Outside University: 10. University of Georgia

We know what our readers look for in any kind of experience: adventure, grit, sweat, a worthy struggle, tested endurance, goosebump-inducing views, wide-open skies, maybe some roiling water. So why should college be any different? The correct answer is: It shouldn’t.

University of Georgia.    

UGA’s eco-friendly Ramsey Center is, at eight acres, one of America’s biggest student recreation facilities. With two gyms, three pools, a track, an indoor climbing wall, and an outdoor bouldering wall, it’s got everything any type of athlete would need to maintain peak physical condition. On Lake Herrick, another rec center offers beach volleyball and canoeing.

Other campus assets include the Georgia Museum of Natural History (one of the state’s most impressive collections of natural artifacts), the 38-acre Coastal Plain Research Arboretum (in Tifton), and the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island. The main campus is 30 miles from Oconee National Forest and, with 60 percent possible sunshine per year, can often promise decent weather.

The Georgia Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP) offers trips and classes, including wakeboarding instruction and scuba certification. Students can also get phys-ed credits for adventure classes in Costa Rica (surfing, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking, and rainforest-canopy ziplining) and Australia (boating, hiking, even snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef)—though these trips are, for a student, expensive.

Rentals, though, are well-priced and there’s a great variety to choose from, including wetsuits, backpacks, stoves, coolers, compasses, and a variety of tents.

In sports, rowing and wakeboarding are competitive on a national level, and the bass anglers club won a regional competition.

Academically, the horticulture program is a highlight, offering a look into everything from commercial flower production to attracting backyard birds.

Alumni stay involved by taking part in an annual float down the Northern Colorado River.

CONTACT: (706) 542-3000, uga.edu
STUDENT BODY: 25,947 undergraduates, 8,730 graduates
TUITION: residents $9,472, nonresidents $27,682, room and board $8,708

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