Most Beautiful College Campuses in the US

University of San Diego: San DiegoAn argument could certainly be made that UC Davis belongs on this list. Unfortunately, when the folks at Travel & Leisure Magazine chose America’s Most Beautiful College Campuses, they never made it to our little burg. In fact, only three California schools made the cut: Stanford, UC San Diego (seen in the image to the right), and Scripps.

America’s most beautiful college campuses have the power not only to sway indecisive high school students, but also to attract tourists. Their appeal comes through varying combinations of awe-inspiring architecture, landscaping, and surroundings. 

“The most important thing to realize is that how landscaping and buildings interconnect is as important as the buildings themselves,” explains Boston-based architect Mark deShong. At Princeton University, for example, “It’s really about landscape,” he says. The campus connects its ivy-covered gray stone buildings with footpaths, idyllic small greens, and courtyards that create an intimate village-like scale.

Architectural coherence also plays a role in making a campus beautiful. Take the University of San Diego, which sticks to one architectural style: the Spanish Renaissance, with its elaborate façades, delicate ironwork, and carved wood. Ocean views and palm-tree-lined courtyards are extra selling points.

But no assessment of America’s campuses would be complete without the University of Virginia. “You might think it looks like all these other campuses, but it’s the first to look like that,” says deShong. He cites founder and architect Thomas Jefferson’s then-novel concept of flanking a lawn with pavilions linked by colonnades and a grand library at its head. New York-based architect Alexander Cooper concurs: “UVA remains the masterpiece of American campus planning.”

So plan your own trip to check out these campus masterpieces.

What do you think, does UC Davis deserve a place on this list? To see all 30 choices, please click on the link above.

Image credit: Travel & Leisure magazine