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Colleges for Beach Lovers

If You're a Big Fan of the Sand and Sun, Check Out These 14 Schools


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Can’t get enough of that sun and sand? Many colleges in coastal states such as California, Florida, New Jersey, and even Rhode Island offer quick access to some of the nation’s finest beaches. Whether you’re a surfer, a tanner or a sandcastle builder, you’ll want to check out these beach colleges.

Eckerd College

South Beach at Eckerd College
Photo Credit: Allen Grove

Eckerd sits right on the coast of Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, Florida, allowing easy access to several area beaches. The college also has its own on-campus beach, South Beach, offering a variety of recreational activities for students.

Endicott College

The Atlantic Ocean from Endicott College
ⓙanet / Flickr

Endicott’s oceanfront campus in Beverly, Massachusetts, just 20 miles north of Boston, includes three private beaches nestled in the coves of the Salem Sound. These beaches are exclusively for student use and conveniently located across the street from the main portion of campus.

  • Location: Beverly, Massachusetts
  • Type of School: Private college
  • Enrollment: 4,125 (2,302 undergraduates)
  • Learn More: Endicott College profile

Flagler College

Flagler College - Ponce de Leon Hall
Photo by Allen Grove

A smaller private college in historic St. Augustine, Florida, Flagler is minutes from the Atlantic coast and several beaches, including Vilano Beach, a local “best-kept secret” beach just a few miles from downtown St. Augustine, and Anastasia State Park, a protected bird sanctuary and public recreation area with five miles of beaches.

Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology
Jamesontai / Wikimedia Commons

Florida Tech is a technical research university in Melbourne, Florida, along the Atlantic coast. It is just across the Intracoastal Waterway from the small beach town of Indiatlantic and several miles north of the Sebastian Inlet, widely recognized as one of the best surfing beaches on the East Coast and one of the state’s most popular beaches.

  • Location: Melbourne, Florida
  • Type of School: Private technical research university
  • Enrollment: 8,985 (5,582 undergraduates)
  • Learn More: Florida Tech profile

Mitchell College

New London, Connecticut
Ralph Thayer / Wikimedia Commons

Mitchell College is located in New London, Connecticut between the Thames River and the Long Island Sound, giving students access not only to the college’s small private beach but also to New London’s 50-acre Ocean Beach Park, which includes a white sugar sand beach that National Geographic has rated among the best beaches.

  • Location: New London, Connecticut
  • Type of School: Private liberal arts college
  • Enrollment: 992 (all undergraduates)
  • Learn More: Mitchell College profile

Monmouth University

Monmouth University Sculpture
Sister72 / Flickr

New Jersey might not top the list of places you would think to look for a beach college, but Monmouth University in West Long Branch is located less than a mile from the infamous ‘Jersey shore,’ offering easy access to local beaches such as the Seven Presidents’ Oceanfront Park, a popular New Jersey destination for swimming, surfing and sun.

  • Location: West Long Branch, New Jersey
  • Type of School: Private university
  • Enrollment: 6,506 (4,669 undergraduates)
  • Learn More: Monmouth University profile

Palm Beach Atlantic University

Palm Beach Atlantic University
Heidial / Flickr

Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida is just across the Intracoastal Waterway from some of the Palm Beach area’s best public beaches, including Midtown Beach and Lake Worth Municipal Beach. The university is also several miles north of the John D. Macarthur Beach State Park, an 11,000-acre barrier island park offering a number of nature activities such as hiking, snorkeling and scuba.

  • Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Type of School: Christian liberal arts institution
  • Enrollment: 3,659 (2,841 undergraduates)
  • Learn More: Palm Beach Atlantic profile

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University
John Beagle / Flickr

Pepperdine’s 830-acre campus overlooking the Pacific in Malibu, California is just a few minutes from some of California’s most popular beaches. Malibu Lagoon State Beach, only a five-minute walk from campus, is considered one of the premier surfing beaches in the state, and Zuma Beach a few minutes down the coast is one of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles County.

  • Location: Malibu, California
  • Type of School: Private university
  • Enrollment: 7,604 (3,447 undergraduates)
  • Learn More: Pepperdine University profile

Texas A&M University - Galveston

Bridge to Pelican Island
Patrick Feller / Flickr

Texas A&M Galveston is just a few miles from East Beach, the largest beach in the state located on the eastern tip of the island, as well as several other beaches in the Galveston area, a popular Texas beach destination.

  • Location: Galveston, Texas
  • Type of School: Public maritime university
  • Enrollment: 1,867 (1,805 undergraduates)
  • Learn More: Texas A&M Galveston profile

University of California San Diego

University of San Diego Geisel Library
kafka4prez / Flickr

Considered one of the "Public Ivies" with a consistent top-ten ranking among American public universities, UCSD is also a prime beach school, located in the luxurious La Jolla coastal area. Local favorite Torrey Pines State Beach, just a few miles north of UCSD, sits at the base of picturesque 300-foot sandstone cliffs. A section of Torrey Pines State Beach, known as Black’s Beach, is famous as one of the largest clothing-optional beaches in the country, although the city-owned portion of the beach prohibits this practice.

  • Location: La Jolla, California
  • Type of School: Public university
  • Enrollment: 29,176 (23,663 undergraduates)
  • Learn More: UCSD profile

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