Monday, January 2, 2017

Best small college towns in US to call home

My top five favorites based on climate and access to the great outdoors:


Points: 3
With its moderate climate and beautiful coastline, Santa Cruz is a small college town that doubles as a beach resort community. Nicknamed “Surf City,” Santa Cruz is recognized as being one of the best places to surf in the world. It is comprised of several state parks and beaches as well as dozens of parks and open spaces for drier recreation. A walk down Pacific Avenue in the heart of the city’s downtown area will reveal its unique culture. Live music, street performers and artists breathe life into the city as do events such as the Santa Cruz Film Festival, First Friday, and Santa Cruz Farmer’s market.
Colleges: University of California, Santa Cruz


Points: 3
Low unemployment rates, a reasonable cost of living, and affordable homes make Johnson City one of the most economically friendly small college towns on our list. In fact, Kiplinger has ranked the city #5 on its list of “The 10 Least-Expensive Cities for Living in the U.S.A.,” and Forbes listed it as the #14 “Best Small Place for Businesses and Careers.” Its pleasant climate and views of the Appalachian Mountains make it a popular destination for tourists as well as a lovely home for its residents. Recreational opportunities abound, including hiking, biking, and even riding the rapids. Johnson City also boasts a rich cultural environment complete with unique restaurants, theater venues, and live country music.
Colleges: East Tennessee State University, Milligan College, Northeast State Community College, Tusculum College, ITT Technical Institute

#20 – LOGAN, UT

mt logan
Points: 4
Located in what many refer to as Utah’s Greenland or the Rocky Mountain Caribbean, Logan is located at the base of the 10,000 foot high Bear River Range, making it a beautiful, sought-after destination for many outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and skiing. Utah State University was founded in 1888 by Logan residents and is the pride of this small-town community. Its crime rate is nearly half of both state and national averages, making it one of the safest places to live in the United States. Logan’s rich culture is impressive as well. Despite its small size, it is home to an opera company, many dance studios, and several acclaimed artists.


Points: 4

Home of the main campus of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale is located less than a hundred miles southeast of St. Louis on the northern edge of Shawnee National Forest. The 13 other parks in Carbondale include the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Little Grand Canyon, and the Trail of Tears State Park, which provide recreational opportunities such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The university presence also adds a rich cultural element to the town, presenting many avenues for artistic, musical, and theatrical expression. Carbondale is also an affordable place to live, with a cost of living index that is 11% lower than the state average and 12.2% lower than the national average.

Colleges: Southern Illinois University

#6 – DAVIS, CA

Points: 5

The city of Davis is located in the Central Valley of northern California in Yolo County, just over ten miles from the big city of Sacramento. Davis has been recognized as one of “America’s Best Biking Cities” and is home to the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. Its progressive community is also known for its environmental programs and its energy conservation measures. A rich cultural hub, Davis houses over two dozen art galleries as well as a revived performing arts center. Its dedication to art can be seen through the over $200,000 worth of public art showcased throughout the city. Although its cost of living is significantly higher than most other cities on our list, those who can afford to live here will enjoy the liveliness of a big city, but in a much safer, much friendlier environment.

Colleges: University of California, Davis