5 Best College Towns That Double as Vacation Spots

August means it’s back-to-school time for thousands of college students across the United States. By the end of the month, existing students as well as new ones will be packing cars filled with dorm essentials, with many parents traveling alongside them to help them get prepared for the semester ahead. With so many unique events at major universities like football games, orientation events, and family weekends, there are a variety of opportunities to turn your back-to-school rush into a tiny vacation.

This week, we took a closer look at some of the country’s best college towns to explore each area’s vacation potential. Whether you’re a new student looking for fun things to do in a new area, or a parent searching for weekend activities around your child’s new home, we’ve got you covered!

#1. Orlando, Florida

School: University of Central Florida
Orlando has been America’s favorite vacation destination for a generation. As a result, it’s become the largest and most-visited destination in the country. Similarly, the city’s flagship school, UCF, is the school with the most reported enrollments in the USA. If you’re headed to UCF later this month, you’ll be in luck—some of the country’s best vacation attractions will be just a short drive away. Head to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Orlando with your young scholar, or opt instead for campus-based fun. The UCF Knights boast a reputable Division I football team, which regularly turns out talented future NFL prospects.

#2. Tempe, Arizona

School: Arizona State University
Another one of the nation’s largest and most popular schools, ASU is located in the heart of the Phoenix area in Tempe. Prized for its year-round warm weather and constant sunshine, Arizona’s capital city is an ideal vacation destination. From the Tempe campus, you’ll be able to reach Phoenix in just minutes to enjoy classic attractions like the Heard Museum, South Mountain, and others. Additionally, head north across the river to discover some of the West’s best golf courses. Like UCF, ASU also has a great football program, with NFL stars like Vontaze Burfict, Terrell Suggs, and Brock Osweiler all calling the campus home.

#3. Southern California

School: University of California, Los Angeles
Many students choose to join the Bruins at UCLA, and for good reason—the school is known for its athletics, education programs, and the arts. Aside from receiving a good education, students will be living in the West Coast’s most alluring destination. Parents will love visiting their students, as the UCLA campus is just minutes from hotspots like Hollywood and Santa Monica. You’ll also find Disneyland in Anaheim, as well as unbelievable coastal drives in Malibu. Don’t forget to visit in the winter, when you can watch future NBA stars at UCLA basketball games.

#4. Boston, Massachusetts

School: Boston College
New England’s metropolitan hub is home to some of the nation’s best schools, including the historic Boston College in Chestnut Hill. Students and parents will find themselves in a quiet, but trendy area of Boston just a few minutes from the city center, giving you plenty of options to explore. Walk the Freedom Trail for your dose of history, or discover some of the country’s best craft beer at local breweries. While fall can be an alluring time to visit, don’t be afraid of New England winters—the school’s hockey team is considered to be one of the best in the nation, and skiing and snowboarding are just a day trip away in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

#5. Greater Denver Area, Colorado

School: University of Colorado, Boulder
UC Boulder is renowned for its science-based programs, appealing to students looking to advance their pursuits in fields like geology, chemistry, and physics. The main campus for the University of Colorado, the Boulder campus is just 30 miles from downtown Denver, providing students and their families with a chance to explore the Rocky Mountains. The campus is close to famous ski resort towns like Vail, Breckenridge, and ultra-luxurious Aspen, providing nearly endless opportunities to ski the best slopes in the country. Additionally, the Denver area is great for craft beer, live shows at Red Rocks, and dining and shopping at Union Station.

Find More Vacations in the Best College Towns

Heading out to another big college town in a few weeks? Find high-quality resort rental deals in destinations all over the country to serve as your home base for exploring around whichever university or college you plan on visiting!

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