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15 Most Beautiful Colleges in Florida

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The Sunshine State is known for its natural beauty so it’s no surprise some of the most beautiful colleges in the country are in Florida. Which design departments get an A+ for campus appearance? Here are 15 Florida college campuses that are attractive enough to be on a postcard.

1. Florida State University, Tallahassee

Image source: HuffPost

Florida State University is often hailed as one of the most beautiful campuses in the south. The burgundy brick exterior of the buildings play off of the school’s colors and give the campus a stately southern appearance. In fact, Doak Campbell Stadium holds the honor of being one of the largest brick structures in the U.S. Fun fact: the stadium structure has over 3 million bricks.

2. Florida Southern College, Lakeland

Image source: Florida Southern College

Florida Southern College ranks the highest in the state (#9 overall) on the Princeton Review’s list of most beautiful campuses. It got the coveted top spot in 2011 and 2012. The college is well-known for having the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world.

3. Flagler College, St. Augustine

Image source: Florida's Historic Coast

St. Augustine is beautiful in and of itself, so it’s no surprise Flagler College is considered to have one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. It got the best ranking of any Florida college (#7) on Architectural Digest’s list of the 50 most beautiful colleges. Of course, the primary style around campus is Spanish Renaissance. The famous Ponce de Leon Hotel is a centerpiece that has been meticulously maintained.

4. Rollins College, Winter Park

Image source: Rollins

Premier travel publication Conde Nast has dubbed Rollins College one of the most beautiful institutions of higher education in the country. That’s understandable when you take a look around campus, which sits alongside Lake Virginia. There’s a blend of New England and Spanish-inspired architecture with palm trees all around.

5. New College of Florida, Sarasota

Image source: U.S. News

New College of Florida is known for having one of the best liberal arts programs in the country, but what about its campus? Not many college campuses enjoy a bayfront view like New College of Florida. The college was established in the 1960s, but three mansions that are on the National Register of Historic Places were already on the campus grounds. The school retrofitted and preserved the mansions, which are now architectural gems.

6. Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers

Image source: Swing by Swing

Florida Gulf Coast University looks more like a beach resort than a college. There are large swaths of green lawns, sparkling lakes (where students wakeboard) and a huge pool at South Village. In true Florida fashion, the most distinctive architectural feature is the green roofs on nearly all of the buildings.

7. University of Central Florida, Orlando

Image source: U.S. News

Orlando is home to the happiest place on Earth and the University of Central Florida. The college is like a state-of-the-art planned community with a sprawling 1,400-acre main campus. All that space is justified. The University of Central Florida has the largest undergraduate enrollment in the country.

8. University of Miami, Coral Gables

Image source: Miami New Times

Millions of people travel to sub-tropical Miami for vacation, but some are lucky enough to stay and study at the University of Miami. The university actually has three campuses, the main one being in the ritzy area of Coral Gables. The campus is a cultural hotspot with impressive art museums, music halls, and the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre.

9. University of South Florida, Tampa

Image source: Plexus

Wide banana and oak tree-lined walkways throughout the University of South Florida’s main campus in Tampa showcase the beauty of Florida’s diverse vegetation. The landscaping is a nice compliment to the contemporary design and clean lines of the USF library, INTO USF Center and other buildings around campus.

10. University of Florida, Gainesville

Image source: UF

The University of Florida regularly gets ranked as one of the best colleges in the country largely for its medical school. While it doesn’t get as much attention as Flagler College and Florida Southern College for its architecture, UF does have an attractive campus. Even though it’s known as “the swamp”, the campus actually looks more like a forest park with a number of towering brick buildings that feature ornate white stone trim.

11. Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne

Image source: SSDP

The techies at the Florida Institute of Technology get to take advantage of a beautiful campus when they venture outdoors. FIT has an A- rating on partly because the school grounds are near the beach, which makes it feel like a tropical locale as much as a college campus.

12. Florida International University, Miami

Image source: FIU

Diversity is a big draw for Florida International University, but the campus is exactly what most people envision when they think of the Sunshine State. Crisp white buildings are framed by tall palm trees and expansive green lawns. It’s an ideal place to soak up the sun while studying. Students also note that the campus has a “city” feel with amenities that make living on campus convenient.

13. University of West Florida, Pensacola

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The University of West Florida actually owns part of Pensacola Beach - enough said. Other parts of the campus are located within a peaceful wilderness reserve. Both environments are used by students for research and recreation. You can even rent a kayak for a weekend adventure on the Escambia River.

14. Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach

Image source: PBA

Few colleges give students views of the water from their classroom or dorm room, but that’s what you’ll get at Palm Beach Atlantic University. The campus is right across from the Intracoastal Waterway and its beaches. There’s a heavy Mediterranean influence to the architectural design, which is common in the area.

15. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

Image source: Plexuus

If futuristic modern design is your thing you’ll feel right at home on the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus. The innovative glass and metal buildings fit the aerospace programs perfectly. Don’t forget to swing by Research Park to see some of the latest and most impressive structures.

Florida is also home to some of the most spectacular high school campuses in the country. If you aren’t quite ready for higher education then check out our picks for the 25 most beautiful high schools in Florida.

Krista Doyle