Let’s begin by making clear that the College Transitions team would never recommend picking a college based solely on its physical beauty. There are dozens of more critical factors one should first consider such as academic strength, overall “fit”, undergraduate research opportunities, career services, and internship connections—just to name a handful. The prettiest college campuses are not necessarily ones that offer these genuinely vital features.

That said, like a great work of art, a beautiful campus has the power to lift one’s spirits and bring you daily pleasure and contentment. Since you will be spending four years of life at your undergraduate institution, it would be foolish to pretend that the aesthetics of a campus are wholly unimportant. Therefore, based on our experience of touring hundreds of college campuses across the United States, we offer a list of the most beautiful, by region.

Below you will find ten of the most beautiful campuses in each region of the United States (West, Northeast, South, and Midwest). Rather than showing you a single still-frame shot of campus (which is overly-reductive and can often be misleading), we’ve linked to each school’s virtual tour. Simply click on the name of any college listed below to instantly embark on a 360 degree campus tour.

Most Beautiful College Campuses in the Western U.S.

  1. Stanford University
  • Location: Stanford, CA
  • Total size: 8,180 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 93%
  • Architectural style: Richardsonian Romanesque and Mission Revival
  1. University of Southern California
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Total size: 229 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 30%
  • Architectural style: Romanesque Revival
  1. San Diego State University
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Total size: 560 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 23%
  • Architectural style: Mission Revival
  1. University of San Diego
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Total size: 180 acres
  • Percent who live on campus (non-pandemic): 44%
  • Architectural style: Spanish Renaissance
  1. Pepperdine University
  • Location: Malibu, CA
  • Total size: 835 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 60%
  • Architectural style: Streamline Moderne
  1. Scripps College
  • Location: Claremont, CA
  • Total size: 30 acres
  • Percent who live on campus (non-pandemic): 94%
  • Architectural style: Mediterranean
  1. University of Washington—Seattle
  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Total size: 634 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 29%
  • Architectural style: Collegiate Gothic
  1. Lewis & Clark College
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Total size: 134 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 55%
  • Architectural style: Mixed, focus on sustainability
  1. Loyola Marymount University
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Total size: 142 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 47%
  • Architectural style: Modern
  1. UCLA
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Total size: 419 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 48%
  • Architectural style: Romanesque and Modern

Prettiest College Campuses in the Northeast

  1. Princeton University
  • Location: Princeton, NJ
  • Total size: 500 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 96%
  • Architectural style: Collegiate Gothic
  1. Dartmouth College
  • Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
  • Total size: 269 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 85%
  • Architectural style: Georgian
  1. Cornell University
  • Location: Ithaca, NY
  • Total size: 2,300 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 52%
  • Architectural style: Romanesque Revival
  1. Colgate University
  • Location: Hamilton, NY
  • Total size: 575 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 92%
  • Architectural style: Richardsonian Romanesque
  1. Swarthmore College
  • Location: Swarthmore, PA
  • Total size: 425 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 95%
  • Architectural style: Collegiate Gothic and Modern
  1. Bryn Mawr College
  • Location: Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Total size: 135 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 92%
  • Architectural style: Collegiate Gothic
  1. Vassar College
  • Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Total size: 1,000 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 97%
  • Architectural style: Various, including Modernist and Collegiate Gothic
  1. Mount Holyoke College
  • Location: South Hadley, MA
  • Total size: 800 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 96%
  • Architectural style: Gothic Revival and others
  1. Wellesley College
  • Location: Wellesley, MA
  • Total size: 500 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 97%
  • Architectural style: Collegiate Gothic
  1. Yale University
  • Location: New Haven, CT
  • Total size: 373 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 84%
  • Architectural style: Gothic and others

Most Beautiful College Campuses in the South

  1. Duke University
  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Total size: 8,600 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 81%
  • Architectural style: Collegiate Gothic
  1. William & Mary
  • Location: Williamsburg, VA
  • Total size: 1,200 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 70%
  • Architectural style: Georgian
  1. Rice University
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Total size: 300 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 70%
  • Architectural style: Mediterranean Revival
  1. Sewanee – The University of the South
  • Location: Sewanee, Tennessee
  • Total size: 13,000 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 88%
  • Architectural style: Neo-Gothic
  1. The University of Virginia
  • Location: Charlottesville, VA
  • Total size: 1,682 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 39%
  • Architectural style: Neo-Classical
  1. Furman University
  • Location: Greenville, SC
  • Total size: 750 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 96%
  • Architectural style: Georgian
  1. Vanderbilt University
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Total size: 333 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 85%
  • Architectural style: Romantic and Victorian and others
  1. Berry College
  • Location: Mount Berry, GA
  • Total size: 27,000 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 88%
  • Architectural style: Gothic
  1. Elon University
  • Location: Elon, North Carolina
  • Total size: 656 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 64%
  • Architectural style: Colonial Revival and Georgian Revival
  1. University of Richmond
  • Location: Richmond, VA
  • Total size: 350 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 91%
  • Architectural style: Gothic

Prettiest College Campuses in the Midwest

  1. University of Notre Dame
  • Location: Notre Dame, IN
  • Total size: 1,265 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 78%
  • Architectural style: French, Victorian, and Gothic
  1. Kenyon College
  • Location: Gambier, OH
  • Total size: 1,000 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 99%
  • Architectural style: Gothic, Romanesque and Neo-Classical
  1. The University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Location: Madison, WI
  • Total size: 936 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 26%
  • Architectural style: Beaux-Arts
  1. The University of Chicago
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Total size: 217 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 52%
  • Architectural style: Gothic
  1. Miami University Ohio
  • Location: Oxford, OH
  • Total size: 2,100 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 31%
  • Architectural style: Various
  1. Washington University in St. Louis
  • Location: St. Louis, MO
  • Total size: 169 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 74%
  • Architectural style: Collegiate Gothic
  1. Indiana University—Bloomington
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Total size: 1,944 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 33%
  • Architectural style: Gothic, Romanesque, and others
  1. Northwestern University
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Total size: 231 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 60%
  • Architectural style: Collegiate Gothic and Modern
  1. St. Olaf College
  • Location: Northfield, MN
  • Total size: 300 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 95%
  • Architectural style: Scandinavian Modern
  1. University of Missouri – Columbia
  • Location: Columbia, MO
  • Total size: 1,262 acres
  • Percent of undergrads live on campus (non-pandemic): 30%
  • Architectural style: Neo-Classic and Neo-Gothic

To learn more about the academic offerings and admissions standards of the schools on our list of prettiest college campuses, visit the College Transitions Dataverse.