Best College Towns

Learning is a life-long pleasure for many, and these  towns pack in education and a whole lot of fun with university life close at hand. These towns, along with their learning institutions, welcome adult students whether they want to study for a degree or just take the occasional self-enhancement class.

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Best College Towns


Beaufort, SC--Located in the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry, Beaufort’s waterfront downtown has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Nearby is the main campus of the University of South Carolina Beaufort, which hosts a variety of cultural arts programs that benefit the community year-round. USCB’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers an innovative adult-education curriculum that has been specifically designed for students age 50 and over.

Best College Towns


Williamsburg, VA--The hub of a destination region that also includes Jamestown and Yorktown, Colonial Williamsburg is a living museum of American history where goldsmiths, woodworkers and candle makers demonstrate their traditional skills. The adjacent College of William & Mary, which was founded in 1693, serves as a serene 1,200-acre extension of the historic district and is annually ranked among America’s finest higher-education institutions. Three area community colleges offer degree courses for Williamsburg’s suburban residents.

Best College Towns


Greenville, SC--Greenville is the thriving economic and cultural center of South Carolina’s Upstate region, one of the fastest-growing areas in the South. Among the city’s most notable attributes are its academic centers, including historic Furman University and the private non-denominational Bob Jones University. The main campus of Clemson University is just a short drive away, while the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville is part of the top-rated Greenville Health System.

Best College Towns


Charlottesville, SC--Charlottesville was established in 1762 as the gateway to the frontier Blue Ridge Mountain region and today serves as a starting point for visitors to the spectacular Shenandoah National Park. In 1819, former President Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and designed the masterplan for its campus, as well as many of its most historic buildings. In addition to acclaimed graduate and undergraduate programs, UVA’s cultural arts and guest speaker programs are open to community residents.

Best College Towns

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC--As home to the main campus of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is the first among equals in the famous “Research Triangle” that also includes North Carolina State University in Raleigh and Duke University in Durham. While perhaps best known for the sports’ rivalries among those schools, the Chapel Hill area is also renowned for the quality of its world-class medical centers and the variety of its performance arts venues.

Best College Towns


Knoxville, TN--From its modest beginnings as a riverfront trading post in the late 17th century, Knoxville has become the cultural and business center of East Tennessee. The main campus of the University of Tennessee has been the driver of that progress and the flagship of a state-wide system that stretches west to the Mississippi River. More than a dozen other community and technical colleges in the Knoxville area also offer continuing-education opportunities.

Best College Towns


Oxford, GA--Oxford’s founders named the town for their prestigious alma mater in England and established the original Emory University there. When Emory later moved its main campus to nearby Atlanta, Oxford College remained as a part of its higher-education network and continues to be a center for literary and artistic activities in this welcoming north Georgia town with its revitalized historic district.

Best College Towns


Boone, NC--The campus of Appalachian State University is located in downtown Boone and gives this laid-back North Carolina mountain town much of its character. Part of the University of North Carolina system and a traditional choice for many of the state’s future teachers, ASU today is renowned for its school of music, which hosts concerts open to the public throughout the year, and its cutting-edge programs in environmental sustainability.

Best College Towns


Athens, GA--The historic Georgia town of Athens was incorporated in 1806, two years after the first students graduated from the new University of Georgia. Since then, the town and school have grown up together and become a destination for literary studies and those who enjoy the local progressive music scene. In addition, The Georgia Center on UGA’s South Campus is a national leader in continuing education programs.

Best College Towns


Gainesville, FL--Home to the University of Florida’s flagship campus, Gainesville hosts the annual Spring Arts Festival and the Downtown Festival and Art Show in the fall. The UF campus boasts distinguished art and natural history museums, plus five performing arts centers offering an impressive range of entertainments. In recent years, the university has become a pioneer in cancer and genetic research, as well as a major provider of medical services for area residents.

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