The University of California, Santa Cruz, campus is nestled south of San Francisco on 2,001 acres of forested hills overlooking the Monterey Bay. Check out our complete list of the top 25 colleges for Outside readers.
The Wilderness Orientation program provides incoming students an opportunity to learn about wilderness travel and the college environment through either a 10-day backpacking excursion or an eight-day sea kayaking adventure.
Long Marine Laboratory
The LML, overlooking the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, provides permanent space to approximately 100 faculty, researchers, and graduate students studying diving physiology, physiological ecology, bioacoustics, and more. Here, students collect samples of marine life before heading back to the LML.
The Recreation Department offers outdoor rentals, trips, classes and a variety of recreation facilities.
While it was designed as a liberal arts university, UCSC has a graduate-level natural science research component and the oldest organic farm and garden program in the country.
The heavily-wooded campus is home to a variety of popular spots, including the Porter Caves and Tree Nine, a large Douglas fir frequented by tree climbers with a wonderful view of Monterey Bay.
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