Family Travel

Vacations to Collect Gems, Geodes, Fossils & Stones

Rockhound Vacations in the US

On a road trip or planning a road trip this year? Instead of stopping to see the world's largest ball of yarn, why not plan a detour to mine for gems, find a diamond, dig for a fossil or hunt for geodes. Here are a few detours or trip additions that the entire family will love!

CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK IN ARKANSAS

There is a state park where families are welcome to come and dig for their own diamond souvenirs. Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of a kind because nowhere else can the public set up a one person, or family, operation to work the soil for diamonds. The fields of Crater of Diamonds are plowed daily to make it easier for diamonds to be unearthed by guests. The adventure doesn’t end in the fields though, rangers are on hand to share the history of mining in the area, different techniques used and show guests other rocks and gemstones of commercial and personal value that can be found in the area.

U-DIG FOSSILS IN DELTA, UTAH

If digging for your own fossils sounds exciting, U-Dig Fossils is a trilobite quarry where the public is open to visit and find their own fossils. Delta, Utah, where the quarry is located has some of the richest trilobite beds ever found, and because it is privately owned, the general public can dig with admission. No experience is needed to get started, the staff here are willing to help and explain the process of trilobite hunting with you, or just provide you with the tools that you need to get started. Fossil hunters of all ages enjoy the chance to find these specimens for their own personal collections.

DENNIS STEVENSON GEODES IN HAMILTON, ILLINOIS

The Midwestern states of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri have some of the best geode deposits that the public can explore for free or for an admission price. At the Dennis Stevenson Geodes, the private site requires advance reservations and charges an admission fee, but this means that there are always geodes for everyone to hunt for. The area has not been picked clean and families or groups can work together to fill a bucket of geodes at a flat rate. Geodes can be left as is or cracked open later.

625 S. 18th St., Hamilton, Illinois  |  Call ahead to plan a trip: 309-337-3089 or 217-847-2952

AGATE HUNTING IN COOK COUNTY MINNESOTA

Agates are the state gem of Minnesota, so it only makes sense that you are able to easily find agate deposits for collecting. Cook County in Minnesota is one of the richest areas for finding agates and most of the places are public places where you can just collect as you go. Make sure that you know for sure that the area you are collecting in is a free to the public space before collecting though. Rocky, gravel beaches are littered with the rocks, and are the easiest places to find them because these rocks will be wet and show the translucent signs that indicate agate cavities held within.

HAVE A SUGGESTION ON WHERE TO HUNT FOR GEMS, GEODES, FOSSILS & STONES? Leave it in the comments below.

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19 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. These all sound awesome. My family loves to “mine” at those kinds of places. It’s a lot of fun to get dirty and look for treasure.

  2. robin rue

    My boys would LOVE to collect geodes! I think it would be pretty fun myself 🙂

  3. OHH I LOVE this!  We love finding all sorts of cool looking rocks and what have you! I think we need to take one of these trips that you mention here! 

  4. Geodes are awesome! When I was younger I had one large one, I don’t know where I got it, but it was a very pretty blue inside. I loved that thing, until I dropped it off the balcony, then it shattered. I’ve been looking for one with pink inside ever since.

  5. This is actually a really cool focus for a vacation. You could really bring home some memorable souvenirs from one of these locations.

  6. That would be such a fun idea to do with the kids! I’ve got to check and see if there are any places by me.

  7. My son loves geodes and we live in Illinois so I could make a reservation and surprise him with a day trip to the Dennis Stevenson Geodes in Hamilton. What a fun idea – thanks!

  8. susan

    My daughter loves to collect rocks and the sparklier the better! This is such a cool Idea!

  9. I have an aunt that loves mining for crystals, and she swears that each time she goes she always comes back home feeling super relaxed. I may have to join her one day.

  10. Claudia Krusch

    My Son would love to go to U-Dig Fossils. He is learning about fossils in school right now. These all look like fun places to check out.

  11. These places look like fun. I love digging in the dirt for fun things. My kids would really like this.

  12. There are some gem mining places in the mountains of North Carolina too. I haven’t actually been to any of them, but I have seen the fliers in hotels and theme parks, so I know they exist.

  13. This sounds like a totally unique and fun family adventure. My son would really enjoy finding fossils!

  14. These all sound very interesting. I’m sure my daughter would love to look for diamonds.

  15. I want to see if we can go to the one in Illinois . I always wanted to do something cool like that and I know the kids would be excited too

  16. This sounds so much fun! I’ve been seeing these geodes online but I haven’t seen one yet. I know my kids would love to have one too.

  17. Michelle Waller

    This sounds like so much fun! My oldest wants to be a paleontologist when she gets older so this is something she would really like to do.

  18. Jonna

    What a fun collection! I love it when we can enjoy hunting for a souvenir together.

  19. Such a different and fun post – I’ve always wanted to go to U-DIG FOSSILS IN DELTA, UTAH and find fossils – What an adventure that would be!

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