There’s something special about laboriously searching for a shiny, centuries old rock that’s been waiting, buried in the earth for you and only you to uncover. The U.S. is brimming with public locations that not only offer a day in the great outdoors, but allows access to mining precious metals and stones unique to the region. Here are 6 places that’ll surely delight any gem hunter.
Deming, New Mexico
Avid thunder egg/geode hunters can scour the soil in Rockhound State Park for these ugly looking rocks that hold a dazzling secret within. Crack one open to reveal valuable crystals such as amethyst and rose quartz- it’s like an Easter egg hunt but 100 times better.
Brenham Township, Kansas
This is a special place to find treasures from space (meteorites) that now call the desert and dry lake beds home. Make sure to bring a metal detector and shovel to unearth these heavenly rocks comprised of iron and nickel.
Hiddenite, North Carolina
You’ll feel like a true pirate, but instead of stealing sparkling, green emeralds you can unearth them yourself at Emerald Hollow Mine. You don’t need to be a pro. Just learn some of the ins and outs of mining and dig, creek and sluice your way to gems such as sapphires, garnets and tourmaline.
Devil Hills, South Dakota
If you’re feeling more “Jurassic Park”, then check out the badlands region for some of the oldest bones on earth. Devil Hills is a prime spot for fossil discovery. Fossils have been discovered dating back 145 million years!
Pine Grove, California
Get your gold on at Roaring Camp - an old mining camp located on the Mokulmne River. Take a trip back in time to the California Gold Rush of 1848 for some mining of your own. The camp also features some sweet hiking trails used by the original 49ers themselves.
Guys…want to really impress your gal? Get her a diamond…that you dig up yourself. Spend the day at Crater of Diamonds State Park – it’s the only diamond site in the world open to public mining. No tools necessary- you can spot your diamond lying on the soil in plain view!