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If you are located in the United States, and you love rockhounding, then we have comprised a list, maps, and guidelines about the best rockhounding sites near you! Almost every state in the U.S. has at least one rockhounding location where you can enjoy yourself while collecting specimens.
The best rockhounding locations in the United States include the Oregon Beaches, Lake Superior, Crater of Diamonds State Park, Emerald Hollow Mine, Jade Cove Trail, Gold Prospecting Adventure, Fossil Butte National Monument, Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine, Spectrum Sunstone Mine, or Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine.
To access some of these places, you have to pay a fee, whereas it is entirely free in other locations. If you want to find out some of the best rockhounding locations in the U.S. near you and what you can find, read on and find the clickable maps with detailed rockhounding guides for each state in the U.S below!
You can find a detailed rockhounding guide for your state by clicking on the map.
If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding tools I recommend and use you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
Best Places to Go Rockhounding Near Me
Every state in the U.S. has certain minerals, rocks, gemstones, crystals, or fossils specific to that area. While some specimens can be found in multiple states, in only some of them, you can collect them legally. In rare cases, the samples you are looking for can be found in only one state.
Click on the map above and see what you can find in your state! Now let’s talk about some of the best rockhounding locations in the United States individually!
Crater of Diamonds State Park
The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, is among the only places in the world where you can dig for gemstones and get to keep what you can find.
There is a small fee at the entrance. Still, it is nonetheless among the best places in the U.S. to find natural diamonds, with a very high percentage of success!
Over 75,000 diamond specimens have been found by enthusiasts in this place. Apart from diamonds, you can also find very qualitative amethyst specimens. Check our map to see where you can find diamonds near you!
Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine
If you like opals, then the Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine in Virgin Valley, Nevada, is among the best locations to find them! The entry fee is around 100$; however, the opals you can find here are pretty valuable.
This location, though, is more suited to experienced rockhounds, as you will need a bit of patience to find what you are looking for.
Of course, there are several other locations on our map where you can find opals more easily. Still, this place, indeed, hosts some high-quality specimens that are worth it. This mine is open from May to mid-September.
Fossil Butte National Monument
If you are passionate about fossils, then the Fossil Butte National Monument in Kemmerer, Wyoming, is among the best places in the U.S. where you can find them.
Here, you can find both animal and plant fossils, even ancient extinct ones! The best part is, the entrance is free! More than this, you can take your kids with you as the park often hosts special events for children, and pets are allowed but only on leashes!
Before heading to this part of Wyoming, be sure to take with you the right equipment, including hiking shoes!
Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine
If you like shiny gemstones, then the Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine in Philipsburg, Montana, is among the best places in the U.S. for gem hunters!
All kinds of rocks and gemstones can be found in these places; however, the one that takes the crown is the beautiful sapphire specimens!
The best part is that children and seniors can enjoy their time here as well, as not much labor is required until you find something shiny!
This mine is only open for four days a week, so but sure to call ahead of time and ask about reservations. Take note that camping facilities are limited.
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)
Where to Find Cool Rocks Near Me?
If you are wondering what type of rocks you can find near your location, check out our map! Many cool rocks can be found throughout the United States; however, let us present to you some special sites!
The best rockhounding locations to find cool rocks are Hauser Geode Beds in California, beaches of Lake Superior in Michigan, Glass Buttes and Ochoco National Forest in Oregon, and the Town of Noble in Oklahoma. You can find here cool rocks such as geodes, yooperlites, obsidians, thunder eggs, or rose rocks.
Hauser Geode Beds
It’s no secret that geodes are among the most beautiful and sought rocks among collectors.
The Hauser Geode Beds in California are among the best locations to find geodes in the United States. The interiors of these geodes vary from pink, purple, blue, white, and just about any color.
Apart from geodes, you will find at the Hauser Geode Beds some beautiful agates, chalcedony, jasper, and also various types of quartz. The geodes found here differ in size, and there are also plenty of other locations nearby where they can also be found.
Lake Superior in Michigan is among the best rockhounding locations in the U.S. when it comes to finding rocks. Superior agates of very high quality and of over one billion years old can be found at this lake. They come in a variety of colors, such as yellow, black, white, red, or gray.
At Lake Superior, you can also find greenstones and sodalite-rich syenite rocks, known as yooperlites. Yooperlites are among the coolest rocks you can find!
These rocks are fluorescent under ultraviolet light. Pudding stones and beach glass are also common along Lake Superior.
If you are passionate about volcanic rocks, then surely you will be interested in finding obsidian. There are many places in the United States where you can find this igneous rock; however, at Glass Buttes, you can collect it legally!
Obsidian is indeed an awesome rock to have in your collection; however, remember that not all obsidian is black! In fact, it can vary in multiple colors.
Ochoco National Forest
Thundereggs are similar to geodes; however, they have their own unique beauty. The best location to find thunder eggs is the Ochoco National Forest in Oregon. This specimen is also the official state rock of Oregon.
Look for thunder eggs in the Whisler Springs area, White Fir Springs area, and White Rock Springs area in the Ochoco National Forest.
In this region, you can also find beautiful agates, jaspers, limb casts, petrified wood, or obsidian, among other things.
Town of Noble
Another cool rock that you can add to your collection is the rose rock of Oklahoma. Very few places on our planet contain this specimen; however, Oklahoma is one of the most abundant places.
The town of Noble is the best place to find the rose rock. This town even has a unique festival and museum dedicated to rose rock.
Some other places near the Town of Noble where you can find rose rocks include Lake Stanley Draper and Lake Thunderbird. When water levels are low, you have a high chance of finding this rare rock.
TIP: Cool rocks look even better when they are tumbled. Have you ever try rock tumbling? Check out the ultimate guide about Rock Tumling in the article below:
GUIDE: What is Rock Tumbler & How Do Rock Tumblers Work?
Where to Go Crystal Hunting Near Me?
Various types of crystals exist in the U.S., and if you wish to see what crystals you can find near you, click on our map. With that being said, let us present to you some of the best locations in the United States where you can find high-quality crystals!
The best locations to go crystal hunting are Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine in North Carolina, Herkimer Diamond Mines in New York, Graves Mountain in Georgia, Douglas lake in Tennessee, and the Hot Springs area in Arkansas. You Can find here crystals such as famous Herkimer diamonds, or Douglas diamonds.
Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine
In North Carolina, if you head towards the Cowee Valley, you will find the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine, one of the best mines in the U.S. to find crystals!
Here you can collect various crystals, minerals, and rocks, such as star rubies, moonstone, star garnets, star sapphires, rhodolite garnets, rutile, corundum, kyanite, clear and smoky quartz, and many other specimens.
This location makes for a great family trip, and the entry fee is very low! The best part is, the administration of the mine doesn’t salt the soil – meaning that they don’t plant gems to attract visitors; instead, everything that you find is a true discovery!
Herkimer Diamond Mines
Situated in New York, the Herkimer Diamond Mines is one of the best places to find crystals in the U.S.
Despite the name, this location doesn’t have any diamonds, however, it is rich in a special type of quartz, known as Herkimer diamonds. This type of quartz is similar in appearance to diamonds.
You can get what you find here, and the best part is, you don’t even have to go deep underground. You can find these specimens at ground level. Make sure you have the proper equipment, though, such as a chisel or hammer.
Situated near Lincolnton, Georgia, Graves Mountain is an excellent location to find crystals in the U.S. You don’t have to pay a fee here; however, you will have to make an appointment if you want to search for crystals unless you are a member of the Georgia Mineral Society.
In Graves Mountain, there are various minerals and crystals to collect, such as quartz, pyrite, hematite, muscovite, barite, or Ilmenite, among others.
If you are situated in Tennessee or would like to go on a rockhounding adventure looking for crystals, then Douglass Lake is among the best places to find such specimens.
An exceptional variety of quartz crystals, known as Douglas diamonds, can be found here. They are pretty similar to Herkimer diamonds.
The best time to rockhound in this area is when the water levels are low. Find the red clay in the lake bed and analyze the soil closely. You don’t have to pay any fees to collect crystals here.
The Hot Springs area in Arkansas is among the best places in the U.S. for finding crystals, rocks, and minerals! Here, you can find quartz crystals, rock crystals, geodes, fluorite, and pyrite, among many other things.
Many areas near Hot Springs are also worth a visit, yet some of them require an entry fee.
TIP: Do you know how to properly display the rocks and crystals you found? It is always good to know the basics to prevent breaking or losing your hardly found rocks. Therefore, check out the ultimate guide to rock collecting in the article below:
How to Start Rock Collecting? Complete Guide for Beginners
Where to Find Minerals Near Me?
Check our map to find minerals near your location in the United States. Minerals are a great addition to any collection, and if you are interested in some of the best locations to find minerals in the United States, then let us present you with some!
The best rockhounding locations to find minerals are Alabama Gold Camp in Alabama, Morefield Mine in Virginia, and Jade Cove Trail in California. You Can Find here beautiful minerals such as gold, red garnets, citrine, amazonite, jade, and many other amazing minerals.
Alabama Gold Camp
If you like panning for gold to your heart’s desire, then the Alabama Gold Camp is for you! It is located 85 miles east of Birmingham.
Here you will have tons of space to look for gold, and the best part is, you can also find citrine, red garnets, and artifacts, such as arrowheads.
Though it may be one of the best locations in the U.S. to search for gold and other minerals and crystals, you have to make a reservation and pay a rental fee of 75$. However, what you will find here is more than worth it, and the experience is one of a kind!
The Morefield Mine in Virginia, near Richmond, is possibly the best place in the U.S. to find minerals and gemstones.
There are over 80 types of gems and minerals you can find in this region, including the rare, yet beautiful amazonite gemstone. It is named after the Amazon River, and it has a particularly rich greenish appearance.
At the Morefield Mine, you can carry only one bucket of specimens; however, pickaxes and hammers aren’t allowed. Also, you have to make an appointment and pay a small entrance fee.
Jade Cove Trail
The Jade Cove Trail, Big Sur, California, is among the best places to find Jade in the U.S. There are some regulations in this area that you have to follow.
Still, generally, you can keep what you find. Other types of minerals and gemstones can be found in this region.
TIP: If you are not an experienced rockhound but want to find beautiful minerals check out the ultimate guide about rockhounding in the article below and find out all you need to know about this amazing hobby:
How to Start Rockhounding: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
Where Can You Go to Dig for Gems Near Me?
The United States is filled with various rare or even unique gemstones. See where you can find the closest gem digging areas near you by clicking our map! With that being said, let us present to you some of the best gem digging areas in the United States, both free and paid!
The best free gems digging locations are The Stillwell Ranch in Texas, Lake Catherine, Pike County, Benton County in Arkansas, and the Ruby Mountains in Nevada. The best paid digging locations are The Emerald Hollow Mine in North Carolina, Spectrum Sunstone Mine in Oregon, and Gem Mountain in North Carolina.
Free Gem Hunting Near Me
The Stillwell Ranch in the Big Bend area in Texas is a very good place where you can find amethyst for free. Amethyst Hill is also an excellent place to search for this beautiful gemstone, as well as the Althaus Ranch.
If you are passionate about opals, then head to Arkansas, and go to either Lake Catherine, Pike County, or Benton County.
You can find various opals in these areas, coming in colors such as green, yellow, red, and others. Head to the North Wilson pit to search for fire opals.
The Ruby Mountains in Nevada is another excellent location where you can find gemstones for free.
Despite the name, you won’t find rubies here but rather beautiful garnets of good quality. Be sure to have the right equipment before heading there!
Paid Gem Hunting Near Me
The Emerald Hollow Mine in North Carolina is one of the best-paid gem hunting locations in the United States.
Apart from being the only emerald mine open to the public in the U.S., the small fee is more than generous for the high-quality emeralds you will find here. Over 60 different gemstones, crystals, and minerals can be found here as well.
Spectrum Sunstone Mine is another excellent paid-to-dig site for gemstones located in Oregon. Here you can find unique sunstones and even Himalayan tourmaline gemstones.
Moving on from sunstones and tourmaline to moonstones and rubies, at the Gem Mountain, Spruce Pine, in North Carolina, you can have experts verify your findings, confirm their value, and even turn them into jewelry if requested. All of this, for a small fee, of course.
There are countless locations where you can find gemstones, crystals, rocks, fossils, or minerals in the United States. Some places require you to pay a fee to dig; others are free, but despite this, it is truly a wonder that we are allowed to collect these specimens at all.
By clicking on the state name in the table below find links to the ultimate rockhounding guides for each state in the United States:
Enjoy your rockhounding experience even better by consulting on our map to find exactly what you are searching for!
TIP: You know all the best rockhounding locations in the USA after reading this article. So it’s time to take your family or friends and try to find beautiful rocks and minerals by yourself! If you need to know what equipment for rockhounding you need, check out the complete list in the article below:
The Complete Guide: All Tools You Need for Rockhounding