September 23, 2022 : By Office of Communications & Public Engagement
The campus of Liberty University is an ever-changing and lively environment with beautiful sights and plenty to do, but all it takes is a short drive off campus around Lynchburg, Va., to see why Travel & Leisure recently ranked the Central Virginia gem among its Top 25 College Towns and Cities.
Lynchburg was named alongside the likes of Ann Arbor (University of Michigan), Athens (University of Georgia), Eugene (University of Oregon), and Chapel Hill (University of North Carolina) and others as college communities with charm.
The site said Liberty contributes to nearly a quarter of the city’s population and called Lynchburg “an easy spot to make friends” and “a rather happy place,” citing the city’s No. 6 ranking on Gallup-Sharecare’s list of Highest Well-Being Communities in 2018.
It’s also no wonder why National Geographic named Lynchburg one of its Best Adventure Towns in 2011. With the Blue Ridge Mountains as its backdrop, Liberty’s campus is planted in one of the most scenic regions of the country. Students can enjoy the area’s natural beauty at Liberty’s Hydaway Outdoor Center, located on Liberty Mountain, where students can camp, kayak, swim or fish as well as hike, run, or bike on Liberty’s extensive trail system. Students also have great views and recreational opportunities at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, which is open to the public and offers year-round skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. Students love to venture a short distance to Lynchburg’s downtown, situated along the James River, and visit the riverside trails and ideal picnic spots as well as the Lynchburg Community Market featuring local vendors.
Lynchburg is only 35 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, so students regularly lace up for mountaintop hikes. An hour’s drive from campus brings visitors to Natural Bridge State Park, where 215-foot limestone gorge stands tall surrounded by a nature area with 6 miles of trails and a Monacan Indian Village.
Any history buff will be at home in Lynchburg too. Thomas Jefferson’s vacation home, Poplar Forest, is only 15 minutes from campus. The university-owned Mead’s Tavern in New London, Va., currently used as a living history lab for students, is believed to be the oldest structure in the Lynchburg region having been built in 1763; the list of rumored visitors includes Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Daniel Boone. The National D-Day Memorial is located in nearby Bedford, Va., chosen as the site of this memorial because its distinction of having lost more servicemen per capita than any other American city on D-Day.
Lynchburg has a population of over 80,000, and the city and surrounding counties represent a population of more than 228,000. Liberty’s students and business operations contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy each year, and 7,987 jobs in the City of Lynchburg are directly or indirectly attributable to Liberty University.