Sun, sand, sea salt, and surf—what could be better? Factor in some high quality learning, and you’ve got yourself an educational dream that any college-bound student would be more than happy to take on. Face it, living in bliss on the beach while hitting those books is the ultimate way for anyone to spend four long years. So make the most out of all those academic endeavors by pairing a bathing suit, sunscreen, and some flip flops to go along with those heavy textbooks. From the Atlantic to the Pacific or even the Gulf of Mexico, experience spectacular beachy vibes as well as full-out university life at one of America’s many coastal-based colleges. Here are eight of the best campuses with killer beach views.
8 Colleges with Amazing Beach Views
1. Loyola Marymount University – Los Angeles, California
It was named by L.A. Weekly as the “best place to sit back and think”—and no one could ever disagree. With stunning views of the Hollywood Hills as well as nearby Malibu, the West Coast’s largest Catholic university is a more than lovely campus that’s uniquely situated on a bluff overlooking the City of Angels. High on top of the university’s pristinely landscaped campus, you’ll be able to take in the bustle of DTLA, the Ballona Wetlands, the sea of traffic coming in and out of the infamous Marina, and, even some of the best Fourth of July fireworks to be found anywhere else in town!
The best part about it all is that you can hit the books in utter peace and quiet, because unlike the urban jungle below, LMU offers minimal foot or car traffic, a smog-less environment, a small friendly community of 150 students organizations, 15 Greek chapters, its own radio and television stations (the ROAR Network), as well as a number of Division I athletic teams and sports clubs, such as surfing, rugby, skiing, and snowboarding. Really, it’s 142 acres of pure beachside bliss.
2. Endicott College – Beverly, Massachusetts
Perched atop the North Shore of the Massachusetts Bay, this oceanfront campus may be just a convenient twenty miles north of Boston, but despite its close proximity to the big city, the small private university maintains a classic New England feel that students have come to love. The 235-acre Gold Coast property includes three private beaches on Salem Sound, all of which are exclusively used by students and staff—so you can bet that when not in class, almost everyone takes full advantage of the quaint little towns nearby, as well the long stretches of beaches to tan at, play water sports at, or even just to slurp up some piping hot bowls of delicious New England Clam Chowder at while watching the ocean waves roar.
3. University of California Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara, California
It’s already ranked as one of America’s top public universities—add to that a 1,000-acre campus bordered by the Pacific Ocean on three sides that sits adjacent to a couple of truly awesome beaches such as: Goleta Beach (a primarily man-made beach and a popular area for sunbathing and fishing) and Isla Vista (a beach-front college-town community within Santa Barbara).
Watch the sun set over the crystal clear waters all from the comforts of your dorm room—which, by the way, will sit on a high cliff overlooking the wide Pacific Ocean below. Plus, this college beauty is also the prime destination for surf lovers. Not only is it hailed as a prime surfing spot, but the school’s surf team is also one of the country’s best, with fourteen national titles since 1985. Add all of that to the fact that the campus is less than a mile from the shore? Case closed… SB is the definite choice!
4. University of Hawaii at Manoa – Honolulu, Hawaii
Perched on a hillside just outside of Honolulu overlooking the island of Oahu, this one’s literally minutes away from the Big Island’s most famous white sandy beaches, such as Waikiki Beach and Ala Moana Beach Park, as well as endless opportunities to tan, surf, snorkel, swim, hike, and, of course study—especially in marine-related topics (not surprisingly, one of the university’s most popular majors is Oceanography!).
Basically this West Coast favorite is surrounded by coastal scenery and is less than forty-five minutes from Waikiki, Queens, Lanikai, Makaha, Banzai Pipeline, and every other hot surf spot in the area. Water-inspired activities are available to students all year round, so the most difficult part of ‘studying’ at this higher education institution would probably be choosing which world-famous hotspot to go to.
5. Pepperdine University – Malibu, California
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States, this picturesque campus provides truly refreshing ocean breezes, clean and beautiful stretches of beaches often dotted with celebrities, as well as easy access not to mention killer views of the Channel Islands, the city of Los Angeles, and of course, the mighty Pacific. What’s more is that aside from just the gorgeous sights, this famed Malibu institution offers rigorous academic standards and a faith-based learning experience that’s terribly hard to rival.
Plus, all across the 830-acre campus, you’ll find yourself hitting the books inside Mediterranean-style architecture oozing with Southern California charm—you’ll also discover an incredibly easy-going and friendly Christian vibe. Add on top of that the under-five minute walk it takes to get to Zuma Beach (one of the largest and most popular beaches in LA County) or Malibu Lagoon State Beach (one of the premier surfing beaches in the state), and you’ve got yourself a dream school made for the movies. It’s probably why the entire area itself continues to play a historic role in the film and television industry – it was even used as the backdrop for classics like Baywatch and I Dream of Jeanie!
6. Eckerd College – St. Petersburg, Florida
Sitting right on the coast of Tampa Bay and nestled within historic St. Petersburg, this small liberal arts college easily boasts some of the most beautiful beach views any student could ask for. Catch a stunning sunset after a long day of classes, or wake yourself up after a strenuous all-nighter by taking in a spectacularly bright sunrise. Plus, while strolling through the campus, you’re likely to catch a glimpse of numerous palm trees, pelicans, dolphins, volleyball games, kids lazing in hammocks, and even the beautiful Boca Ciega Bay nearby. What’s more is that the area’s best beach, South Beach, is owned by the college itself, which means students can easily rent things like kayaks, sailboats, and fishing equipment, as well as get super up close and personal with the blue ocean waters. There’s also the chance for wakeboarding trips, wind surfing lessons, boating trips, and so much more. What are you waiting for?
7. University of California San Diego – San Diego, California
If leisurely strolls to class or lazy naps on the sand sounds like the sort of college experience you’re looking for, SD is definitely the place to go. With nauseatingly perfect year-round weather and too many beautiful beaches to choose from, this 1,200-acre campus sits atop picturesque cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean—all within the heart of the luxurious La Jolla coastal area, which just so happens to also be the heart of the biotech community. Considered one of the "Public Ivies" with a consistent top-ten ranking among American public universities, UCSD offers its students the world-renowned Scripps Institution. It’s also one of the top fifteen research universities worldwide, fostering attendees with a culture of pure collaboration that can spark major discoveries and brilliance from everyone around.
So stroll through campus on palm tree-lined walkways, while basking in the glory of the warm southern California sunshine. You can also sit back with a good book on one of the many terra cotta rooftops and frequent grassy spaces, as well as at the infamous Coronado Beach (named one of the best beaches in America by Travel Channel), or the local favorite, Torrey Pines State Beach. A section of the latter, known as Black’s Beach, is also famous for being one of the largest clothing-optional beaches in the country (although the city-owned portion of the beach prohibits this practice). Skinny-dipping, anyone?
8. Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, Texas
Situated on South Texas’ Oso Island, this Gulf of Mexico favorite has been nicknamed “The Island University,” and is the perfect school for anyone who adores water sports. Much of the entire campus offers an array of white-sand beaches, resident nature preserves, as well as myriads of opportunities for surfing, swimming, boating, or just hanging out in the sunshine. Plus, the area averages around 223 days of warm weather each year, and with the super high wind speeds often found in Corpus Christi, it’s also the ultimate spot for a round of sailing, wind surfing, or kite boarding—after all that ‘studying’ of course. If you want to go to college inland but still feel like you’re on the coast, check out this Texas favorite. Seriously, it’s surrounded by water on three sides!
This article was written by Pamela Chan.