Family vacations are a fun time to bond, but theme parks and nature hikes can become tedious. After a while, it helps to have something new to try.

What better way to come closer together than trying the time-honored tradition of prospecting? Digging for gems is a fun way to experience the outdoors while enjoying a historical activity.

You may even find a natural souvenir to bring home! Below are some of the top places for families to dig for gemstones.

Ace of Diamonds, Middleville, NY

Middleville, an appropriately-named town in the center of New York state, is a popular choice for diamond digging. Ace of Diamonds Mine and Campground is chock full of Herkimer Diamonds, which are famous for their brilliant shine and translucent appearance.

The mine is a fun-filled scramble for families looking to strike it rich, or at least enough to brag on Facebook. The small valley shape is ideal for bringing small children along, and the grounds are well-maintained for vacation.

If you are looking for something outside of the Big Apple, Ace of Diamonds is an excellent choice. While you’re digging there, be sure to check out the town proper; it’s an actual small town with great historical sites in and around the town’s limits.

Crater of Diamonds State Park, Murfreesboro, AR

gold panning and gem mining

In addition to being a unique mining spot, the Crater of Diamonds is also a state park. Best of all, whatever gems you happen to find, you get to keep!

Here guests can employ several tactics to finding their next big score. Whether you prefer to look for diamonds on its surface, with a screen, or by digging, this state park offers them all.

As a state park, there are other activities as well, allowing you to enjoy an entire vacation from one convenient place. For the outdoorsy family looking for something new, this might be your next favorite trip!

Oceanview Mine, Pala, CA

different colors of natural minerals and rocks on the ground

First, the bad news – digging for gems waits for no family. The digs begin at 11 am, but the facilities need you there half an hour before.

You better believe that if you’re late, you miss the boat. However, the good news is, punctual families get rewarded with a day of searching for gems.

Unlike with diamond mines, visitors can find a variety of different precious stones. You can search for beryl crystals, tourmaline, quartz, and other colorful minerals.

You can find Oceanview Mine located near the upper center portion of the state, making this mine is a favorite way to escape the glitz and glam of LA. For the rugged adventuring types, you’ll love this outdoor attraction.

Royal Peacock Opal Mine, Denio, NV

The Royal Peacock Opal Mine has been operating since 1981. As a local digging hotspot, guests can enjoy a no-frills dig experience, as well as a connecting RV park.

The mine operates seasonally and is a popular local attraction to find opals. These gems classify as a crystal, and these stones are famous for their colors and shine.

In addition to digging, visitors can camp or book lodging onsite. Even if you don’t find anything of value, the mine area is surrounded by natural beauty and wildlife for an unforgettable hike.

Although a bit more bare-bones than other digging spots, this location has seen visitors making exciting discoveries. You just might strike it big on your next Nevada adventure!

Thermal City Gold Mine, Union Mills, NC

close up of a little asian girl panning for gems

Thermal City Gold Mine has built itself as a genuine local attraction. This faux prospecting town is full of mining fun, as well real-life prospectors leading tours and giving out information.

Onsite facilities include camping and lodging options, and mining supplies are available to purchase. While you may not find their namesake mineral, the mine contains emerald, citrine, moonstone, quartz, and more.

When you are looking for a family mining expedition that feels like a real tourist attraction, the Thermal City Gold Mine is a great option.  You can even identify your finds for free, and have it turned into jewelry!

When you are ready to plan your treasure hunt vacation, head over to our sister site, HotelCoupons for the best lodging deals in each state. 

Family Treasure Hunt pin