Chapel Hill, a town of about 55,000 residents, is in the center of the state, about 250 miles from some of the most attractive beaches and national seashores on the East Coast and 250 miles from the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Great Smokey Mountain National Park. Summers in Chapel Hill are pleasant, characterized by a peaceful mix of lush green surroundings, long periods of sunny days, and a relaxed town and campus atmosphere. The cultural life of the University, Chapel Hill, and the Research Triangle area is excellent. In addition, Duke University is about 10 miles from Chapel Hill; North Carolina State University, in the state capitol of Raleigh, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are about 20 and 50 miles away, respectively. Also nearby is the well known Research Triangle Park, where many firms have large scientific research facilities, and where the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences and the US Environmental Protection Agency Research Center are located.