Green-tinted lake surrounded by trees, mountains, and blue skies

Great Colleges to Consider for Life on the Water

If you're looking to live on a lake or river, consider these awesome colleges and universities from across the country that are great for life on the water.

It’s said that your environment has major effects on your mood and happiness—so when searching for colleges, you should be looking for schools in settings that will bring you peace, invigorate you, and make you happy. If you love the outdoors and being away from busy city centers, then life by the water may be your best choice for college location. Below is a list of colleges with beautiful campuses on or near lakes and rivers to give you the best of nature and the best education. You can connect with any schools of interest quickly and easily by clicking the green “Connect me” button below each listing. Start exploring and find a dreamy lacustrine hideaway today!

Fort Lewis College

Fort Lewis CollegeFort Lewis College is a public liberal arts college on a 350-acre campus in Durango, Colorado. FLC resides on the homelands of the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Indian tribes, overlooking the San Juan Mountains and the Animas River and offering numerous opportunities for fieldwork for undergraduate students. The College offers more than 40 major, minor, and certificate programs to over 3,300 students, with popular majors including Engineering, Teacher Education, and Environmental Studies.

Connect me with Fort Lewis! 

Grace College & Seminary

Grace College & SeminaryGrace College & Seminary is a Christian college and seminary on a 180-acre campus in Winona Lake, Indiana. Grace sits on the shores of picturesque Winona Lake and offers many recreational opportunities with a nearby resort town, The Village, just two blocks from campus. The area boasts the best of lakeside recreation, fine dining, artisan shops, cozy cafés, and biking the scenic Greenway Trails on your way to weekends of boating, skiing, paddle boarding, and more. The College offers more than 100 majors, minors, and concentrations as well as a variety of master’s programs to over 1,900 students.

Connect me with Grace! 

Lake Forest College

Lake Forest CollegeLake Forest College is a private liberal arts school located on a 107-acre campus in Lake Forest, Michigan—only a half a mile from Lake Michigan and 30 miles north of Chicago. Lake Forest offers the best of both worlds with access to beautiful outdoor scenery and the third-largest city in the US, which means a plethora of opportunities for fieldwork as well as city-based internships. The College offers 32 majors as well as plenty of minors and special programs to 1,650 students from every state and more than 98 countries.

Connect me with Lake Forest!

Ohio University

Ohio UniversityOhio University is a comprehensive public university on a 1,800-acre campus in Athens, Ohio—75 miles southeast of Columbus. Named “the best college town in Ohio,” OHIO’s Athens campus—complete with its own golf course—offers a perfect combination of city life, rolling hills, flowing rivers, and a national forest, which provides access to hiking trails, camping locations, and more. The University also offers more than 250 programs and 500 student organizations to over 15,000 undergraduates.

Connect me with OHIO! 

Saint John’s University

Saint John’s UniversitySaint John’s University is a Roman Catholic liberal arts college for men on a 2,500-acre campus in Collegeville, Minnesota—75 miles north of Minneapolis. The campus sits among the woods and by a lake—with hiking trails, a private beach, and paved biking paths—while also offering access to the St. Cloud metropolitan area only an hour away from campus. The University has a close partnership with the College of Saint Benedict, a women’s-only college, to offer more than 37 majors and 40 minors in 60 areas of study to their combined 3,218 undergraduate students.

Connect me with SJU!

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Saint Joseph’s College of MaineSaint Joseph’s College of Maine is a private Roman Catholic college on a 474-acre campus in Standish, Maine—only 16 miles northwest of Portland. St. Joe’s location offers four seasons of recreation—such as skiing, hiking, and kayaking—on the shores of Sebago Lake and in the foothills of the White Mountains, with spectacular views of Mount Washington from the on-campus lakeside beach. The College offers more than 40 majors and programs and 30 organizations to nearly 1,000 students.

Connect me with SJC! 

Syracuse University

Syracuse UniversitySyracuse University is a private coeducational research university on a 708-acre campus in Syracuse, New York. Located in one of the top 20 greenest cities in America, Syracuse’s campus sits in the heart of the city and is also surrounded by open spaces and wilderness, including 170 local parks and nearby Onondaga Lake, which offer outdoor activities like skiing, swimming, apple picking, horseback riding, and more. The University features more than 200 academic majors and 100 minors across 13 schools and colleges for more than 15,000 students from 92 countries.

Connect me with Syracuse!  

University of Notre Dame

University of Notre DameThe University of Notre Dame is a comprehensive Roman Catholic university on a 1,250-acre campus in Notre Dame, Indiana—only five miles from South Bend. Built into the foundation of the campus, Notre Dame boasts two bodies of water: Saint Mary’s and Saint Joseph’s Lakes, which offer unique opportunities for students to jog their shores, paddleboard across campus in makeshift boats, or enjoy the wildlife at the landing. The University also offers 75 undergraduate degrees and more than 50 graduate programs to 8,874 total students.

Connect me with Notre Dame!

University of Vermont

University of VermontThe University of Vermont is a public comprehensive university on a 460-acre campus in Burlington, Vermont—220 miles northwest of Boston, 300 miles north of New York City, and 90 miles south of Montreal, Quebec. Just a mile from Lake Champlain, UVM students can take advantage of a beautiful waterfront park, a 12-mile bike path along the shore, and three beaches with stunning views. The University offers over 100 bachelor’s, 57 master’s, and 26 doctoral programs to 12,790 total students.

Connect me with UVM! 

Not sure if lake life is your thing? That’s okay! You can explore even more colleges and universities by other beautiful locations with our lists of featured colleges by landscape.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Damian Rangel

Damian Rangel

September 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me tackle college expenses, which will allow me to put more of my time and effort into my studies without the need of worrying as much about finances.

Jessica Rinker

Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.

Kayla

Kayla

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me organize the schools I wanted to choose from in one place, which then I could easily compare and find the school that was right for me!

Caitlin Eaton

Caitlin Eaton

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2021

I first discovered CollegeXpress during my sophomore year of high school while researching colleges that interested me. My SAT prep class the following year further familiarized me with the opportunities available through the organization. CX has personally helped me by exposing me to a diverse selection of schools as well as scholarships and life tips that have provided valuable guidance in my college search.

This scholarship will help me adjust to college life without worrying as much about tuition. This gives me more room to truly explore and benefit from all aspects of higher education. I plan to study Conservation Biology and work protecting species/ecosystems. I’m looking forward to getting field experience and seeing firsthand the problems research is solving.

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2020

CollegeXpress has been an instrumental resource for my scholarship search and has given me the opportunity to try my best so I can graduate from college debt-free.

College Matches