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College Campus Road Trips Worth Making a Weekend Trip

by Carley Wade

Oct 3, 2017

Marcio Silva | Dreamstime

Adult Children

The kids may already be back to school, but for parents of teenagers, it’s that harried time when you’re already thinking about next September — and college applications to boot. Take a load off with a weekend trip to check out universities and get schooled in some fun extra curriculars along the way.

Providence, R.I.

The smallest state in the union offers up big fun and smarts in the way of Ivy League Brown University, whose wrought-iron gates are just right for some “Harry Potter”-like selfies. Nearby, Rhode Island School of Design features one of the country’s best arts programs and a fun exhibit space, but there’s also art to be found on a plate at the city’s numerous bars and restaurants, staffed and run mostly by alums of the flagship culinary campus of Johnson & Wales. Don’t miss out on a happening bar/pub scene, or WaterFire, an award-winning fire sculpture installation on the city’s three rivers featuring music and performances.

Loyola University Performance Hall in New Orleans, LA

Loyola University Performance Hall in New Orleans. Photo: Gjgkphotography | Dreamstime

New Orleans

What could be more fun than going to school in the Big Easy? It’s a two-fer in Crescent City, home to both Tulane and Loyola in walking distance of each other. Catch a musical performance at Loyola’s performance hall or any number of jazz concerts in the heart of downtown — all accessible by cheap streetcars that wend past the Spanish moss trees. You can also walk and enjoy views of these and other fauna at Audubon Park (near both campuses) or enjoy some of the country’s tastiest cuisine while nearby in the up-and-coming Uptown neighborhood — Down the Bayou is worth checking out.

Hanover, N.H.

The quintessential New England campus of Ivy League Dartmouth College shines particularly in fall and winter, when the leaves shimmer gold or a gentle blanket of snow makes for a postcard-worthy memory. Main Street features boutique shopping, aisles of treasures at used bookstore Left Bank, Lou’s Diner for all-day breakfast or upscale dining at chef Michael Schlow’s PINE (worth it just for the roaring fire alone). Or, make classes a family affair and take up an apron and spoon together with cooking lessons at nearby King Arthur Flour. Outdoorsy types can try sports like snowshoeing and kayaking at Artisans Park, which also features tastings of locally produced cheeses, and Harpoon Brewery with tours and a café.


A road trip here is a quintessential Americana experience — so why not make it a rite of passage? School’s not out for summer since it’s always sunny in San Diego — home to the University of — and you can catch sweeping views of where to spend time outside including the Pacific Ocean, the Coronado Islands and La Jolla. Change up the waves for some peaks at Pepperdine, nestled in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Los Angeles is just an hour’s drive away for some glitzier fun.

Cambridge, Mass.

Harvard University is worth visiting for its proximity to Boston alone, where institutions like Boston, Northeastern and Suffolk universities, the Colleges of the Fenway and UMass (of course!) round out their Ivy League cousin across the Charles River. One of the nation’s most picturesque and iconic campuses that gave birth to alums like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg abounds with small shops and restaurants, convenient public transportation and the feel of an intimate community with a world of opportunity in a large city just 10 minutes away.


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