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GUIDE: Best Rockhounding in Maryland & What Rocks to Find

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Maryland may not appear to be an exciting rockhounding state at first appearance, but there are a few sites worth visiting. Despite a lack of gemstone and rock variety, Maryland shines with high-quality serpentine.

Quartz, emerald, flint, shark teeth, geodes, sea glass, gold, garnets, beryl, diamonds, serpentine (such as William site or picrolite), tourmaline, agate, calcite, feldspar, and other minerals can be found. Rockhounding is best done in historic quarries, the Blue Ridge Mining District, and on beaches along the Chesapeake Bay.

Cecil Country is a popular serpentine rockhounding destination, specifically the State Line Pits and Hartford County. The Blue Ridge Mining District is ideal for discovering copper minerals, while the Chesapeake Bay beaches are teeming with quartz crystals and shark teeth.

Best Rockhounding in Maryland
Best Rockhounding in Maryland

If you want to check out the best book about rockhounding in Maryland, you can find it here (Amazon link).

Best Rockhounding Sites in Maryland

If you live or intend to visit Maryland, knowing exactly where to go to rockhounding is essential. Various public lands in this state aren’t available to rockhounds, and most quarries and mines are privately owned, and you will need permission in advance. 

Some of the best rockhounding spots are Baltimore County, Bare Hills Mining District, New Windsor, Funks Pond Recreational Area, Cecil County, Flintville, Dollyhyde Creek, Cardiff, Chrome Hill, Reed & Walkens Mine, Bear Island, Hunting Hill, Beltsville, Ocean City, Castleton, Flintville, Bald Friar, Granite, Rock Springs, and Pilot, among others.

Let’s see what you can find if you rockhound in some of these popular Maryland Locations!

Baltimore County

Baltimore County, Maryland, is a beautiful destination to explore, with numerous quarries and mines. You can discover garnet, quartz, copper minerals, tourmaline, aquamarine, beryl, and marble in quarries and mines.

Bare Hills Mining District

The Bare Hills Mining District is among the best rockhounding locations in Maryland. The general area is rich in rocks, minerals, and gemstones. Malachite, actinolite, epidote, feldspar, garnet, moss agate, pyrite, quartz, serpentine, tremolite, and zoisite are founded here.

Cecil County

Cecil County is another popular rockhounding destination in Maryland, filled with quarries, pits, and gravels just waiting for explorers to stumble upon them. The quarries, pits, and gravels along the state line are the best for rockhounding.

Gem-quality serpentine, kammererite, soapstone, williamsite, chromite, brucite, and magnesite are found here.

Chrome Hill

Another beautiful location in Maryland worth the trip to is Chrome Hill. In the eastern areas, smoky quartz crystals, actinolite, bronzite, garnet, chromite, and serpentine can be found.

Best Rockhounding Clubs in Maryland

Maryland might seem to have few rockhounding spots; however, the number of rockhounding clubs suggests that there might be more than meets the eye.

By joining such clubs, you will discover new places in the state, make friends, and enjoy your favourite hobby together. Some of the best rockhounding clubs in Maryland include:

The American Fossil Federation, Baltimore Bead Society, Baltimore Mineral Society, Chesapeake Gem & Mineral Society, Clearwater Lapidary Club, Gem Cutters Gulf of Baltimore, Gem, Lapidary & Mineral Society of Leisure World, Maryland Geological Society, Southern Maryland Rock & Mineral Club, and Gem, Lapidary & Mineral Society of Montgomery.

BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):

What Rocks Are Found in Maryland?

Common Rocks, Gemstones, Minerals & Crystals in Maryland
Common Rocks, Gemstones, Minerals & Crystals in Maryland

Some of the most famous rocks you can find in Maryland include flint, geodes, marble, agate, especially moss agates, various beautiful types of serpentine, soapstone, puddingstone, staurolite, verd antique, bronzite, amphibolite, steatite, sandstone, chert, limestone, or shale, among others.

FlintWestern Maryland, waterways, river headwaters
GeodesCecil County, Hartford County, Rock Springs
MarbleBaltimore County, Union Bridge, Clarksville
Common Rocks in Maryland

Flint is difficult to find in Maryland; however, the western parts appear to be the richest. Various flint specimens are sometimes washed out from their parent formations and are commonly found along waterways throughout the state. The biggest specimens can be found closer to river headwaters.

When it comes to finding geodes in Maryland, they are infrequent. Some of the best places you might be able to find them are in either Cecil County, Rock Springs, or Hartford County. Areas containing limestone or volcanic ash beds commonly have geodes near them.

To find marble in Maryland, head towards Baltimore County and search in the area of quarries and mines. Pink and green marble specimens are found in the area quarries of Union Bridge. Regular marble can also be found in the area outcrops and quarries of Clarksville.

TIP: Igneous rocks are one of three members of rock types. Do you want to know cool and interesting facts about this type of rock? Check them out in the article below:
11 Cool & Interesting Facts About Igneous Rocks (Must Read)

What Gemstones Can Be Found in Maryland?

Maryland isn’t mainly known for its gemstones; however, there are a couple of gemstone specimens you can find here if you know where to look. They include emerald, garnet, tourmaline, aquamarine, serpentine, jasper, pyrite, opal, amethyst, williamsite, verd antique, apatite, and zircon.

GarnetBare Hills Mining District, Granite, Flintville
OpalHunting Hill, Beltsville
Common Gemstones in Maryland

Finding emeralds in Maryland is extremely difficult. Since some of the best spots in the state are quarries and mines that either don’t allow visitors, you have to pay a fee, or you have to wait a long time for a permit, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact mines where you might find them.

To find garnet in Maryland, head towards the Bare Hills Mining District and explore the general area or the area mines and quarries of Baltimore County.

The quarries and pegmatites of granite in the area are filled with garnet. You can also find garnet in the Flintville, Bald Friar & Pilot area mines and quarries.

When finding opals in Maryland, you have two options: Hunting Hill or Beltsville. At Hunting Hill, there are various large area quarries where common opals can be found. You can find hyalite opals in stream gravel to the north of Beltsville.

TIP: Garnets are beautiful gemstones, but you can find many fake ones online. Check out the main differences between real and fake garnets in the article below:
Real vs. Fake Garnet: Focus on These 6 Differences

What Minerals Are Found in Maryland?

Maryland has quite a bit of mineral on its terrain. Some of the minerals that you can find include quartz, beryl, gold, diamonds, tremolite, zoisite, epidote, actinolite, malachite, feldspar, chromite, magnesite, copper minerals, azurite, bornite, smithsonite, kammererite, brucite, mica, calcite, covellite, or copper, among others.

QuartzGranite, Soldier’s Delight Natural Area, Baltimore County
BerylBaltimore County, Elk Mills, Kensington Mica Mine
GoldFrederick County, Howard County, Montgomery County
Common Minerals in Maryland

Granite area quarries and pegmatites are excellent places to find massive quartz specimens. Baltimore County is another great place in Maryland to find quartz, especially in quarries and mines, or you can head to the Soldier’s Delight Natural Area.

Baltimore County is an excellent region in which to find Belin in Maryland. Search for it in the area mines and queries, or go to Elk Mills. To find beautiful golden beryl specimens, head toward the Kensington Mica Mine and explore the remains and surrounding areas.

Both lode and placer gold deposits can be found in Maryland. Head towards Frederick County and explore the mine dumps of old gold mines. Focus on the gold mines around Liberty.

You can also try your luck in Howard County. The Maryland Mine near Simpsonville was among the biggest gold mines in the state, and there are also several gold mines around Woodbine. You can also find gold in Baltimore County or Montgomery County, near the Great Falls region.

Diamonds are a rarity in general, and when it comes to Maryland, there are very few instances of diamond discoveries. Your best bet would be to search the famous old mines near Baltimore County.

TIP: Check out the article below if you are interested in the complete guide on gold prospecting in Maryland:
Gold Prospecting in Maryland: 7 Best Locations & Laws

What Crystals Can You Find in Maryland?

Maryland may have its fair share of minerals, but it also shines in terms of crystal diversity.

Quartz, chrysocolla, sphalerite, feldspar, fluorite, calcite, stibnite, sphene, diopside, and Cape May Diamonds are some of the crystals found here.

Quartz CrystalsBeltsville, Hancock, Chrome Hill, Dollyhyde Creek
Feldspar CrystalsFlintville, Bald Friar & Pilot
SpheneBear Island
Common Crystals in Maryland

To find quartz crystals in Maryland, go to Hancock and search the quarries and outcrops in the area. You can also try your luck in the area of stream gravels to the north of Beltsville or go to Chrome Hill. To find the quartz crystals known as Cape May Diamonds, go to Ocean City and search on the regional beaches.

TIP: Have you ever tried testing the hardness of your rocks by scratching them? Find out the step-by-step guide on how to perform a scratch test on rocks in the article below:
Performing Scratch Test on Rocks (Follow These 8 Steps)

Where to Hunt for Fossils in Maryland?

Shark teeth are typical in Maryland, and you can discover plenty of them in the sands of Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The Atlantic Ocean beaches are also highly ranked for shark and megalodon teeth. They can also be seen outside the borders of Calvert Cliffs State Park.

If you visit the Chesapeake Bay Area, you may also encounter marine glass. Tolchester Beach, on the Eastern Shore near Chestertown, North Beach, Oxford Beach, and the shore at Sandy Point State Park, are popular sites for finding sea glass. Perfect quality sea glass can be found in these locations.

Other fantastic areas to look for fossils include North Ferry Point in lignite seams, the surrounding quarries and outcrops near Hancock, and the shore between Breezy Point and Cove Point on Chesapeake Bay. Amber can also be found in North Ferry Point and the lignite seams near Sullivan Cove.

You’re in luck if you’re looking for antiquities and artefacts in Maryland, such as arrowheads! They can be found in many different locations across the state.

The tribes here lived near bodies of water, and arrowheads can be found on Tilghman Island and the Potomac River, as well as at the Tyler Bastian Field Session.

You can work with trained specialists to learn more about Maryland’s archaeological past and dig for arrowheads. The most excellent thing is that you can keep any arrowheads you find.


Maryland is a state that will surprise you when it comes to rockhounding. Don’t let first appearances deceive you. You can find some beautiful rocks, minerals, crystals, gemstones, and fossils here, but make sure that the areas you plan on visiting allow collecting.

TIP: We have all been there, realizing you are missing something not more than 5 minutes after embarked on a mineral hunt. Check out the list of must-have tools for rockhounding in the article below:
The Complete Guide: All Tools You Need for Rockhounding