30 Awesome Getaways Near Top College Campuses

It's easy to get restless after studying hard for weeks on end. It's nice to venture to an incredible weekend destination such as a charming village at the base of a mountain or a bustling city with a lot of options for thrilling quests and a bustling nightlife scene if you don't have to travel far.

Washington University in St. Louis – Ste. Genevieve, Missouri

Missouri's first settlement is just about an hour away from the campus. The town is where creative souls go for inspiration, couples go on a romantic getaway, nature lovers go to explore the wilderness, and history buffs come to see the many historic attractions.

Bowdoin College – Bath and Freeport, Maine

They are about 20 minutes away from the college. Bath offers many venues to explore, including the Bath Iron Works, the home of U.S. Navy submarine construction, and the Maine Maritime Museum, where you can learn about the history of the high seas. Both villages offer boutiques, specialty shops, bars, and delicious eateries.

Virginia Tech – Seneca Rocks, West Virginia

Some may say this is a bit of a long drive – about three hours – but it's worth the trip. Seneca Rocks is one of the best-known landmarks in the state, and in the country. They have long been popular with rock climbers. The a magnificent formation rising nearly 900 feet above the North Fork River provides stunning views as well.

California Baptist University - Venice Beach, California

You will only have to drive for about an hour and a half. Bikers will perhaps love it the most. Biking is maybe the most popular way to explore the area. Make time for a stop at the Mosaic Tile House, which continues to be built. This is the beach where the stars of the classic TV show Baywatch ran in slo-mo. Venice Beach also offers a fishing pier, a popular skate plaza, one of the best city bike paths, and two children's play areas.

Liberty University – Natural Bridge and Luray Caverns, Virginia

The two-hour drive is worth the adventure. This is where you get to hear the haunting sounds of the world's only Stalacpipe Organ. The caves are among the most surreal in North America. They are located deep beneath Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. They are a U.S. Natural Landmark and the largest in Eastern America.

Grand Canyon University – Sedona, Arizona

Only two hours separate you from the city known for its beautiful red rock formations or the energy vortices rumored to exist there. Sedona is for active people who love the outdoors. The desert town draws in artists, healers and wanderers, while the surrounding landscape brings adventurers. Take to Submarine Rock on a mountain bike, head off the beaten path with ATVs and hike Red Rock State Park.

Stanford University – San Francisco, California

San Fran is just under an hour away from the famous campus. San Francisco offers incredible sightseeing opportunities. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge and take tons of photos, grab a bite to eat at their delicious cafes, watch the bay lights, and have dinner on the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Sky Bridge for gorgeous views of the San Francisco Bay.

James Madison University – Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Shenandoah Valley is practically in the university's backyard. Try horseback riding or RV camping. The campgrounds provide great locations from the mountains to the river to the valley. You can choose from basic primitive tent sites to full hookups. Drive the picturesque open roads for inspirations sights.

Rice University – Wimberley, Texas

The beautiful small town is tucked away in the rolling hills of the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Avid scuba divers will be willing to take this 3-hour long trip. Jacob's Well, a swimming hole near Austin, is very tempting, but also dangerous. There are four different entryways to explore. Narrow spaces can be a huge problem, especially after the third one.

High Point University – Asheville, North Carolina

Drive to 2.5 hours to Asheville to see with your own eyes why everybody is talking about it. Downtown Asheville is known for its food, art, music and brewery scenes, while the Biltmore Estate, America's largest private home, offers a historical look at Gilded Age opulence.

Rollins College – Orlando, Florida

Only about 20 minutes separate you from Wet 'n Wild Orlando, Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World, all of Disney World, Universal Studios, Aquatica, SeaWorld. Kid- and family-friendly adventure awaits.

Pomona College – Mount Baldy, California

Whenever you get too tired from studying, just got for a nice walk in the mountain nearby – only 20 minutes away. Try hiking the Mount Baldy, Old Baldy, or more formally, Mount San Antonio trail. The trek to the summit is considered a rite of passage for avid hikers.

University of St. Thomas – Minnesota – Lake Superior

Duluth is your closes getaway to Lake Superior – only about two hours away. Head to the beach, go fishing, swimming or hiking. Make time for the Great Lakes Aquarium to see some colorful creatures that live under water. The kids will love it.

Yale University – Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic is only an hour away. Mystic Seaport, the nation's leading maritime museum, is a must-see. Explore American maritime history first-hand as you climb aboard historic tall ships, stroll through a re-created 19th-century coastal village or watch a working preservation shipyard in action. Visit the Mystic Arts Center, hike in the Bluff Point State Park, explore the 1,000-acre Barn Island Wildlife Management Area, and take a day trip to Mason's Island for some swimming, fishing and lots of fun.

University of Georgia – Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia

Visitors love to go to Tallulah Gorge Park, which is about an hour away from the university, for its abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. Go hiking, swimming, fishing, and whitewater rafting. Play tennis, enjoy archery and go on a picnic. If you're really into the outdoors stay in one of their 50 campsites.

St. Norbert College – Green Bay, Wisconsin

You can practically walk to either destination – it's going to be a nice 2-hour walking exercise. Of course, your first stop should probably be the Lambeau Field, which is home of the Green Bay Packers football team and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. The National Railroad Museum should probably be your next stop. See locomotives, passenger rail cars and other cool artifacts.

Bates College – Lake Auburn, Maine

Depending on where you travel to access the lake, your trip can be up to an hour and 45 minutes. The reservoir has a total area of 2,260 acres. You're not allowed to get in the water but there is plenty to do nearby. The moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Auburn features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels, according to All Trails.

Santa Clara University – San Jose, California

One of the happiest cities in America, San Jose is just about an hour away from campus. Surrounded by rolling hills in Silicon Valley, the city is a technological as well as cultural hub in the Bay Area. You'll find world-class dining, cool attractions such as the Mystery House or the Tech Museum of Innovation, and plenty of park land for outdoor adventures.

Vanderbilt University – Sewanee, Tennessee

In about half an hour from the university, you can find many miles ideal for hiking, plenty of opportunities for indoor pursuits in pubs and art galleries, and a nine-hole golf course in Sewanee. You'll be overlooking the stunning valleys below.

Brigham Young University – Salt Lake City, Utah

The city is a cheap weekend destination just an hour away from campus. Be an Olympian for a day. Salt Lake City hosted record crowds for the Winter Olympics in 2002 and the city is still a hotspot for travelers. Visitors can skate on Olympic ice in the winter or take on an adventure course at Utah Olympic Park. You'll find the Great Salt Lake, Snowbird resort and nearby canyons, which are perfect settings for outdoor recreation.

Wheaton College – Cantigny Park, Illinois

Fifteen minutes in the car and you'll be in the park. This is an ideal venue for a relaxing family weekend or a fun and educational adventure for the little ones. There are picnic grounds, nature walks, a playground with a tank park, and plenty of places for geocaching.

Emory University – Greenville, South Carolina

A two-hour drive separates you from this magnificent city. Snuggled into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville is a magnificent blend of traditional southern charm, spectacular natural splendor and a contemporary calm. See a world-class collection of museums and theaters. There are a lot of lakes, rivers and mountain hills to explore.

The University of Alabama – Bankhead National Forest, Alabama

There are six recreation areas scattered about the forest, which is about an hour and a half away. You can go camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, and swimming. Campgrounds are open April through October. There are more than 90 miles of recreational hiking trails.  You can also enjoy bicycle and horseback riding.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor – Kalamazoo, Michigan

Depending on which road you take it will take you between 1.5 and two hours to get from campus to Kalamazoo. Discover the city by visiting its best known attractions such as the Valley Museum, which has exhibits in science and technology, the Institute of Arts where you can see artworks dating back to the 1920s, and the State Theatre for some fun entertainment.

Michigan State University – Grand Rapids, Michigan

An hour away from campus, the state's second-largest city has its history in furniture-making, but public art has been a core part of the city's evolution and its identity today. Spend a day strolling through the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The city's Heritage Hill district is comprised of 1,300 homes spanning a variety of American architectural styles, including the Meyer May house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, which is free to tour. After a day of walking, kick back at one of the city's 40-plus craft breweries.

Scripps College – Pasadena, California

This is "where great minds meet." Explore how science, technology, and creativity come to life. If that's not a reason to go, consider this: The new Pizza Experience pop-up museum is coming to Pasadena in October. The city is 40 minutes away from Scripps College.

Texas A&M, Corpus Christi - Padre Island

This barrier island in Texas is a top spring break spot. And it's only 30-40 minutes away. Enjoy powder-soft beaches, 34 miles of beautiful white sand and clear emerald water, sun-soaked shores, postcard-perfect settings, and a lavish nightlife with many popular beach haunts rocking until the wee hours, according to the Travel Channel.

Florida Institute of Technology - Sebastian Inlet

The Sebastian Inlet, just about half an hour away from campus, is a top spot for students to go surfing with some major competitions being held here every year. The state park premier saltwater fishing spot on Florida's east coast. Enjoy the three miles of gorgeous beaches ideal for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, shelling, and sunbathing.

University of California, Santa Barbara – Isla Vista

As most college town, Isla Vista is a lot of fun. Go on a mountain biking tour on Goleta Beach, go on an adventure walk in the Coronado Butterfly Preserve, and book a helicopter tour for a newfound appreciation for this great place.

UCLA - The Marina Aquatic Center

Why go anywhere else when you have this center located in gorgeous Marina del Rey? Who needs to travel far when you have such an easy access to kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, rowing, and even surfing?