Rock hunting is a favorite pastime for people all over the world, and the US is ripe with locations to find all kinds of gems and artifacts, ranging from extremely valuable on the market to valuable only in the eyes of the beholder. Because the places to hunt for rocks are often remote and wild, they make excellent locations to organize a day hike or overnight camping trip, and are usually kid-friendly as well. Here are just 3 of the best places in the US to go rock hunting while enjoying a big dose of nature and fun with friends and family.
Crater of Diamonds State Park
The Crater of Diamonds State Park is perhaps the most renown rock hunting location in the US, because as the name lets on, this place is hiding diamonds in its depths! It is also the only place in the world open to the public that is known to harbor diamonds. Prospectors begin their hunt by watching a video that explains hunting techniques, and gets to see and feel a raw diamond before heading out to find their fortune. Although more than 600 diamonds are found within this park annually, rock hunters have also been known to dig up amethyst, jasper, and garnet.
Juniper Ridge Opal Mine
Opals are sought after for their beautiful, shimmering colors within their opaque exteriors, but the Juniper Ridge Opal Mine, located in Southeastern Oregon holds something even more special: fire opals. These opals exude hues of gold, red, and orange, like the fiery sunsets of this rugged landscape, and pieces as large as baseballs are not unusual to find in this secretive location. Due to its wilderness location, the mine can sometimes be closed by the Forest Service during fire season or other natural disasters, so it is important to plan your trip carefully and keep in close contact with your hosts.
Franklin, North Carolina
If glittering gems of red and blue are what really hold your fancy, you must visit the Sheffield Mine of North Carolina. All hunters are given 2 starter buckets of dirt with their entry fee, and everyone is allowed to keep whatever rubies or sapphires they may find on their dig. This mine prides themselves on being 100 percent natural, which means a day’s dig could come out completely empty-handed, but the experience is great fun and an easy thrill for people of all ages.