Originally Posted: Jan 19, 2018
Last Updated: Dec 22, 2020
College visits are one of the best parts of the college search. Visiting colleges is a great way to see the campus, get a feel for a school’s atmosphere, and find your new home for the next four years. And campus visits are even better when you can turn them into vacations! Now this certainly won't be an exhaustive list, rather something to get you started and thinking about great areas to attend college. So be sure to keep doing your research and look into other great colleges in interesting locations all around the country. Here are three colleges near touristy sites (ones you may not have even though of before) where you can turn a campus visit into the ultimate getaway.
University of Rhode Island—Kingston, Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island area may be overlooked as a “vacation” spot, but it’s really a hidden gem. Rhode Island itself is filled with small beach towns such as Newport and Westerly but also has city life in Providence. If you like to eat, Rhode Island is home to the Nordic Lodge restaurant, which has been featured on the New England–based restaurant review show Phantom Gourmet. At $100 per person, it’s a little pricey for a buffet, but you have choices of lobster, filet mignon, prime rib, and so many other delicious foods. Twin River Casino is also nearby in Lincoln, Rhode Island. The state’s gambling age is 18, so it’s worth a visit if you’re 18 or older. Rhode Island is also in a great location because it’s only an hour and a half away from Boston, and you can get to New York City easily by train—two cities brimming with colleges. If you’re visiting in the autumn, you’ll also get a nice view of the New England foliage, which is really hard to beat!
University of Minnesota, Duluth—Duluth, Minnesota
This may not be the most traditional travel spot, but the University of Minnesota Duluth is sure to offer a great vacation. The campus sits on a hill that overlooks Lake Superior and gives an unforgettable view. Duluth has a lot of outdoor activities to offer visitors. Lake Superior is the biggest attraction in the area. If you go in warmer months, you can go kayaking and swimming in the lake or go on a boat trip to go fishing. If you visit in the winter, you can go skiing or just take in the views Duluth has to offer. Duluth has lots of history, and many parks and museums to visit that showcase it. Minnesota may not be a first-choice vacation spot for some people, but it will be an unforgettable experience.
John Paul the Great Catholic University—Escondido, California
There's a fair chance you haven't heard of Escondido, California. So while that doesn't sound like a tempting tourist destination, San Diego on the other hand—one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of the state—should, and it's only 30 minutes away! A college visit to John Paul the Great Catholic University is sure to make for a great trip that has something to offer for everyone. The beaches in San Diego are unreal and definitely worth visiting for at least a day. There are also places to go snorkeling and kayaking. If you aren’t much of a beach person, there’s the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Safari Park. If you’re into history, you can visit the USS Midway Museum or Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. If you’re up for a drive, Disneyland California is less than two hours away, and just a little further than that is Los Angeles, which you could probably spend a full week exploring too. California has so much to offer, and San Diego is just the tip of the iceberg.
Again, these are just a few examples of some great areas that provide a lot of opportunities in the way of fun attractions, beautiful weather, and relaxing destinations. There are so many colleges all around the country, and you should take the time to do some research! There may even be more than one college in a really fun and interesting area that will help you condense your college search into fewer trips to save even more money.
Start planning your college trips by learning more about your schools of interest using our College Search tool.