50 Best Outdoor Colleges 2021

    July 28, 2021 | Staff Writers

    50 Best Outdoor Colleges

    Going to college should be a fun experience, and students shouldn’t have to spend all their time in the classroom. College is a great time to go exploring and enjoy nature, especially with so many opportunities available through universities across the globe. We have made a list of the top schools in the country with great outdoor programs and activities, taking into consideration the number of yearly days of sunshine, outdoor activities and clubs at the school.

    For more programs, check out our online universities page.


    Stanford University

    • Stanford, California
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    Stanford University is located by Palo Alto and Menlo Park. There are many student organizations and activities to choose from to keep students active and outdoors. They even offer activities like kayaking and surfing. Students can join an Adventure Program that organizes outdoor trips each year.  The school also offers equipment rentals for a reasonable price.

    School Overview

    Location: Stanford, CA
    Tuition: $46,320 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Engineering, Social Sciences, and Computer Science
    Visit School Website

    University of Hawaii – Manoa

    • Honolulu, Hawaii
    • Graduation Rate: 58%

    At the University of Hawaii, the Student Recreation Services are committed to helping students enjoy Hawaii. They provide equipment for students to rent, as well as training courses in surfing, paddle boarding, and other sports for beginners. Students can also participate in any of the student organizations.

    School Overview

    Location: Honolulu, HI
    Tuition: $11,404 (in-state) or $31,516 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business Management, Social Services, and Health Professions
    Visit School Website

    University of Georgia

    • Athens, Georgia
    • Graduation Rate: 84%

    The University of Georgia has great weather all year long. They have a Marine Institute that was founded in 1953 where students can get hands-on experience and research on coastal ecosystems, as well as the college Arboretum. They have a large student association that provides opportunities for students to get involved and have fun on campus. There are a number of recreational sports and well-maintained facilities for students to use.

    School Overview

    Location: Athens, GA
    Tuition: $11,622 (in-state) or $29,832 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Psychology, Biology, and Finance
    Visit School Website

    University of Miami

    • Coral Gables, Florida
    • Graduation Rate: 81%

    The University of Miami Recreation department plans adventure trips for students, faculty, and the community. With Florida’s great weather and amazing beaches, students can enjoy being outdoors year round. There are a wide variety of student sports teams including; Quidditch, SCUBA, fencing, and beach volleyball. The campus is close to Biscayne Bay, and they have an Arboretum and botanical garden.

    School Overview

    Location: Coral Gables, FL
    Tuition: $45,724 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Business Management, Biological Sciences, and Health Professions
    Visit School Website

    University of Colorado

    • Boulder, Colorado
    • Graduation Rate: 70%

    The University of Colorado has a rock and ice climbing group as part of their outdoor program. The college provides opportunities for students to go on trips, and gives trainings on outdoor subjects and sports to students. The outdoor program also offers personalized trips and courses to help students be prepared for their own journeys. Students can also rent equipment to explore Colorado on their own.

    School Overview

    Location: Boulder, CO
    Tuition: $11,091 (in-state) or $34,125 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Business Management
    Visit School Website

    Need help finding the right college?

    We can help you find the right school based on the program you select.

    Search Colleges

    Find the best online and offline colleges for your degree

    Best Value Schools is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

    College of the Atlantic

    • Bar Harbor, Maine
    • Graduation Rate: 65%

    The College of the Atlantic sits on Mount Desert Island. This University is a little unconventional and only offers degrees in human ecology. They have outdoor programs to encourage students to get outside. They are close to the Acadia National Park, and the Atlantic Ocean. Classes are small, with over 93% having fewer than 20 students. The program lets students borrow equipment, and provides opportunities for several excursions throughout the year. They have other student organizations to help students get involved.

    School Overview

    Location: Bar Harbor, ME
    Tuition: $42,084 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Human Ecology
    Visit School Website

    Montana State University

    • Bozeman, Montana
    • Graduation Rate: 53%

    Montana State has an Outdoor Recreation Program with the goal to provide opportunities for adventures. They also have clubs so students can stay active with one another. Students also have access to the Bike & Ski Workshop which helps students make repairs on their outdoor equipment. They also have on-hand bike technicians to help you get ready to ride. Sign up for one of their summer trips!

    School Overview

    Location: Bozeman, MT
    Tuition: $6,968 (in-state) or $21,961 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, Elementary Education, and Mechanical Engineering
    Visit School Website

    University of Alaska

    • Fairbanks, Alaska
    • Graduation Rate: 40%

    This University, located in scenic Alaska, offers a nine-month Outdoor Studies program to help students develop survival skills.  Although it can can get cold here, there are still many opportunities to explore nature. With 1,100 acres of forest nearby, students are encouraged to explore. Many majors in fact, take advantage of studying Alaska’s wildlife.

    School Overview

    Location: Fairbanks, AK
    Tuition: $7,370 (in-state) or $21,350 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Engineering, Business, and Biological Sciences
    Visit School Website

    Cornell University

    • Ithaca, New York
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    Cornell University has an Outdoor Education program. They have a rock wall, sea kayaking, outdoor yoga classes, tai chi, and biking. The campus is also 30 minutes from Finger Lakes National Forest and within driving distance of the Catskills and Adirondack Mountains. Since they also sit above the Cayuga Lake, students get great views from campus. The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station develops new technologies to grow safe and nutritious foods.

    School Overview

    Location: Ithaca, NY
    Tuition: $49,116 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Engineering, Biological Sciences, and Business Management
    Visit School Website

    University of Arkansas

    • Fayetteville, Arkansas
    • Graduation Rate: 64%

    This University is situated near the Ozarks, and has miles of trails and parks. Check out their outdoor resources. They encourage students to have adventures, and to explore nature. They even have equipment rentals for students through the University Recreation department. The sport facilities have climbing walls, and a bike shop.

    School Overview

    Location: Fayetteville, AR
    Tuition: $8,522 (in-state) or $23,320 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, Engineering, and Social Studies
    Visit School Website

    University of Vermont

    • Burlington, Vermont
    • Graduation Rate: 74%

    At the University of Vermont, they have an Outing Club which is devoted to getting people outdoors, and planning trips. They have a number of student organizations including Alana Gear, which help students gain wilderness skills. The campus is located near the Winooski Valley Park District, which has over 1,700 acres of nature, and 22 miles of trails.

    School Overview

    Location: Burlington, VT
    Tuition: $16,226 (in-state) or $37,874 (out-of-state)
    Visit School Website

    University of California – Los Angeles

    • Los Angeles, California
    • Graduation Rate: 91%

    UCLA has a Marina Aquatic Center where students can surf, kayak, sail, windsurf, and do other activities on the water. It is not limited to enrolled students. They have a variety of club sports to choose from including Quidditch, ultimate frisbee, and rugby. They also have an Outdoor Adventure initiative that gives students access to a rock wall, bike ships, and training. The University itself has also made an effort to be more eco-friendly in recent years by using only zero-emission vehicles, and giving students access to locally-grown produce.

    School Overview

    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Tuition: $12,753 (in-state) or  $35,631 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Social Sciences, Psychology, and English Language
    Visit School Website

    Western Washington University

    • Bellingham, Washington
    • Graduation Rate: 69%

    Western Washington University is nestled between The San Juan Islands and Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest offering endless opportunities for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. There are a number outdoor recreation facilities and programs operated and led by students including the Lakewood Boating Center on Lake Whatcom, Outdoor Center Equipment Rental & Bike Shop, Excursions Program, as well as ViQueen lodge on Sinclair Island. They also host Western Outdoor Orientation Trips AKA “WOOT!” for incoming first-year students. Additionally, Western offers a BA in Recreation Management & Leadership for students seeking a career in recreation and leisure services.

    School Overview

    Location: Bellingham, WA
    Tuition: $8,964 (in-state) or $20,406 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business Management, Social Sciences, and English Language
    Visit School Website

    University of Nevada

    • Reno, Nevada
    • Graduation Rate: 53%

    The University of Nevada has a number of physical and earth science degrees. As part of their physical education programs they offer kayaking, scuba diving, rock climbing, snowboarding and other outdoor sports. They are also close to Lake Tahoe, Donner Pass, and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

    School Overview

    Location: Reno, NV
    Tuition: $6,902 (in-state) or $20,812 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business Management, Health Professions, and Biological Sciences
    Visit School Website

    Berry College

    • Mount Berry, Georgia
    • Graduation Rate: 65%

    This college was founded in 1902. There are many programs available through the Outdoor Recreation Department. Students can rent outdoor gear, or even reserve a campsite on the world’s largest campus, with 27,000 acres that include 40 miles of hiking/biking and more than 15 miles of horseback riding trails. Mountain biking and rock climbing programs are available. The school is also close to Little River Canyon National Reserve, Talladega National Forest, and the Chattahoochee National Forest.

    School Overview

    Location: Mount Berry, GA
    Tuition: $35,176 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Animal Science, Psychology, Exercise Science, Communication and Biology
    Visit School Website

    University of Idaho

    • Moscow, Idaho
    • Graduation Rate: 56%

    Located in Moscow, U of I’s campus is nestled in the middle of the Palouse and is a prime
    location for outdoor adventure. Students journey to Moscow mountain; boat, swim or fish the
    nearby lakes and rivers; or, hit the trails by foot or bike. With an award-winning Outdoor
    Program, students can rent equipment and plan exciting excursions like whitewater rafting trips. U of I also features a variety of on-campus adventures – offering everything from intramural sports to campus recreation facilities complete with a 55-foot climbing wall.

    School Overview

    Location: Moscow, ID
    Tuition: $7,864 (in-state) or $25,500 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Psychology, Mechanical Engineering, and Fire Ecology & Management
    Visit School Website

    University of Iowa

    • Iowa City, Iowa
    • Graduation Rate: 72%

    At the University of Iowa, there is an Outdoor Rental Center available to students and faculty to rent equipment for outdoor activities. Through the school’s recreational services, there are a number of adventure trips for students throughout the year that include; hiking, kayaking, bouldering, and other activities. Near the University are bike paths and great fishing spots.

    School Overview

    Location: Iowa City, IA
    Tuition: $8,104 (in-state) or $27,890 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business and Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies
    Visit School Website

    Wellesley College

    • Wellesley, Massachusetts
    • Graduation Rate: 91%

    Wellesley College has many outdoor activities that students can participate in through their Outdoor Adventure program; students can even rent equipment like tents and skis. The University has a climbing wall, club sports, running trails, and even a boathouse. There are also student organization initiatives to help the campus become more eco-friendly.

    School Overview

    Location: Wellesley, MA
    Tuition: $46,836 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Economics, Psychology, and English Language
    Visit School Website

    University of Wisconsin

    • Madison, Wisconsin
    • Graduation Rate: 85%

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum has over 1,200 acres, and is open to the public. They strive to restore ecosystems and help everyone enjoy nature. The University has more bikes than cars, and is surrounded by 200 miles of trails. The campus is located within driving distance of Lake Monona. Check out their student organizations to get involved in other outdoor activities.

    School Overview

    Location: Madison, WI
    Tuition: $10,415 (in-state) or $29,665 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Biology, Economics, and Political Science
    Visit School Website

    University of California – San Diego

    • San Diego, California
    • Graduation Rate: 87%

    This University offers many opportunities to help students learn in the field. There is an aquatic center, which is one of the world’s largest instructional waterfront facilities. They help people learn to surf, ski, sail, wakeboard, and enjoy other water sports. Their Scripps department is one of the largest ocean and earth science research centers. Students also have access to their outdoor courts and sports facilities.

    School Overview

    Location: San Diego, CA
    Tuition: $14,042 (in-state) or $38,066 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Biology, Economics, and Computer Engineering
    Visit School Website

    Davidson College

    • Davidson, North Carolina
    • Graduation Rate: 93%

    Davidson College has club sports teams that include fencing, sailing, lacrosse, and ultimate frisbee. They have a lake location on Lake Norman where students can go skiing, boating, and swimming. They are close to Lake Norman State Park, Stephens Road, Fisher Farm Park, and Rural Hill Nature Preserves. As far as classes go, over 73% of their classes have fewer than 20 students.

    School Overview

    Location: Davidson, NC
    Tuition: $46,966 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Political Science, Economics, and Biology
    Visit School Website

    University of Arizona

    • Tucson, Arizona
    • Graduation Rate: 60%

    The University of Arizona is located in desert climates and has warm weather most of the year, making it a great college for outdoor recreation. The school offers several trips to nearby locations like Lake Powell, Tucson Mountain Park, and the Grand Canyon. They also offer crash-courses in canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing,  and other sports. Students have opportunities to get involved in their clubs and activities on campus.

    School Overview

    Location: Tucson, AZ
    Tuition: $10,872(in-state) or $30,025 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business Management, Biology, and Social Sciences
    Visit School Website

    The University of the South

    • Sewanee, Tennessee
    • Graduation Rate: 82%

    This University has the Sewanee Outing Program, giving students the opportunity to explore. They go canoeing, kayaking, caving and on other trips during weekly outings. The campus is on the Cumberland Plateau, and consists of 13,000 acres. There are trails nearby, and a university farm where students work on sustainability projects.

    School Overview

    Location: Sewanee, TN
    Tuition: $38,700 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Social Sciences, English Language, and Biological Sciences
    Visit School Website

    Warren Wilson College

    • Swannanoa, North Carolina
    • Graduation Rate: 50%

    Warren Wilson College is located in Swannanoa Valley and has over 15 miles of wooded trails on their beautiful campus. Additionally, the Outdoor Program provides opportunities to get out and discover firsthand the millions of acres of national forests and rivers on their doorstep. This College even has a unique Outdoor Leadership Studies Degree. If you like to hike, climb, paddle, forage, MTB, go caving, and get outdoors for your favorite activities this is a great place to go.

    School Overview

    Location: Swannanoa, NC
    Tuition: $32,560 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Environmental Science, Psychology, Creative Writing, and Global Studies
    Visit School Website

    California Polytechnic State University

    • San Luis Obispo, California
    • Graduation Rate: 83%

    Cal Poly is close to the Swanton Pacific Ranch which has 3,200 acres of land that the University uses for livestock and forestry. The campus is close to the Poly Canyon, and is only 20 minutes from the beach. Their Poly Escapes program helps students get out of the routine of classes and into the outdoors.

    School Overview

    Location: Obispo, CA
    Tuition: $9,000 (in-state) or $20,160 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Engineering, Business Management, and Biology
    Visit School Website

    University of California – Berkeley

    • Berkeley, California
    • Graduation Rate: 92%

    This University has Cal Adventures as part of their outdoor adventures programs. They offer classes to students, rentals, and student trips. They help students learn sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and rock climbing. Their campus is over 1,200 acres, and located close to San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Mcnee Ranch State Park. The student organizations also include hang gliding, hiking, archery and snowboarding.  

    School Overview

    Location: Berkeley, CA
    Tuition: $13,432 (in-state) or $38,140 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Engineering
    Visit School Website

    University of Wyoming

    • Laramie, Wyoming
    • Graduation Rate: 54%

    The University of Wyoming has student organizations like a climbing club, fly-fishing, and a ski and snowboard group. Their outdoor program lets student rent equipment. They have a climbing wall, and go on trips to get students outside. The University works with the National Outdoor Leadership School that allows students to get University of Wyoming credits for experience in technical and leadership skills.

    School Overview

    Location: Laramie, WY
    Tuition: $4,892 (in-state) or $15,632 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Registered Nursing, Elementary Education, and Psychology
    Visit School Website

    Lewis and Clark College

    • Portland, Oregon
    • Graduation Rate: 78%

    Lewis and Clark College students have access to College Outdoors. This program gets students involved in backpacking, cross-country skiing, hiking, kayaking, and many other recreational activities. In addition, they have lots of clubs and organizations that encourage students to be active. The college is located in Portland, which is covered in beautiful trails and parks. It even has over 152 miles of trails to bike. Their campus is also covered in trees and perfect for doing homework or relaxing outdoors.

    School Overview

    Location: Portland, OR
    Tuition: $45,104 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Social Sciences, Psychology, and Biological Sciences
    Visit School Website

    University of California – Santa Cruz

    • Santa Cruz, California
    • Graduation Rate: 78%

    UC Santa Cruz main campus is nestled on a hill covered in Redwood forest which overlooks Monterey Bay to the south. The campus offers a diverse array of outdoor programming via its Athletics and Recreation Department. From kayaking the Monterey Bay, to surfing some of the best waves in California, to facilitating Wilderness First Aid certifications and adventure outings to other parts of the state – students have every opportunity to explore the outdoors, including walking through Redwood groves on their way to class every day. The Athletics and Recreation Department also offers camping equipment rental to students at affordable rates as well Physical Education courses in all kinds of activities that include SCUBA diving.

    School Overview

    Location: Santa Cruz, CA
    Tuition: $13,481 (in-state) or $38,189 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Psychology, Business, and Cellular Biology
    Visit School Website

    Green Mountain College

    • Poultney, Vermont
    • Graduation Rate: 34%

    Green Mountain College is on 155-acres of land. They are situated between the Adirondack and Green Mountains. They have several sustainability programs to help them reduce their environmental footprint. They offer a major in Adventure Education, and a minor in Adventure Recreation. They have an aquarium club, animal and welfare appreciation groups, and other clubs that help students get in touch with nature.

    School Overview

    Location: Poultney, VT
    Tuition: $33,736 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies, Resort Management and Biology
    Visit School Website

    Evergreen College

    • Olympia, Washington
    • Graduation Rate: 77%

    Evergreen’s 1,000-acres campus has winding trails, lush forests, an organic farm, and its own beach on Puget Sound. Evergreen College is nearby Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks. Students have the privilege of being close to skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, boating, and surfing. On campus are a series of community gardens available to students and the public. The College offers a Reservation-Based Community Program that allows students to get experience on an Indian reservation.

    As far as classes go, almost 90% of the classes have less than 50 students and many offer extensive fieldwork opportunities. They also have an Outdoor Program that is a resource to help all students to explore the area, develop skills, and build community through clinics, trips, and leadership development.

    School Overview

    Location: Olympia, WA
    Tuition: $8,682 (in-state) or $22,752 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Liberal Arts, Biological, and Physical Sciences
    Visit School Website

    Middlebury College

    • Middlebury, Vermont
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    Middlebury College is located in the Champlain Valley, and is surrounded by the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. They have a Mountain Club, which is one of the University’s oldest student organizations. It leads hiking, boating, and climbing trips for students. They have the Nordic Center that has 50 kilometers of cross-country ski trails.  

    There are currently many projects devoted to making the University more eco-friendly and efficient.

    School Overview

    Location: Middlebury, VT
    Tuition: $47,828 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Economics, Political Science, and English Language
    Visit School Website

    Bowdoin College

    • Brunswick, Maine
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    Bowdoin College has a Coastal Studies Center that is 118-acres on the coast of Orr’s Island that is devoted to helping students in research; they have marine biology and terrestrial laboratories available. They have a number of student organizations and clubs, including the Outing Club that plans fun excursions and adventures for students to explore the outdoors. They also have a 9:1 student-faculty ratio allowing for more personalized instruction from professors.

    School Overview

    Location: Brunswick, ME
    Tuition: $48,212 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Political Science, Economics, and Mathematics
    Visit School Website

    Humboldt State University

    • Arcata, California
    • Graduation Rate: 46%

    Humboldt State University has a number of programs designed to get students out in nature, including Wilderness First Responder, an 80 hour course to help prepare students for emergencies. They also have Wildland Firefighter Training, which is a great opportunity for a summer job or career. They have an Outdoor Adventures Program as well, so that students can go on fun, but safe, excursions.

    School Overview

    Location: Arcata, CA
    Tuition: $7,164 (in-state) or $18,324 (out-of-state)
    Visit School Website

    Colorado State University

    • Fort Collins, Colorado
    • Graduation Rate: 67%

    This University also has an outdoor program that plans trips to train students in backpacking, fishing, skiing, and other sports. They offer free clinics, and have rentable gear. For new students, the University also has a first-year mountain experience trip, in which students spend two days and nights on Colorado State’s Mountain Campus in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

    School Overview

    Location: Fort Collins, CO
    Tuition: $10,590 (in-state) or $27,258  (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business Management, Biological Sciences, and Family & Consumer Sciences
    Visit School Website

    University of Tampa

    • Tampa, Florida
    • Graduation Rate: 58%

    This university is located in Tampa, and is within driving distance of Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. The Office of Campus Recreation provides classes and fitness certification for students. They also have many intramural sports teams for students to join including; flag football and ultimate frisbee. They also venture on many off-campus excursions to go paddle boarding, camping, and paintballing.

    School Overview

    Location: Tampa, FL
    Tuition: $27,044 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Business Management, Social Sciences, and Fitness Studies
    Visit School Website

    University of North Carolina

    • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    • Graduation Rate: 91%

    The University of North Carolina is in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Outdoor Education Center encourages students to learn by doing, and helps students get out in nature. The University goes on several expeditions throughout the year including climbing trips. They have indoor, outdoor, and aquatic facilities for student use. They also have other equipment for rent to students.  

    School Overview

    Location: Chapel Hill, NC
    Tuition: $6,485 (in-state) or $22,099 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Psychology, Business Administration, and Environmental Studies
    Visit School Website

    Belmont University

    • Nashville, Tennessee
    • Graduation Rate: 70%

    Located in historic Nashville, this University offers many opportunities for students to get off campus and explore. They go on several trips including things like; whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River, and paddleboard yoga. Their fitness and recreation program has great facilities and programs for students to support an active lifestyle. They also have a lot of intramural sports teams to choose from.

    School Overview

    Location: Nashville, TN
    Tuition: $30,000 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Music Management, Registered Nursing, and Recording Arts Technology
    Visit School Website

    Northern Michigan University

    • Marquette, Michigan
    • Graduation Rate: 44%

    Even though students at this University have to face cold winters, they are surrounded by nature. They are close to Lake Superior, Marquette Mountain, and other beautiful locations. The outdoor recreation center has a climbing wall for students, where many go to get lessons. NMU Students receive free rentals of snowshoes, fat tire bikes and cross country skis to explore.

    School Overview

    Location: Marquette, MI
    Tuition: $9,984 (in-state) or $15,216 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business Management, Health Professions, and Education
    Visit School Website

    Boise State University

    • Boise, Idaho
    • Graduation Rate: 39%

    Boise has opportunities for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. They even let students get credit for some of these activities. The University plans several trips and clinics, so students can get outdoors to go surfing, explore caves, and just take a break from school. They also have an outdoor rental center open to students and the community.

    School Overview

    Location: Boise, ID
    Tuition: $6,876 (in-state) or $20,926 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Registered Nursing, Health Professions, and Business
    Visit School Website

    Alaska Pacific University

    • Anchorage, Alaska
    • Graduation Rate: 20%

    While this University may be cold, it still has access to many outdoor activities. They even have an Outdoor Studies major that is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. The outdoor programs let students rent gear for activities like cross-country skiing, canoeing, and even ice climbing. They also plan trips and clinics to get students outdoors.

    School Overview

    Location: Anchorage, AK
    Tuition: $19,680 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Outdoor Studies, Marine & Environmental Science, Sustainability Studies, and Business Administration & Management
    Visit School Website

    Williams College

    • Williamstown, Massachusetts
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    Williams college is located close to the Appalachian Trail. They have the Williams Outing Club which is the largest student organization, and the school supports outdoor activities regardless of age or experience level. They do trips throughout the year that include polar bear swims, and indoor, and outdoor climbing. Students can rent equipment, which is especially nice during winter months.

    School Overview

    Location: Williamstown, MA
    Tuition: $50,070 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Economics, History, and Psychology
    Visit School Website

    Oberlin College

    • Oberlin, Ohio
    • Graduation Rate: 85%

    Oberlin College has an Outings Club. Members enjoy canoeing, hiking, and exploring nature. They organize trips for students and provide rental gear. They also have initiative to be more eco-friendly with sustainable student housing. The school uses locally-grown foods in their cafeterias, and have Ohio’s largest solar arrays. The campus has a bike co-op that lets students rent bikes for the semester.

    School Overview

    Location: Oberlin, OH
    Tuition: $50,586 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Music Performance, Political Science and Biology
    Visit School Website

    Bates College

    • Lewiston, Maine
    • Graduation Rate: 88%

    Bates College has an Outing Club that is one of the oldest collegiate outing clubs. The school sponsors trips each year that include; backpacking, hiking, canoeing, skiing, and skydiving.

    There are eco-friendly policies on campus. And as far as classes go, their student-faculty ratio is 10:1 letting students get more personalized instruction.

    School Overview

    Location: Lewiston, ME
    Tuition: $48,435 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Social Sciences, Biology, and Psychology
    Visit School Website

    Bard College

    • Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
    • Graduation Rate: 77%

    Bard College as a wide variety of student activities to choose from. They organize student runs and other large-scale events. This college is only 90 miles from New York City so it is close enough that students can still get a taste of the big city. They have farming programs on campus and recycling policies.

    School Overview

    Location: Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
    Tuition: $49,906 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Visual and Performing Arts, Social Sciences, and English Language
    Visit School Website

    Fort Lewis College

    • Durango, Colorado
    • Graduation Rate: 44%

    Fort Lewis College has an Outdoor Pursuits program that plans trips and adventures for students. They have a climbing wall, and have developed a Student Leadership Program that lets students plan and lead their own outdoor trips.  The school also offers equipment rentals at good rates. The campus is close to the Animas River and the Colorado Trail.

    School Overview

    Location: Durango, CO
    Tuition: $7,600 (in-state) or $17,816 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, Social Sciences, and Psychology
    Visit School Website

    Westminster College

    • Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Graduation Rate: 65%

    Westminster is located close to world-class skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing.  They have an Outdoor Program to help students explore all of Utah. They offer classes, and even a minor in leadership. They also have a Fitness, Wellness, and Recreation Department to help students maintain an active lifestyle. The school offers many clubs and organizations for students to join.  

    School Overview

    Location: Salt lake City, UT
    Tuition: $31,228 Annually
    Visit School Website

    Southern Oregon University

    • Ashland, Oregon
    • Graduation Rate: 38%

    Southern Oregon University has an Outdoor Program to provide adventures to students. They plan trips throughout the year. Students can rent gear to go on their own trips. They also have a Raider Wilderness Experience that give students a number of challenges to explore nature and sharpen their skills.

    School Overview

    Location: Ashland, OR
    Tuition: $7,701 (in-state) or $21,279 (out-of-state)
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, Visual and Performing Arts, and Psychology
    Visit School Website

    Northland College

    • Ashland, Wisconsin
    • Graduation Rate: 49%

    Northland College is very environmentally friendly. Their mission is to get students out into wilderness no matter their major. They accomplish this through Outdoor Orientation, classroom experiential learning, fieldwork, and internships. They also have a fully-stocked gear rental shop on campus, called the Outpost, that provides everything students need to get out on their own. Students participate in May Term “courses” that include hiking 296 miles on the Superior Hiking Trail, biking around Lake Superior, biking from northern Wisconsin to New Orleans, rock climbing in Yellowstone, and the list goes on. No matter the season, students at Northland College are always outdoors. Students not only learn the skills necessary for being in the outdoors, they are active in getting even younger students out into the outdoors.

    School Overview

    Location: Ashland, WI
    Tuition: $32,754 Annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Physical Sciences, Business Management and Biology
    Visit School Website

    Find the program that’s right for you

    Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

    Scroll to Top