The Five College Area is usually thought of as including:
- Amherst, home of the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), Amherst College, and Hampshire College
- Northampton, home of Smith College
- South Hadley, home of Mount Holyoke College
- Hadley, which has no colleges itself but is geographically between Amherst, Northampton, and South Hadley.
While the southern part of the Pioneer Valley is dominated by Springfield and Holyoke, the Five College Area is its own enclave with its own issues, problems, ("UMass Students are rioting again") and concerns ("How do we deal with the student housing shortage?").
From Connecticut and all points south, take Interstate 91 North. From Vermont and all points north, take Interstate 91 South. From Boston, and all points east, take the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) west to I-91 North. From Albany (New York), take the Massachusetts Turnpike east to I-91 North. U.S. Interstate 91 has exits to South Hadley and Northampton. From Northampton, you can talk Massachusetts Route 9 to Amherst via Hadley.
Rail service via Amtrak is available to Amherst via Springfield.
Greyhound/Peter Pan bus service is available to Northampton, Amherst, and South Hadley, all via Springfield.
The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) has busses that go through the entire Five College Area.