Discover 10 Amazing Colleges Near the Beach

Choosing a college can feel like a daunting task. There are many factors to consider, such as academic offerings, acceptance rates, graduation outcomes, and what the school offers in terms of a memorable collegiate experience. One aspect seems to get overlooked by or downplayed in many college guides: location, location, location.

Location is not just important because of job prospects, but because location can make or break your college experience. Unless you plan to keep your nose buried in a book 24/7, attending a college in the middle of a cornfield, in the middle of a landlocked state, may not sound like an enviable college experience. In contrast, a frolic at the beach or a surf on the waves between classes sounds exciting.

With that said, we have curated a list of 10 amazing colleges that are located on or near a beach or ocean. These colleges are within a short driving or walking distance of a beach and are located in cities rich in economic, cultural, and recreational opportunities.

Proximity to a beachfront is not the only benefit that these schools have to offer. These schools provide stellar academic programs and vibrant campus cultures shaped by their oceanic environments, including reputable programs in the marine sciences.

Every school on this list is within three miles to the beach.

Without further ado, here are 10 amazing colleges on the beach waiting to be discovered…


10. Coastal Carolina University (Conway, SC)

Coastal Carolina University
Coastal Carolina University, CCU Blanton Park, CC BY-SA 4.0

Coastal Carolina University is located within a short driving distance to Myrtle Beach. This easy access to one of the most popular vacation spots in the country allows students to enjoy a bevy of economic and cultural benefits that will enliven their college education and experience.

Myrtle Beach is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country and has an economy teeming with opportunities, particularly in the resort, entertainment, and hospitality industries. The area is famous for its 60-mile strip, known as the Grand Strand, which is dotted with stunning views of the Atlantic coast, nature preserves, shops, and parks. In this setting, CCU students certainly enjoy a “work hard, play hard” lifestyle during their time here.

The curriculum, values, and culture of CCU are manifestly shaped by the university’s oceanside location and proximity to a burgeoning, coastal metropolis. In addition to being home to two popular Ph.D. programs, Marine Science and Coastal and Marine Systems Science, CCU is also a national sea grant institution and owns a part of Waties Island. The Atlantic Ocean serves as the school’s classroom and research laboratory, with its learning and research initiatives centered on conservation and practical use of the land.


9. California State University, Monterey Bay (Monterey Bay, CA)

CSU Monterey Bay
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Cal State Monterey Bay, a public research university, can boast miles of scenic coastline as its front yard. Although the most popular majors at CSU are Business, Psychology, and the Liberal Arts, it offers various programs focused on life sciences, most notably Marine Science, the environmental sciences, and a unique program in the Agricultural Plant and Soil Sciences. Its curriculum and culture are indisputably shaped by its proximity to Monterey Bay, which is home to a rich and diverse marine life, in addition to dozens of beautiful beaches.

Students enjoy a strong curriculum and a rich, social life on the beach, due its proximity to Monterey Bay. As we have just mentioned, Monterey Bay is home to stretches of beaches, including Marina State Beach, Carmel Beach, and Monterey State Beach, among many others. Monterey State Beach is one of the most popular sites among students, who partake in and enjoy water sports such as surfing, kayaking, surf fishing, and swimming, when they are not hitting the books.  


8. Endicott College (Beverly, MA)

Endicott College
Elizabeth B. Thomsen, Callahan Center, Endicott College, CC BY-SA 4.0

Endicott College is located on the beautiful, oceanfront property on the North Shore of Massachusetts Bay, also known as the “Gold Coast.” Two nearby beaches, Tupper Beach and Brindle Beach are the backyards of the campus community. The campus is also located just 20 miles north of Boston, making it an excellent location for anyone looking for a picturesque, coastal backdrop for their collegiate life and easy access to a metropolitan hub of culture, history, and commerce.

Because of its location along the stunning, northern shore of Massachusetts bay, it is not surprising that conservation and sustainability efforts are the heart of the college’s culture. In fact, the school earned the Silver Rating for its sustainability initiatives in 2016. Endicott College is consistently featured on Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges.

Indeed, a beachfront location and an environmentally conscious culture are not the only reason prospective students choose Endicott College. It was ranked among the top 25 regional colleges in the Northeast by US News & World Report. Its postgraduation outcomes are worth bragging about, with over 75% of its graduates employed full-time within a year of completing their studies and an overwhelming percentage attaining employment that is relevant to their college major.


7. Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, FL)

Eckerd College
Elisa.rolle, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL, CC BY-SA 4.0

Imagine a beautiful waterfront location where the average year-round temperature is 74 degrees and from where the dorm rooms overlook a beautiful bay. This perfectly describes what the students at Eckerd College, in St. Petersburg, FL, get to experience on a daily basis during the school year. The campus is located just 3 miles from the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. The central architectural theme of the campus is its connection with nature; the academic, administrative, and residential buildings have generous, almost panoramic, views of the surrounding greenery and coast.

The school’s connection with nature is underscored by its environmental consciousness, as evidenced by its many sustainability initiatives and research programs. In fact, Eckerd College was ranked by Princeton Review as one of the top Green Colleges in the country; the list described the college as having a “strong interest in environmental sustainability.”

The environmental ethic is so strong at Eckerd that its scholarship is infused with it; the school consistently ranks number one as producing the highest number of Hollings Scholars. The Hollings Scholarship is awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

But it is not “all work, no play” at Eckerd; the students enjoy a vibrant, recreational, and social life on the beach, as any coastal school would. South Beach is a popular site for the college’s many social activities, recreation, and its annual commencement ceremony.

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