This Lesser-known U.S. State Park Lets You Hunt for Diamonds in a Volcanic Crater — and You Can Keep What You Find
“The policy here is ‘finders, keepers,’ meaning the diamonds you find are yours to keep."
Arkansas holds the honor of being home to the first U.S. state park — Petit Jean State Park, which was established in Morrilton, Arkansas, in 1923. And among the long list of preserved sites and protected green spaces in the state, which now has 52 state parks, is a name that stands out: Crater of Diamonds State Park.
As the name implies, the state park is one of the world’s only diamond-bearing sites that are accessible to the public. And since its founding in 1972, over 35,000 diamonds have been discovered by park visitors.
The best part? You get to keep any diamonds — or other rocks and minerals — you find.
“The policy here is ‘finders, keepers,’ meaning the diamonds you find are yours to keep,” the Crater of Diamonds State Park website confirms.
This unique attraction is near the town of Murfreesboro, about two hours away from Arkansas' capital, Little Rock. The highlight of the 911-acre park is the eroded surface of a volcanic crater — this 37.5-acre field is where unique rocks, minerals, and gemstones are often found.
Using personal or rented mining equipment, park visitors can unearth the likes of diamonds, amethysts, jasper, agate, quartz, and garnets.
But before you grab your pick and hit the gem field, you’ll want to stop by the visitor center to learn about how diamonds and other gems are made, and how to find them. At Crater of Diamonds State Park, the diamonds can be white, yellow, or even brown.
Notable diamond finds include the 16.37-carat “Amarillo Starlight,” the 15.33-carat “Star of Arkansas,” and the 8.52-carat “Esperanza.” The largest diamond ever unearthed in the U.S. was also found at Crater of Diamonds State Park: the 40.23-carat “Uncle Sam.”
Beyond mining for precious stones, visitors to Crater of Diamonds State Park can stretch their legs on the park’s walking trails or check out the Diamond Springs Water Park, which is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The park also has five walk-in tent sites and 47 RV-friendly campsites outfitted with water, electricity, and bathrooms.
The cost to search for diamonds is $13 for adults and $6 for children. Gem-mining essentials — including shovels, buckets, and box screens — are available to rent for $5 each.
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