Gem Hunting – RV Camping

Do you have a yen to rattle the rocks for gemstones? There are still many places in the United States, known as “fee mining sites,” where gem prospectors can search for tourmaline, peridot, and other semi-precious gems. Since getting out in the great outdoors appeals to both prospectors and RV campers, why not combine both passions for the best vacation ever?

Gemstone Hunting RV Camping Ideas in California
There are so many possibilities for mining gem-rich ore in California, it deserves a section all to itself. A popular stop for gem lovers hoping to find green or pink California tourmaline is the world famous Himalaya Mine near Santa Ysabel in San Diego County. Prospectors can purchase buckets of gem ore to screen on-site with equipment furnished by the Mine. Lake Henshaw Resort, adjacent to the Mine, is a beautiful site for RV camping, lake fishing and plenty of hiking in the foothills of the Palomar Mountains.

Another real gem for RV camping prospectors is found right in the same county! Ocean-view Mine in Pala, California charges a set fee that allows gem hunters to screen fresh, un-prospected mine tailings all day long. Recent visitor finds include aquamarine and many colors of tourmaline.

About two hours southwest of Fresno, screen for benitoite, California’s state gem. The California State Gem Mine near Coalinga is open most weekends to prospectors. gemtv  Dry camp your RV at nearby Los Gatos Creek County Park and spend the day sifting mine tailings near where a fabulous 34 carat rough benitoite was recently found!

More Gem Hunting RV Camping Ideas – Nevada
Nevada has also been the site of fabulous gemstone finds, and the Garnet Hill Recreation Area near Ely is very popular with prospectors. Search two square miles of public land for likely garnet-containing specimens, and be sure to bring your rock hammer for breaking them! Camp just fifteen miles away at Cave Lake State Park, or really relish this remote region with a visit to Great Basin National Park, sixty miles east at the Utah/Nevada border. Both parks offer RV camping facilities.

In the remote desert of northwest Nevada near Denio, the Virgin Valley offers gem prospectors the opportunity to mine for precious black opal at three fee mining sites. Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine, has yielded gorgeous specimens. The Royal Peacock Opal Mine, has RV camping available onsite, and allows both “tailings digging” or “bank digging,” depending on how much you plan to spend. You can also search mine tailings for black opals or “fire opals,” at the Bonanza Opal Mine in the Valley. A large, free campsite without hookups can be found at Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge near the Bonanza Mine.

Gem Hunting for RV Campers – North Carolina and Georgia
A perennial family favorite in the Eastern US is Gem Mountain in Spruce Mountain, North Carolina. Located along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in the area known as “Little Switzerland,” this family destination offers mine tours and the chance to screen for Crabtree Emeralds and Brushy Creek Aquamarines. Park your RV nearby at the Bear Den in Mount Pisgah National Forest.

For a truly Southern gem prospecting adventure, join the owner of the Hogg Mine near LaGrange, Georgia most Saturday mornings for a day of surface fee mining for aquamarine beryls, tourmaline crystals and literally boulders full of rose quartz!

Gem Hunting RV Adventures – Connecticut
For a fantastic northeastern gem hunting experience, plan some motorhome camping time in Connecticut. There are numerous old and currently operating mine sites that allow prospecting.

If you choose Connecticut for your next RV camping and prospecting trip, definitely do some research on the Roxbury Falls area, where some of the world’s best almandine garnets have been mined. Start at Green’s Farm Garnet Mine near Roxbury. This former mine site still yields deep red garnets.

Another easy place to prospect in Connecticut is Old Mine Park in Trumbull. The Park Rangers can guide you to a construction site where topaz, beryl and an interesting form of emerald are being found.