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Maryland might not seem like an exciting rockhounding state at first glance, however, there are a couple of spots here worthwhile. Although poor when it comes to gemstone and rock variety, Maryland shines in its high-quality serpentine.
You can find quartz, emerald, flint, shark teeth, geodes, sea glass, gold, garnets, beryl, diamonds, various types of serpentine such as williamsite or picrolite, tourmaline, agate, calcite, feldspar, and other minerals. The old quarries and the Blue Ridge Mining District, or beaches along the Chesapeake Bay, are among the best places to rockhound.
Cecil Country, particularly the State Line Pits, and the Hartford County, are popular rockhounding areas for serpentine. The Blue Ridge Mining District is excellent to find copper minerals, whereas the beaches near the Chesapeake Bay are filled with quartz crystals and shark teeth.
If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding book about rockhounding in Maryland you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
Best Rockhounding Sites in Maryland
If you live or intend to visit Maryland, it is important to know exactly where to go to rockhounding. 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 exactly what you can find if you go rockhounding in some of these popular Maryland Locations!
Baltimore County is a beautiful place to visit in Maryland, and various quarries and mines are located here. In the area quarries and mines, you can find specimens such as garnet, quartz, copper minerals, tourmaline, aquamarine, beryl, and marble.
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. Here you can find malachite, actinolite, epidote, feldspar, garnet, moss agate, pyrite, quartz, serpentine, tremolite, and zoisite.
Cecil County is another popular rockhounding destination in Maryland, filled with quarries, pits, and gravels that are just waiting for explorers to stumble upon them. The quarries, pits, and gravels along the state line are the best for rockhounding.
There, you can find gem-quality serpentine, kammererite, soapstone, williamsite, chromite, brucite, and magnesite.
Another beautiful location in Maryland worth the trip is Chrome Hill. Here, in the eastern areas, you can find smoky quartz crystals, actinolite, bronzite, garnet, chromite, and serpentine.
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 various new places in the state, make friends, and enjoy your favorite 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):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
What Rocks Are Found in Maryland?
Some of the most popular 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.
|Flint||Western Maryland, waterways, river headwaters|
|Geodes||Cecil County, Hartford County, Rock Springs|
|Marble||Baltimore County, Union Bridge, Clarksville|
Flint is a bit difficult to find in Maryland, however, the western parts appear to be the richest in it. 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 very rare. 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 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 particularly known for its gemstones, however, there are a couple of gemstone specimens that you can find here if you know where to look. Some of them include emerald, garnet, tourmaline, aquamarine, serpentine, jasper, pyrite, opal, amethyst, williamsite, verd antique, apatite, or zircon, among others.
|Garnet||Bare Hills Mining District, Granite, Flintville|
|Opal||Hunting Hill, Beltsville|
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 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 area quarries and pegmatites of Granite are filled with garnet. You can also find garnet in the Flintville, Bald Friar & Pilot area mines and quarries.
When it comes to 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. In the area of stream gravels to the north of Beltsville, you can find hyalite opals.
TIP: Garnets are beautiful gemstones but you can find a lot of fake ones on the internet. 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.
|Quartz||Granite, Soldier’s Delight Natural Area, Baltimore County|
|Beryl||Baltimore County, Elk Mills, Kensington Mica Mine|
|Gold||Frederick County, Howard County, Montgomery County|
The area quarries and pegmatites in Granite are an excellent place to find massive quartz specimens. Baltimore County is another great place in Maryland to find quartz, especially in the area of quarries and mines, or you can head to the Soldier’s Delight Natural Area.
To find beryl in Maryland, Baltimore County is yet again an excellent region. Search for it in the area mines and queries, or go to Elk Mills. If you want to find beautiful golden beryl specimens, you need to head towards 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 the state of Maryland, there are very few instances of diamond discoveries. Your best bet would be to search the popular old mines near Baltimore County.
What Crystals Can You Find in Maryland?
Maryland may have its fair share of minerals, however, it does also shine a bit in its diversity of crystals that you can find here.
Some of the crystals include quartz crystals, chrysocolla, sphalerite, feldspar crystals, fluorite, calcite, stibnite, sphene, diopside, or a variant of quartz crystals known as Cape May Diamonds.
|Quartz Crystals||Beltsville, Hancock, Chrome Hill, Dollyhyde Creek|
|Feldspar Crystals||Flintville, Bald Friar & Pilot|
To find quartz crystals in Maryland, go to Hancock and search the area quarries and outcrops. You can also try your luck in the area 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 quite common in Maryland, and you can find plenty of specimens in the sands along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
The Atlantic Ocean beaches are also very popular when it comes to shark teeth and megalodon teeth. You can also find them in Calvert Cliffs State Park, the outside boundaries.
If you plan on going to the Chesapeake Bay Area, you can also find sea glass. Some popular spots to find sea glass include Tolchester Beach, on the Eastern Shore near Chestertown, or the North Beach, Oxford Beach, or the shore at Sandy Point State Park. Very good quality sea glass can be found in these areas.
Some other great places to hunt for fossils also include the North Ferry Point, in lignite seams, the area quarries and outcrops near Hancock, or the shore between Breezy Point and Cove Point, Chesapeake Bay. At the North Ferry Point, you can also find amber, or you can search the lignite seams of Sullivan Cove.
If you want to find relics and artifacts in Maryland, such as arrowheads, for example, you are in for a treat! Various places throughout the state are filled with them.
The tribes here made their homes near bodies of water, and you can find arrowheads in places such as Tilghman Island, Potomac River, or participate in the Tyler Bastian Field Session.
There, you can go with experienced professionals to find out more about Maryland’s archeological history, and dig for some arrowheads. The best part is, you can keep the arrowheads that 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 you have 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