Stanford University is truly one-of-a-kind. Its sprawling 8,180-acre campus is nestled in the renowned San Francisco Bay in Palo Alto. In addition to being one of the largest college campuses, Stanford is home to some of the most amazing architecture in the United States. Stanford’s Memorial Church and Cantor Arts Center are architectural achievements worthy of a textbook. Nothing compares, however, to the Hoover Tower. It’s an observation platform with clear views of the gorgeous San Francisco bay.
What do the Pyramids of Giza, the Acropolis, and the University of Virginia have in common? They are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites honored for their cultural significance. Thomas Jefferson conceived the University of Virginia in an attempt to reinvent higher education. The result was a symbol of both American higher education and beauty. The University of Virginia is home to epic architecture like the Rotunda and Jefferson’s crown jewel the Academial Village.
There’s no denying the beauty of California’s coastal campuses. No campus, however, has views quite like Pepperdine University. The private Christian campus is located in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Coast Highway. In addition to majestic ocean views, Pepperdine is also renowned for its architecture. Most buildings on campus were built in a Mediterranean Revival Style.
Berry College may not be a household name but one look at its campus is enough to put it on the map. This liberal arts college has the world’s largest contiguous college campus. The sprawling campus includes over 27,000 acres of Georgian woodlands including scenic streams, meadows, and trees. The campus has a summer camp feel and includes outdoor fireplaces and pristine fitness facilities.
Kenyon College is a hidden gem in the heartland of America. This stunning 1,000-acre campus is located 45 miles from Ohio’s state capital. Kenyon combines modern amenities with classic architecture and natural beauty. The campus even includes a 480-acre nature preserve. It borders the Kokosing River and includes hiking trails, wetland habitats, and gorgeous stargazing opportunities.
Duke University could be listed twice on this list. That’s because it encompasses two campuses: the Georgian East Campus and the neo-Gothic West Campus. Duke’s Gothic architecture includes inspired achievements like the Duke Chapel and Perkins Library. Duke is also regarded as a “university in the forest” and includes 7,200 acres located in the beautiful North Carolina forest.
The University of the South is a name that comes with lofty expectations. Fortunately, Sewanee lives up to the hype with its gorgeous rural landscape and Gothic style buildings. The 13,000-acre Sewanee campus is located on the Cumberland Plateau in the Tennessee Valley. Students enjoy many opportunities for campus exploration including rock climbing, mountain biking and caving.
The University of Notre Dame campus has it all – renowned landmarks, towering Gothic buildings, and a beautiful change of seasons. It’s a classic college campus on the heart of the Midwest. Notre Dame’s most renowned landmark is the Main Building. Built in 1879, it’s a 187-foot structure complete with a 4,000-pound statue of Mary, the Mother of God.
History buffs love Dartmouth College. That’s because the Ivy League research university was established before the American Revolution in 1769. The campus consists of 269-acres located in the Upper Valley on the Connecticut River. Dartmouth’s buildings reflect 18th century America, with many of them designed in the Georgian American colonial style.
Indiana University is home of the “Hoosiers.” While the definition of a Hoosier isn’t clear, what is clear is the beauty of this southern Indiana campus. The campus is located atop a bed of Indiana Limestone and near the Jordan River. The nearly 2,000-acre campus includes a combination of architecture from the construction era including the Late Victorian, Gothic, and Romanesque styles.
One of America’s best campuses is set in scenic Colorado. The University of Colorado, Boulder is located just 30 minutes from downtown Denver. The campus buildings are known for a distinct style known as Tuscan Vernacular Revival. Additionally, the Norlin Quad is a beautiful focal point of campus and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
The Northeast’s natural beauty is on full display at Swarthmore College. This private liberal arts college is located just miles away from Philadelphia. However, the 399-acre campus allows for a scenic getaway from city life. Swarthmore is known for lush gardens, sprawling lawns, and large stone buildings. The Scott Arboretum, located on campus, is an iconic building that includes over 4,000 ornamental plants.
A trip to Princeton University is a trip to many different times in American history. The campus has been ever changing since the completion of Nassau Hall in 1756. Since that time, the campus has added new buildings including High Victorian Gothic, Romanesque Revival, and Collegiate Gothic styles. Princeton also includes over 1,600 acres of University-owned land with myriad landscape settings.
Everything is bigger in Texas. That’s especially true at Rice University, located on South Main Street in the Museum District of Houston. The nearly 300-acre campus includes large examples of the Mediterranean Revival style with huge archways and towering columns. The tree-lined campus has over 70 major buildings with impressive architectural features.
It’s hard to beat over 1,000 acres of oceanfront property. That’s what you get at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It’s located atop cliffs with a direct view of the Pacific Ocean. The gorgeous campus includes its own lagoon, miles of coastline, and even its own beach.