By Christy Mossburg
Picking a college can be a complex decision. In addition to the academic programs and extra-curricular activities a college can offer, it’s important to consider the location, as well. If the campus isn’t close to home, what types of activities can visiting family members enjoy?
Finding one close to the water gives you many options for recreation. There are more than 50 colleges in the United States situated near the ocean (within 50 miles), so how do you narrow it down? How about looking up these great college towns (and their respective colleges), where you are guaranteed to find a weekend water adventure whenever you want.
Niceville, Florida, home of Northwest Florida State College
Water adventure: Deep Sea Fishing
Situated just 15 miles from Niceville, Destin is one of the hottest deep sea fishing locations in the southeast region of America. As a matter of fact, “Destin was coined ‘World’s Luckiest Fishing Village’ in the 19th century,” according to Charter Fishing Destin and it’s no different today, with a thriving port that college students and their visitors can experience themselves.
Join a 1-day deep sea fishing group or charter your own boat if you come from a family of anglers. You’ll enjoy fishing, swimming and plenty of time in the Florida sunshine.
Corpus Christi, Texas, home of Texas A & M, Corpus Christi
Water adventure: Windsurfing and Kiteboarding
Locals refer to this campus of Texas A & M as “the Island University” because of its location on Oso’ Island, right off of the coast of Mexico. Corpus Christi has an average wind speed of 18 miles an hour and boasts 223 days of sunshine, making it perfect for windsurfing and kiteboarding. Sailing is another popular pastime, thanks to sunny days and plenty of wind.
Tampa, Florida, home of University of Tampa
Water adventure: Dive or Swim with sharks at the Florida Aquarium
Time.com rated Tampa University as one of the best coastal campuses in the United States, and Forbes magazine rated the city as the 5th best city for outdoor activities. There are numerous opportunities for water activities in Tampa, but one of the most popular is diving with the sharks. This adventure is only available to certified divers and those who are not certified get to watch from outside of the tank.
If you don’t plan on getting your diver certification, you can still enjoy a wide range of coastal activities like boating, fishing, swimming, paddle boarding and more.
Wilmington, North Carolina, home of University of North Carolina-Wilmington
Water adventure: Boat Tour of Wilmington
Just 7 miles from Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington, NC offers a variety of activities for all ages, whether you want water parks for younger children or nature tours for the entire family. The top pick for this area is the boat tour that takes passengers around Wilmington, passing by the Cape Fear River as well. Experienced tour guides give a unique perspective on the Carolina coast, the history, and the natural inhabitants of the area.
Santa Cruz, California, home of University of California, Santa Cruz
Water adventure: The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
UC Santa Cruz sits on the coast of central California, overlooking Monterey Bay, home of The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, one of the oldest and most notable boardwalks in the United States. With free admission and inexpensive ride tickets, it’s an affordable option for a large group.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk sits next to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary providing unique opportunities for visitors to spot a variety of sea life, including dolphins, sea lions, and whales.
Christy Mossburg has been writing for 11 years. She writes about family, education and professional writing, and has been featured on a wide variety of lifestyle blogs. She lives in Maryland with her husband and dog, and occasionally her two college-aged kids. You can follow her on Twitter @christymossburg.