Vacations That Explore: Top U.S. Destinations For Gem Hunting

Awaken your love for the Earth, and plan a vacation of exploration.  Go “rockhounding” in some of the most beautiful places in the U.S., and get your hands dirty.  Fun for families and solo explorers alike, hunting for gems will keep your mindset towards discovery.  

The existence of precious stones in the Earth has made a large impact on where people have set up colonies throughout history.  The hunt for buried treasure is a longtime resident to the culture of the United States, and it still remains active today.

Experience your own adventures in gem hunting, and check out a few of the best U.S. destinations for rockhounding.

Hunt for emeralds in North Carolina

There is only one public mining site in the United States where you will find emeralds.  This precious May birthstone shines green from the existence of trace amounts of chromium within the gem, and makes a perfect addition to handcrafted creations.  

Just outside of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Hiddenite, North Carolina, there is a little place called Emerald Hollow Mine that allows visitors to take their own excavations.  You may also invest in an educational tour of the site to learn more about the history of mining in the area.

Find meteorites in New Mexico

Not all treasures have been here on the planet for their whole existence.  The deserts and dried lake beds of the Southwest United States are prime hunting grounds for meteorites.  Glorietta Mountain in New Mexico is the spot you seek.

Pack your metal detectors, and hit the road.  You could also simply tape a magnet to the bottom of a stick, and you will find space rocks.  Meteorites are partially composed of iron and nickel, which makes the hunt a little easier with the proper tools.

Dig up diamonds in Arkansas

Most of the time, a visit to a state park would include a variety of fishing, hiking, and camping.  Maybe it is time for a change of pace. Visit Crater of Diamonds State Park, and take a trip towards riches.  

About a hundred miles southwest of Little Rock, there is a hotspot for buried diamonds.  The Crater of Diamonds State Park is named as such because it is located on the site of an ancient volcanic crater.    

Search for Jade in California

Though the coast of California offers some breathtaking ocean views, there is much more to the luscious landscape of the area than the beach.  Look to the ground for inspiration, and visit Jade Cove Trail.

Jade Cove Trail is named for the green hue of the gemstone, as the 1.5 mile trail is littered with the stones.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has set some strict rules on mining the cherished gemstones, so stick to the ones you find lying around on the ground.