Search For Real Diamonds At This Southern US State Park

There are not many vacations where you can leave richer, but a trip to the Crater of Diamonds State Park might pay for itself. Located in Arkansas, close to the city of Murfreesboro, this park is one of the few places in the world where anyone can come and look for diamonds, right at the source. The diamonds here were created around 3 billion years ago due to high temperatures and intense pressure within the Earth's mantle and eventually pushed to the surface by volcanic activity within the park.

While it may seem unlikely that you will find your own precious stone, one or two are found every day, according to the park.  Since 1906 and as of 2022, around 75,000 diamonds had been found here, including the largest to have been found in the U.S., a 40.23-carat stone nicknamed "Uncle Sam." The colors of diamonds that you may discover are brown, white, and yellow with the park having everything you need to find them. Any gems that you mine, you get to keep and if you're not sure whether it is a diamond or not, the staff will help you to identify it.

How to find diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds

It's not just diamonds that are found here; you may also dig up gems like amethyst, agate, garnet, peridot, jasper, and quartz as well as other lesser-known rock or mineral types. The area to check for diamonds is a 37-acre field that was once a volcanic crater. It costs $13 for an adult and $6 for a child to enter the diamond fields, or for avid diamond miners, a pass that covers 20 visits is $220. It is possible to bring your own hand tools which are also available to rent from the park, such as shovels and sifting trays. The park plows the field regularly to bring new soil to the top for prospectors to search.

Visitors to the park have different strategies for finding diamonds, but it certainly requires patience and a good eye. There are some prospectors who look for diamonds after it has rained to find the glint of a freshly cleaned stone, while others are more meticulous and scan inch by inch. Park staff and people you see with personal equipment may be able to give you some tips for discovering your own haul!

Other things to do at the Crater of Diamonds State Park

If you're really serious about diamond hunting, you can camp overnight in the park and start your search early in the morning. There are campsites with water and electricity hookups for RVs as well as spaces to pitch tents. For those who want to know even more about finding gems, there are mining demonstrations and educational tours that will tell you everything you need to know about these precious stones.

There are three trails in the park where you can see more of the geology, history, and wildlife in the area, as well as excavations from the diamond mining industry. They are the Little Missouri Trail, the Prospector Trail (which includes the fields), and the wildlife observation blind trail. There are also opportunities to go fishing in the park as well as photographing wildlife like squirrels, birds, and deer. If you're spending time in Arkansas, there is much to do in this underrated region, like the scenic Ozark road trip or the state's most-visited attraction – the Hot Springs National Park. There's always the possibility that if you find a big enough diamond you could extend your vacation!