The Most Beautiful Campus in America: A Unique Blend of Natural Splendor and Architectural Grandeur

Choose the campus you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 25, 2024 05:21
Welcome to StrawPoll's spectacular showdown of the most beautiful campuses in America! Feast your eyes on a dazzling array of architectural marvels, picturesque landscapes, and historic charm as you explore and vote for your favorite college havens. With thousands of stunning campuses vying for the top spot, we need your help to crown the ultimate beauty. Will it be the ivy-clad walls of an East Coast gem, the sun-drenched splendor of a West Coast paradise, or a hidden Midwest treasure? Dive into this visual extravaganza, cast your vote, and make your voice heard. And, if you believe we've missed a worthy contender, fear not, for you can suggest an addition to our ever-growing list. So, let the beauty battles begin, and may the most breathtaking campus reign supreme!

What Is the Most Beautiful Campus in America?

  1. 1
    Stanford University
    King of Hearts · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Stanford University

    Leland Stanford
    Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the architecture of Stanford's campus blends old-world charm with modern innovation. The campus is home to stunning sights like the Hoover Tower, Memorial Church, and the Rodin Sculpture Garden.
    Stanford University is a prestigious private research university located in Stanford, California. It is known for its strong academic reputation, cutting-edge research facilities, and vibrant campus life. Stanford offers a wide range of programs and degrees across various disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, medicine, and business.
    • Founded: 1885
    • Location: Stanford, California, USA
    • Type: Private
    • Academic Ranking: 5th globally
    • Campus Size: 8,180 acres
    Stanford University in other rankings
  2. 2

    Princeton University

    Jonathan Dickinson
    Nestled in the quaint town of Princeton, NJ, Princeton's campus boasts Gothic-style buildings, green spaces, and a breathtaking view of Lake Carnegie. The campus is also home to the world-renowned Princeton University Art Museum.
    Princeton University is a prestigious Ivy League research institution located in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746, it has a rich history and is recognized as one of the most advanced colleges in the world.
    • Location: Princeton, New Jersey
    • Founding Year: 1746
    • Type: Private
    • Ranking: Consistently ranked among the top universities globally
    • Fields of Study: Wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs
    Princeton University in other rankings
  3. 3
    University of Virginia
    Aaron Josephson; cropped by Ibn Battuta · Public domain

    University of Virginia

    Thomas Jefferson
    Designed by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia's campus is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The campus features Jeffersonian architecture, including the Rotunda, the Lawn, and the Academical Village.
    The University of Virginia, also known as UVA, is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 and is recognized as one of the most beautiful campuses in America.
    • Campus Size: 1,682 acres
    • Architecture: Designed in neoclassical style
    • The Rotunda: Iconic building inspired by the Pantheon in Rome
    • Lawn and Range: Academic village with historic dormitories
    • Landscaping: Extensive gardens and tree-lined walkways
  4. 4
    Known for its Mediterranean-style architecture, UCLA's campus offers stunning views of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The campus is also home to the impressive Royce Hall, the Powell Library, and the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden.
    The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It is considered one of the most beautiful campuses in America, known for its picturesque setting and stunning architecture.
    • Size: 419 acres
    • Year Founded: 1919
    • Number of Buildings: 163
    • Botanical Garden: 7.5-acre garden with over 5,000 plant species
    • Famous Landmarks: Royce Hall, Powell Library, Murphy Sculpture Garden
  5. 5
    University of Notre Dame
    Michael Fernandes · CC BY-SA 3.0

    University of Notre Dame

    Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C.
    Located in South Bend, Indiana, the University of Notre Dame's campus is known for its Gothic-style buildings, including the iconic Golden Dome and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The campus is also home to the stunning Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.
    The University of Notre Dame is a private Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, Indiana. It is known for having one of the most beautiful campuses in America, with its picturesque surroundings and stunning architecture.
    • Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
    • Type: Private Catholic research university
    • Campus Size: 1,250 acres
    • Founding Year: 1842
    • Architectural Style: Gothic Revival
    University of Notre Dame in other rankings
  6. 6

    Duke University

    Julian Abele
    Situated in Durham, North Carolina, Duke's campus features Georgian-style architecture, lush gardens, and a stunning view of the Duke Chapel. The campus is also home to the Nasher Museum of Art and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.
    Duke University is a stunningly beautiful campus located in Durham, North Carolina. Situated on 8,709 acres of land, it is known for its lush gardens, picturesque landscapes, and magnificent architecture.
    • Year Founded: 1838
    • Campus Size: 8,709 acres
    • Number of Buildings: 280+
    • Gardens and Arboretums: 7 gardens, Sarah P. Duke Gardens being the most notable
    • Architectural Styles: Gothic, Georgian, and Collegiate Gothic
  7. 7
    University of Colorado, Boulder
    MECU (MECU≈talk) · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, the University of Colorado, Boulder's campus offers breathtaking views and stunning natural scenery. The campus also features modernist-style buildings, including the impressive Norlin Library.
    The University of Colorado, Boulder is a picturesque campus located at the foot of the stunning Rocky Mountains in Boulder, Colorado. It is known for its breathtaking natural surroundings that offer students and visitors a unique blend of outdoor adventure and academic excellence.
    • Campus Size: Approximately 600 acres
    • Natural Beauty: Surrounded by mountains, including the iconic Flatirons
    • Architecture: Mix of traditional and modern styles
    • Landmarks: Norlin Library, Old Main, and Macky Auditorium
    • Outdoor Spaces: Expansive lawns, gardens, and a popular creek
  8. 8

    Miami University

    Miami University
    Located in Oxford, Ohio, Miami University's campus is known for its Georgian-style architecture, red brick buildings, and lush green spaces. The campus is also home to the impressive Miami University Art Museum and the Hueston Woods State Park.
    Miami University is a picturesque and historic campus located in Oxford, Ohio. Nestled among rolling hills and surrounded by green landscapes, the campus boasts a captivating blend of architectural styles and natural beauty. With an emphasis on Georgian architecture, the red-brick buildings are adorned with white columns, creating a timeless and elegant atmosphere. The campus is also known for its abundance of trees, spacious lawns, and tranquil pathways, providing a serene escape for students and visitors alike.
    • Established: 1809
    • Campus Size: 2,138 acres
    • Architectural Style: Georgian
    • Number of Buildings: 183
    • Tree Species: Over 150 varieties
  9. 9
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Wgreaves · Public domain
    Known as "the Southern part of heaven," UNC's campus features stunning Georgian-style buildings, including the Old Well and the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower. The campus is also home to the North Carolina Botanical Garden and the Ackland Art Museum.
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a picturesque and historic campus nestled in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Known for its striking beauty, it offers a serene and idyllic atmosphere for students and visitors alike. The campus is characterized by its lush greenery, vibrant gardens, and charming red-brick buildings.
    • Campus Organizations: 800+ student organizations
    • Campus Size: 729 acres
    • Year Founded: 1789
    • Main Library: Louis Round Wilson Library
    • Historic Landmarks: Old Well, Davie Poplar tree
  10. 10
    University of Michigan
    AndrewHorne · CC BY 3.0

    University of Michigan

    Henry Tappan
    Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the University of Michigan's campus features Gothic-style buildings, green spaces, and a stunning view of the Huron River. The campus is also home to the impressive Museum of Art and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.
    The University of Michigan is a stunning campus located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is renowned for its exceptional beauty and architectural grandeur, attracting visitors from all over the world. The campus seamlessly blends lush landscapes, majestic buildings, and state-of-the-art facilities, providing a captivating environment for learning, research, and recreation.
    • Established: 1817
    • Campus Size: 4,703 acres
    • Number of Buildings: 583
    • Gardens and Arboretums: 4 botanical gardens, 2 arboretums
    • Libraries: 19, including one of the largest academic libraries in the world
    University of Michigan in other rankings

Missing your favorite campus?


Ranking factors for beautiful campus

  1. Architectural style and design
    Consider the overall architectural style and design of the campus buildings. A beautiful campus should have a blend of both historic and modern architecture that complements each other and adds to the overall aesthetic appeal.
  2. Landscape and green spaces
    A beautiful campus should have well-maintained landscapes with plenty of green spaces, gardens, and tree-shaded areas where students can relax and enjoy nature.
  3. Integration with the surrounding environment
    A campus should blend seamlessly with its surrounding environment, preserving natural features such as lakes, forests, and hillsides, and incorporating them into the overall design of the campus layout.
  4. Sustainability and eco-friendliness
    A truly beautiful campus should be environmentally responsible and sustainable, with initiatives such as energy-efficient buildings, responsible water use, and adequate recycling facilities.
  5. Campus layout and organization
    The overall organization of the campus should be logical, easy to navigate, and thoughtfully planned, with a good balance of open spaces and intimate corners.
  6. Art and sculptures
    The presence of public art and sculptures on campus can add an extra layer of beauty and interest.
  7. Vibrant community and student life
    A beautiful campus should not only look great but also have a vibrant and active community of students, faculty, and staff, with plenty of events and activities that bring people together and foster a sense of belonging.
  8. Cleanliness and maintenance
    The overall cleanliness and maintenance of buildings, landscapes, and facilities are crucial to maintaining the beauty of a campus.
  9. Recreational facilities
    Beautiful campuses should offer a variety of recreational facilities, such as sports fields, gymnasiums, and swimming pools, which are well-maintained and visually appealing.
  10. Views and scenery
    The campus should be situated in a location that offers stunning views and scenery, creating a visually pleasing backdrop for students and visitors alike.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful campus in America. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or campus is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 160 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each campus once every 24 hours. The rank of each campus is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most beautiful campus in america

When it comes to choosing the perfect college, the campus itself can be a major factor in the decision-making process. A beautiful campus can inspire students and create a sense of community, making it a popular choice among prospective students. With so many stunning campuses across America, it can be difficult to determine which one truly stands out as the most beautiful. Factors such as architecture, landscaping, and location all play a role in creating a visually stunning campus. From the ivy-covered walls of the Ivy League to the palm trees of the West Coast, there's no shortage of contenders for the title of most beautiful campus in America. So, which one will come out on top? Let's explore some of the top contenders and see what makes each campus so special.

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