When choosing a college, academic quality is not the only important factor to consider. Getting the details about each campus is an important part of the college research and selection process. If you are looking for the top wellness centers for university students in America, consider your search over. Here you will find the top 30 schools known for their rec centers that promise physical and mental health.
College life can be an exciting adventure, a journey into adulthood, and a career that is incredibly rewarding. But this complicated time can also be stressful. To ensure the well-rounded development of students, most leading colleges in America offer services that lead to the physical and mental wellbeing of students. They provide a range of unique activities that help students stay happy and healthy, along with achieving academic excellence.
The range of extracurricular activities available through these recreation centers can help make campus easy and fun to deal with. Most campus recreation centers focus on fitness and sports like indoor basketball, volleyball, rock climbing, tennis, and track. In contrast, others concentrate on outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, fishing, and river rafting, depending on the nearby terrain. Many of these rec centers are designed to be popular hangout spots where movie nights, comedy shows, and live performances are regularly held to allow students to relax and socialize with fellow students.
Along with physical fitness, these wellness centers also focus on the students’ mental wellbeing. To this end, they offer counseling services and group therapies along with yoga, meditation, and massage therapies. They are often attached to the university’s health centers providing primary, urgent, and specialty care. Together they create a holistic, healthy environment for students whenever they need help of any kind.
The leading wellness centers offer advice and support on many critical issues like sexual assault, substance abuse, bullying, and nutritional health. Students are encouraged to share their problems in individual and group sessions per their comfort levels. By participating in the offered activities, they find it easier to adjust to campus life, make friends, and focus better in studies.
Many universities offer exceptional wellness and recreational facilities. We have researched several schools to see what they offer. In this article, we shortlisted the 30 schools that boast of outstanding facilities that they provide via their wellness centers. They have not only exceptional wellness and fitness facilities but also outstanding counseling services. They are not ranked because all of them offer fabulous services but simply listed in order.
#30 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Activities and Recreation Center (ARC)
The impressive Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the country’s largest on-campus recreation centers. The sparkling 340,000 square feet comes with:
- a 35-foot climbing wall,
- two 50-meter swimming pools
- 1/5-mile indoor track
- 35-person sauna
- four gymnasiums with hundreds of machines and weights
- twelve racquetball courts
- three squash courts
- indoor running track
- Fitness and Wellness Suite
- Courtside Café
- instructional kitchen
- three meeting rooms
- nine multi-purpose areas
- a 150-seat auditorium
They also offer athletic training and professional massage options. The center provides wellness services to help students cope with stress, stay fit, and embrace wellness holistically.
#29 Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO
Habif Health and Wellness Center
The Habif Health and Wellness Center at Washington University in St. Louis offers diverse services to students on campus. The top-quality offerings include:
- pharmaceutical, gynecological, radiology, mental health & counseling services
- allergy shots or immunizations
- routine checkups
- urgent care visits
Located within the Nathan Dardick House dorm building, students can opt for a series of health and wellbeing workshops that address physical and psychological fitness and social issues. These sessions cover a variety of college health issues like drugs and alcohol addiction, stress, fitness and nutrition, mental health, sleep disorders and anxiety, nutrition, sexual health, and consent, among others.
#28 University of Maryland
College Park, MD
Recreation & Wellness Center
The University Recreation & Wellness Center or Recwell offers University of Maryland students unique fitness options. Students are encouraged to avail as many facilities as they can and pursue healthy, active lifestyles. There is an outdoor leisure pool and an indoor pool for students. The five-lane infinity pool with fabulous vistas of the entire campus invites both the hardcore and recreational swimmers to exercise, hang out, and relax with friends. Individual fitness training, group exercise sessions, and yoga classes are some of the massive gymnasium options. The rope course and the rock climbing wall and free bike rentals challenge those who wish to burn off more energy
#27 University of Pennsylvania
Penn Campus Recreation
Penn Campus Recreation centers are named the Fox Fitness Center and David Pottruck Health and Fitness Center. The latter is a luxurious, four-story facility that is the envy of all East Coast campuses. It comes complete with:
- basketball courts
- a climbing wall
- exercise studios
- top of the line fitness equipment
- Pilates studio
They also offer a chair or a table massage in the massage studio. The Olympic-sized pool offers individual and group aqua fitness courses like yoga, dance, and other cardio techniques with low impact water movements. Students can also opt for various dance, martial arts, and golf lessons. The Hecht Tennis Center featuring eight indoor tennis courts is a favorite with students.
#26 California State University Fullerton
The Titan Recreation Center at California State University Fullerton promotes physical and mental fitness for all students. It operates as a part of Associated Students Inc. (ASI) and has been named as one of the 35 most luxurious student recreation centers in the United States by Collegerank.net. It includes a variety of activities like:
- power yoga
- indoor rock climbing
- a martial arts studio
- a total body fitness program
- intramural sports
- the titan cycle
Cross-training is also available for those who want a more specialized, more rigorous workout. These innovative and inclusive recreational opportunities are focused on enriching the students’ daily lives and adding to their wellbeing.
#25 University of Colorado Boulder
Student Recreation Center
The Student Recreation Center at the University of Colorado Boulder offers over 300,000 square feet of recreation activity space for campus students. The center was renovated and expanded in 2014 and comes with fabulous amenities like:
- basketball courts
- four pools (both indoor and outdoor)
- racquetball, volleyball, tennis, squash and badminton courts
- indoor rock climbing
- a 10,000-square-foot gym
- Boulder’s only ice rink
The center also boasts of a Wellness Suite that helps students gain and maintain healthy lifestyles through programs like musculoskeletal exercises, specialist nutrition, and flu clinics. The unique and popular turf gym provides indoor playing opportunities for Club Sports, drop-in rec, and Intramural Sports.
#24 Florida State University
Health and Wellness Center
The Health and Wellness Center at Florida State University is a state-of-the-art hub building that promotes healthcare, fitness, and research. The $36.7 million, 170,632-square-foot premises host several programs to keep Florida State students healthy and well. Services include:
- radiology and X-ray laboratory
- dental services
- a specialty care setting
- diabetes management
- physical therapy centers
- foreign travel
- dive clinics
They also have an urgent care department and psychiatric services to help students maintain good mental health. An added 20,000 square feet includes additional fitness space open to all. There is also a 284 seat auditorium for conferences and teaching symposiums and modern classrooms for the School of Nursing.
#23 University of Georgia
University Health Center
The University Health Center at the University of Georgia seeks to advance its students’ wellbeing and community. The center offers a plethora of services including a dozen primary, specialty care clinics and units covering dental, dermatology, sports medicine to a range of physical wellness services. A $17 million expansion added new facilities to the old. Students can now enjoy a dedicated health promotion department along with mental health care With Psychiatric appraisal and medication monitoring. Classroom outreach presentations by expert health educators and education that develop health literacy and skills are key are covered. Cross-campus activities lead to the health promotion and wellbeing of all students and lead to inclusion and developmental sensitivity.
#22 Saint Mary’s College of California
Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center
The Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center at Saint Mary’s College of California is a key component of the campus. It strives to create an inclusive environment and engage all SMC students. The 60,000 square foot facility is designed to be more of an all-inclusive recreation center than a traditional fitness center. Students come here to join in recreational sports, to socialize, or even study in groups. It includes a fully equipped 13,8000 square foot fitness area and three full-sized gymnasiums with indoor soccer, basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts. The aquatic center has a 450,000-gallon swimming pool with diving boards and a hydrotherapy spa. There is also a rock-climbing wall for students who love extreme sports.
#21 University of Massachusetts Amherst
The 120,000 square foot University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Recreation Center is considered one of the most luxurious rec centers in US college history. The $38 million 24,000-square-foot gym includes features like:
- six basketball courts
- handball, squash, badminton and volleyball court
- 140 pieces of weight and cardio equipment
- aquatics amenities
The full range of competitive and recreational sports include:
- sand volleyball
- table tennis
- extreme dodgeball
- field hockey
It also has a Wellness Center that is dedicated to bringing about fitness and wellness into students’ daily routine. Trained counselors advise students on healthy eating choices, meditation and initiate support programs covering substance abuse, stress, and quitting smoking.
#20 New York University
New York, New York
Student Health Center
The Student Health Center at New York University offers accessible, high-quality medical care for students on campus, combining urgent and primary care assistance. The impressive facility boasts:
- high-quality optometry and radiology departments
- mental health counseling
- allergy and immunology tests
- cutting-edge psychiatric medication management
- HIV counseling and testing
- exceptional women’s health services
These, along with yoga and nutrition advisory services, help promote students’ emotional and physical wellbeing. The Healthy Living division provides interactive, engaging health information covering topics like sexual assault prevention, stress, mental and sexual health, alcohol and other drugs, healthy eating, and bystander intervention.
#19 University of Pittsburgh
Wellness and Recreation Center
The new state-of-the-art Wellness and Recreation Center at the University of Pittsburgh will offer comprehensive fitness and wellness services. The innovative multi-story facility will have recreation and fitness areas encompassing all aspects of health and wellness from gyms and recreation pools, to yoga and meditation spaces. The 300,000 sq. feet space will support healthy nutrition, jogging track, weight-lifting equipment, basketball and volleyball courts, academic gathering spaces, and more. The counseling department and student health resources will add to these features and offer a holistic approach to support and enrich the student experience. There will also be additional amenities like a test kitchen under consideration.
#18 University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL
Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center
The Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center at the University of Miami is a 138,000-square-foot facility that boasts of a multitude of services leading to healthy bodies and minds. The exceptional services include:
- an 18,000-square-foot gym
- indoor pitches for soccer and hockey
- three indoor basketball courts
- a running track
- pilates studios
It also has a spa, two saunas, and a juice bar for students who can also avail of special wellness services. These services range from computer-driven diet analysis, mental health counseling, drug, alcohol, and smoking cessation via varied stress-busting arts and crafts sessions. Designed as a holistic center for recreational sports, it offers some of the best fitness and wellness education programs leading to a well-rounded educational environment.
#17 Arizona State University
ASU Health Services
Arizona State University’s Health Services division offers a variety of wellness and high-quality healthcare options for students. The array of services includes:
- primary care
- sports medicine
- ear, nose, and throat treatment
- women’s health
- smoking cessation
- nutrition counseling
Diverse wellness and fitness programs help students achieve a healthy lifestyle and contribute to their physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing. The 34,000 square foot complex is an eco-friendly space that boasts solar panels for energy supply and a distinctive overhanging roof designed to maximize shade and regulate the structure’s temperature. It exudes the positive vibes students need to reach their full potential.
#16 University of Florida
Counseling and Wellness Center
The Counseling and Wellness Center at the University of Florida offers holistic programs designed to help students achieve physical fitness and a healthy state of mind. The $6.5 million, 22,550 square foot complex boasts an exceptional staff focused on fostering human development in all of its diversity through compassion, advocacy, hope, empowerment, and heart. The outstanding range of therapy groups helps students learn the skills to cope with the stresses of change and growth so that they can find their potential. They learn how to embrace differences and help nurture a healthy and healing environment. It also has an innovative online therapy solution for students who are unable to meet counselors in person.
#15 University of California, Berkeley
University Health Services-Tang Center
The University Health Services-Tang Center at the University of California, Berkeley, is a fully-accredited outpatient center designed to address all aspects of students’ health. Services encompass medical, wellness and health education along with mental health. The comprehensive hub for health and wellness includes a pharmacy, primary and urgent care services, specialist clinics in orthopedics, ophthalmology, podiatry, physical therapy, and repetitive strain injuries. There is also a Social Services division that helps students deal with myriad issues like alcohol and drug dependency, eating disorders, illness, and domestic violence. Counseling and mental health services cover women’s and LGBT services, along with career counseling.
#14 University of Missouri
Wellness Resource Center
The Wellness Resource Center at the University of Missouri lays high stress on the mental health and physical wellbeing of students. To this end, the center offers a series of individual sessions to help students deal with change and remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis. These sessions include yoga, Mental Health Assessment Online Screening, diverse workshops, and self-care resources to help students maintain social and academic wellbeing. The center is known for its groundbreaking work on substance abuse prevention and alcohol awareness offered via wellness coaching and a quit smoking scheme. The unique MUVE (MU Values Exercise and Eating Well) initiative offers students nutrition and fitness counseling to help them stay healthy and deal with academic stress with ease.
#13 University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND
Student Wellness Center
The state-of-the-art Student Wellness Center at the University of North Dakota offers wellness and healthy living solutions for students and everyone else on campus. The facility, which helps cultivate the multi-dimensional wellbeing of the UND community, is now nationally recognized for its services and has even won awards. The many fitness and wellness activities include:
- personal training
- group exercises
- rock climbing
- cardio boxing
- wellness education
- intramural sports
Passionate rock climbers can even try out “Cosmic Climbing,” which is rock climbing with black lights and glow-in-the-dark holds. Special annual events organized by the center include cross country skiing and a 10k race called the Green Gallop Homecoming Run. The culinary corner offers fast and healthy cooking classes.
#12 University of Chicago
Student Wellness Center
The Student Wellness Center at the University of Chicago is being renovated as a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to providing health, counseling, and wellness resources. It will expand the existing student health facility and combine Student Counseling Service, Student Health Service, Health Promotion, and Wellness under one roof. These, along with the campus recreation center, offer varied physical and mental challenges leading to student enrichment. Athletics and fitness activities include a gamut of team sports like:
- flag football
- inner tube water polo
The future integrated care will create a welcoming and student-centered environment with more fitness, wellness, medical, and mental health providers on staff.
#11 Vanderbilt University
Recreation & Wellness Center
The Recreation & Wellness Center at Vanderbilt University helps cultivate diverse, meaningful connections and seeks to enrich the student experience. Diverse programs and services encourage students to pursue lifelong learning and healthy lifestyles. Along with mental health and social wellbeing, students are encouraged to stay fit and healthy by availing of the numerous services offered here. These include:
- international standard squash courts
- weight training and aerobics
- personal fitness goals
- dance classes
- an eight-lane running track
The campus’s nutrition corner offers healthy eating options along with cooking demonstrations, while the Message Therapy Center offers many forms of massage to relieve stress and anxiety.
#10 Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
Recreation & Wellness Center
The Recreation & Wellness Center at Purdue University offers diverse wellness programs like stress management, alcohol education, and wellbeing classes. A range of wellness workshops offered focus on health education and holistic approaches to managing one’s health. Students can avail of the demonstration kitchen and nutrition counseling to learn about healthy eating options. Fitness options include rock climbing, club sports, group exercises, and personal trainers, along with aquatics in a pool of 1.3 million gallons of water. The center is also known for offering exceptional activities and services for the differently-abled. The combination of these recreational and wellness services provides the Purdue community with an active, healthy lifestyle and encourages students to pursue lifelong wellness.
#9 Indiana State University
Terre Haute, IN
Student Recreation Center
The Student Recreation Center at Indiana State University offers diverse health, fitness, and wellness programs to help students maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Services and programs offered at the $21.7 million facility include:
- floor hockey
- indoor soccer
- martial arts programs
- racquetball courts
- a jogging track
- full-sized tennis court
- a climbing wall
- a 25-yard pool offering aquatics like water aerobics and lifeguarding
The university’s outdoor facilities include two well-lit softball fields, another full-sized tennis court, a 22-person hot tub, Wolf Field for sand volleyball, basketball, and a sheltered picnic area. A juice bar with healthier snack options and free wi-fi invites students to hang out and socialize.
#8 Ohio State University
Student Wellness Center
The Student Wellness Center at Ohio State University was developed out of the convergence of a variety of programs to address various health and wellness concerns. These programs focus on wellness as an active, ongoing process and empower students to strive for balance and wellness. The center functions on the philosophy of the Nine Dimensions of Wellness, leading to balanced lifestyles and student success. These include:
- Emotional Wellness
- Career Wellness
- Social Wellness
- Spiritual Wellness
- Physical Wellness
- Financial Wellness
- Intellectual Wellness
- Creative Wellness
- Environmental Wellness
Through each of these, students become more aware of holistic, healthy living and take steps toward a healthier, happier, more successful life.
#7 Texas State University
San Marcos, TX
Department of Campus Recreation
The Department of Campus Recreation at Texas State University seeks to foster lifelong learning and wellness in students. The varied recreation services are designed to stimulate development and facilitate retention and make active campus life easily attainable. The myriad of facilities and services include:
- a dedicated boxing studio
- rock climbing center
- 15,000 square foot weight room
- TRX suspension training
- club sports
- excellent aquatics programs
- boot camps for intense physical exercise
- an extensive golf course
- a state of the art Golf Simulator
- an active intramural program
Together they help students achieve physical and mental fitness and hone their potential for success.
#6 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Los Angeles, CA
Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center
The Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center (The Ashe Center) at UCLA is devoted to providing accessible, high-quality, state-of-the-art healthcare, wellness, fitness, and education programs. It has primary and urgent care facilities, along with a broad range of specialty clinics. These cover everything from rheumatology, neurology, gastroenterology to podiatry, acupuncture, psychiatry, and counseling along with a 24/7 Nurseline. The center works with the Recreation Department includes six extensive aquatic facilities that offer aquatic sports, aquatic fitness classes, swim training, and leisure swim. Students can also go stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, rowing, sailing, surfing, and windsurfing. Massage therapies offered by the Ashe Mind-Body Clinic combine with the above to support the unique development of UCLA students.
#5 University of Maine
New Balance Student Recreation Center
The New Balance Student Recreation Center at the University of Maine has something for everyone. The 87,000+ square foot facility offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, including:
- an indoor climbing wall
- cardio and weight equipment
- a track
- volleyball, badminton, pickleball and basketball courts
A Multiple Activity Court (MAC) with a synthetic floor is suitable for soccer, floor hockey, among other uses. The leisure pool up to 4.5′ deep has two 25-yard lap lanes, a vortex current pool, a shallow splash area with fountain, a 20-person hot tub, a co-ed sauna and a large leisure area with hot-water-jet bench seating. It is also located right next to 15+ miles of forested trails.
#4 University of Wyoming
Campus Recreation Center
The Campus Recreation Center at the University of Wyoming helps students stay fit and mentally healthy all year round. The magnificent outdoors offers many activities for students like rock climbing, canoeing, mountain biking, and backpacking, but the long, harsh winters can shorten those activities. This is where the myriad wellness and recreation activities help students keep fit and happy all the time. Students can choose from club sports, intramural sports, yoga, and meditation for mind and body wellness. Aquatics is a big part of those activities, and the half-acre pool allows for recreational swimming, aquatic exercise classes, and personal swim training. Outdoor activities in winter can include skiing and ice climbing.
#3 Illinois State University
The campus Recreation at Illinois State University offers myriad recreational opportunities to help students’ quality of life. They are encouraged to actively participate in diverse programs that foster social interaction, develop leadership skills, and reinforce healthy behaviors. There are personal fitness training and classes and group recreation that focus on teamwork and strengthening the connection to others. Sports opportunities include basketball, indoor climbing wall, soccer, kickball, tennis, and hockey. The campus recreation center also organizes outdoor activities like skiing, climbing, hiking, and white water rafting trips that, too, promote healthy living and team building. All these activities combine to help students stay fit and mentally healthy as they pursue academic excellence.
#2 University of Texas at Austin
Division of Recreational Sports
The Division of Recreational Sports at the University of Texas at Austin promotes physical fitness, healthy habits, and balanced behaviors through an array of recreation facilities. A multitude of recreation centers and fields include competitive sports, group workouts, and weight training. The range of services offered includes sports clubs, intramural sports, instructional and informal recreation, various fitness and wellness programs along with myriad outdoor recreation options which also includes adventure trips. There is a rock climbing wall for those who want to push themselves harder. The center has three outdoor pools and the Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex which has two more indoor pools and a spa.
#1 Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO
Student Recreation Center
The Student Recreation Center at Colorado State University offers myriad choices for students interested in healthy physical activities and mental wellbeing. Outdoor activities are provided through an inline hockey rink, three outdoor basketball courts, and three outdoor volleyball courts along with a massive tennis complex. Indoors students get to use the volleyball and basketball areas, a climbing wall, and a pool that has four 25-yard lap lanes. Fitness studios and two separate gymnasiums are also available for students to use. The dance studio offers fun activities like Barre Dance Fusion and Hip Hop along with regular Studio dance programming. Students who wish to go hiking or backpacking in the Rockies can also take Outdoor Awareness classes at the center.