Fee Mining and Digging for Gems, Minerals, Gold, Crystals
Hunt For Gems - Keep What You Find!
Click a green state or blue link text to view fee mining locations
What are Fee Mining Sites?
Fee mining sites are places where you can pay a fee to dig, pan, or search for rocks, minerals or gemstones and keep whatever you find.
There are many places in the United States where you can pan for gold, wash gravel for gemstones, or split rocks to find fossils and have a reasonable chance of being very successful. We have been to fee mining sites many times, had lots of fun, and found some nice materials. We did not make a great find every time, but it was a good experience overall. Two of our favorites are: 1) looking for Herkimer "Diamonds" at the Ace of Diamonds Mine near Herkimer, New York; and, 2) looking for tourmaline at the OceanView Mine near San Diego, California.
If you own a fee mining site not listed here, please let us know. To be listed, a site must have a website and pass our review. We do not include sites where collectors search through materials that have been "salted" with things to find or where materials from other mines or locations are hauled in. Most of the sites listed below require a fee.
NDGS runs scheduled dinosaur and fossil digs from late June to mid-August. Note: All fossils found go to the North Dakota State Fossil Collection in Bismarck, ND. Check the NDGS website for full details.
PaleoAdventures runs scheduled dinosaur digs in the Badlands area of South Dakota. Note: Your guide will inspect the fossils that you find. Diggers can keep common fossils that they find and purchase commercial-grade fossils that they find. Scientific-grade fossils are given to museums and universities. Check their website for full details.
If you own a fee mining site not listed here, please let us know by emailing the URL of your website to: To be listed, a site must have a website and pass our review. We don't include sites where collectors search through materials that have been "salted" with things to find.
Hobart M. King has decades of rock tumbling experience and writes most of the articles on RockTumbler.com. He has a PhD in geology and is a GIA graduate gemologist. He also writes the articles about rocks, minerals and gems on Geology.com.