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Where to Rockhound in Massachusetts and What Can You Find

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Despite its compact size, Massachusetts offers rockhounds a surprising variety of opportunities to discover interesting minerals, gemstones, fossils, and other geological treasures. From the sandy beaches of Cape Cod to the rolling hills of the Berkshires, the state’s diverse landscapes yield an abundance of finds for those willing to explore. But what are the top rockhounding destinations in the Bay State?

In Massachusetts, you can find Roxbury puddingstone (the state’s official rock) in the area surrounding Boston and rhodonite in Plainfield. The rare Babingtonite has been found in a basalt quarry in Westfield. Other rocks and minerals such as quartzite, peridotite, granite, and margarite are abundant all over the state.

Now that we know what wonders can be discovered, let’s pack our backpacks and start rockhounding in Massachusetts!

Where to Rockhound in Massachusetts and What Can You Find
Where to Rockhound in Massachusetts and What Can You Find

If you want to check out the best rockhounding equipment and tools, you can find them here (Amazon link).

Where to Rockhound in Massachusetts?

The Old Bay State hosts a variety of rocks and minerals all over its territory. Home of some of the rarest rocks, Massachusets is quite an attraction for rockhounds. Let’s see some of the essential locations.

Hampshire County

Perhaps the most important location in Hampshire County is Goshen’s town, where you can find a variety of colorless beryl named goshenite. Other interesting stones that you can look for around Goshen are quartz, dark blue elbaite tourmaline, and muscovite.

Goshenite was found in Goshen’s town, Hampshire County (source)

Another must-visit destination for rockhounds is the town of Cummington in Hampshire County. This was the site of the 1812 discovery of the amphibole mineral cummingtonite, after which it was named. The surrounding areas are rich hunting grounds for collectors, yielding specimens of calcite, garnet, chalcopyrite, actinolite, and chlorite, among other prized rocks.

For those seeking rhodonite – the official gemstone of Massachusetts – the town of Plainfield in Hampshire County is the sole source within state borders. This locale also offers opportunities to find spessartine garnet, magnetite, carbonate, hematite, and chalcopyrite specimens.

Hampden County

Hampden County is one of the few places in the world where you can find Babingtonite, a black or dark green mineral. The best specimens were discovered in a basalt quarry in Westfield. This is the state’s mineral since 1971.

Babingtonite found in Hampden County (source)

The old Chester Emery mines are also located in Hampden County, in the town of Chester. This is where margarite was found, except actinolite, almandine, chalcopyrite, corundum, magnesite, or pyrite.

In Russell, collectors can find one of the most treasured minerals in Massachusetts, the Russell garnet. Rare, good specimens might bring you several thousand dollars, so it is worth searching for them.

TIP: Hampden Country is a place where you can find cool rocks. To find out what are other locations where you can find cool rocks, check out the article below:
What are Cool Rocks & Where to Find Them? Follow These Tips

Berkshire County

Berkshire County is a good location for rockhounds. Apart from the rich deposits of galena, pyrite, quartzite, and crystals such as agates, yellow jasper, almandine garnets, or chalcedony, this county is famous for its marble quarries.

The quarries from Berkshire supplied marble for the Washington Capitol and Philadelphia City Hall. If you want to visit this location, make sure you check into National Bridge State Park, where you can see the unique natural bridge of white marble.

Another important geological resource found in Berkshire County is granite. Numerous mines and quarries extract the state’s office building and monument stone of the Commonwealth.

After discussing the main locations of interest for rockhounds, let’s see what minerals and rocks you can find here and where.

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 Minerals Can You Find in Massachusetts?

Now that we have spoken about the best locations to rockhound in Massachusetts, it is time to check what rocks and minerals you can find in this state. First, we will speak about minerals.

The state of Massachusetts is the home of 275 minerals. Babingtonite, one of the rarest specimens, can be found in this state, and it was designated the state’s official mineral. Apart from this amazing silicate, other minerals are calcite, copper, actinolite, albite, hematite, margarite, pyrite, and many more.

The best locations to look for minerals are usually around the mines in Hampden County, Bristol County, Hampshire County, Worcester County, Franklin County, or Berkshire County.

Check out the below table to see what minerals you can look after and where.

BabingtoniteChester, Westfield in Hampden County
PyriteAlford, Becket, Florida, Hinsdale in Berkshire county
MargariteHuntington in Hampshire County
Becket, Hinsdale, New Marlborough in Berkshire county
ActinoliteChester, Westfield, in Hampden County
Best locations for finding minerals in Massachusetts

TIP: Cleaning minerals is one of the best options for making them look prettier. Check out these 5 simple ideas on how to clean your rocks and minerals:
How to Clean Your Rocks and Minerals: 5 Simple Ideas

What Rocks Can You Find in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is home to many sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rock units.

Sedimentary rocks, including limestone, sandstone, shale, siltstone, and bauxite, can be found all over the state. Roxbury Puddingstone, the state’s rock, is a sedimentary rock discovered in Boston.

Economically important, these rocks played an important role in the state’s development.

We made a table that includes the most important sedimentary rocks and where you can find them in Massachusetts.

Sedimentary RocksLocations
SandstoneBristol County, Duke’s County, Essex County
SiltstoneEssex County, Norfolk County
LimestoneBerkshire County, Hampden County, Hampshire County
ShaleNorfolk County, Berkshire County, Bristol County
Best locations for finding a sedimentary rock in Massachusetts

Another important category includes igneous rocks. Massachusetts is famous for its nice dark grey granite that was used to build some of the most beautiful monuments in the USA. Mined in several locations, granite was made for the building and monument stone of the Commonwealth in 1983.

Other important igneous rocks are basalt, batholith, rhyolite, diorite, gabbro, or peridotite. Check the table below to see where and what igneous rocks can be found.

Igneous RocksLocations
GraniteFranklin County, Hampden County, Berkshire County
RhyoliteSuffolk County, Essex County
PeridotiteHampden County, Franklin County, Hampshire County
BatholithWorcester County, Franklin County, Hampshire County
Best locations for finding igneous rocks in Massachusetts

Metamorphic rocks in Massachusetts include slate, limestone, mylonite, quartzite, soapstone, and gneiss.

One of the interesting formations is the Shelburne Falls gneiss dome in the eastern Berkshire Hills. The area is a geological attraction and a great place to visit.

Check the below table to find out what metamorphic rocks you should look after and where.

Metamorphic RocksLocations
GneissFranklin County, Worcester County, Berkshire County
SoapstoneWorcester County, Hampden County
QuartziteWorcester County, Berkshire County, Essex County
LimestoneBerkshire County, Worcester County, Hampden County
Best locations for finding metamorphic rocks in Massachusetts

Next, let’s look into where you can find garnets in Massachusetts.

TIP: Raw rocks are beautiful, but tumbled rocks are even more. Find out what rocks and minerals are good for tumbling in the article below:
What Rocks Are Good For Tumbling? 15 Best Rocks & Minerals

Where to Find Garnets in Massachusetts?

Garnets can be found in several locations within Massachusetts. However, most rockhounds seek a rare and valuable variety of garnets known as “Russell Garnet.” This gemstone was discovered in 1885 near Russell, Hampden County.

Most of the Russell Garnet specimens found are now exhibited in museums. But this does not stop the rockhounds from searching for this gemstone.

Another place to harvest garnets and many other minerals is the old Anson G. Betts mine in Plainfield, Hampshire County. Here you can dig for spessartine garnets, almandine garnets, or rhodochrosite.

You must pay a fee, but it is worth every penny. Next, let’s look into where we can find garnets in Massachusetts.

Where to Find Rhodonite in Massachusetts?

Rhodonite, Massachusetts’ official gemstone, was discovered in Plainfield, Hampshire County. The mineral is usually found in the same places where black manganese minerals are spotted. Its pink or dark rose shades can be recognized.

Plainfield is the only known location where rhodonite can be found in the state.

Where to Find Arrowheads in Massachusetts?

While rockhounding in Massachusetts, you might get an interesting surprise. Some of the rocks you find might turn out to be ancient arrowheads.

Prehistoric Native Americans lived in the area around Cape Cod and not only. They hunted using spears with sharp arrowheads made of different hard rocks. These arrowheads passed the test of time, and now you can find them in many places in Massachusetts.

Where to Find Fossils in Massachusetts?

Although you cannot find dinosaur bones in Massachusetts, you can still spot vertebrate footprints captured in the sedimentary rocks. All you have to do is to head towards the Connecticut River valley.

Specifically, you can find mollusk shells, shark teeth, and plant fossils in Dukes County, Martha’s Vineyard.

Where to Find Agates in Massachusetts?

Agates can be found in several locations in Massachusetts. The main counties where agates can be found are Hampshire, Franklin, Berkshire, Norfolk, and Plymouth.

The first place where rockhounds should look for agates is in the lower Deerfield River’s gravels. This is a well-known area among rockhounds, so that you might have competition.

Another place where agates are abundant is the valley of the Hoosac River in Berkshire County. The pebbles found in the gravel formed by the river might become chalcedony or agates.


Massachusetts is a great place to visit. The Old Bay State is home to rare minerals that look amazing in any private collection: Roxbury Puddingstone, cummingtonite, babingtonite, or rhodonite. 

If you’re not lucky enough to find one of these specimens, you can still see them in some of the state’s most interesting museums. So pack your stuff and head towards Massachusetts.

TIP: Still not sure where to start? Don’t worry; check out this ultimate guide on how to start rockhounding and find out the basics of this amazing hobby:
How to Start Rockhounding: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide