BCO - Top Beachfront SchoolsIn this article, we profile the 50 best beachfront colleges and universities in the United States ranked by affordability.

When considering which college or university to attend, environment can impact your decision. Beachfront colleges and universities offer more than a stress relieving environment. Coastal colleges provide educational opportunities in marine science, environmental conservation, and oceanography. Students may take part in volunteer and research work that impacts a community and its environment for years to come. Living by the ocean also provides plentiful activities that can only be found at the beach.

50 Best Beachfront Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability Methodology

We looked at approximately 120 beachfront colleges and universities listed by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator and found on the web that were in close proximity to the beach. Coastal colleges, within five miles of the ocean, were also considered. We gave preference to institutions within walking distance to the beach. Also, preference was awarded to colleges with marine research centers or educational facilities that take advantage of their coastal setting. We then ranked the institutions according to raw affordability.

Below is our list of the 50 best beachfront colleges and universities ranked by affordability for 2019.

#50 – University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

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University of Chicago - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
One of the top beachfront colleges and universities ranked on our list – University of Chicago.

Undergraduate Tuition: $58,230

While one of the most expensive universities on our list, University of Chicago is also one of the best beachfront colleges. Located approximately one mile from the southern shores of Lake Michigan, University of Chicago offers visits to Promontory Point, a peninsula that is popular among students. The beach area extends out into Lake Michigan and provides ample areas to sunbathe and swim. The campus is spread throughout the historic Hyde Park neighborhood and consists of 217 acres of traditional English Gothic architecture designed by world-renowned artists and architects. Also, the school is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 3rd best national university.

#49 – Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

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Northwestern University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Located on Lake Michigan! Northwestern University’s a top beachfront college.

Undergraduate Tuition: $54,568

Chicago is home to several coastal college campuses, including Northwestern University. The world-renowned institution sprawls across 240 acres and is located along the shore of Lake Michigan. The school takes advantage of its lakeside location to host sailing events to the general public. In fact, the Northwestern University Sailing Center offers community events and lakeside recreation. If you enjoy sailing, windsurfing, and other lakeside activities, Northwestern has something for everyone. Also, the school is among the elite universities offering top-tier programs. U.S. News and World Report ranks Northwestern #10 in best national universities and #15 in best value schools.

#48 – Pepperdine University

Malibu, California

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Pepperdine University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Picturesque Malibu campus! Pepperdine University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $53,932

Located among the Santa Monica foothills, Pepperdine University offers one of the most beautiful college campuses on the beach. The Christian university is known for its picturesque Malibu campus. The campus provides breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and gorgeous sunsets. Pepperdine offers a world-class education and several top-ranked undergraduate and graduate programs. The campus is only one hour from Los Angeles but offers the benefits of living in a small coastal town. U.S. News and World Report ranks Pepperdine #46 in best national universities. Also, several of the school’s online and graduate programs have received top 20 and top 50 rankings.

#47 – Bowdoin College

Brunswick, Maine

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Bowdoin College - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Maine coast! Bowdoin College is one of the best beachfront colleges on our list.

Undergraduate Tuition: $53,922

Located just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick, Maine, Bowdoin College offers one of the most beautiful coastal college campuses on our list. Bowdoin owns an expansive coastal studies center on Orr’s Island and a scientific field station on Kent Island. The prime coastal location of the school provides recreational activities for the student body. Boating, fishing, swimming, or beach relaxing are among the popular beach activities. Bowdoin is a highly ranked liberal arts college. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #5 in best national liberal arts colleges, #17 in best value schools, and #21 in most innovative schools.

#46 – Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

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Yale University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Ivy League! Yale’s a top ranked beachfront college on our list.

Undergraduate Tuition: $53,430

Yale University is listed among the best beachfront colleges due to its close proximity to the ocean. Yale sits two miles from the beautiful New Haven Harbor, which offers parks and access to the beach. Students can follow walkways to the Long Wharf area, which contains several notable buildings, including the Long Wharf Maritime Center, the Long Wharf Theatre, and New Haven’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park. Yale is recognized for its premiere academics. Also, the school is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Yale ranks #3 in best national universities, #4 in best value schools, and #1 among high school counselor rankings.

#45 – New York University

New York, New York

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New York University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
NYU is only 2.3 miles from the ocean!

Undergraduate Tuition: $51,828

When one thinks of New York University, top coastal college campuses do not come to mind. In actuality, NYU sits just 2.3 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. This private research institution offers the beauty of Greenwich Village, close proximity to the Hudson and East Rivers, and all the eclectic history that Manhattan and New York City have to showcase. The historic neighborhood is home to artists, musicians, intellectuals, and writers. Also, NYU is located six miles from the Statue of Liberty. U.S. News and World Report ranks NYU #30 in best national universities and #56 in best value schools.

#44 – University of Miami

Coral Gables, Florida

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University of Miami - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
One of the best beachfront colleges on our list – University of Miami.

Undergraduate Tuition: $50,226

Located two miles from the Atlantic Ocean, University of Miami is recognized as one of the top college campuses on the beach. Avid nature lovers enjoy convenient access to beach activities, a butterfly garden within walking distance of campus, and many nature preserves. The school offers an abundance of majors and graduate programs. Atmospheric sciences, marine biology, and oceanography are listed among popular majors. University of Miami ranked with major publications for its academics and reputation. In fact, U.S. News and World report ranks the school #53 in best national universities and #65 in best value schools.

#43 – University of San Diego

San Diego, California

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University of San Diego - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Ranked and accredited – University of San Diego is also one of the best beachfront colleges!

Undergraduate Tuition: $49,358

University of San Diego is not one of the cheapest colleges near the beach, but it is one of the most scenic. Situated above Mission Bay, the campus sprawls across 180 acres. After classes, students often relax at nearby beaches, such as Pacific Beach or La Jolla. Ample student-run excursions are also available for students to join. These excursions include opportunities to kayak, wind surf, or snorkel. U.S. News and World Report ranks the private institution #85 in best national universities. Also, several graduate programs and schools have received top rankings for academic performance.

#42 – Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, California

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Loyola Marymount University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Ranked by U.S. News! Loyola Marymount University – best beachfront colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $48,522

Loyola Marymount University offers one of the most beautiful college campuses on the beach. The expansive campus is located on the bluffs overlooking Playa Del Rey and Marina Del Rey. The school sits approximately 2.5 miles from the beach near a bustling public space that offers hang gliding and other beach activities. Loyola is the largest Catholic university on the West Coast and offers one of the nation’s top film schools. U.S. News and World Report ranks Loyola #3 in best regional universities in the West and #2 in best colleges for veterans. Also, several graduate programs have received top rankings.

#41 – University of the Pacific

Stockton, California

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University of the Pacific - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Near Napa Valley and San Francisco coast! University of the Pacific.

Undergraduate Tuition: $48,164

University of the Pacific is one of the best colleges for beach lovers thanks to its picturesque campus that has made its way into a number of feature films. Located in the California Delta waterway, students attending the University of the Pacific gain access to a variety of water sports and activities. Jet skiing, sailing, and windsurfing are among the most popular choices. Campus-organized road trips take students into San Francisco, the Napa Valley, and San Jose. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of the Pacific #106 in best national universities and #45 in best value schools. Also, several of the institution’s graduate schools have top rankings from the premiere publication.

#40 – University of San Francisco

San Francisco, California

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University of San Francisco - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Nicknamed the Hilltop! University of San Francisco.

Undergraduate Tuition: $48,066

With ten thousand students and located only 3.5 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, University of San Francisco is one of the best beachfront colleges on our list. The institution, nicknamed “The Hilltop,” sits on Lone Mountain, one of the highest hills in San Francisco. Student programs include trips to the beach, horseback riding, sailing, and sea kayaking. One of the most popular excursions offered by University of San Francisco is the Alcatraz visit. These unique experiences add to the richness of the university. Also, the institution ranks among major publications. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #96 in best national universities.

#39 – Lake Forest College

Lake Forest, Illinois

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Lake Forest College - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Close to the Lake Michigan shoreline – Lake Forest College.

Undergraduate Tuition: $47,064

Lake Forest College offers one of the most scenic coastal college campuses on our list. This small liberal arts institution sits less than one mile from the Lake Michigan shoreline and is approximately 30 miles north of Chicago. The 107-acre campus is comprised of 1,600 students from nearly every state in the nation. The diverse student body is active in on-campus and off-campus activities. Train excursions into Chicago or the beaches around Lake Michigan are among the popular campus activities. U.S. News and World Report ranks Lake Forest #103 in best national liberal arts colleges and #49 in best value schools.

#38 – Seattle University

Seattle, Washington

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Seattle University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Views of Puget Sound! Seattle University, a top beachfront college.

Undergraduate Tuition: $44,610

One of the best beachfront colleges on our list is Seattle University. With a short walk to Pikes Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium, and the scenic Puget Sound, Seattle University offers a prime coastal setting. In fact, the campus sits in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and is just 1.5 miles to the nearest beach. The school draws students who love lake and beach locations, and provides plentiful activities for the outdoorsy types. In addition to the beautiful setting, Seattle University offers rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #8 in best regional universities in the West.

#37 – Eckerd College

St. Petersburg, Florida

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Eckerd College - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Waterfront campus – Eckerd College – best beachfront colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $44,540

Eckerd College, located near the western coast of Florida, is one of the most scenic college campuses on the beach. The private institution offers a waterfront campus nestle along Boca Ciega Bay. Much of the recreational life and student activities take place around the waterfront location. Students can also participate in the Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team, which works with the U.S. Coast Guard to respond to ocean distress calls in the area. Eckerd is ranked #135 in best national liberal arts colleges, thanks to its performance across accepted academic indicators of excellence. Also, the school offers small class sizes and courses taught by faculty members with PhDs. In fact, 96 percent of all Eckerd’s professors hold doctoral degrees.

#36 – College of the Atlantic

Bar Harbor, Maine

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College of the Atlantic - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
On Maine’s coastline! College of the Atlantic.

Undergraduate Tuition: $43,542

College of the Atlantic is listed among our cheap colleges near the beach. This small, private liberal arts institution provides scenic views of Maine’s coastline and sits approximately one mile from the nearest beach access. The campus consists of 37 acres of land along the Frenchman Bay. Two organic farms, two off-island research centers, and expansive natural preserves make the campus a unique beach location. Also, students may spend time conducting research or taking part in various activities at Bar Harbor or Acadia National Park. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #95 in best national liberal arts colleges, #13 in best value schools, and #12 in most innovative schools.

#35 – Seattle Pacific University

Seattle, Washington

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Seattle Pacific University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Study in the San Juan Islands! Seattle Pacific University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $42,939

One of our top coastal college campuses is located at Seattle Pacific University. While the institution sits in the heart of Seattle, Washington, the campus is only 2.5 miles from the beaches of Puget Sound. The outdoorsy vibe provides ideal walks near the Fremont neighborhood, Queen Anne’s hill, and around campus. The area offers some of the oldest trees in Seattle. If you love to visit the beach, activities such as beach combing and hiking are coordinated through student-run programs. Field stations for biologists and marine biologists in the San Juan Islands provide many research opportunities for students. U.S. News and World Report ranks SPU #169 in best national universities.

#34 – Florida Institute of Technology

Melbourne, Florida

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Florida Institute of Technology - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Located along Space Coast! Florida Institute of Technology is a top beachfront college.

Undergraduate Tuition: $41,850

Florida Institute of Technology is one of the best beachfront colleges on our list. Also known as Florida Tech, the school originally started on the training grounds of what is now Kennedy Space Center. But the institution offers more than engineering and STEM programs; the school’s location draws students who enjoy water sports. Located along Space Coast, smack dab on the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Tech offers access to boating, fishing, kayaking, and surfing. There are also science-focused research centers, including the Wind and Hurricane Impact Research Lab and the Institute for Marine Research. Both provide research opportunities for students of Florida Tech. U.S. News and World Report ranks Florida Tech #177 in best national universities.

#33 – Salve Regina University

Newport, Rhode Island

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Salve Regina University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Breathtaking views! Salve Regina University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $40,150

One of the most historic college campuses on the beach is Salve Regina University. This Catholic, co-ed private institution is also home to the top surfing spot in New England and one of the best sailing areas in the world. Beach lovers will enjoy a short walk from campus to the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Newport hosts a series of beach festivals throughout the year, providing students with opportunities to join with the community and participate in all that the coastal town has to offer. In addition to its history, Salve Regina also offers stellar academic performance. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Salve Regina #28 in best regional universities in the North and #42 in best value schools.

#32 – Monmouth University

West Long Branch, New Jersey

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Monmouth University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
City and beach life! Monmouth University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $38,138

Monmouth University is one of the cheap colleges near the beach making our list of best beachfront institutions. The school offers scholarships and financial aid packages to its student body of nearly 6,500 students. The school also offers access to the beach with the Jersey Shore within walking distance. Students are drawn to the campus due to its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and one-hour drive to the Big Apple. Several historical points of interest, including Woodrow Wilson Hall, decorate the campus. Also, U.S. News and World Report ranks Monmouth #28 in best regional universities in the North and #78 in best value schools.

#31 – Point Loma Nazarene University

San Diego, California

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Point Loma Nazarene University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Surfing! At Point Loma Nazarene University there are plenty of beach activities.

Undergraduate Tuition: $35,700

Point Loma Nazarene University is one of the best beachfront colleges on our list. Located in Southern California, Point Loma is nestled along the Pacific coast just a mile from the beach. The university sits adjacent to the Sunset Hills National Park, an ideal setting for watching sunsets and cliff diving. The school even offers beach activities on weekends. Surfing opportunities, museum visits, and hiking along the coastal trails are some of the activities Point Loma offers its students. Also, the school ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #17 in best regional universities in the West.

#30 – Mitchell College

New London, Connecticut

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Mitchell College - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Unique beach study spots! Mitchell College – a top beachfront college.

Undergraduate Tuition: $33,200

The quaint New England town of New London, Connecticut is home to one of the top coastal college campuses on our list – Mitchell College. This private, liberal arts college campus boasts wooded walkways, sandy beaches, and rolling lawns. The landscaping offers unique spots to study, as the campus lies just a short walk from the beach. The area is home to several popular vacation destinations along the southwest Connecticut coastline and offers mild winters and plenty of sunshine during the spring and summer months. U.S. News and World Report ranks Mitchell College #36-#47 in best regional colleges in the North.

#29 – Endicott College

Beverly, Massachusetts

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Endicott College - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Endicott College – One of the best beachfront colleges on our list.

Undergraduate Tuition: $33,050

One of the closest seafront institutions on our list is Endicott College, recognized among the best colleges for beach lovers. Its close proximity to the Massachusetts coastline, it offers access to natural beaches, beautiful harbors, and historically significant parks. Access to kayaking, swimming, boating, and sunbathing are not far from Endicott’s pristine campus. The campus also sits 20 miles from Boston and offers shuttle trips to the city. Endicott is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #25 in best regional universities in the North and #46 in best value institutions.

#28 – Palm Beach Atlantic University

West Palm Beach, Florida

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Palm Beach Atlantic University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Tropical climate year-round – Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $31,450

Palm Beach Atlantic University is one of the best beachfront colleges on our list located one mile from the Atlantic Ocean. This faith-based institution is known for its pristine campus and beautiful weather. Mild temperatures and tropical climate provide year-round weather enjoyed by 3,800 students. Lots of sunshine means plentiful beach activities such as fishing, boating, water skiing, and scuba diving. In addition to the number of beach activities, the town of West Palm Beach offers festivals, waterfront restaurants, and art museums. U.S. News and World Report ranks Palm Beach Atlantic #52 in best regional universities in the South and #38 in best value schools.

#27 – The University of Tampa

Tampa, Florida

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The University of Tampa - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Three miles to the beach! University of Tampa.

Undergraduate Tuition: $29,208

University of Tampa is one of the affordable colleges by the beach on our list. Located in Tampa, Florida, the campus sits approximately three miles from beach access. Tampa is known for its beautiful beaches, Walt Disney World, EPCOT Center, and Florida Aquarium. There are miles of beachfront walkways and waterfront sidewalks to explore. Also, the school is home to a marine science research center, which has its own research sea vessels. These vessels are used by students and faculty for studying ecosystems along Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. University of Tampa has gained a solid academic reputation from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #20 in best regional universities in the South.

#26 – Hawaii Pacific University

Honolulu, Hawaii

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Hawaii Pacific University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Ranked and affordable – Hawaii Pacific University

Undergraduate Tuition: $25,980

Hawaii Pacific University, a private institution located in Honolulu, has one of the top coastal college campuses on our list. While the 135-acre campus sprawls across an urban setting, its island location offers views of Koolau Mountains. A short distance to the beach and students gain access to beach combing, surfing, and other water sports. Hawaii Pacific is a world leader in ocean research and sustainable aquaculture technologies. The Oceanic Institute is located in Makapuu Point and offers research opportunities for students. The school is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks Hawaii Pacific #69 in best regional universities in the West.

#25 – Flagler College

St. Augustine, Florida

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Flagler College - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Beautiful Spanish architecture – Flagler College.

Undergraduate Tuition: $18,950

Flagler College is one of the cheap colleges near the beach earning a top spot on our list of beachfront institutions. Located in the heart of St. Augustine, Florida, the picturesque campus boasts Spanish architecture and tropical vegetation. Visiting the campus, it is not uncommon to witness classes taking place on the expansive lawn. The school is approximately four miles to the beach. Weekend excursions provide opportunities for beach lovers to visit the Florida coastline. In addition to the resort-like setting, U.S. News and World Report ranks Flagler #2 in best regional colleges in the South. Also, the school ranks #5 in best value schools and #2 in most innovative institutions.

#24 – Bethune-Cookman University

Daytona Beach, Florida

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Bethune-Cookman University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Ranked and accredited – Bethune-Cookman University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,814

One of the most affordable colleges by the beach is Bethune-Cookman University. The institution is an historically Black, United Methodist university that offers baccalaureate and master’s degrees. A vibrant social community is found on campus. Surrounding communities, including Midtown, Daytona Beach, and Volusia County, offer beach festivals and waterfront activities that students take part in throughout the year. Along the Florida coastline, students have access to various water sports, such as fishing, boating, and surfing. U.S. News and World Report ranks Bethune-Cookman #173-#229 in best national liberal arts colleges and #29 in best historically Black colleges and universities.

#23 – St. Mary’s College of Maryland

St. Mary’s City, Maryland

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St. Mary's College of Maryland - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
A beautiful coastal campus! St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,806

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is known for having one of the most beautiful college campuses on the beach. Located less than a mile from the Maryland coastline, the 361-acre campus sits on a bay-like bend on the St. Mary’s River. Access to the beach also offers access to activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing. Nearby attractions in the historical town of St. Mary’s City include antique shops, bookstore, and restaurants. St. Mary’s City is a quintessential New England beach town. Also, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #95 in best national liberal arts colleges and #6 in top public schools.

#22 – University of California

Santa Barbara, California

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University of California - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
University of California Santa Barbara is one of the best beachfront colleges on our list.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,391

University of California at Santa Barbara ranks among the best beachfront colleges. Located 100 miles along the coastline from Los Angeles, the institution sits atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Non-varsity clubs take advantage of the ocean location and offer team activities in surfing, cycling, beach volleyball, and more. The school offers more than 400 clubs and organizations on campus and includes a vibrant Greek community. Academic programs also take advantage of the coastal setting. It is not uncommon to find geology and marine biology classes roaming the beach of Santa Barbara. UC Santa Barbara is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 30th best national university. Also, several graduate programs have ranked among the best.

#21 – University of Rhode Island

Kingston, Rhode Island

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University of Rhode Island - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Ranked with U.S. News! University of Rhode Island.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,138

University of Rhode Island is one of the best colleges for beach lovers due to its close proximity to the beaches along Kingston, Rhode Island. The university’s Bay Campus sits approximately one mile from the nearest beach access. This close beachfront location gives rise to the university’s nationally ranked oceanography program. Also, for students who want to take part in ocean activities, the school offers access to beach combing, fishing, swimming, and other popular ocean excursions. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Rhode Island #157 in best national universities and #80 in top public schools.

#20 – College of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina

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College of Charleston - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Beautiful beach living – College of Charleston.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,838

The draw to coastal college campuses, as College of Charleston has to offer, is beach living. College of Charleston offers a prime South Carolina location situated near downtown and the beach. Since freshmen are not required to live on campus, many live in university-owned historic homes or even popular apartment buildings with ocean views. As a coastal city, Charleston offers access to various water sports and beach activities. Students also have access to research opportunities in the coastal environment. U.S. News and World Report ranks College of Charleston #11 in best regional universities in the South. Also, several graduate programs have earned top rankings.

#19 – Citadel Military College of South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

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Citadel Military College of South Carolina - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Ranked and affordable – Citadel Military College of South Carolina!

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,516

Citadel Military College of South Carolina is one of the best colleges for beach lovers. This public institution, also known as the Citadel, is located near the Ashley River in Charleston. Students have access to the beach and may join other students in organized sports and activities. Swimming, beach volleyball, boating, and kayaking are just some of the activities Citadel students enjoy. The institution ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #3 in best regional universities in the South. Also, several online and graduate degree programs have received top rankings.

#18 – University of Hawaii at Manoa

Honolulu, Hawaii

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University of Hawaii - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Study marine science! University of Hawaii

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,970

Hawaii offers some of the best colleges for beach lovers, including the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The school is located on the outskirts of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Academic departments include the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. The department offers research opportunities for those interested in oceanography and marine science. Outside of class, opportunities abound for beach excursions. Students may take part in sailing, surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking trips. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution #157 in best national universities and #80 in top public schools. Also, several graduate programs rank in the top 100.

#17 – Coastal Carolina University

Conway, South Carolina

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Coastal Carolina University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Academics integrated with the ocean setting – Coastal Carolina University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,716

Coastal Carolina University is one of the cheapest colleges near the beach and is located in South Carolina. Approximately ten miles from the beach, Coastal Carolina integrates its academics with the natural ocean setting. Courses are offered at the Myrtle Beach Education Center, the Coastal Science Center, and the Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies. For students interested in marine biology and wetlands biology, a natural laboratory along the coast barrier island offers plenty of courses and research opportunities. U.S. News and World Report ranks Coastal Carolina #52 in best regional universities in the South.

#16 – University of Washington

Seattle, Washington

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University of Washington - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Scenic Puget Sound views! University of Washington.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,207

Located only five miles from the state of Washington’s West Point Lighthouse and Discovery Park, University of Washington is one of the best colleges for beach lovers seeking cooler temperatures. The beautiful and scenic Puget Sound is the backdrop of this institution. The school is also home to one of the top medical schools in the country. Students have access to Union Bay, Lake Washington, Green Lake, and the Puget Sound where many water sports take place. U.S. News and World Report ranks UW #59 in best national universities and #101 in best value schools. Also, several online and graduate programs at UW rank among the top 100 programs.

#15 – Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

School Profile

Old Dominion University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Maritime research opportunities! Old Dominion University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,560

Old Dominion University, one of our best colleges for beach lovers, offers a port-town vibe and maritime research opportunities. The campus is located among several rivers that converge in the Chesapeake Bay. Research opportunities are plentiful in the areas of climate change, sea level rise, maritime logistics management, and port education. In addition to research, the school offers students access to many historic sites along the beaches of Virginia. U.S. News and World Report ranks Old Dominion #215 in best national universities and #121 in top public schools. Also, several online and graduate programs have earned top 100 rankings.

#14 – University of Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

Website

University of Wisconsin - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Ranked by U.S. News! University of Wisconsin is one of the best beachfront colleges on our list.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,555

University of Wisconsin offers one of the top coastal college campuses on our list. The university sits along the shore of Lake Mendota, and the city of Madison maintains five beaches on the pristine lake. On warmer days, students may engage in a variety of water sports, including fishing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and tubing. The beach areas are staffed with lifeguards. The public university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks UW-Madison #49 in best national universities. Also, several of the school’s online programs and graduate degrees have earned top rankings.

#13 – California Polytechnic State University

San Louis Obispo, California

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California Polytechnic State University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Beach trips galore! California Polytechnic State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,816

California Polytechnic State University is one of the most affordable colleges by the beach on our list. Founded in 1901, this public institution is situated 11 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The school and area of San Louis Obispo are known for a pleasant Mediterranean climate. With little rainfall, the campus offers a comfortable outdoor learning environment, as well as plenty of activities. Beach trips coordinated by the institution are common. The school is also known for academic performance. U.S. News and World Report ranks California Poly #12 in best regional universities in the West.

#12 – Texas A & M University

Corpus Christi, Texas

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Texas A & M University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Plenty of beach activities – Texas A&M University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,055

Texas A&M University is one of the best beachfront colleges on our list. Located between Corpus Christi Bay and Oso Bay, the school is one of the only universities that sits on an island. Also, students attending this campus benefit from the city’s prime vacation activities, such as windsurfing, swimming, fishing, boating, and sailing. The area is also home to the Port of Corpus Christi, one of the nation’s largest ports. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution #230-#301 in best national universities. Also, several online and graduate programs have ranked among the top 20 and top 50 programs.

#11 – Western Washington University

Bellingham, Washington

Website

Western Washington University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Ranked by U.S. News. Western Washington University is an affordable beachfront college.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,126

Western Washington University is one of the most affordable colleges by the beach. Located in Bellingham, the campus offers access to the beautiful San Juan Islands and Cascade Mountain range. The coastal campus provides plentiful outdoor activities for the beachgoer, including hiking, kayaking, and sailing. With its close proximity to the ocean, WWU offers its students a superior marine biology and marine science program. Students majoring in marine science spend time at the Shannon Point Marine Center honing their research skills. The school is ranked by U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks WWU #19 in best regional universities in the West.

#10 – Humboldt State University

Arcata, California

Website

Humboldt State University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Just 5 miles from the California coast! Humboldt State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,675

Humboldt State University is one of the most affordable colleges by the beach on our list. Located just five miles from the California coast, the scenic campus is surrounded by redwood forests, rivers, and the Pacific Ocean. The school offers recreational opportunities for outdoorsy students, such as biking, hiking, camping, kayaking, and surfing. Weekend trips to the coastline take place throughout the academic year. In addition to beach activities, research opportunities aboard the oceangoing vessel, aptly named “The Coral Sea,” provide students with a unique outdoor classroom. U.S. News and World Report ranks Humboldt State #54 in best regional universities in the West.

#9 – San Diego State University

San Diego, California

Website

San Diego State University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
12 miles to the beach! San Diego State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,488

One of the top coastal college campuses on our list is the picturesque San Diego State University. Located just over 12 miles to the beach, the school offers all of the beautiful architecture and coastal setting one might expect from an oceanfront campus. The school sits close to some of California’s most beautiful beach settings, including Mission Beach Jetty, Point Loma, and other popular areas. Daytime and evening temperatures rarely dip below sixty degrees or soar higher than eighty degrees. The comfortable tropical climate draws students to this coastal campus. U.S. News and World Report ranks San Diego State #127 in best national universities and #110 in best value schools.

#8 – University of North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina

Website

University of North Carolina - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
UNC Wilmington – one of the best beachfront colleges on our list.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,091

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is one of the best beachfront colleges along the east coast. The public university offers a full range of baccalaureate, graduate, and doctoral degrees for 17,000 students. The state’s coastal university offers access to various public beaches and all that the Carolina coast offers. Student-run beach activities include kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, swimming, and beach volleyball. UNC Wilmington ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school ranks #15 in best regional universities in the South. Several graduate and online programs have also received top rankings by U.S. News.

#7 – New College of Florida

Sarasota, Florida

School Profile

New College of Florida - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Affordability! New College of Florida, a best beachfront college.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,916

New College of Florida ranks among the most affordable and best colleges for beach lovers. Located on a 110-acre campus off of Sarasota Bay, the school has access to a variety of beach activities. There are sixty active clubs on campus, including the Bull Sharks Dive Club and the Swim Club. The Bayfront is one of the most treasured spots on campus to watch sunsets over Sarasota Bay. Students venture to the Bayfront to watch dolphins and pelicans or enjoy a picnic under one of the trees. U.S. News and World Report ranks New College of Florida #90 in best national liberal arts colleges and #97 in best value schools.

#6 – University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

Website

University of South Florida - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Florida coast! University of South Florida is ranked and accredited.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,410

University of South Florida is one of the most affordable colleges by the beach landing on our list. The public research university is based in Tampa and has regional campuses throughout Florida. With its close proximity to Florida beaches, student-run activities, excursions, and coastal research programs are offered. Students may take shuttles to nearby Busch Gardens, various charter boat excursions, or the University of South Florida Botanical Gardens. Activities on the beach include beach volleyball, boating, and swimming. U.S. News and World Report rank the school #124 in best national universities and #71 in best value schools.

#5 – University of West Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Website

University of West Florida - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Sail the Gulf of Mexico at University of West Florida.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,360

University of West Florida offers close proximity to the Florida coastline and ranks high on our list among the best colleges for beach lovers. Located in the scenic coastal community of Pensacola, the public research university offers relaxing days at the beach and plenty of sunshine. Bordered by two rivers and the Escambia Bay, the sprawling campus is considered a natural preserve with access to the beach. On Saturdays, students may participate in Saturday Sailing on the Gulf of Mexico, as well as other beach-going events and excursions. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution #230-#301 in best national universities. Also, the school’s business and engineering programs have received top rankings.

#4 – Florida Gulf Coast University

Fort Meyers, Florida

Website

Florida Gulf Coast University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Scenic views! Florida Gulf Coast University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,118

Florida Gulf Coast University is one of the most affordable colleges by the beach on our list. Founded in 1991, the public institution offers a suburban setting and campus size of 700 acres. The campus has its own beach located in North Lake Village. On the weekends, students enjoy kayaking or spending the day with friends watching breathtaking views of the Florida coast. Off-campus activities include mini golf excursions, beach volleyball, and visiting the Sanibel and Captiva Islands. The school is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #78 in best regional universities in the South and #29 in top public institutions.

#3 – Brigham Young University

Laie, Hawaii

Website

Brigham Young University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
BYU Hawaii is among the best beachfront colleges on our list!

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,560

One of the most picturesque coastal college campuses on our list belongs to Brigham Young University. Located along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean, BYU offers gorgeous Hawaiian views of the mountains, ocean, and tropical setting unique to this location. Campus-run excursions include mountain biking on the island, kayaking in the ocean, and visits to the Polynesian Cultural Center. On the weekends, students enjoy day tours over the island by horseback, mountain bikes, or jeeps. In addition to activities, the institution offers a strong academic reputation with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks BYU Hawaii #17 in best regional colleges in the West.

#2 – Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

Website

Florida Atlantic University - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
Scenic Florida coastline – Florida Atlantic University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,831

Located along 150 miles of Florida’s southeastern coastline, Florida Atlantic University is one of the most affordable colleges by the beach. The institution is recognized for its prime beach location and ocean engineering programs. Students interested in studying oceanography and ocean engineering have access to a number of internship and research opportunities. The coastal campus also provides student- and campus-run excursions to the harbor, beach, and city of Boca Raton. Beach activities include athletics, beach combing, kayaking, surfing, and more. U.S. News and World Report ranks Florida Atlantic #230-#301 in best national universities. Also, several online and graduate programs rank among the top 50 programs.

#1 – Oregon Coast Community College

Newport, Oregon

Website

Oregon Coast Community College - 50 Best Beach Front Colleges and Universities Ranked by Affordability
#1 most affordable beachfront college on our list–Oregon Coast Community College

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,446

While not a four-year institution, Oregon Coast Community College is listed among our best beachfront colleges. The school is situated along the Oregon coastline at Newport, Oregon, offering views of the Pacific Ocean. Due to its prime coast location, the school offers a unique two-year degree in aquarium science. The program provides research and internship opportunities and boasts a 94 percent placement rate for graduates of this degree. Students enrolled in the aquarium science program also have access to the Sea Fans club. The club offers education and outreach opportunities for those interested in aquatic science and the coastal environment. OCCC is the only community college on our list and is ranked as the most affordable institution.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of attending beachfront colleges and universities?

For many students, a trip to the beach to catch a sunset or ride a wave is a luxury reserved for spring break or summer vacation. But for a handful of students attending beachfront colleges and universities, beach adventures are a way of life. Campus life at these oceanfront institutions provides unique extracurricular activities and spectacular views. What makes beachfront colleges and universities beneficial? We’ve listed a few benefits below.

The setting of any beachfront college or university provides more than a beautiful aesthetic. Sure, the sunsets are magnificent and the warm ocean breezes feel great on the skin, but this unique setting also works wonders for coping with stress. Schools that offer beach access within walking distance provide students with places to unwind on weekends or after exams. Boardwalks to tucked-away spots on the beach provide scenery conducive to relieving stress. Many of the schools on our list are situated in or near coastal towns, which offer local festivals, legendary boardwalks, and community-driven activities. Students who want to immerse themselves in the local community through education and advocacy also have plenty of opportunities to do so.

Further benefits of attending beachfront colleges and universities include access to unique research opportunities. Marine studies and oceanography majors lead to access with area laboratories, research opportunities, and conservation efforts.

Are beachfront colleges and universities more expensive to attend than landlocked campuses?

If you have ever dreamed of a dorm room with an ocean view, you won’t have to sacrifice the quality of your education or your bank account to get it. Beachfront colleges and universities belong to a unique bundle of schools that offer access to marine and ocean-related majors, water sports, and beautiful settings that can’t be found at landlocked institutions. But you won’t have to pay extra for ocean view.

From our research, beachfront colleges and universities offer the same undergraduate and graduate tuition as institutions nestled in the mountains or cities. Some colleges like University of Chicago and Pepperdine University have sticker prices higher than $50,000 annually, but 25 institutions on our list offer undergraduate tuition prices less than $25,000. Also, 13 beachfront colleges and universities on our list offered undergraduate tuition less than $10,000 per year.

Like most colleges and universities, beachfront institutions offer financial aid packages from the federal government. Student loans, grants, scholarships, and work study packages assist with the cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition and fees. At beachfront colleges, you may also receive specific scholarships for ocean and marine specific majors. Be sure to check with your school’s financial aid department before you enroll to see what programs are available.

Do beachfront colleges and universities offer activities on the beach?

Many of the best beachfront colleges and universities offer student- and campus-run activities that take advantage of their coastal setting. Several oceanside institutions on our list provide community engagement opportunities for students that involve reaching out to the local area and improving life for the coastal environment where they live. Volunteer opportunities include protecting ocean and marine life, cleaning up coastal environments, and educating the community about the importance of conservation and protection.

In addition to conservation and awareness efforts through volunteering or education, beachfront colleges and universities also offers plentiful activities. It is not uncommon to find students relieving stress on the weekends by actively participating in beach activities. Student- and campus-run activities include beachside parties, attending local beach festivals, and taking part in organized athletics and games. Beach volleyball, frisbee golf, surfing, boating, and swimming are among the popular beach activities.

Several of the beachfront colleges on our list also offer popular places to watch sunsets. Schools within walking distance to the beach provide students with hotspots for studying, unwinding after class, or enjoying the solitary moments when you need to get away from it all.

A beachfront college has its benefits. They are places where sustainability, conservation, and environmental responsibility are a major part of the institution. However, they also are a place where stress can be handled with a little help from the environment.

What kinds of ocean related majors are offered at beachfront colleges and universities?

If you’re interested in one of the many beachfront colleges and universities on our list, you may also be interested in studying marine and sea life. At today’s beachfront colleges and universities, more options than marine biology are available. These schools offer majors designed for researchers, activists, engineers, and scientists.

Ocean engineering is designed for students interested in oceanography. This unique major emphasizes new technologies used to study the sea and marine life. Students may find themselves aboard sea vessels launching new designs and study techniques created in the classroom. Specializations in this field include aquaculture engineering, coast engineering, hydrographic engineering, naval architecture, and ocean energy.

For those interested in biological sciences, aquaculture is the study of aquatic organisms. Similar to marine biology, this major looks at marine life but also considers the farming of organisms. For example, aquaculture labs develop alternative fuels using algae or carry out research on the impact natural forces have on the sea.

The most popular major for individuals interested in marine life is oceanography. This broad, interdisciplinary major focuses on the research of current applications associated with marine life, the ocean, and coastlines. Some oceanography programs offer specializations so that students may tailor their degree toward areas of interest or to meet career goals. Specializations include biological oceanography, coastal management, geological oceanography, pollution and conservation, and physical oceanography.

What are the admission requirements for beachfront colleges and universities?

Admission requirements for beachfront colleges and universities are the same as land-locked institutions. Undergraduate application requires a high school diploma or equivalent, letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors, and satisfactory academic performance. Top-ranked institutions require a strong high school GPA and the completion of four years of science, four years of English, three years of social science, three to four years of a foreign language, and additional classes.

Additional requirements for undergraduate admission include SAT or ACT scores. Again, top-tier institutions require strong scores taken prior to the time of application. While not all colleges require SAT or ACT scores for admission, they may be required by your chosen major if you plan to declare prior to enrollment. For most of the schools on our list, you can find the qualifying SAT or ACT scores on the institution’s website.

In addition to SAT scores, letters of recommendation, and required classes, you must submit a completed application to these beachfront colleges and universities. Most applications can be completed online and require one to five essays. You will want to have your essays proofed by a college counselor, teacher, or scholar who can help you improve your writing and ability to showcase your unique qualifications that make you a strong candidate for admission.

BCO Staff
July 2019

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This concludes our list of the 50 best beachfront colleges and universities ranked by affordability.