The 14 Most Scenic Community College Campuses in the U.S.

Clinton Community College

Along Bluff Point just south of Plattsburgh, N.Y., you can soak up the surroundings and soak in the history.

The forested bluff overlooks Lake Champlain, tucked between New York’s Adirondack Mountains and Vermont’s Green Mountains. As you’re marveling at the views, you can imagine President William McKinley running the federal government from the Hotel Champlain, perched on Bluff Point, during the summers of 1897 and 1899. Joining McKinley there were the vice president, the secretary of state, the secretary of war and the postmaster general.

Today, more than 100 years after McKinley made the Hotel Champlain his summer White House, the former hotel — which burned down in 1910 and was rebuilt a year later — houses Clinton Community College.

Clinton Community College

Winter transforms Clinton Community College into a wonderland.

‘Spectacular Natural Setting’

Clinton Community College opened in 1969 with 260 students. Now, about 1,900 students attend the two-year school. By the way, those hundreds of students aren’t crammed into the former hotel; these days, there are other buildings on the campus.

“While the college features the modern equipment and facilities necessary for contemporary educational needs, its distinctive architecture and spectacular natural setting hint at significant times of the past,” the college says.

In that setting, the students of Clinton Community College get to study in classrooms and take study breaks on the most scenic community college campus in the U.S., as determined by LawnStarter. Suffice it to say that we’re jealous. Several community college campuses almost rival the natural beauty of Clinton Community College, but none comes close enough to topple the Plattsburgh school from its scenic pedestal.

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain contributes to the scenic allure of Clinton Community College.
Photo: Adirondack Base Camp

14 Most Scenic Community College Campuses

Indeed, Clinton Community College is in great company on LawnStarter’s list of the 14 Most Scenic Community College Campuses in the U.S. — a ranking that gives a nod to the sometimes overlooked cousins of four-year colleges and universities.

A community college campus made our ranking based on its natural scenery, architecture or landscaping, or a combination of those factors. As you peruse our list, keep in mind that we might have missed a few worthy candidates, since there are more than 1,100 community colleges across the country.

1. Clinton Community College
Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Clinton Community College

Photo: Clinton Community College

2. Southern Maine Community College
South Portland, Maine

Southern Maine Community College

Photo: Southern Maine Community College

3. Central Maine Community College
Auburn, Maine

Central Maine Community College

Photo: Central Maine Community College

4. Kapi’olani Community College
Honolulu, Hawaii

Kapiolani Community College

Photo: Discover Nikkei

5. Mt. Hood Community College
Gresham, Oregon

Mt. Hood Community College

Photo: Mt. Hood Community College

6. College of the Desert
Palm Desert, California

College of the Desert

Photo: JM Contractors

7. Highline College
Des Moines, Washington

Highline College

Photo: Highline College

8. Rogue Community College
Grants Pass, Oregon

Rogue Community College

Photo: YouTube/Rogue Community College

9. Kingsborough Community College
Brooklyn, New York

Kingsborough Community College

Photo: Kingsborough Community College

10. Palomar Community College
San Marcos, California

Palomar Community College

Photo: Construction Management Association of America, San Diego Chapter

11. Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Chandler, Arizona
Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Photo: Chandler-Gilbert Community College

12. Foothill Community College
Los Altos Hills, California

Foothill College

Photo: The Cultural Landscape Foundation

13. Truckee Meadows Community College (Dandini Campus)
Reno, Nevada

Truckee Meadows Community College

Photo: Truckee Meadows Community College

14. GateWay Community College
Phoenix, Arizona


Photo: Jenco

Top photo: Clinton Community College


John Egan

John Egan is the former editor in chief of Now, he is a freelance writer extraordinaire. He lives in Austin, Texas.