Strike RV Camping Gold in Dahlonega, Georgia

An hour north of Atlanta on the edge of Chattahoochee National Forest, Dahlonega, Georgia is a gold mine for RV camping fans. In the heart of Georgia’s “gold rush country”, this tree-lined Blue Ridge Mountain town offers RVers plenty of vacation treasure. Here are just a few of the ways RV campers will enjoy spending time in Dahlonega.

  • Gold Panning: The streams and rivers surrounding Dahlonega still bear evidence of the yellow treasure that brought enormous change to the region. Vacationers hoping to pan for gold can visit sites like Gold n’ Gem, Georgia’s only operating commercial gold mine. By the way, there’s a campground on site for RVers hoping to cash in on gold and gem panning at the mine.
  • Historical Sites: Rich in history, Dahlonega’s commercial district is on the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more about the Georgia Gold Rush, tour the Consolidated Gold Mine and Crisson Gold Mine, or visit the Gold Museum, housed in the original Lumpkin County Courthouse built in 1836. Be sure to spend some time touring Dahlonega’s Public Square and the Hawkins Street Neighborhood for a look into North Georgia’s past.
  • Lake Lanier: Officially “Lake Sidney Lanier”, this aqua blue waterway nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains promises plenty of hiking, boating, fishing, swimming and, of course, RV camping fun. With seven campgrounds featuring beach access, boat launches and other amenities, RV camping at Lake Lanier is a must on your Dahlonega RV trip.
  • Chattahoochee National Forest: Famous among paddlers and hikers as a mountain paradise, the Chattahoochee National Forest also attracts thousands of anglers who come for the cold water fishing. Whether you plan to drive the Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway, fish for trout in this forest’s thousand miles of trout streams, or hike some of the four hundred miles of trails, you’re going to find more than enough to satisfy your need for the great outdoors.
  • Viewing Waterfalls: Part of the charm of the North Georgia mountains is the abundance of waterfalls, many quite close to Dahlonega. Amicalola Falls State Park showcases a stunning example, with a seven-story waterfall splashing over a rocky mountainside. The trails at the park wind through the North Georgia woods and past the iconic waterfall, and the on-site campground is an excellent value. Up for a challenge? Make the eight-mile hike to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
  • Bike Racing: One type of outdoor recreation, in particular, that’s celebrated every year in Dahlonega is bike racing. Both the prestigious Six Gap Century and Three Gap Fifty Bike Races are held each September along some of the steepest climbs in North Georgia. Another well-regarded bike event held in Dahlonega each August is the Fool’s Gold 100.
  • Wineries and Wine Festivals: North Georgia produces a wonderful variety of wines, and Dahlonega is at the heart of wine country. Festivals held at individual wineries and the Georgia Wine Festival give RV travelers a chance to taste and purchase the rich tastes these Blue Ridge Mountain wineries are crafting.
  • Rodeo! Every year in June, the Mountain Top Rodeo is held at the fabulous R-Ranch in the Mountains. It welcomes cowboys and cowgirls from all over the nation for two days of fast-paced rodeo action, and it will welcome your RV camping crew for a down-home, fun-filled rodeo weekend.

Dahlonega, Georgia can be the place you return to year after year for your RV camping vacations. There’s simply something wonderful to be found over every ridge, and a week simply won’t do justice to the charms of this Blue Ridge Mountain town. Come soon, come often and prepare to fall in love with this gem in the heart of Georgia’s Gold Rush Country.

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RV Vacation Idea – Panning for Gold in California’s Sierra Nevada

Gold Nugget

Gold Nugget

California’s Sierra Nevada region is famous for a number of reasons. It is home to Yosemite, King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. It runs through Central and Eastern California in a mighty green swath where waterfalls, giant trees, and rugged mountain peaks amaze its visitors. But there’s one more great reason to visit the Sierra Nevada on your next RV vacation, and that’s the abundant gold panning opportunities waiting there. Here’s what you need to know to plan your gold panning RV vacation.

No Claim Jumping!
Let’s talk about the most important “need to know.” Because California is world-famous for its gold rush days, it stands to reason that millions of acres of its land and waterways have been staked as private claims for gold prospecting. It’s important to avoid those private claims on your trip!

You’ll want to focus your search for gold on areas where “public casual panning” is allowed. That simply means you can use your hands and pans to collect gold from a waterway for non-commercial purposes. Here are some suggestions for places to pan for nuggets:

  • Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park – This park is a study in gold mining history! Tour the museum to learn the impact of hydraulic mining on the environment and then take part in gold panning on Humbug Creek. Check their website for public panning schedules. Rent an RV for the trip in Reno, two hours east or Sacramento, about two hours south. Where to camp? Nevada County Gold’s website has a comprehensive list of area campgrounds.
  • South Yuba River State Park – Just downstream from the Malakoff Diggins, you’ll find South Yuba River State Park, where gold panning is allowed along a twenty-mile section of the river. Watch a gold panning demonstration to learn the best techniques and then watch for the shimmer of gold in your own pans. While you’re there, plan time to enjoy some of the best swimming holes in California!
  • Columbia State Historic Park – Columbia, CA is a town rich with gold mining history. The mining settlement there was preserved as a State Historic Park, and retains the 1850s flavor of the Gold Rush. About an hour and a half west of Stockton, this vintage gold town offers the chance to pan for your own mother lode. Just down the road from the State Historic Park, Marble Quarry RV Park offers all the amenities and easy access to Columbia and Quarry Hiking Trails.
  • Marshall Gold Discovery State Park – About an hour east of Sacramento, you’ll find the place that started it all. In Coloma, CA, Marshall Gold Discovery State Park marks the spot where, in 1848, James Marshall discovered gold on the American River near Sutter’s Mill. Visitors to the park are given the chance to experience their own personal gold rush while panning for gold on the American River. American River Resort in Coloma features beautiful river-side RV camping, and is a short five-minute walk from the State Park.

Admit it; you’re feeling the effects of gold fever! The best cure is to visit one or more of these gold-rich areas where public gold panning is allowed. Check each site for information on permits and equipment necessary, and book your reservations at one of the campgrounds mentioned. All that’s left is to pack your RV (or rent one if there’s not one parked out back) and head for the Sierra Nevada. An RV vacation spent panning for gold in California’s Sierra Nevada will be one your family treasures for years to come.

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Gemstone Hunting RV Vacation in Idaho

You may have parked your RV in Idaho’s National Parks, seen the Craters of the Moon and hiked the trails once followed by the Nez Perce. But have you ever hunted gemstones in the Gem State? RV campers looking for true adventure are invited to learn the joys of a gemstone hunting RV vacation in Idaho.

Where to Find Gemstones in Idaho
A good place to start when planning your trip is the guide to rock-hounding and gemstone hunting available at, Idaho’s Department of Lands’ website. They point out something very important to remember as you pull over next to a promising prospecting site…to respect private property and to help keep Idaho in its pristine wilderness condition.

The site identifies dozens of minerals and gemstones likely to be found in Idaho, including fire opals, rubies and star garnets. In fact, according to Idaho’s Museum of Natural History, Idaho is second only to Africa in the variety of gemstones found there!

For example, in Adams County, you might find rubies and pink garnets in the Rock Flat area adjacent to Payette National Forest near New Meadows. This area also just happens to be the reputed source of the largest diamond (19.5 carats) ever found in the U.S.!

Follow the Salmon River in Custer County, ID (especially the East Fork) to find amethyst and citrine. If you’re traveling with rock hounds, they’ll want to stay awhile in this area, as an abundance of geodes, agates and petrified wood can also be found here.

According to the Cash and Treasure Wiki created by the Travel Channel, opals can be dug from the Spencer Opal Deposit centered near the town of Spencer in Eastern, ID. The Deer Hunt Mine in this area is world famous among gem prospectors and offers gem hunters access on a fee-per-pound basis.

Another easy place to discover wonderful gemstone finds is the Emerald Creek Garnet Area near Clarkia in St. Joe National Forest. It’s the home of record-breaking star garnets, reputed to be some of the best outside of India.

Where to Find a Gem of an RV Campground in Idaho
The next big question is where to stay once you’ve decided to make a prospecting trek to Idaho by RV. You’ll definitely strike it rich staying at one of the many state and national park and forest campgrounds in Idaho. The RVIdaho website has a helpful listing of RV campgrounds in Idaho.

If you’re hoping to snag a handful of amethyst in Blaine County, make your prospecting base camp at Riverside RV Camp in beautiful Bellevue, ID. Another memorable home away from home for RV camping prospectors is Mountain Home RV Park in the heart of Owyhee County fire opal country.

Whether you’re hungering to find the perfect amethyst or hoping for a blindingly beautiful fire opal, Idaho is the place to spend your RV camping and gem prospecting vacation. If you’re not afraid to get your jeans dirty and hike a bit up a creek bed, the fun you’ll have just may have you planning a return trip to Idaho soon.

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RVing to Gem Shows!

Are you distracted by bright, shiny objects or just love attending gem and mineral shows? Here’s a tip: renting a motorhome instead of booking a hotel room is a much more economical way to visit your favorite gem shows. Spend more money on gems and jewelry by planning to cook most meals in your RV, and trade the noise and congestion of convention hotels for a peaceful RV campsite.

Ready to head out to hunt for treasure? Here are just a few of the fabulous gem shows our customers go RVing to each year.

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
This week-long, internationally-famous gem and mineral event is actually made up of many “mini shows” at multiple venues. Some events are open only to dealers, but there are enough open to the public to completely fill your week! The biggest public show of all is held the final weekend (always the second full weekend in February) at the Tucson Convention Center. Hundreds of gem, mineral, bead, and jewelry dealers set up shop at this expo and offer the world’s finest specimens to the public.

Why not plan to spend at least a couple of days looking for treasure in Tucson next February? Stay at beautiful Beaudry RV Resort nearby to make your stay even more memorable.

American Opal Society Show – Anaheim, CA
For fabulous opal and other gemstone finds, plan to spend a weekend in November in Anaheim. This is the largest opal show in the US, and you’ll find lots of other gems offered by dealers there, as well. Anaheim RV Village, in the heart of this exciting city, makes a convenient base camp for your visit. So why not come to California in search of opals next November?

Denver Gem & Mineral Show
The second largest gem and mineral show in the country is held each September in Denver, Colorado. Thousands of gem enthusiasts and rock hounds flock to Denver to see this huge expo at the Denver Merchandise Mart. An added bonus is the variety of smaller gem shows held the same week in the Denver metro area. Our Denver RV Rentals office is the perfect spot to reserve your RV, so be sure to call early so you don’t miss this show. While you’re there, Denver Meadows RV Park in Aurora is a safe, comfortable campground about fifteen miles from the Mart.

East Coast Gem & Mineral Show
About an hour and a half east of Boston, MA, West Springfield hosts the East Coast Gem & Mineral Show each August. More than two hundred dealers display not only fine gemstones but also fossils and museum quality mineral specimens. Head for the show and use the money you save on lodging to take home plenty of treasure!

We hope you’re excited about finding a gem show to build a motorhome camping vacation around. Choose your favorite and book your rental RV early. Who knows? Some serious bling just might be in your future!

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Gemstone Hunting RV Camping Ideas in Connecticut

For a fantastic northeastern gem hunting experience, plan some motorhome camping time in Connecticut. There are numerous old and currently operating mine sites that allow prospecting.

If you choose Connecticut for your next RV camping and prospecting trip, definitely do some research on the Roxbury Falls area, where some of the world’s best almandine garnets have been mined. Start at Green’s Farm Garnet Mine near Roxbury. This former mine site still yields deep red garnets.

Another easy place to prospect in Connecticut is Old Mine Park in Trumbull. The Park Rangers can guide you to a construction site where topaz, beryl and an interesting form of emerald are being found.

These are only a few of the gem fee mining sites that can spark an entire RV camping vacation. Whether you find yourself hunting Herkimer Diamonds in New York, or digging for sapphires in Montana, it’s a great way to spend time out in the wild with your family. Dig some more for fee mining sites in America, and prospecting is liable to become your favorite motorhome camping activity!

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Gemstone Hunting RV Camping Ideas in North Carolina and Georgia

A perennial family favorite in the Eastern US is Gem Mountain in Spruce Mountain, North Carolina. Located along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in the area known as “Little Switzerland,” this family destination offers mine tours and the chance to screen for Crabtree Emeralds and Brushy Creek Aquamarines. Park your RV nearby at the Bear Den in Mount Pisgah National Forest.

For a truly Southern gem prospecting adventure, join the owner of the Hogg Mine near LaGrange, Georgia most Saturday mornings for a day of surface fee mining for aquamarine beryls, tourmaline crystals and literally boulders full of rose quartz!

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Gemstone Hunting RV Camping Ideas in Nevada

Nevada has been the site of fabulous gemstone finds, and the Garnet Hill Recreation Area near Ely is very popular with prospectors. Search two square miles of public land for likely garnet-containing specimens, and be sure to bring your rock hammer for breaking them! Camp just fifteen miles away at Cave Lake State Park, or really relish this remote region with a visit to Great Basin National Park, sixty miles east at the Utah/Nevada border. Both parks offer RV camping facilities.

In the remote desert of northwest Nevada near Denio, the Virgin Valley offers gem prospectors the opportunity to mine for precious black opal at three fee mining sites. Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine, has yielded gorgeous specimens. The Royal Peacock Opal Mine, has RV camping available onsite, and allows both “tailings digging” or “bank digging,” depending on how much you plan to spend. You can also search mine tailings for black opals or “fire opals,” at the Bonanza Opal Mine in the Valley. A large, free campsite without hookups can be found at Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge near the Bonanza Mine.

For an RV Rental for your Nevada gem hunting vacation, check out the El Monte RV Las Vegas RV Rentals or Reno RV Rentals locations.

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Gemstone Hunting RV Camping Ideas in California

There are so many possibilities for mining gem-rich ore in California. A popular stop for gem lovers hoping to find green or pink California tourmaline is the world famous Himalaya Mine near Santa Ysabel in San Diego County. Prospectors can purchase buckets of gem ore to screen onsite with equipment furnished by the Mine. Lake Henshaw Resort, adjacent to the Mine, is a beautiful site for RV camping, lake fishing and plenty of hiking in the foothills of the Palomar Mountains.

Another real gem for RV camping prospectors is found right in the same county! Oceanview Mine in Pala, California charges a set fee that allows gem hunters to screen fresh, unprospected mine tailings all day long. Recent visitor finds include aquamarine and many colors of tourmaline.

For your RV Rental needs in San Diego County, be sure to check out the El Monte RV San Diego RV Rentals location.

About two hours southwest of Fresno, screen for benitoite, California’s state gem. The California State Gem Mine near Coalinga is open most weekends to prospectors. Dry camp your RV at nearby Los Gatos Creek County Park and spend the day sifting mine tailings near where a fabulous 34 carat rough benitoite was recently found!

El Monte RV has numerous California RV Rentals locations that you can use for a gem hunting RV vacation starting point.

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RV Your Way to a Gold Panning RV Vacation Adventure

Ever considered looking for gold on your next RV camping vacation? All across America, there are places for greenhorns to pan for gold nuggets. Panning for gold is relatively inexpensive, and who knows, you might just come home with the mother lode! If doing a little prospecting on your next vacation sounds good, use the ideas below to start planning your next RV camping vacation.

Southeast US Gold Panning RV Vacation Ideas
For a southeastern gold panning RV vacation, head for Crisson Gold Mine in Dahlonega, GA. Tour the mine, and then pan five gallon buckets of ore for nuggets and gemstones.

Just down the road from the Crisson Mine, you’ll find Consolidated Gold Mines, where your family can go underground for the mine tour before panning for gold in a sluice. Dahlonega is also home to some beautiful north Georgia RV campgrounds.

Central US Gold Panning RV Vacation Ideas
The Phoenix Gold Mine in Idaho Springs, Colorado is a great place for gold panning enthusiasts! Your admission includes a guided tour of the historic Phoenix Gold Mine, plus the chance to spend all day panning for gold.

Another super family experience is right down the road at the Argo Gold Mine and Mill, also in Idaho Springs. Tour the famous Argo Tunnel and Double Eagle Gold Mine, established in 1893, and stay to pan for gold and native Colorado gemstones. Great RV campgrounds can be found just outside Idaho Springs.

While you’re in Colorado, continue your tour in Cripple Creek in Pikes Peak country, home to the world famous Mollie Kathleen Mine. Take the thrilling mine elevator one thousand feet into the earth to tour the mine, and then head down-valley to the nearby town of Victor to tour the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. Try your hand at panning there for gold, turquoise, and topaz. There are plenty of RV camp sites right in the midst of Cripple Creek action.

West Coast Gold Panning RV Vacation Ideas
California is the ultimate Gold Rush State, and plenty of gold panning action can be found there by RV campers. Right in the heart of Gold Country, your family is going to love Jimtown1849 Mining Camp.

Located in the historic city of Jamestown, the Mining Camp will take you back to the days of the Gold Rush. Your family can prospect Wood’s Creek for gold with experienced guides and take home what you find.

Head north from Jamestown to Washington, CA, and pan gold from one of the scenic campsites in Tahoe National Forest along the Yuba River. This gold-rich area is open to casual prospecting, and tourists have been known to “see color” in their pans.

You should also definitely go to the source of the California Gold Rush and pan gold on the American River at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. See a replica of Sutter’s Mill and twenty other historic buildings where James Marshall found gold in 1848. Park visitors have been known to find gold while panning, so don’t miss this historic opportunity!

Within this gold-rich area between Downieville and Mariposa, there are streams and rivers on State and National Park land where panning is allowed. Check with Tahoe, Eldorado, and Sierra National Forest personnel as you plan your RV gold panning vacation.

This is just a quick tour of places your gold-seeking friends and family might want to visit. Doesn’t this sound like a great way to spend time on an RV vacation? Pack up your boots and jeans and head for the hills. It’s definitely time to find some vacation gold!

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How About Looking for Gold on Your Next Vacation?

Old ghost towns, echoes of the wild west, and that yellow metal that has driven everyone crazy over the ages. Who could ask for more adventure for their next RV vacation?

Yes, you can go recreational gold hunting and many properties have facilities for recreational vehicles. The Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association (LDMA) operates numerous properties across the United States. Many of the properties have facilities for RVs including full hookups. These include Italian Bar northeast of Sonora, California; Loud Mine between Dahlonega and Cleveland, Georgia; Stanton an old ghost town located approximately 2 hours northwest of Phoenix, Arizona; Blue Bucket south of Baker City, Oregon; and Vein Mountain about half way between Asheville and Hickory, North Carolina. The LDMA also operates other properties with much more rustic facilities or no facilities at all. Membership in the LDMA is required to prospect on the properties.

The site provides a nice list of places where you can recreationally look for gold. Another list of gold mining camps may be found on the Gold Miner’s Headquarters web site.

For additional information you may also want to check out Gold Panning Vacation on the site or Family Vacations to the Old West on

So if your are looking for an RV Vacation with a lot of adventure, why not try your hand at looking for gold? Maybe you will strike it rich – well maybe not rich, but you just might bring home enough precious gold and memories to make it a wealthy adventure.

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