College campuses in the United States have been breeding grounds for intelligent young people to research, discover, and explore since the mid-1600s. With all the learning taking place, students have always needed space to relax and calm the mind. Luckily, a college campus provides ample space for remarkable buildings, grassy quads, and nature to coalesce and offer that space to students. But where are some of the best examples of these schools in the U.S.? We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most beautiful university campuses in the country, so read on to find out.

1. Montreat College

montreat college
Source: Flickr/Adam Walker Cleaveland

The name alone explains why this place is considered so beautiful. Montreat is actually a combination of the words ‘mountain’ and ‘retreat’, and that’s precisely what this college feels like. The school describes its campus as “a little mountain paradise” and the more than 20 nearby hiking trails provide students with just about 30 miles of scenic wonder. Lake Susan is within walking distance of campus, and is a popular spot for college students to hang out.

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2. University of California, Berkeley

Source: Flickr/Berkeley Lab

Although known for its 1960s protests of Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Free Speech Movement, Berkeley’s campus is also a gorgeous place to visit. Located on the East Bay in California, Berkeley’s most recognizable landmark is the beloved Campanile, a tower that has stood for more than 100 years. It’s technically called Sather Tower, but due to its resemblance to the Campanile di San Marco in Venice, it’s taken on a nickname. It is the third largest bell and clock tower in the world and offers a sweeping view of the Bay Area below. The rest of campus is dotted with huge Copper beech trees, Japanese cherry trees, and Eucalyptus trees, so breath in that fresh air when you visit this campus.

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3. Stanford University

stanford campus
Source: Flickr/David Schexnaydre

If you’ve ever been on vacation at a resort, you’ve gotten a taste of what the Stanford University campus is like. Red-roofed buildings, arched hallways, and mountains hanging in the the background are just the beginning of what this massive campus has to offer. Students usually bike everywhere, as the campus itself is more than 12 square miles. The year-round sunshine doesn’t hurt its case either, as Stanford averages around 260 days of sunshine per year. This campus is beautiful for so many reasons, so take a visit and see for yourself.

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4. University of Washington

university of washington
Source: Flickr/Curtis Cronn

The 703-acre grounds of the University of Washington’s campus features a breathtaking view of the Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges in the distance, cherry blossoms that look like puffy cotton candy in the spring, and awe-inspiring sandstone buildings. The campus is transformed into a winter wonderland when the snow hits, and the grounds are just as beautiful covered in the white powder.

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5. Colgate University

colgate university
Source: Flickr/Mike Bash

Set along the hillside in Upstate New York, Colgate visitors consistently refer to it as being a beautiful place. In fact, in 2010, the Princeton Review named it the #1 Most Beautiful College Campus in the county. Picture over 2,000 maple, oak, and other varieties of trees, a lake on campus, and impressive stone buildings. That’s the start of what Colgate has in store for students and visitors who step foot on its campus.

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6. Tulane University

tulane university
Source: Flickr/Larry Miller

Just outside of New Orleans city center is Tulane University. The school is a testament to the beauty of New Orleans itself, as its campus has been on the National Register of Historic Places for more than 35 years. Towering oak trees and stunning architecture make this place hard to keep off the list of the most beautiful university campuses. The 110-acre grounds feature Richardsonian Romanesque-looking buildings, a large grassy quad, and plenty of blooming Crepe Myrtle trees. Check it out for yourself and see just how beautiful it is in person.

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7. Middlebury College

middlebury college
Source: Flickr/j.vandenberg

Nestled into the Vermont countryside just outside of the Burlington, the Middlebury College campus is breathtaking. This small, liberal arts school comes alive in the Fall, as the foliage is in full force. Its pristinely manicured grounds and surrounding mountains give students ample places to enjoy nature, and the 1800s buildings make it the oldest operating college in Vermont. Stroll around and check out the historic buildings as you take in the gorgeous campus.

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8. College of the Atlantic

college of the atlantic
Source: Flickr/Ken Lane

Perched on the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine, this college is great for nature-lovers. The College of the Atlantic prides itself on its proximity to the ocean, boasting that wherever you are on campus, the ocean is just a few steps away. The classrooms and buildings on campus are not your traditional institutional learning buildings; instead, there are ticked-away gardens, old stone walls, and rustic cottages. This is definitely a campus worth visiting, if only for the natural beauty of it all.

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9. University of Colorado Boulder

Source: Flickr/Stephen Butler

If you’re looking for a rugged, natural-looking campus, look no further than the university of Colorado Boulder. The campus rests at the foot of the Rocky Mountains Foothills, which give students an incomparable view nearly every day. Whether its Spring and the mountains are covered in greenery or winter and there’s a new batch of snow beckoning students to skip class and shred down the hill, Boulder’s campus offers beautiful scenery at every turn.

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10. Amherst College

amherst college
Source: Flickr/lookcatalog

Set in Western Massachusetts, Amherst isn’t just a renowned liberal arts school, it also boasts a pretty gorgeous campus. Its 1,000 acres consists of over 100 historic buildings featuring Greek and Georgian Revival elements, a wildlife sanctuary that includes woodlands, fields, wetlands, and ponds, and the Fort River. This campus provides some of the most beautiful land in the area.

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