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Best Rockhounding Sites (+ Beaches) in Ohio & What To Find

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Ohio might not be among the top rockhounding places to visit in the U.S. due to its small variety of crystals, rocks, and minerals. However, it does have its beautiful places that are well worth the trip. Apart from this, there are some beautiful specimens that you can collect nonetheless.

In Ohio, you can find diamonds, pyrite, amethyst, agates, chert, flint, quartz crystals, fossils, jasper, calcite, dolomite crystals, pyrite crystals, marcasite, celestite, barite crystals, and more! The most popular rockhounding site here is Flint Ridge, situated in Licking and Muskingum counties.

Ohio is a great state to find crystals, some gemstones, and fossils, but you have to know exactly where to go to. Let’s see exactly which places are worth the trip in Ohio and what you can find!

If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding book about rockhounding in Ohio you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).

Best Rockhounding Sites and Beaches in Ohio
Best Rockhounding Sites and Beaches in Ohio

Public Gem Mining in Ohio: Best Sites

The best public gem mining sites in Ohio include the Hocking Hills Gem Mine, Ohio Caverns, Seneca Caverns, Island Mining Co., Metamora Gem Mine, Caesar Creek Lake Spillway, or Nethers Farm – Flint Ridge, among others. Let’s see what you can find in some of these places!

Hocking Hills Gem Mine & Gold Rush

From emerald to sapphires, and even gold panning, the Hocking Hills Gem Mine is among the best public gem mines in Ohio.

A fantastic experience for both children and adults, this gem mine will make even the old-timers feel young again with the great enthusiasm that comes by visiting this place.

The Hocking Hills Gem Mine comes with various offers for both children and adults, from the Lil’ Prospect Gem Bucket to the Take-Home Kits and Buckets, all within reasonable prices.

Seneca Caverns

The Seneca Caverns is also a fantastic place to visit in Ohio and gather some beautiful gemstones! However, you will also find minerals, crystals, fossils, and even arrowheads.

The entry price is very cheap, and some of the most popular specimens that you can find include fluorite, rubies and sapphires, amethyst, quartz crystals, and various fossils. It is an ideal place for enthusiast to fulfill their wildest dreams and children to nurture their geological passion.

Caesar Creek Lake Spillway

The Caesar Creek Lake Spillway is not a public gem mine. However, it is an Ohio state park where fossil collecting is permitted. You can get the permit for free at the visitor center.

Fantastic Ordovician fossils can be found here, and the museum displays an even more in-depth history of various ancient creatures.

The rocks and fossils here are around 438 million years old, and what can fit in the palm of your hand, you get to carry it home for free; however, if something is bigger, you may report it and ask for permission. The professionals will analyze what you have found and give their permission or not.

Best Rockhounding Locations in Ohio

Though Ohio has few rockhounding locations, some of them stand out. Some of the best are Flint Ridge, Muskingum County, Genoa, Clay Center, Sandusky, Maple Grove Quarry, Bowling Green, Whitehouse, Licking County, Milford, Conneaut, Delaware County, and some others. 

Let’s see exactly what you can find in Ohio if you head towards some of these places!

Flint Ridge

The Flint Ridge area is without question the no.1 spot for rockhounding in Ohio, due to the diversity of the things that you can find here.

You can find quartz or even quartz crystals and some smoky variants as well. Agates are also common here and easy to find, as well as amethyst gemstones, carnelian, chert that come in various colors, gem-quality flint, jasper-agates, or regular jasper.

Muskingum County

Although a part of Flint Ridge is in Muskingum County, the area around the county deserves a couple of words on its own. In Muskingum County, Ohio, you can find some beautiful gem-quality flint, translucent chalcedony, and quartz (drusy).

You can also find these specimens in the area around Licking County. Search for these specimens in the road cuts and area stream beds.

Genoa

The area quarries near Genoa are without question abundant in a variety of minerals, crystals, and fossils. Here, you can find some high-quality dolomite crystals, calcite, celestite, fluorite, marcasite, and pyrite specimens.

Clay Center

Though not as rich as other areas in Ohio, the limestone quarry in Clay Center does shine when it comes to interesting fossils, calcite, celestite, pyrite, dolomite crystals, or fluorite. There are plenty of things to collect here, which makes this place a must-visit location if you are in the region.

Sandusky

The city of Sandusky, Ohio, is another excellent place to go rockhounding. Here, in the area quarries and outcrops, you can find pyrite, various fossils, dolomite crystals, celestite, calcite, fluorite, marcasite, or even the beautiful white mineral witherite. 

Maple Grove Quarry

The Maple Grove Quarry in Ohio provides rock collectors with various specimens to search for. Many types of fossils can be found here. However, marcasite, fluorite, dolomite crystals, calcite, celestite, and pyrite are also very common.

Bowling Green

The quarries west and south of Bowling Green, Ohio, is where you can find some top-notch barite crystals. Apart from this, you can also find pyrite, fluorite, calcite, and celestite specimens.

Best Beach Glass Beaches in Ohio

The best beaches to find beach glass in Ohio are Nickel Plate Beach, Huron, Main Street Beach, Vermilion, Wendy Park at Whiskey Island, Cleveland, Geneva State Park, Geneva, Conneaut Township Park, Conneaut, or Lake Erie Bluffs, in Perry, among others. Ohio has plenty of beaches!

Best Places to Find Crystals in Ohio

The best places to find crystals in Ohio, are Delaware County, Columbus, Chillicothe, Sandusky, Genoa, Clay Center, Flint Ridge, Muskingum County, Licking County, Bowling Green, Maple Grove Quarry, Green Island, Conneaut, or the Medusa Quarry.

You can find both cubic crystals or clustered pyrite cubic crystals in this state. Smoky quartz crystals are also present here, along with high-quality dolomite crystals, calcite crystals, fine or large masses of celestite crystals, or even barite crystals, among others.

TIP: If you did not find the beach glass on any of the Ohio’s beaches do not be sad, you can make your own beach glass at home! Check out the step-by-step guide on how to do it in the article below:


Step-by-Step: Making Sea Glass With & Without Rock Tumbler


Where to Find Fossils in Ohio?

In Ohio you can find trilobites, dinosaur bones, and other marine animal fossils that date back to 440 million years ago at the Huffman Dam near Dayton. You can also find brachiopods, horn coral, crinoids, and bryozoans dating back to the Devonian, Silurian, Ordovician eras at Trammel Fossil Park.

Oak Quarry Park in Fairborn, or the Fossil Park or Medusa Quarry in Sylvania are also some great locations to find fossils in Ohio. The Maple Grove Quarry, or the area quarries in Genoa and Sandusky, are also great places to find fossils.

You can also find fossils at the limestone quarry in Clay Center. The Caesar Creek Lake Spillway is also a fantastic location, but you can’t carry out fossils bigger than your palm.

If plant fossils are your thing, and you want to find petrified wood, the eastern parts of Lawrence and Gallia counties are a great spot to go to.

Jackson, western Meigns, or southern Athens, are also great places to find silicified wood. The northern parts of Monroe, Muskingum, and western Guernsey are also great places to consider!

Though many people like to collect old things such as fossils, you can also stumble upon relics and artifacts in Ohio.

For example, the best place to find arrowheads in Ohio is at the Hocking Hills Gem Mine, but you have to pay a fee. Regardless, it would make a great and safe adventure for children to find beautiful arrowheads with ease.

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

What Kind of Rocks Are Found in Ohio?

Flint is Commonly Founded Rock in Ohio
Flint is Commonly Founded Rock in Ohio

There are various rocks that you can find in Ohio. However, most of them are sedimentary rocks. To mention a few cool rocks in this state, you can find geodes, flint, chert, agate, yooperlites, shale, limestone, sandstone, coal, clay, dolomite, and others. Meteorites were also discovered in Ohio.

RockLocation
FlintHolmes County, Lawrence County, Licking & Muskingum counties, Flint Ridge
ChertMuskingum County, Flint Ridge
AgatesFlint Ridge, Muskingum County
GeodesFindlay Arch mining district, Serpent Mound Zinc District, Crystal Cave
Common Rocks You Can Find in Ohio

The flint specimens in Ohio are very beautiful since they are usually made up of a mixture of jasper, chert, opal, and chalcedony. In the area ridges and knobs of Coshocton County, you can find dark grey or black flint.

High quality flint can be found along the high ridges of Benton Township. The area’s outcrops of shale, sandstone, and limestone of Holmes County are also abundant in flint.

Flint nodules are found in the area of limestone exposures of Lawrence County, and Perry County. However, gem-quality flint is only found in the Flint Ridge area, Licking and Muskingum counties, in the area of stream beds and road cuts.

You can find plenty of chert in various colors in the Flint Ridge area. The area gravels and exposures of Muskingum County is also another excellent place to find high quality chert in Ohio.

If you want to find jasp-agate, or regular agates, again, the Flint Ridge area is your best bet in Ohio. The area gravels and exposures of Muskingum County are again a great place to find high quality agates or jasper-agates.

When it comes to finding geodes in Ohio, things get a bit tricky as they are a bit rare. The Crystal Cave, in Put-in-Bay, is viewed by some as the “largest geode in the world”, since the cave’s appearance is similar to the inside of a geode, being covered in large celestite crystals.

Some other great places to find geodes in Ohio include the Findlay Arch Mining District, or the Serpent Mound Zinc District, located in the southern parts of the state.

Yooperlites are not as rare as geodes in Ohio, however, they are still difficult to find, with no particular places listed as being the best to find them.

However, grab a good UV flashlight, gather your patience, and try your luck in the farm fields, gravel pits, and driveways of Ohio.

As a bonus, let’s talk about finding meteorites in Ohio. Currently, only 14 meteorites were found in Ohio. Though they are rare, there are still some chances of finding more.

Some of the most popular locations where meteorites were found in Ohio include Future State Park Oldtown, Alum Creek Marina, and Lakeside Daisy.

TIP: Good UV light is must have tool when rockhounding in Ohio. Check out the ultimate guide about rockhounding with UV light and the best UV lights for rockhounding in the article below:


GUIDE: Rockhounding with UV Light & 3 Best UV Lights (2021)


What Gems Can Be Found in Ohio?

Though Ohio isn’t as rich in its gemstone variety as some of its neighboring states, you can find some precious gemstones here. Some of the most spectacular gemstones you can find in Ohio include amethyst, jasper, sapphires, emeralds, or even rubies. 

GemstoneLocation
AmethystFlint Ridge, Muskingum County
JasperMuskingum County, Flint Ridge
SapphiresHocking Hills Gem Mine
Common Gemstones You Can Find in Ohio

The best place to find amethyst in the state of Ohio is without question the Flint Ridge area. Here, you can find high quality amethyst gemstones. In the area of gravels and exposures of Muskingum County, you can also find very good amethyst specimens.

Jasper is another popular impure gemstone that you can find in Ohio. Just like with amethyst, you can find high quality jasper in the Flint Ridge area, or you can head to Muskingum county, and search in the area for gravel and exposure.

What Minerals Are Found in Ohio?

Ohio has a couple of valuable minerals that you can find. Some of the most popular minerals that you can find in Ohio include gold, diamonds (in rare instances), chalcedony, carnelian, marcasite, celestite, gypsum, pyrite, witherite, hematite, dolomite, or sphalerite, among others.

MineralLocation
GoldHocking Hills Gem Mine, Seneca Caverns
DiamondMilford
ChalcedonyFlint Ridge, Muskingum and Licking Counties
Common Minerals You Can Find in Ohio

There are various placer gold deposits in Ohio that originate from Canada. It was carried down by glaciers from some of the gold-abundant areas there.

Gold panning in creeks and streams is your best bet to find gold in Ohio. However, you can also pay a small fee and try to find it in the Hocking Hills Gem Mine, or the Seneca Caverns.

When it comes to diamonds, they are very rare and hard to find, especially in Ohio. Reportedly, some diamond specimens were found in the area of gravel and alluvial deposits near Milford.

Chalcedony is easy to find in Ohio. You can go to the Flint Ridge area to find it, and collect even more minerals, gemstones, and crystals there.

Head towards Licking or Muskingum counties, and search in the area stream beds or road cuts to find translucent chalcedony specimens.

TIP: Emeralds are really beautiful gemstones but they are often mistaken with beryls. Find out the main differences between these two gemstones in the article below:


Beryl vs. Emerald: 7 Key Differences (Are They The Same?)


What Kind of Crystals Can You Find in Ohio?

You Can Find Pyrite in Ohio
You Can Find Pyrite in Ohio

Ohio’s highest collectible items for rockhounds, which also come in abundance, are crystals and fossils. In Ohio, you can find high-quality dolomite crystals, quartz crystals, barite crystals, celestite crystals, smoky quartz crystals, and pyrite crystals, among others.

CrystalLocation
Pyrite CrystalsDelaware County, Columbus, Chillicothe
Dolomite CrystalsSandusky, Genoa, Clay Center
Quartz CrystalsFlint Ridge, Muskingum County, Licking County
Common Crystals You Can Find in Ohio

Pyrite crystals are very beautiful, and you can find them in Ohio easily! In Delaware County, go to the blue clay exposure areas, to find cubic pyrite crystals.

If you want to find clustered pyrite cubic crystals, you need to search in the area of exposures, road cuts, quarries, of blue clay in Columbus. Head a couple of miles west of Chillicothe, and spot the blue clay exposures. There you will also find fine pyrite crystals.

Dolomite crystals in Ohio are present in various areas, some of the best being Sandusky City, Genoa, or Clay Center.

The area quarries and outcrops of Sandusky are great for finding dolomite crystals. In Genoa, the area’s quarries are also abundant. The limestone quarry in Clay Center is also filled with dolomite crystals.

Various types of quartz crystals can be found in Ohio as well. If you want to find smoky quartz crystals, search for them in the general area of Flint Ridge.

The area stream beds, road cuts of Muskingum County and Licking County, are also great places to find quartz crystals in Ohio.

TIP: Pyrite is commonly found crystal in the Ohio. Do you know how to identify real pyrites? Find out the main differences between real and fake pyrite in the article below:


Real vs. Fake Pyrite: Focus on These 7 Differences


FAQ About Rockhounding in Ohio

Sill did not find the answer to your answers about rockhounding in Ohio? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:

Is It Illegal to Take Rocks from Creeks in Ohio?

You can take small amounts of rocks from creeks in Ohio, as long as it is from public property. However, it is illegal to take rocks from creeks from private properties. You should always do your research before trying to remove rocks from creeks beforehand. You might face serious consequences.

What Is the State Rock of Ohio?

Ohio doesn’t currently have an official designated rock. Though the state’s official designated gemstone is flint, and flint is a sedimentary rock, people confuse it. Ohio’s flint is a bit different in its contents, and because of this and its beauty, it is designated as a gemstone.

What is the State Fossil of Ohio?

The official state fossil of Ohio is the Isotelus, since 1985. It is an invertebrate fossil of the trilobite genus. This marine hard shelled creature lived during the Ordovician Age, in the shallowed seas that covered Ohio at the time. Some of these creatures were 28 inches long.

What Is the State Gemstone of Ohio?

The official state gemstone of Ohio is the Ohio Flint, since 1965. Flint is a cryptocrystalline variety of quartz, and Ohio’s flint is usually made out of a mixture of jasper, chert, opal, and chalcedony. This adds to its uniqueness and great beauty, and it comes in various colors.

Conclusion

Though Ohio might not seem like a rock collectors dream, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there are certainly some beautiful specimens that you can find here.

Fossils are also scattered throughout the state, and they come in different varieties. Crystals are also here and there, and worth searching for, as well as the minerals and gemstones.

TIP: Do you want to know more about rocks and minerals identification? Check out the best books about rocks and minerals for adults and kids in the article below:


5 Best Books for Identifying Rocks & Minerals You Must Read