New England Travel navigation bar graphic

Three Great New England College Towns That You'll Love

Burlington, VT, home of the University of Vermont

Article by Eric H.

Photo, Courtesy of Travel Guide of America

College towns have a special feel, full of proud, old academic buildings on tree-lined streets, students saturating the sidewalks with their diverse looks and thoughts, and professors deep in thought at the local coffee shop.

New England has many fine college towns, steeped in small-town conservative virtues co existing with progressive, liberal thinkers. They all have a special feel of their own. Here are our top three college towns:

Hanover, NH -- Hanover would have been a classic small-town New England community without Dartmouth College, but this esteemed academic institution puts Hanover over the top as one of New England's most appealing towns. Located on the western side of New Hampshire in the beautiful Upper Connecticut River Valley, Hanover has a population of a little over 10,000 and seemingly that many coffee shops, restaurants, interesting little shops and places to walk. Dartmouth College, one of the finest Ivy League schools in this country with renowned medical school, provides a presence that has allowed Hanover to develop a considerable economic and cultural base, as evidenced by the electric downtown and many things to do including visiting the Hopkins Center for the Arts for myriad special cultural events and the Hood Art Museum. Success hasn't spoiled Hanover, as it remains true to its historical community roots and preservation and its standing as one of the best places to live and go to school in the United State. Author Bill Bryson, a stingy critic of generic America, reportedly found Hanover so pleasant that he moved here in the mid-1990s.

Burlington, VT -- One of New England's most underrated cities (population around 40,000), Burlington, VT, is home to the University of Vermont, Champlain College. Community College of Vermont and Burlington College. It is a small city that features the wonderful Church Street Marketplace, an outdoor oasis with more than 50 shops as well as diverse restaurants, street vendors, seasonal festivals and entertainers. The nearby waterfront section affords beautiful views of Lake Champlain and New York's Adirondack Mountains and offers a terrific walking/bike path, restaurants, ferry crossings, cruise boats, concerts, a Fourth of July fireworks celebration and other events. A "green" city with a healthy dose of liberalism dedicated to city beautification, health and wellness resources, and strong political views, Burlington is certainly not a dull city. It may be, in fact, New England's most complete college town as visitors have the benefit of finding things to do often found in larger cities, while enjoying a small-town feel.

Durham, NH -- The significant University of New Hampshire student population and a bustling downtown still haven't been able to transform Durham, NH, into a hectic place. A true small-town at heart with a population of around 12,000, scenic Durham has all the attributes of the New Hampshire we love -- farmland, flowing rivers, old Colonial homes, forested region and parks. The downtown is special, as it not only caters to students with eclectic shops and dining options and, but, rightfully, the town residents with a full range of services. Durham has everything that a student could want or a resident looking for that classic small New England town. All in all, Durham might just be one of New England's most authentic college towns as it rarely overwhelms with 21st century trappings; it still has a peaceful aura from another area with its dignified college buildings, people and places.


Search New England

Follow VisitingNewEngland On
Follow NewEnglandInfo on Twitter    Follow on Facebook
        Follow Me on Pinterest



Featuring our latest New England travel insider's news updates and stories, discounts and coupons!

NOTE: We will never sell your personal information! Go to privacy policy link at bottom of page.

Search for Cape Cod and Maine vacation rentals.

Buy Boston Red Sox Tickets.