In addition to weekend football games and homecoming events, colleges across the country offer other reasons to visit. Instead, why not explore must-see tourist attractions or discover little-known gems? At these four eastern college towns, you’ll find small-town charm and enduring vacation appeal.
Located on the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, the longest of New York’s 11 Finger Lakes, the Ithaca region affords access to 28,000 acres of forestland for hiking, mountain biking and outdoor recreational pastimes, from boating and swimming to cross-country skiing and ice skating. With the motto “Ithaca is Gorges” for its more than 100 beautiful gorge waterfalls that surround the city, Ithaca’s beauty enchants visitors. The 215-foot Taughannock Falls is three stories taller than Niagara Falls. Plus, the region abounds with art galleries, museums and theaters and the Ithaca Discovery Trail makes it easy to partake in the city’s top attractions.
East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
The Pocono Mountains, home to East Stroudsburg University, occupy 2,400 square miles of rolling hills, meandering rivers, resplendent mountain terrain and gushing waterfalls. Plus, the Poconos boast more than 150 lakes, where visitors can water ski, canoe or kayak. And it’s almost impossible to drive more than a few miles without seeing a water park, including Camelbeach Waterpark, Great Wolf Lodge or the Pocono’s newest attraction, Kalahari Resort. When you’re not on campus, go horseback riding at one of the many stables throughout the region or play a round of golf at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort’s iconic golf course.
Take in the sights and sounds of the Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, where the sport was invented. Or enjoy the theater, the performing arts and the work of skilled painters and sculptors at some of the finest small museums in the country. If you have extra time to spend in the area after your campus visit, unwind in the nearby Berkshires, enjoy spectacular fall foliage tour with a narrated train ride on the Berkshire Scenic Railway or check out annual festivals include the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s residency at Tanglewood Music Center.
College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME
A premier summer resort in the 19th century, Bar Harbor once housed the largest hotel in North America and Millionaire’s Row, a cluster of summer estates built for America’s richest and most powerful residents. Today, it doesn’t require a million dollars to experience all this region has to offer. Aviation enthusiasts can view Acadia National Park and the rock bound shores of Mount Desert Island from either of four different types of aircrafts, including the magic of “open cockpit” flight in a two-passenger biplane. Cover 25 miles a day on a bike tour that provides a challenging yet scenic ride along Maine’s beautiful coastline.