Warm Winter College Choices
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
January 15, 2015
With most of the country covered in snow, your college search may have taken a turn. If you’re a fair-weather kind of student, you should consider some of the hottest college campuses in the country…literally.
These colleges aren’t just a draw for their warm weather either. Some are hot spots for brainiacs and others bring in a big crowd because of their national athletic reputation.
This school has everything: one of the nation’s best academic reputations, a stellar basketball team and California sunshine. Located in Palo Alto, the average temperatures in January and February hover in the upper 50s and lower 60s.
On campus, there are a plethora of outdoor activities to keep students occupied year-round. In addition to intramurals, there are a variety of outdoor attractions that not only draw students but tourists to the area as well.
Off campus, students can visit the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden or take weekend bike trips with Undiscovered Country, which visit Sonoma Wine Country, the Sierra Nevada foothills and many other areas in the state.
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University doesn’t just have brains and best value going for it, it has beauty too. This campus in the sunshine state welcomes summer all year long. In January and February, temperatures average in the 60s and 70s.
The campus is located right on Sarasota Bay so students are able to take advantage of nearly every water sport either on-campus or off. Florida Atlantic even has its own port docks for sailing and canoeing.
Just a few miles away are public beaches as well as Myakka State Park. At the State Park, students can view wildlife, like birds and alligators, as well as canoe, hike, picnic, and camp.
Texas A&M University
While Texas A&M is a good 7 – 8 hour drive from some of Texas’s hottest spring break destinations, the campus still has a summertime feel during winter.
A&M outdoor attractions include the Century Oak, which was one of the first trees planted on campus and hosts special events like wedding ceremonies and proposals. Avid golfers are also drawn to the campus’ golf course.
Finally, Texas A&M provides students with opportunities to rent equipment for camping, rock climbing, water sports and outdoor sports like volleyball, softball, tug-o-war, and bocce ball.
University of Hawaii – Manoa
College isn’t often synonymous with paradise. But at University of Hawaii, it is. Average temperatures are in the 80s during the winter months.
Naturally, there are plenty of outdoor activities for students to dive into, including surfing. From the leisure center, students can rent body boards, surfboards, snorkel equipment, kayaks, and tents.
Off campus, students can find activities like volcanic crater hikes, waterfalls and several botanical gardens, according to TripAdvisor. U of H students also make an effort to diligently explore all of the other Hawaiian islands during their four-year stay in paradise.
Pepperdine University looks out at the Pacific Ocean from a towering hill in Malibu, California. During January and Febuary, students bask in 60 degree temps with plenty of sunshine.
Student services provide many organized activities that help students better delve into nature and sometimes includes trips out of state to ski and snowboard.
The university also provides local hike guides to enable students to get to know the area outside of the University. Students can hike to waterfalls, canyons and peaks in the surrounding Malibu area.
University of California – San Diego
It’s always sunny in San Diego – and that’s not the latest FX comedy; it’s a fact. That’s why University of California – San Diego is one of the best winter escape schools in the country.
UCSD is huge into outdoor athletics and recreation. On campus, they offer students access to the aquatics center, intramural and sports clubs, and over 300 noncredit instructional fitness classes.
Off campus, students get a discount at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, which gives members the chance to sail, windsurf, row, wakeboard and water ski year-round.
University of Miami
Students at University of Miami get to experience spring break throughout the entire academic year. Miami temperatures average anywhere between the 60s and 80s in the wintry months of the year.
While the campus offers standard recreation and wellness opportunities, the real warm weather draw is off campus. The Miami beaches and waters are world-renowned, and students can easily access the sandy havens as well as downtown via Miami-Dade Transit, a Metrorail that runs from the campus in Coral Gables to Miami.
University of Arizona
Our last pick is University of Arizona, which is for those students that prefer cacti and canyons to sun and surf. Average Arizona temperatures at this time of year are in the 60s and 70s.
Like University of Miami, University of Arizona has typical outdoor recreation opportunities for students. It’s the surrounding area that really enables students to soak in the year-long warm weather.
We don’t want to discriminate so if you look ahead to the freezing temperatures all year long, we’ve found a few schools that make the most of winter with activities like snowboarding, cross country skiing, and dog sledding:
- University of Montana
- University of Colorado — Boulder
- Middlebury College
- Sierra Nevada College
- Dartmouth College