California has some of the most stunning natural scenery in the United States, so it’s no surprise that it’s also home to many of the most beautiful college campuses as well. Here is a list of the top 10 campuses in the state. Can you guess which is number one?

Occidental College Los Angeles

10. Occidental College – Los Angeles

A combination of historic architecture, wooded grounds and urban energy equals the unique setting of Occidental College. The secluded campus sits on 120 acres filled with graceful oak trees and eucalyptus, but the heart of Los Angeles is just a stone’s throw away, giving “Oxy” students the best of both worlds.

Thomas Aquinas College Santa Paula

9. Thomas Aquinas College – Santa Paula

Thomas Aquinas College is nestled in a valley adjoining Los Padres National Forest, making for some breathtaking views. The grounds are highlighted by tree-lined ponds and a waterfall, while the Spanish-style buildings are a perfect accent to the surroundings.

Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego

8. Point Loma Nazarene University – San Diego

PLNU is located on the oceanfront in San Diego, considered by many to top the list of the country’s most livable cities. With the ocean on one side and the downtown skyline on the other, there are gorgeous views no matter which way you turn.

University of California Santa Cruz

7. University of California, Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz

The name “Santa Cruz” conjures up images of ocean vistas and lush natural scenery, and UC Santa Cruz does not disappoint. Their campus in a redwood-studded area of the Santa Cruz Mountains is an outdoor lover’s paradise with proximity to hiking and biking trails, beaches and other activities.

UCLA Los Angeles

6. UCLA – Los Angeles

UCLA is a legendary name in the arena of college sports, but their academic programs and campus are equally first-class. One-third of the campus is covered in greenery interspersed with brick-lined walkways leading to courtyards, plazas and gardens.

University of San Diego

5. University of San Diego – San Diego

San Diego makes its second appearance on the list with its namesake university. The city boasts the ideal climate, adding to the backdrop of the campus and its greenery, impressive architecture and lovely views.

Stanford University

4. Stanford University – Stanford 

Stanford’s campus is located on 8,000 acres made up of flatlands and gently rolling foothills. The grounds were once a horse farm owned by Jane and Leland Stanford, and today they still bear the rustic, outdoorsy charm that inspires students and faculty to call it “The Farm.”

Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles

3. Loyola Marymount University – Los Angeles

You can literally see for miles from Loyola Marymount’s perch atop a 142-acre bluff. Palm trees, red-tiled buildings and ocean horizons give the campus a quintessential California feel.

Pepperdine University Malibu

2. Pepperdine University – Malibu

The incomparable beauty of the Pepperdine campus makes it an in-demand location for film and photography crews. From the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, you have a sweeping view of iconic Malibu Canyon and its picturesque seashore.

University of California Santa Barbara

1. University of California, Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara 

The most beautiful campus in California features an endless variety of captivating sights. During a typical day, you might see the rowing team practicing on the lagoon before heading out to Campus Point to take a break as you look out over the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands. On weekends, bike down to Goleta Pier for a picnic or friendly game of volleyball.


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Is one of these prestigious and in your future plans? Don’t know where to start in the college application process? Allow California College Prep counselors to sit down with you and form a plan on how to get you into your dream College or University! Contact us to learn how we can help make your dreams a reality.

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