It is no secret that in March of 2020 I created my travel Instagram account. It was one of the main things that helped me get through quarantine, and has provided a lot of entertainment over the months!
One thing I began to do then, was to make saved image folders on the app for places I wanted to go once it was safe to travel again.
I have a folder for basically every large city in the US, and even some international ones!
But there was one odd place that caught my eye.
At a time when being indoors with other people seemed like a truly daunting thing. The thought of going somewhere known for having amazing nature seemed perfect.
So I added it to my bucket list.
Now, around one year later my family was fully vaccinated and wanted to go on a road trip somewhere to have a break from our jobs.
So naturally. We picked Arkansas.
At the beginning of May, we went on a road trip there, and with a long almost 14-hour car ride later, we had made it to our Airbnb!
Where We Stayed
My dad, sister, our dog Celsie and I stayed in Mt. Ida, a small town in the middle of nowhere Arkansas, that was a semi-short way from Hot Springs and also an equal distance from a few of the crystal mines.
Full Airbnb Review Here!
Why Crystal Mining?
My family is a registered member of a gem, fossil, and mineral club in our home state of Georgia that goes out on field trips to find things like fossils, gems, and minerals.
We typically go on rock-hounding trips inside the state, but every once in a while there will be a trip we go on outside of Georgia.
This trip was not planned with the club, but my dad had heard about several places in Arkansas from other members and from online research.
When he heard my sister and me talking about going there, he figured it was the perfect time to go!
Which Mines Did We Go To?
There are many different mines in Mt. Ida/ Hot Springs area, but we picked two to go to on our four-day trip. One that specialized in quartz crystals, and one that specialized in diamonds.
Crater Of Diamonds State Park
This state park is one of the only diamond mines in the world that is open to the public and is the only diamond mine in the United States.
In 1972, the state of Aransas bought it and since then visitors have found over 33,000 diamonds inside the 37-acre field!
You can bring your own mining tools, or rent them from the park, and admission is only $10 for adults and $6 for children over the age of 6.
They typically find 1-2 diamonds per day and have staff members there that will identify the rocks you bring so that you know what you have found!
You can keep whatever rocks you find, but they do not let you take dirt home.
This day of our trip was very interesting. We woke up that morning to the sound of pouring rain hitting the metal roof of our Airbnb.
Which when you plan to spend the day playing around in the dirt, is not a very welcoming sound.
But we persevered, packing up the things we needed for the day and hitting the road from our Airbnb down to where the mine was.
The whole way.
They say the best time to look for diamonds is right after the rain, but when we got there, it was pouring so hard we couldn’t see twenty feet in front of us.
So we decided to leave for a while and come back later on.
We got an early lunch at a nearby restaurant called The Miners Diner. They had a covered patio so we could sit outside and stay dry, and have our dog with us so she didn’t have to be alone.
I got the chicken fried chicken (fried chicken with gravy) and it was delicious! The food was very inexpensive for the amount we got, the meal came with two sides, and the chicken itself was close to if not larger than the size of my hand!
After our meal, we headed back to the park. It had stopped raining for the time being and we still had several hours left until it was supposed to close.
We paid the entrance fee and walked down to the field, there were grated stairs which my dog was not the biggest fan of but once we got her down she seemed to have a good time!
The weather was not too hot due to the rain, and it was only slightly humid out.
But the main thing we had to deal with was the mud.
The field (or crater) they had laid out to search for diamonds in was a dirt field, and because of the rain, it was a 37-acre mud pit.
I don’t know how none of us fell in, especially with the dog excitedly pulling on her leash. We were slipping and sliding everywhere!
To answer your question, no. We did not find a diamond. But there was someone else there who had come earlier in the day that did!
My expectations of finding one were low, and while yes I did still look while I was there, I did mostly surface looking.
I found a lot of jasper, which is good for tumbling (how they make rocks shiny and smooth) so I plan on using it for that!
Overall, it was a fun experience, and even though there were no diamonds found it was still a great way to spend a day outside!
Sadly because of the rain (and the mud), I don't have any pictures from this day, but here is a link to their website to find more information!
Ron Coleman Mine
Out of the two places we went to, this one was my favorite.
It is a quartz crystal mine, and is known for finding some truly amazing pieces there!
They are especially known for finding double-pointed quartz, which is always fun to have.
What we searched through was their tailing piles, so basically the leftover dirt they had from digging.
It was like walking through a store the crystals were so easy to find!
Everywhere we looked there was another one to pick up.
I ended up taking the equivalent of two-quart-sized Ziploc bags home of quartz.
And while the day before it was pouring rain, this day the sun was out in full force and we all got extremely sunburnt.
So if you go crystal hunting make sure to double up on sunscreen. Because just one layer was obviously not enough for that day!
Over All Review
If you have not ever gone rock-hounding or crystal hunting before, I can not recommend it enough.
Even if you only go once, it is a fun experience and is an amazing way to get out into the outdoors, and Arkansas is the perfect place to find mines perfect for all ages and skill levels!