There are plenty of publications that portray the most popular college towns across the country. It’s important to note that each list varies significantly, depending on a publication’s choice of criteria. In addition to looking at local universities and focusing solely on life during the college years, some lists feature college towns that are also ideal to live and raise families in after graduation.

Some of the qualities that are taken into consideration when choosing towns are weather, pollution, community awareness, popularity of local sports teams, university size, cost of living,  and nightlife, as well as the robustness of the job market. In addition to an iconic educational institution, oftentimes the presence of large corporate headquarters helps to create a stable economy and more financial security for its residents.

St. Augustine, Florida is home to Flagler College. The city is abundant with historic Spanish-themed architecture and history while also hosting the nation’s oldest European settlement. In addition to all of its museums, it is also a coastal city and host to many government contractors. Tourism is a thriving industry in St. Augustine. 

Boulder, Colorado has many reasons to keep its residents and visitors happy. The air is crisp and clean and the locals are quite friendly. It continuously earns the title of America’s “foodiest” town, the brainiest city, the best outdoor town, and one of the best cities for artists.

Beaufort, South Carolina is most recognizable as being the backdrop for the world-famous movie, Forrest Gump. It is also home to the University of South Carolina. The Marines keep a strong military presence, and the university is known for its diverse degree programs.

One of the reasons people flock to Corvallis, Oregon is the weather and the natural scenery. The seasons are predominantly mild throughout the year. It is also known as the third most educated city in the US and one of the best places to start a business. Many residents of the town either work for Oregon State University or Hewlett-Packard.

Fargo, North Dakota is home to North Dakota State University. People are drawn to the town because of the affordable housing, low unemployment and low crime rates. There are plenty of outdoor family activities, including zoo visits and skiing. 

Flagstaff, Arizona is where people will find Northern Arizona University. It is also conveniently situated near one of America’s greatest tourist spots, the Grand Canyon. A thriving cultural and music scene draws residents and tourists alike, and the many corporate entities located there keep the job market more than sustainable.