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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

Fee mining collecting map
Fee mining collecting map

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.


Alabama Gold Camp Gold


Alaska BLM gold panning sites Gold
Chicken Gold Camp Gold
Crow Creek Gold Mine Gold


Arizona BLM collecting sites Agate, Apache tears, fire agate, jasper, onyx, petrified wood


Board Camp Crystal Mine Quartz crystals
Crater of Diamonds State Park Diamonds and 40 other types of rocks and minerals including: lamproite, amethyst, banded agate, jasper, peridot, garnet, quartz, calcite, barite, and hematite.
Jim Coleman Crystals Clear and White quartz crystal. You can also expect to find some interesting pieces with Adularia and Calcite
Ron Coleman Mining Quartz crystals
Sweet Surrender Crystals Quartz crystals
Twin Creek Crystal Mine Clear Quartz and Phantom Quartz
Wegner Crystal Mines Crystal Forest Mine and Phantom Mine group dig and tailings collecting area.


Benitoite Mining Company Benitoite
Gold Prospecting Adventures Gold
Himalaya Mine Tourmaline, quartz crystals, lepidolite, topaz, morganite, and other pegmatite minerals
Modoc National Forest Obsidian
OceanView Mine / Pala Chief Mine Tourmalines, kunzites, morganites and more.
Roaring Camp Mining Company Gold


Bachelor Syracuse Mine Gold
Colorado Gold Camp Gold
Country Boy Mine Gold
Phoenix Gold Mine Gold
Vic's Gold Panning Gold


Simpson Quarry Pegmatite


Fossil Expeditions Mammal, reptile and shark fossils.
Rucks Pit, Fort Drum Crystal Mine Fossils and crystals.


Consolidated Gold Mine Gold
Crisson Gold Mine Gold
Diamond Hill Mine Quartz crystals (smokey, amethyst, some doubly terminated, some skeletal)
Gold 'n Gem Grubbin' Gold, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethyst, topaz and more
Graves Mountain Barite,quartz, rutile, ilmenite, kyanite, pyrite, lazulite, pyrophyllite, hematite, goethite, limonite, iridescent hematite
Hogg Mine Beryl, star rose quartz, black tourmaline, and aquamarine


Eagle City Mining Company Gold
Emerald Creek Star Garnet Area Star Garnet
Gold Mine Adventures Gold
Spencer Opal Mines Opal


Nick's Geodes Geodes


Fossil & Prairie Park Fossils


Clement Mineral Museum Fluorite and related minerals


Coos Canyon Rock and Gift Gold
Dig Maine Gems Quartz, tourmaline, beryl, lepidolite and more
Maine Mineralogy Expeditions blue beryl, golden beryl, amethyst, tourmaline, rose quartz, smoky quartz, clear quartz, mica, feldspar, apatite, lepidolite
Poland Mining Camps Pollucite (gem grade), spodumene, kunzite (cab grade), muscovite and perhamite (tan spheres) with white fluorapatite.


Calvert Cliffs State Park Fossils


Caledonia Mine Native copper, silver, datolite, quartz, feldspar, calcite, and epidote


Hill Annex Mine State Park Fossils


Sheffler's Rock Shop and Geode Mine Geodes


Baisch's Dinosaur Digs Fossils
Blaze-N-Gems Sapphire, Garnet
Crystal Park Quartz crystals
Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine Sapphire
Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine Sapphire
The Montana Dinosaur Center The Two Medicine Dinosaur Center runs scheduled digs for dinosaur and other types of fossils. Note: Fossils found become the property of the Dinosaur Center. Check their website for full details.


High Plains Homestead Fossils


Bonanza Opal Mines Opal
Kokopelli Opals Opal
Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine Opal
Royal Peacock Opal Mine Opal

New Hampshire

Twin River Campground Gold panning

New Jersey

The Franklin Mineral Museum Fluorescent minerals
The Sterling Hill Mining Museum Fluorescent minerals

New Mexico

Desert Rose Mine - Blanchard Rock Shop Fluorite, barite, galena, quartz, smoky quartz, linarite, brochantite, wulfenite and more

New York

Ace of Diamonds Herkimer Diamonds (doubly terminated quartz crystals)
Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground Herkimer Diamonds (doubly terminated quartz crystals)
Diamond Acres Herkimer Diamonds (doubly terminated quartz crystals)
Gore Mountain Garnet
Herkimer Diamond Mines Herkimer Diamonds (doubly terminated quartz crystals)

North Carolina

Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine Ruby, sapphire
Cowee Gift Shop and Mason Mountain Mine Garnet, ruby, sapphire, kyanite, moonstone, smoky quartz, cordierite
Crabtree Emerald Mine Emerald
Emerald Hollow Mine Over 60 different gems and minerals.
Emerald Village Emerald, semi-precious stones
Eureka Gold Panning, Gem Fluming, & Pearls Gold, Gems, and Pearls
Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine Aquamarine, tourmaline, garnet, beryl
Little Pine Garnet Mine Garnet
Lucky Strike Gold and Gem Mine Gold
Mason's Ruby and Sapphire Mine Ruby, sapphire
Rose Creek Mine Ruby, sapphire, garnet, amethyst, citrine, moonstone, topaz, smoky quartz, rose quartz, quartz crystals and more!
Sheffield Gem Mine Star ruby, sapphire

North Dakota

North Dakota Geological Survey 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.


Caesar Creek Lake Spillway Fossils
Hueston Woods State Park Ordovician fossils
LaFarge Quarry Dump Site Brachiopods, horn corals, trilobites
Nethers Farm - Flint Ridge Flint
Oakes Quarry Park Fossils (designated collecting areas are marked with signs)
Olander Fossil Park Brachiopods, coral, other Devonian fossils
Trammel Fossil Park Bryozoans, brachiopods, crinoids, gastropods, pelecypods, edriosteroids
William H. Harsha Lake Fossils


Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge Selenite crystals


BLM Sunstone Collection Area Oregon Sunstone
Double Eagle Mine Oregon Sunstone
Dust Devil Mining Company Oregon Sunstone
Lucky Strike Mines Agate, Thundereggs
Public Rockhounding Sites (central Oregon) Petrified wood, agate, jasper, obsidian, thunder eggs
Spectrum Sunstone Mines Oregon Sunstone

South Carolina

Diamond Hill Mine Amethyst, quartz
LaFarge Fossil Hunt Fossilized shark teeth, bones, brachiopods

South Dakota

Big Thunder Gold Mine Gold
PaleoAdventures 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.


Lindsay Ranch Topaz, quartz, tourmaline, garnet, petrified wood, fossils
Mineral Wells Fossil Park Pennsylvanian Period invertebrate fossils
Teri Smith Rock Hunts Agate hunts to numerous locations in the Big Bend Region


Blue Crystal Mines Azurite
Gem Tours Bixbyte, pink topaz, red beryl and more
Topaz Mountain Adventures Topaz, bixbyite, and other minerals
Trilobyte Me! Quarry Fossil Dig Trilobite fossils
U-Dig Fossils Trilobite fossils


Morefield Gem Mine Over 80 different minerals.


Stonerose Interpretive Center & Eocene Fossil Site Eocene Fossils (you can keep three per day)


American Fossil Fossils from the Green River Formation
Fossil Safari Fossil fish from the Green River Formation
Tynsky's Fossils Inc. Fossils from Fossil Lake
Ulrich's Fossil Gallery Eocene fossil fish from the Green River Formation
Wyoming Dinosaur Center The Wyoming Dinosaur Center runs scheduled digs for dinosaur and other types of fossils. Note: Fossils found become the property of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. Check their website for full details.


Gemtree Gemfields Fossicking Tours Garnet and Mud Tank zircon
Mt. Hay Gemstone Tourist Park Thundereggs, Rainforest Rhyolite


Amethyst Mine Panorama Amethyst
Opal Resources Canada Opal

Please Let Us Know About a Fee Mining Site!

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 secure (https://) website and pass our review. We don't include sites where collectors search through materials that have been "salted" with things to find. Authors

Hobart King Hobart M. King has decades of rock tumbling experience and writes most of the articles on He has a PhD in geology and is a GIA graduate gemologist. He also writes the articles about rocks, minerals and gems on
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