The 50 Best Colleges By The Sea

Colleges by the Sea

The seaside. There is something magical about the sea – poets have written about it since the beginning of time, people want to live by it, swim in it, and love it. The sea is alive, and it touches the soul with its vast mystery – beautiful, terrible, and mesmerizing. In Gustave Flaubert’s famous novel Madame Bovary, his main character speaks of the sea: “Doesn’t it seem to you,” asked Madame Bovary, “that the mind moves more freely in the presence of that boundless expanse, that the sight of it elevates the soul and gives rise to thoughts of the infinite and the ideal?” 

When one is considering where to pursue higher education, the environment is a huge factor. College is much more than classes and degrees, it is where some of the most important years of life are spent, and the location is vital. Living by the sea can provide recreation, beauty, and educational opportunity. We have compiled a list of the best sea-side locations for higher education.

Methodology:
The following criteria was used in determining our ranking:
• Proximity to the beach (50%).
• Specific marine educational centers, degrees, or research facilities (30%).
• Recreational opportunities on the sea (20%).

50. San Diego State University

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Founded in 1897, San Diego State University is only 12.5 miles from Mission Beach Jetty, Sea World, Point Loma, and some of the most tranquil beaches California has to offer. With its temperate Mediterranean climate – daytime temperatures are rarely below 60 degrees or above 80 degrees – students can spend every day reading, studying, and relaxing by the Pacific Ocean. San Diego State offers nearly 160 undergraduate majors and minors as well as nearly 100 graduate degrees and credentials.

Location: San Diego, CA
Enrollment: 35,000
Miles to Beach: 12.5 miles

49. California Polytechnic State University

colleges-at-the-sea-cal-polytech

Pleasantly situated 11 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Santa Lucia Mountains to the east lies San Luis Obispo, home to California Polytechnic State University or Cal Poly. San Luis Obispo, founded in 1772 by Franciscan priest Junipero Serra, is one of California’s oldest communities. Known for its Mediterranean climate, residents of San Luis Obispo only see about 50 days of rain per year. With little rainfall, temperate climate, and Morrow Bay only 11.6 miles away, Cal Poly is an excellent choice to pursue higher learning. The university is known for its “learn by doing” educational philosophy that encourages students to solve real-world problems by combining classroom theory with laboratory exercise.

Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Enrollment: 18,700
Miles to Beach: 11.6

48. California State University – San Marcos

48 Cal State San Marcos

When looking for a competitive university, great facilities, and proximity to the beach, California State University San Marcos fits the bill. Founded in 1989 California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) is one of the 23 campuses of the California State University system. CSUSM has 90 academic programs and 149 teaching and research labs including biomechanics, behavioral neuroscience, and nursing simulation. Escape to the beach and local beauty less than 11 miles away. Bring back childhood memories or simply gape at Legoland California Park. Visit the popular South Carlsbad State Beach for some watersports and sun tanning. Picnic for the day or spend the night with friends at Leucadia Oaks Park or read a favorite book with green grass and great ocean views at Encinitas Viewpoint Park. All in all, CSUSM is a great choice for a college by the sea.

Location: San Marcos, CA
Enrollment: 11,000
Miles to Beach: 11 miles

47. University of Washington

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Only 5.2 miles from Washington’s gorgeous Discovery Park and West Point Lighthouse, University of Washington students can take a break from studying and mosey over to watch the sun set over the Puget Sound. Each academic quarter, this public research university offers 1,800 undergraduate courses, and every year UW awards more than 12,000 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The University of Washington is also home to a world-class academic medical center. Centrally located, students have easy access to Union Bay, Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and Green Lake, providing ample opportunity for the recreation enthusiast.

Location: Seattle, WA
Enrollment: 54,000
Miles to Beach: 5.2
Website: http://www.washington.edu/

46. University of California – Santa Cruz

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Nestled amongst rolling, forested hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay, just 75 miles south of San Francisco lies the 2000 acre campus of the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). Known for being progressive clear back to its founding in 1965, UCSC began as a showcase for progressive, cross-disciplinary education, innovative teaching methods, and contemporary architecture; students from UCSC are known to be very politically active. Santa Cruz boasts beautiful coastlines, redwood forests, and a mild, Mediterranean climate. At the northern edge of Santa Cruz, one will find Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve, a marine protected area, dedicated to conserving ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.

Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Enrollment: 16,500
Miles to Beach: 2.8 miles

45. Bethune-Cookman University

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Located in Daytona Beach, Florida, famous for its hard-packed sand that allows motorized vehicles to drive on the beach, making it a mecca for motorsports, this home to NASCAR is also home to Bethune-Cookman University, a small private university. Founded in 1904, there are seven different schools that conduct the university’s educational program. The humid subtropical climate of Daytona Beach, combined with miles of beautiful beaches and lush vegetation, make Bethune-Cookman University a premier location for higher education.

Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Enrollment: 3,400
Miles to Beach: 2.5 miles

44. New York University

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Located only two miles from where the Hudson River meets the East River, where both join the vast Atlantic Ocean, and six miles from the world famous Statue of Liberty is New York University. This private research university is nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village in Manhattan. The Village is a historic neighborhood that has attracted generations of writers, musicians, artists, and intellectuals. New York University is centrally located, with easy access to New York’s art, culture, and history, as well as picturesque locations along the boardwalks of historic Long Island.

Location: New York City, NY
Enrollment: 40,000
Miles to Beach: 2.3

43. Seattle University

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An easy walk from Seattle University and students will find themselves at the world famous Pikes Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium, and Washington’s Puget Sound. Founded in 1891 as a Jesuit Catholic university and law school, Seattle University is located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The university offers 64 undergraduate programs and more than 31 graduate programs. With the Puget Sound to the west, Lake Union to the north, and Lake Washington to the east, Seattle University was made for those who love the sea.

Location: Seattle, WA
Enrollment: 7,200
Miles to Beach: 1.5

42. Point Loma Nazarene University

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Located in sunny Southern California in the temperate climate of San Diego, and only 1.2 miles from the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, Point Loma Nazarene University is a Christian liberal arts college that was founded in 1902. Point Loma offers over 60 undergraduate areas of study with a 14:1 student/faculty ratio. Point Loma is known for being a forward-thinking university, with the goal to combine academics, faith, and community. The university is adjacent to Sunset Hills Natural Park, the perfect place to watch stunning sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, or for the daring, even dive off the cliffs. San Diego is the 8th largest city in the United States and offers ample recreation and cultural opportunities including surfing, museums, parks, trails, and theaters.

Location: San Diego, CA
Enrollment: 2,500
Miles to Beach: 1.2 miles

41. Coastal Carolina University

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Coastal Carolina University is a university that is completely integrated with its coastal location and surroundings, where the ocean is the education. The Coastal Science Center, the Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, the General James Hackler Golf Course, and courses offered at the Myrtle Beach Education Center are all an intricate part the university. A 1,105 acre tract of land along the coast barrier island provides a natural laboratory for extensive study in marine science and wetlands biology. During much-needed leisure time, students can explore the world-famous Myrtle Beach boardwalks, Myrtle Beach State Park, or Myrtle Waves, one of the largest water parks on the east coast.

Location: Conway, SC
Enrollment: 10,400
Miles to Beach: 10.8 miles

40. Old Dominion University

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Located “where the city meets the sea,” and the James River, Elizabeth River, and Lafayette Rivers converge in the Chesapeake Bay and flow out into the Atlantic Ocean, the port-town of Norfolk, Virginia is home to Old Dominion University. This public research university offers plenty of oceanic research opportunities including their Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative where research is being conducted regarding climate change and rising sea level, as well as the Maritime Institute dedicated to providing world quality maritime, ports and logistics management education, training, and research. In addition to these top-quality research opportunities, students have access to all of the historic oceanic sites and beaches that Virginia has to offer.

Location: Norfolk, VA
Enrollment: 24,000
Miles to Beach: 7.5 miles

39. University of North Carolina Wilmington

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The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) is a university that has a love of place. Valuing their coastal location, their mission includes “utilizing our location to explore modern questions related to commerce, human health, nutrition, the environment and social and cultural dynamics. There is no complete understanding of human history, the human condition or literature and music and art in the absence of the sea.” As North Carolina’s coastal university, their connection with the sea is an integral part of education. UNCW students have the opportunity to study at the Center for Marine Science, conducting basic research in the fields of oceanography, coastal and wetland studies, marine biomedical and environmental physiology, and marine biotechnology and aquaculture. The port city of Wilmington, North Carolina has a humid sub-tropical climate; in 2003, the city was designated as a “Coast Guard City,” as it is the home port for the USCGS Diligence.

Location: Wilmington, NC
Enrollment: 14,000
Miles to Beach: 5.6 miles

38. Yale University

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When people think of Yale University, they usually think of the New England colonial architecture, courtyards, walkways, arches, beautiful New Haven, and of course, Yale’s renowned education. What may be overlooked is Yale’s proximity to the beach. Less than 2 miles away, New Haven Harbor has beautiful parks and is great for relaxing, reading, or walking. The Long Wharf area contains several notable features and buildings, including the Long Wharf Theatre, Gateway Community College, the Long Wharf Maritime Center, and New Haven’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park; Long Wharf is also the home port of a replica of the historical Amistad. In addition to the beach there are a number of other outstanding local attractions: Carousel at Lighthouse Point Park, East Rock Park, Yale University Art Gallery, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale Center for British Art, various museums, farmers markets, and more.

Location: New Haven, CT
Enrollment: 12,000
Miles to Beach: 2.8 miles

37. Loyola Marymount University

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Founded in 1911 from Jesuit and Marymount roots going back to 1865, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is one of the largest Catholic universities on the West Coast. The 142-acre campus is located in West Los Angeles and sits atop the bluffs overlooking Marina Del Rey and Playa Del Rey. LMU offers 60 major and 55 minor undergraduate degrees and programs, 39 master’s degree programs, one education doctorate, one doctorate in juridical science, one Juris Doctorate and 10 credential programs. The school is near Dockweiler State Beach, a bustling public beach offering a hang gliding training park and bonfires. Manhattan Beach Post may attract the student in need of refueling on hearty and healthy food with it creative farm-to-table American food in an urbane space featuring lots of reclaimed wood. Ladera Park has 16 wooded acres with ball sports, tennis courts, picnic grills, amphitheater and a recreation center. Student ought to consider LMU for its solid academic options, great southern California beaches for rest, relaxation, or recreation.

Location:  Los Angeles, CA
Enrollment: 9,500
Miles to Beach: 2.5 miles

36. Florida Institute of Technology

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Over 70 miles of beautiful sandy beaches await students at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). The campus is located just five miles from the Atlantic Ocean and near some of America’s finest oceanside settings. Located on 130 subtropical acres, Florida Institute of Technology is home to a stunning Botanical Garden. FIT is a great place to study with a beautiful campus, Florida coast location, and top-notch academic programs. Through FIT’s Biological Sciences Department, students can earn degrees in Aquaculture and Marine Biology. The Vero Beach Marine Laboratory is field laboratory established in 1981 as a satellite campus. This four-acre oceanfront p roperty is where students study aquaculture, or the theory and practice of culturing marine and freshwater plants and animals.

Location: Melbourne, FL
Enrollment: 16,000
Miles to Beach: 5 miles

35. Flagler College

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Located in America’s first city of St. Augustine, Florida, which was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, Flagler College is a small, private college. The campus is gorgeous, with picturesque Spanish architecture complemented by Florida’s sunny skies and tropical vegetation; classes are often held out on the lawn. Flagler offers 29 majors and 34 minors and an average class size of 19.8 students. The main campus building is Ponce de Leon Hall, which was a grand resort built in 1888 by Henry Flagler. This “grand resort” is an intricate complex of four buildings with ornate, hand-carved wood, panels of imported marble, stained-glass windows and beautiful grounds. Ponce de Leon Hall is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Location: St. Augustine, FL
Enrollment: 2,500
Miles to Beach: 4 miles

34. Humboldt State University

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Humboldt State University is located in one of the most naturally diverse and beautiful locations in the world, surrounded by ancient redwood forests, pristine coastline, and wild rivers. National Geographic Adventure magazine calls Humboldt’s hometown of Arcata, California one of its “50 next great adventure towns,” as it is known for being an outdoor paradise with warm California sun and recreational opportunities including biking, camping, climbing, hiking, kayaking, surfing, and much more. In addition to the ample outdoor activities and stunning environment, Humboldt State offers many hands-on learning opportunities in research and community service; interestingly, an oceangoing vessel called “The Coral Sea” is used as an outdoor classroom for research conducted on the ocean.

Location: Arcata, CA
Enrollment: 8,200
Miles to Beach: 5 miles

33. University of San Francisco

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Located only 3.5 miles from the famous Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean, the University of San Francisco is a Jesuit Catholic University that was founded in 1855. It was the first university in San Francisco, and the third oldest institution for higher learning in California. The university is nicknamed “The Hilltop” because of its location on Lone Mountain, one of San Francisco’s highest hills. Students may participate in the Outdoor Adventures program, designed to provide a variety of unique outdoor experiences including horseback riding, sailing, sea kayaking, Alcatraz visits, and many more. Students will benefit from the university’s excellent location, and will experience the richness that San Francisco has to offer.

Location: San Francisco, CA
Enrollment: 10,100
Miles to Beach: 3.5 miles

32. Bowdoin College

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Eight students began taking classes in 1802 after Samuel Adams signed the charter of Bowdoin College in 1794. Bowdoin is a small liberal arts school that offers 33 majors and 4 additional minors, with student-faculty ratio of 9:1. With famous alumni like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the quality of education speaks for itself. Not simply stuck in old ways, however, Bowdoin also owns a 118-acre coastal studies center on Orr’s Island and a 200-acre scientific field station on Kent Island. The location of the school is conducive to many extra-curricular activities. As for beaches there are many options nearby with many bays and inlets, camping, boating, swimming, and beach relaxing and recreation. There are even river beaches on the Androscoggin River to the north of the school. For beach lovers of a different sort than the popular California beaches, Bowdoin may be the ticket.

Location: Brunswick, ME
Enrollment: 1,900
Miles to Beach: 3 miles

31. California State University – Long Beach

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California State University Long Beach (CSULB) was founded in 1949 and “envisions changing lives by expanding educational opportunities, championing creativity, and preparing leaders for a changing world.” The campus spans 323 acres, has an eighteen story Walter Pyramid, and offers 137 different Bachelor’s degrees, 92 types of Master’s degrees, 5 Doctoral degrees, as well as 29 different teaching credentials. CSULB is only 2.5 miles from Long Beach. Long Beach provides excellent opportunities for athletes and beach goers, and of course, is made famous by gold medalist volleyball alumni, Misty May-Treanor. In addition to Long Beach, Huntington Beach is nearby, known for its 9.5 miles of great sand beaches and surfing.

Location: Long Beach, CA
Enrollment: 36,000
Miles to Beach: 3 miles

30. University of Tampa

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Tampa, Florida is a city with beautiful beaches, pleasant year-round temperatures, Walt Disney World, The EPCOT Center, Sea World, Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, and miles of waterfront sidewalks to explore. This exciting city is home to the University of Tampa, a private co-educational university that offers over 200 majors, including 11 graduate degrees. The College of Natural and Health Sciences is home to a remote marine science research center. The center is located on Tampa bay with research vessels used by students for studying the ecosystems of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. With such close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, opportunities abound both for study and recreation.

Location: Tampa, FL
Enrollment: 7,000
Miles to Beach: 2.9 miles

29. Seattle Pacific University

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Seattle Pacific University (SPU) was founded in 1891, and since then, has grown and developed into a dynamic university in a progressive city, where 8 Fortune 500 companies are located. Offering more than 60 academic programs with a faculty-student ratio of 14:1, students can study with a connection to professors as well as academic rigor. SPU has a beautiful 43 acre campus with some of the oldest trees in Seattle and is ideally located on Queen Anne’s hill, famous for historic houses, near Fremont neighborhood, an artsy area of Seattle. If you love to get outside, take the Pacific Northwest up on the hiking, camping, snowboarding, and beaches in the Puget Sound. Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest green space featuring miles of rugged trails & beaches, plus views of the Sound. SPU also owns and operates two satellite campuses: a wilderness field station specializing in biology on Blakely Island in the San Juan Islands,

Location: Seattle, WA
Enrollment: 4,200
Miles to Beach: 2.5 miles

28. University of Hawaii – Manoa

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Located only 2.6 miles from world-famous Waikiki Beach, the University of Hawaii – Manoa is the perfect place for those who love the ocean. Waikiki Beach, known for its warm, cloud-free climate, stunning white sand, and a top surfing locations in the United States. The long, rolling break of the waves make it ideal for long boarding, tandem surfing, and beginners. The university offers 93 undergraduate degrees, 84 master degrees, and 51 doctoral degrees. It is also home to the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, one of the few agricultural colleges focused on tropical research. With the amazing outdoor opportunities that living in the Hawaii offers, students spend their leisure time snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, fishing, and sunbathing on some of the best beaches in the world.

Location: Honolulu, HI
Enrollment: 20,400
Miles to Beach: 2.6 miles

27. University of Miami

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The University of Miami (UM) is a well-rounded and successful school. It was founded in 1925 with the intent to offer “unique opportunities to develop inter-American studies, to further creative work in the arts and letters, and to conduct teaching and research programs in tropical studies.” It has over 180 academic programs and research in marine science, engineering, education, and psychology. There are 12 separate colleges, including a medical school, a law school, and a school focused on the study of oceanography and atmospheric sciences. On top of great academics, student life, and research, UM is situated in beautiful south Florida. Avid nature lovers find a panoply of options: a Butterfly Garden within walking distance, multiple natural preserves, and the beach. Also of note is the historic estate with formal gardens and sculptures, grottos and a 1914 mansion-turned-museum at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. For those who want a world-class beach, the famous Miami Beach, with great restaurants, night life, music, and beaches is only 16 miles away.

Location: Coral Gables, FL
Enrollment: 17,000
Miles to Beach: 2 miles

26. University of West Florida

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Every Saturday, students at the University of West Florida have the opportunity to participate in Saturday Sailing, where they can enjoy the sun, sea, and a relaxing day on the Gulf of Mexico. Located in the sunny city of Pensacola, Florida, the University of West Florida is a public research university. The 1,600 acre campus is a natural preserve that is bordered by two rivers and the Escambia Bay; the campus is specifically designed to accommodate the natural waterways and forest surrounding. The university also has waterfront property on Santa Rosa Island that is available for recreational, academic, and research interests. Several years ago, two university students discovered the remains of one of the colonization ships of the Tristan de Luna fleet that sank during a hurricane in 1559. This shipwreck, along with other historically significant archaeological sites nearby, has allowed UWF to offer one of the best underwater archaeology programs in the nation, where students regularly gain hands-on experience.

Location: Pensacola, FL
Enrollment: 12,800
Miles to Beach: 1.3 miles

25. Hawaii Pacific University

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It isn’t every university that offers surfing, kayaking, swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling and parasailing as outdoor recreation opportunities, but being only 1.5 miles from the stunning beaches of Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University students regularly engage in these activities. This private, liberal arts college offers over 50 majors, including Environmental Sciences and Marine Biology, as well as offering students access to significant research programs in the marine and oceanic sciences at the university’s Oceanic Institute. Students will enjoy Hawaii’s relaxed culture and gorgeous weather year round while receiving an excellent education while attending Hawaii Pacific University.

Location: Honolulu, HI
Enrollment: 7,000
Miles to Beach: 1.5 miles

24. California State University – Monterey Bay

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Located in the charming city of Seaside, California, adjacent to Monterey Bay, one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) is home to over 6,000 students. Monterey Bay itself is home to whales, deep sea anglerfish, sea otters, pristine beaches, tide pools, and the Fort Ord National Monument. San Francisco is just two hours to the north, and the idyllic coastal town of Carmel is only ten miles to the south. Not only is this campus perfectly situated on the coast, it is located on the site of a former Army base, Fort Ord; unique reminders of Monterey Bay’s military past are found all over campus. Leisure at this coastal university included surfing, kayaking, and other water sports, making it an excellent choice for those who love the sea.

Location: Seaside, CA
Enrollment: 6,600
Miles to Beach: 1.2 miles

23. Mitchell College

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In the quaint New England town of New London, lies Mitchell College, a private liberal-arts school. Located at the mouth of the Thames River and entrance to Long Island Sound, Mitchell College sits on 68 acres of what used to be the private estate of Alfred Mitchell. Rolling lawns, wooded walkways, sandy beaches, and fabulous landscaping make this campus a serene place for study. Students who are interested in city life can easily get to the cultural metropolises of New York, Boston, Providence, and Hartford. Southwest Connecticut is a major vacation destination due to its gorgeous coastline, sunny weather, and relatively mild winters.

Location: New London, CT
Enrollment: 1,000
Miles to Beach: 1 mile

22. College of Charleston

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The College of Charleston offers year-round sailing at the J. Stewart Water Sailing Complex. Sailing takes place on the Cooper River in the northwest corner of the Charleston Harbor. Gorgeous sunshine and ideal weather make this the perfect place to sail; and the sailing center has everything needed for a day on the water including a classroom, work room, docks, and of course, ample boats. In addition to the Sailing Complex, the College of Charleston has a marine laboratory, located 15 miles from the main campus near the mouth of Charleston Harbor. Students will also enjoy the historic atmosphere the city of Charleston has to offer, from the historic buildings and beautiful landscape, to some charming horse and carriage rides. The College of Charleston was founded in 1770, making it the oldest college or university in South Carolina, and one of the oldest in the United States. The college boasts an impressive list of founders including three signers of the Declaration of Independence, and three signers of the United States Constitution.

Location: Charleston, SC
Enrollment: 11,600
Miles to Beach: 1.3 miles

21. Brigham Young University – Hawaii

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Founded in 1955, Brigham Young University Hawaii is a private university located in Laie, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. It is pleasantly situated between the Ko’ olau Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and is only 1.2 miles from Laie Point, a popular park with spectacular views of the ocean, and miles of pristine Hawaiian beaches. The university partners with the nearby Polynesian Cultural Center, the largest living museum in Hawaii, and employs roughly one-third of the student body. The university is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and 97% of the student body are members of the LDS church.

Location: Laie, HI
Enrollment: 2,900
Miles to Beach: 1.2 miles

20. Salve Regina University

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Salve Regina University, located in historic Newport, Rhode Island, is known as one of the top surfing spots in New England. It is also known as the sailing capital of the world. With a bustling waterfront filled with shops, restaurants, and other businesses that line the wharves, students can ride the trolley to visit historic mansions, museums, and galleries, or walk along the Cliff Walk to view the breathtaking Atlantic Ocean. Beach-lovers will flourish in this coastal town. Salve Regina University is a Catholic, co-educational, private university founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1934. They offer 44 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degree programs. The campus is known for its historic buildings as well as location, and is considered one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation.

Location: Newport, RI
Enrollment: 2,600
Miles to Beach: >1 mile

19. Lake Forest College

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This small liberal arts college is only half a mile from the shores of Lake Michigan, and 30 miles north of Chicago. The college is spread out over 107 acres, with three campuses that are divided by wooded ravines, making the college home to more than 250 species of plants and 187 species of birds. This serene environment is the perfect place for study; there are over 30 majors offered at Lake Forest. Students are offered a flexible curriculum that allows students to pursue a double-major and minor. Although Lake Forest is relatively secluded, it is considered a part of the Chicago metropolitan area, and is one of the most scenic, historical, and architecturally significant suburbs of Chicago.

Location: Lake Forest, IL
Enrollment: 1500
Miles to Beach: >1

18. Endicott College

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Named for John Endicott, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Endicott College sits on the charming Massachusetts coastline. Also known as the North Shore, this coastal area between Boston and New Hampshire is comprised of rocky coastline, dotted with marshes and wetlands, as well as several beaches and natural harbors. The North Shore is historically significant, as it contains the cities of Salem, serves as home to some of the first English colonies, as well as the first cotton mill in America. Endicott students can enjoy the seaside at Lynch Park & Beaches, a popular spot for swimming, kayaking, sunbathing, and picnics. Endicott College offers 23 bachelor programs, 27 concentrations, 27 minors, and master programs in Business, Education, Nursing, Computer Science, and Political Science.

Location: Beverly, MA
Enrollment: 4,500
Miles to Beach: >1 mile

17. Palm Beach Atlantic University

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Palm Beach Atlantic University is a faith-based university located in West Palm Beach, Florida. Only one mile from the Atlantic Ocean, West Palm Beach is known for its tropical climate which means year-round mild weather, lots of sunshine, boating activities like fishing, scuba diving, and water skiing, and an abundance of tropical plants and palm trees. In addition to ocean activities, West Palm Beach is home to many museums, art festivals, music venues, and waterfront restaurants. Palm Beach Atlantic offers 48 undergraduate majors, as well as graduate and professional programs in business administration, counseling, divinity, leadership, and pharmacy. They also offer international study programs in over 15 countries.

Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Enrollment: 3,800
Miles to Beach: 1 mile

16. Pepperdine University

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Located in the rolling foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, California lies Pepperdine University, a faith-based university committed to academic excellence. Most of the buildings on campus reflect the Mediterranean-style architecture, with red tiles roofs, white stucco walls, and large tinted windows; graduation is held at Alumni Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Only an hour away from downtown Los Angeles, students at Pepperdine enjoy the benefits of the city, as well as the quaint coastal town of Malibu, known for its winding shoreline, fresh ocean air, and rugged beauty. Pepperdine offers top-ranked programs for both undergraduate and graduate students, with separate schools dedicated to business, education, and psychology.

Location: Malibu, CA
Enrollment: 7,400
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

15. St Mary’s College of Maryland

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History is alive at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Simply being there is literally an education in itself as St. Mary’s City (founded in 1634) was the birthplace of religious freedom, one of the first colonies in America, the development of representative government, women’s suffrage, minority rights, and the freedom of the press. St. Mary’s College, founded in 1840, has a 361-acre campus located on a broad, bay-like bend of the St. Mary’s River, making it an ideal spot for sailing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. The school has great academics and combines the virtues of both a private and public school. It has a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio and 31 academic programs. Nearby attractions are the Town of Leonardtown, a quaint locale boasting historical attractions, museums, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, gift shops, antique shops, and bookstores. Sotterley Plantation, the only remaining Tidewater Plantation in Maryland, provides research opportunities and internships to St. Mary’s students. Just 12 miles from the College, Point Lookout State Park, offers many outdoor activities and recreational opportunities.

Location: Saint Mary’s City, MD
Enrollment: 2,000
Miles to Beach: 1 mile

14. University of Chicago

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On the shores of southern Lake Michigan lies Hyde Park, home to the University of Chicago. The
University of Chicago was established in Hyde Park in 1891 through the philanthropy of John D. Rockefeller, and is known as the longtime home of President Barack Obama. Many buildings in Hyde Park are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Students can take a study break and visit Promontory Point, a peninsula that extends out into Lake Michigan, and is a popular location for sunbathing and swimming, with the spectacular Chicago skyline in the background, or simply watch the glorious sun rises over Lake Michigan.

Location: Chicago, IL
Enrollment: 15,200
Miles to Beach: 1 mile

13. The Citadel – The Military College of South Carolina

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One of the more unique colleges on the list, The Military College of South Carolina, or more commonly known as The Citadel, is a college intricately involved with its coastal location. Founded in 1842, The Citadel is comprised of students who belong to the South Carolina Corps of Cadets and is one of the six Senior Military Colleges in the United States. The Citadel is known for excellence in academics; it is built around the principles of duty, honor, and respect. Because of its location on banks of the Ashley River, close to Charleston Harbor, the college, can’t help but be connected with the sea; students may pursue a degree in Marine Biology. The Citadel is a frontrunner in Coastal Ecology Research, using its location to research the marsh ecosystem and the effects that mankind has on the environment. They have taken the results of their research to the next level and started a recycling program dedicated to becoming a green campus.

Location: Charleston, SC
Enrollment: 2,300
Miles to Beach: Less than 1

12. Oregon Coast Community College

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Located off of the historic HWY 101, Oregon Coast Community College (OCCC) is great choice for a beach lover’s college. OCCC offered the only Aquarium Science Program in the United States, founded in 1987. Being a community college, OCCC offers a variety of programs, degree options, professional and health science degrees and flexible scheduling. Average class sizes are about 10. Situated off the Oregon Coast and nestled in Yaquina Bay, the options are bountiful. Beach State Park has walking trails and sheltered camping; Oregon Aquarium is just 1.4 miles away. Rogue Brewery is 1.5 miles away and is an awesome place for food, tours, and obviously, great beer. Hit the links at Agate Beach Golf course or visit Yaquina Head Natural Area with a picturesque lighthouse. For students looking for a community college who love the beach, OCCC could be a great fit.

Location: Newport, OR
Enrollment: 3,000
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

11. University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Pleasantly situated along the shore of Lake Mendota lies the University of Wisconsin – Madison. During the summer time, Lake Mendota is a hub for water recreation including fishing, water-skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, canoeing, wind-surfing, and sailing. Not only does summer bring ample water recreation, during the winter, Lake Mendota is the perfect place for those who love ice-boating, ice-skating, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and ice hockey. The university’s Student Union is located on the shoreline, as well as some of the on-campus housing. Combined with the university’s Hoofer Sailing Club, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is an excellent choice for those who love time on the water.

Location: Madison, WI
Enrollment: 43,200
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

10. Monmouth University

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Wide green lawns and historic buildings make up Monmouth University’s 159-acre campus, and the
Jersey Shore is a short walk away. Boasting a campus that is the “best of both worlds,” it is only one mile from the Atlantic Ocean, and only one hour from New York City and Philadelphia, providing ample cultural and recreational opportunities. In addition to the nearby clear ocean waters, historical sites on campus abound: Woodrow Wilson Hall is a National Landmark, Walt Whitney Chapel was imported from Europe and was once a part of a 16th century Tudor Abbey, and Guggenheim Cottage, is on the National Registers of Historic Places. Monmouth takes advantage of its coastal location and offers students many opportunities through the Urban Coast Institute, a Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy major, internships with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, and a Sailing Club.

Location: West Long Branch, NJ
Enrollment: 6,500
Miles to Beach: 1 mile

9. Northwestern University

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Northwestern University students watch soccer and lacrosse games at Lakeside Field, on the shore of Lake Michigan; this sprawling 240-acre campus is located along this Great Lake, just 12 miles north of Chicago. Founded in 1851 by Methodist churchmen, this small college has grown into one of the leading research universities in the United States. Beyond the classroom, the university takes advantage of its lakeside location with the Northwestern University Sailing Center, where the entire Northwestern community and general public can enjoy sailing, windsurfing, and lakeside recreation while enjoying the spectacular views of Chicago.

Location: Evanston, IL
Enrollment: 21,600
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

8. University of Rhode Island

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The University of Rhode Island offers students a land, sea, and urban experience. The university’s Bay Campus is located less than one mile from the coast; the close proximity to the sea is a contributing factor to its nationally ranked oceanography program. Students can choose from over 80 undergraduate majors and 49 graduate majors within seven different colleges. With such easy access to the ocean opportunities for those who love the sea abound. New England’s famous seafood, fishing, sailing, swimming, beachcombing, boardwalks, parks, and the historic flavor of Rhode Island all combine to make this school a great place for lovers of the sea.

Location: Kingston, RI
Enrollment: 16,200
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

7. Western Washington University

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In just under a mile, students will find themselves at Cornwall Beach on Washington’s Puget Sound. Dreamily positioned with the San Juan Islands to the west and the stunning Cascade Mountain range to the east, Western Washington University is a beautiful place to study. Located in a natural setting, WWU is an excellent choice for the outdoors enthusiast. Sailing, skiing, hiking, biking, and outstanding views are easily accessible, making nature an integral part of college life. Taking advantage of their proximity to the ocean, Western Washington University offers an excellent Marine Science Program where students study and research at Shannon Point Marine Center.

Location: Bellingham, WA
Enrollment: 15,000
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

6. College of the Atlantic

colleges-by-the-sea-College-of-the-Atlantic

This small, private, liberal arts college is located on Maine’s picturesque coastline. The College of the Atlantic provides a unique educational opportunity, intricately intertwined with their coastal location. The campus consists of 37 acres on Frenchman Bay and has two organic farms, two off-shore island research stations, and a 100-acre protected area. At the McCormick Blair Research, station is a center for the study of marine mammals and oceanographic issues. While not conducting cutting-edge research, students can spend some free time at Bar Harbor or Acadia National Park, America’s first National Park east of the Mississippi River, and home to spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Location: Bar Harbor, ME
Enrollment: 350
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

5. Florida Atlantic University

colleges-at-the-sea-florida-atlantic

Beach lovers will be delighted with Florida Atlantic University (FAU); it offers a great education (more than 180 undergraduate and graduate programs) in a sub-tropical location. Officially declared open by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, FAU is comprised of the main campus in Boca Raton and five satellite campuses. It belongs to the 12-campus State University System of Florida and serves South Florida, which has a population of more than five million people and spans more than 100 miles of coastline. As for catching a break from studies or going to the beach to relax and read, students are ideally located. More than 70 percent of FAU’s students are based in Boca Raton with suite-style housing, brand-new athletic and recreational facilities, art galleries, a café/ movie theater complex and so much more.

Location: Boca Raton, FL
Enrollment: over 30,000
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

4. Eckerd College

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Eckerd College is a liberal arts college located along Florida’s Gulf Coast, with an excetional mile-long waterfront on 188 acres of waterfront property. Eckerd’s Waterfront Program is one of the largest collegiate watersports programs in the southeastern United States. Recreation with sailboats, canoes, sea kayaks, sailboards, and multiple power boats for water skiing, fishing, and other activities abound. In addition to these opportunities, Eckerd offers a search and rescue program for highly trained students to provide maritime search and rescue services to the Tampa Bay boating community. This program is unique to Eckerd. Naturally, community service is an important aspect of an Eckerd education, and in addition to the search and rescue program, the Waterfront Program provides students with added extracurricular prospects to serve the public through watersports camps for children and teens. They offer classes in kayaking, windsurfing, wakeboarding, water skiing, saltwater fishing, exploring marine life, and multiple levels of sailing instruction.

Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Enrollment: 1,800
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

3. University of California – San Diego

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The University of California San Diego is known as one of the happiest colleges in the United States, based on nightlife, student organizations, retention rate, and sunny days. There are over 550 student organizations and 38 national and local Greek organizations on campus; fraternity and sorority members represent 20% of the student body. Not only do students get to enjoy San Diego’s sunshine, beaches, and wonderful weather, UC San Diego offers an excellent education, with six undergraduate colleges, five academic divisions, and five graduate and professional schools. Students may stroll through the eucalyptus groves on their way to the Birch Aquarium or one of the other campus research centers, combining gorgeous weather, fresh ocean air, and a top-notch education.

Location: San Diego, CA
Enrollment: 30,300
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

2. University of California – Santa Barbara

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One of the few universities in the United States with its own beach, the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) is bordered on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and also has its lagoon. Notably, UCSM is known for its extensive biking system, and 53% of UCSB students get around by cycling. Bicycles have the exclusive right of way on a series of paths that lead around campus along the beach and across the lagoon. Goleta Point, also known as “Campus Point,” a lookout at the edge of campus that provides remarkable views of the Pacific. Campus Lagoon is a large body of water that was created from a former tidal salt marsh flat and is fed by a combination of run-off water and ocean water, and is home to the Marine Science Building’s aquatic life tanks. Easy access to the coast and excellent academics makes UCSB one of the top Marine Science programs in the nation.

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Enrollment: 22,200
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

1. Texas A & M – Corpus Christi

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Located between Oso Bay and Corpus Christi Bay, Texas A & M Corpus Christi boasts a tropical climate and is the nation’s only university that is found on its island. Students at Texas A & M Corpus Christi have the benefit of studying in this prime vacation spot, where there are many opportunities for windsurfing, fishing, boating, or exploring more than 130,000 acres of beautiful, sandy beaches. The Port of Corpus Christi is the nation’s sixth largest port, and is home to the Beach to Bay relay marathon, the Texas Jazz Festival, and the Festival of the Arts. Texas A & M Corpus Christi is part of the larger Texas A & M University system and offers 33 undergraduate majors, 25 graduate programs, and 5 doctoral programs.

Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Enrollment: 10,100
Miles to Beach: Less than 1 mile

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