The 14 Most Picturesque Private School Campuses in the U.S.

Compared with Kent School in Connecticut, Hogwarts — the fictional school attended by Harry Potter and his wizarding pals — is hogwash.

The more than 1,200-acre countryside campus of the Episcopal Church-affiliated coed school sits on the edge of the Appalachian Trail and along the Housatonic River. Amenities at the disposal of Kent’s 570 students include a boathouse, a rowing center, six outdoor tennis courts, a driving range, an equestrian center, and over 10 miles of mountain-biking and cross-country trails.

Georgian-style brick buildings are clustered on the campus, which features one of only two bell towers on the campus of a boarding school in New England. Kent School dates back to 1906.

It’s a wonder why anyone ever would want to leave this gorgeous campus. The beauty does come at a price, though: Annual tuition for Kent students who live on campus is $56,600, while it’s $44,500 for students who live off campus.

Kent School

Annual tuition for Kent School ranges from $44,500 to $56,600.
Photo: Boarding School Review

The Top 14

For our money, the beauty of Kent School is unparalleled. That’s why it tops our ranking of the 14 Most Picturesque Private School Campuses in the U.S.

To compile our ranking, we scoured the internet for photos of cream-of-the-crop private K-12 schools around the country. In our beauty contest, we judged the contenders based on their architecture and natural scenery, including the landscaping and attention to proper lawn care.

Here’s our list of the 14 Most Picturesque Private School Campuses in the U.S. What grade would you assign these campuses?

1. Kent School
Kent, CT

Why We Like It: Kent School’s location in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains and along the Housatonic River makes this an Instagram-worthy campus.

2. Salisbury School
Salisbury, CT

Salisbury School

Photo: Boarding School Review

Why We Like It: Salisbury School’s 725-acre campus is a stunner. The crew and sailing teams are fortunate enough to practice on the school’s pastoral Lake Washinee.

3. Tabor Academy
Marion, MA

Tabor Academy

Photo: Tabor Academy

Why We Like It: Tabor, known as the “School by the Sea,” sits on 85 seaside acres. The view of Sippican Harbor is breathtaking.

4. Portsmouth Abbey School
Portsmouth, RI

Portsmouth Abbey School

Photo: Portsmouth Abbey School

Why We Like It: The 525-acre campus hugs the shores of Narragansett Bay, just north of Newport. Nearly half the buildings on campus were designed by well-known modernist architect Pietro Belluschi, who was part of the Bauhaus movement.

5. The Thacher School
Ojai, CA

Thacher School

Photo: Boarding School Review

Why We Like It: This 427-acre, ranch-style campus, overlooking the Ojai Valley, sits at the foot of Southern California’s Topa Topa Mountains. The campus even has an observatory.

6. South Kent School
South Kent, CT

South Kent School

Photo: Legacy Global Sports

Why We Like It: The 550-acre campus, nestled in the hills of northwestern Connecticut, looks so peaceful. Features of the campus include an ice-skating arena, a boathouse and the 1824 House, which provides lodging for school visitors.

7. Emma Willard School
Troy, NY

Emma Willard School

Photo: Emma Willard School

Why We Like It: Perched on Mount Ida, the 137-acre campus of Emma Willard School is a grand example of Gothic architecture. The school, established in 1814, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

8. San Domenico School
San Anselmo, CA

San Domenico School

Photo: Pinterest/San Domenico School

Why We Like It: Tucked into the hills of Northern California’s Marin County, the 515-acre campus includes a 1-acre organic garden, six tennis courts, horse-riding stables, and hiking and biking trails.

9. St. Andrew’s School
Middletown, DE

St. Andrew's School

Photo: Squash and Beyond

Why We Like It: At 2,200 acres, St. Andrew’s boasts the largest campus on our list. Much of the campus, where the 1989 movie “Dead Poets Society” was filmed, is set aside as a nature preserve. Campus amenities include 17 tennis courts, nine squash courts and a boathouse.

10. Blair Academy
Blairstown, NJ

Blair Academy

Photo: Squash and Beyond

Why We Like It: Blair Academy, founded in 1848, is situated on 463 hilltop acres. The campus, whose older buildings were designed in the Richardson Romanesque style of architecture, appears on the National Register of Historic Places.

11. Brooks School
North Andover, MA

Brooks School

Photo: US Sports Camps

Why We Like It: Overlooking Lake Cochichewick, the 251-acre campus is bursting with amenities, such as 12 athletic fields, 12 squash courts, eight tennis courts, two boathouses and one hockey rink.

12. Holderness School
Plymouth, NH

Holderness School

Photo: Lakes Region Athletic League

Why We Like It: Located on 600 acres east of the Pemigewasset River in the White Mountains, the campus includes an outdoor covered ice rink and more than six miles of cross-country trails. The on-campus chapel dates back to 1797.

13. The White Mountain School
Bethlehem, NH

White Mountain School

Photo: Ruhl Walker

Why We Like It: The White Mountain School, founded in 1886, is set on a hilltop offering spectacular views of the White Mountains. The campus spans 250 acres.

14. The Lawrenceville School
Lawrenceville, NJ

Lawrenceville School

Photo: Boarding School Review

Why We Like It: Noteworthy aspects of the 700-acre campus include a massive library, 18 athletic fields, a nine-hole golf course, 12 outdoor tennis courts, a boathouse and a nearly 30-acre solar farm. Part of the campus is a national historic landmark.

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Top photo: Globalise Blog


John Egan

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