagpole on topPhoto: Wikimedia

St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota)

Two buildings on St. Olaf College’s 300-acre campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the 1877 Old Main, shown here. Edward Sövik, a prominent institutional architect and professor at St. Olaf, designed (or assisted with the design of) 20 buildings on the school grounds. The campus, known to locals as “The Hill,” is surrounded by wetlands, woodlands, and tall prairie grass.

Photo: Getty Images

Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island)

Brown University in Providence blends well with its surrounding city, almost so much so that you might not even realize you’re on a campus. The Ivy League school was built at the same time as the city around it, making the transition from one to other nearly seamless. Built during the 18th and 19th century, there’s a mix of Georgian, Victorian, and Gothic buildings here.

a long row of redbrick gothic buildingsPhoto: Getty Images

Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, Massachusetts)

Mount Holyoke, the first of the historic Seven Sisters consortium of schools, has a bucolic campus lined with redbrick buildings. The architecture firm Olmsted and Sons designed the impressive grounds between 1896 and 1922. Among the many beautiful buildings, the campus is also home to an 18-hole, Donald Ross–designed golf course.

stone and brick buildings in the evening lightPhoto: Getty Images

University of Vermont (Burlington, Vermont)

In the distance, you can see a redbrick Federal-style Old Mill, which happens to be the University of Vermont’s oldest building. Erected in 1825, the building was constructed after the original from 1802 burned down.

Photo: Wikimedia

Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania)

Swarthmore’s campus is centered around the stately Parrish Hall, which was originally the school’s only building and housed everything from dormitories and classrooms to the library. Throughout the school’s 425 acres, you’ll find many wooded and trailed areas, providing a nice mix of the natural world and the built one.

Chapel of the Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut during summer dayPhoto: Marc Dufresne/Getty Images

Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut)

Trinity College’s “Long Walk” comprises several early examples of Collegiate Gothic architecture by British designer William Burges, the first two buildings of which were constructed in 1878. The campus also features a quad by Frederick Law Olmsted and a chapel by the same firm who designed the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, Frohman, Robb and Little.

a stone Ushaped institutional buildingPhoto: Julie Thurston Photography/Getty Images

United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland)

The incredible Beaux Arts Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy isn’t a museum nor even an academic building. It’s actually the largest dormitory in the world, with 1,700 rooms spread over 33 acres of floor space. Among the many beautiful buildings on campus, you’ll also find a large collection of monuments and memorials.

Photo: Amy Drill/Wikimedia

Lewis & Clark College (Portland, Oregon)

The forested campus of Lewis & Clark College makes plenty of sense given its Pacific Northwest location. While historic buildings, like the Frank Manor House, shown here, are beautiful, the newer buildings also impress with their sustainability initiatives. The campus is on top of the Palatine Hill in Portland’s Collins View neighborhood.

a large brick mansion with white columnsPhoto: Wikimedia

Belmont University (Nashville, Tennessee)

Belmont University, which originally opened as a women’s college, sits on the former Belle Mont estate. The Belmont Mansion, shown here, is a 19,000-square-foot antebellum home on campus that’s open for tours. The campus is roughly divided into two areas, with one half surrounding a pristinely kept lawn and the other dotted with gazebos where students are often found playing music.

the front of a gothic chapel in the fogPhoto: Getty Images

Sewanee: the University of the South (Sewanee, Tennessee)

Another one of the prettiest college campuses in US, the massive 13,000-acre campus of Sewanee mainly features Collegiate Gothic architecture, the highlight of which is the All Saints’ Chapel, shown here.

Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)

Wait Chapel stands out on Wake Forest’s Hearn Plaza. It was the first building constructed on the new campus in Winston-Salem in 1956—the original campus was in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

a large brick building with a spire and columnsPhoto: Wikimedia

Baylor University (Waco, Texas)

Baylor’s campus features primarily Georgian-style buildings, including Pat Neff Hall, shown here, named after the former Texas governor who later became president of the university.

a red brick building with a central clock towerPhoto: Rick Friedman/Getty Images

College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts)

Noted for its incredible landscape design, the College of the Holy Cross also has a number of historic buildings, including O’Kane Hall, shown here. The area around O’Kane and its neighbor, Fenwick Hall, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Photo: Wikimedia

Rice University (Houston, Texas)

You might mistake Rice University for being in California, thanks to the campus’s Mediterranean Revival style, but it’s actually located in Houston. Shown is the elegant Lovett Hall with Byzantine and Romanesque elements.

a red brick neogothic building with a clocktowerPhoto: Getty Images

Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee)

Vanderbilt’s campus is designated a national arboretum, with nearly 200 species of trees and shrubs. Dispersed among the greenery are a number of beautiful buildings, like Kirkland Hall, shown here, which replaced the university’s main building after a fire in 1905.

an italianate bell tower next to a pond in the snowPhoto: Wikimedia

Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina)

Furman University’s signature structure is its iconic bell tower. It’s actually a faithful recreation: The original, built in 1854, was left behind on Furman’s old campus, as it was too fragile to move when the university relocated to Greenville in the mid-20th century.


Photo: Alan Mauro / Wikimedia

Indiana University Bloomington (Bloomington, Indiana)

Many of Indiana University’s buildings feature the local Indiana limestone, used in a variety of styles from Gothic to Romanesque Revival.

a collection of gothic inspired brick and stone buildings

Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri)

When WashU decided to move its campus from downtown St. Louis to more spacious grounds within city limits, it hosted a design competition for the new campus. The firm Cope & Stewardson won with a project that drew inspiration from Oxford and Cambridge, in the UK.

a campus of large buildings in different styles next to a lakePhoto: Getty Images

Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)

Northwestern’s location on the shore of Lake Michigan wins the university points from us, as does its range of architecture spanning from Collegiate Gothic to Brutalist.


Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

University of Mississippi (Oxford, Mississippi)

The Lyceum Building at Ole Miss was the first academic building established on campus, built in 1848 by architect William Nichols. It’s easily one of the most beautiful college campuses in the US, and likely the most picturesque in Mississippi.

a grey stone building with columns and a domePhoto: Wikimedia

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

Designed by Arthur Cleveland Nash and William Kendall of McKim, Mead, and White in the late 1920s, UNC’s Louis Round Wilson Library is an example of Beaux Arts architecture.

See the rest of the list HERE
Joyce Rey
Joyce Rey
Joyce Rey

Joyce Rey is one of the most respected names in luxury real estate worldwide, having represented some of the most significant properties in the world.



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