Some of our favorite family trips have been treasure hunting! We’ve been gold mining in Colorado, Texas and South Dakota, and crystal mining in Oklahoma, but for a real family-fun adventure, nothing beats diamond mining in Arkansas!
Once a lucrative diamond mine, Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, just 70 miles outside of Texarkana, is a keep what you find diamond mine, and yes, you can actually find diamonds here! Each week, several diamonds are found in the park!
Crater of Diamonds State Park makes it fun, with daily lessons from park rangers on how to dig, help on identifying your finds, and even equipment rental at the park store!
Special markers indicate where large diamonds, such as the 4.25 carat Kahn Canary Diamond, worn by First Lady Hillary Clinton at her husband, President Bill Clinton’s Presidential Inaugurations!
There are several different ways to search for diamonds at the park, from just walking around and searching for anything that glitters on a sunny day, to digging or even sluicing, a method of running large amounts of dirt through water. While I have yet to find a diamond, the best way is whatever is most fun! My kids love sluicing on warm days, but on bright sunny days after a rain, it’s nice to find a good area of runoff and dig or just walk around! Which ever you choose, you’ll find plenty of other people doing the same!
Know Before You Go
Murfreesboro is a small town, with a little grocery store and Dollar General. For bigger items, stop in Hope at Walmart. While you are there, you can drive by the childhood home of President Bill Clinton.
Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas
We had a great time! But if you are going for the first time, here’s some tips to help you make the most of your visit!
Digging for Diamonds
You can camp, hike and visit the beautiful state park without visiting the diamond field, but why would you do that. If for no other reason than to say, “Yea, I’ve been diamond mining!” There is a separate fee to go out to the diamond field.
Our first visit, we didn’t know what to expect, and it helps to be a little prepared! The large diamond field is rows and rows (from monthly plowing to turn up more diamonds) of dirt. It’s sometimes muddy, so be sure to bring boots! There are few trees, which is why we went in February. If you are visiting during the summer, plan to go to the fields in the early morning or late evenings.
The park store sells or rents everything you need, in case you forget something!
The easiest way to find diamonds requires no tools, and will be a favorite with the kids! Just walk along the rows looking for something that sparkles!
Park Rangers are out and about, for help and to answer questions.
On our first visit, my youngest was only 5 months old. I needed to be able to stay in one place with him, so we found a spot and I dug with a garden trowel, turning over dirt and looking through it. You can also use a screen to sift through the dirt, which the park rents if you do not have your own.
Now that my kids are older, we are able to dig like the pros! Using a wheel barrow and shovel, we pile on the soil and take it to the “wash”, where the soil is washed away, leaving only the small stones (and hopefully diamonds!) I don’t know if this way is any better, but it feels more like “mining”!
The Diamond Discovery Center located inside the Information Center tells you the story of the park, and the diamonds. Each weekend, the park rangers offer a 15 minute instructional class, Diamond Mining 101, at 9:30 and 1:30.
We have yet to find a diamond, although we have found some beautiful stones and gems there. We are a family of rock hounds, and treasure our rocks and together time just as much as we would if we found a diamond….
We will be back, I still want a diamond!!
The beautiful park offers a great camping destination, too! There are 47 campsites, available for RV’s and tent campers. I’m all about the restrooms, and these are clean and nice, with HOT showers! Years of camping in state parks have taught me one thing, ALWAYS take toilet paper and hand soap! Hmmmm, is that two things?
There are hiking trails in the park, a wildlife viewing stand, scenic roads for bike riding, and fishing in the Little Missouri River. The park also offers a small waterpark during the summer, for an additional fee.
Diamond Springs Water Park
Keep cool at the water park, located inside the state park! Separate admission rates apply, open Memorial Day – Labor Day!
More Things To Do In and Around Murfreesboro
Come ready for adventure! The Little Missouri River North of Murfreesboro offers some of the best whitewater in the state! The river is impounded at Lake Greeson, 6 miles north of Murfreesboro, which is a beautiful lake with clear water. Below the dam, the river is stocked with rainbow trout in the winter.
The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, about a 50 mile drive from Murfreesboro, offers some amazing hiking trails in the Ouachita Mountains around the lake.
Daisy State Park offers the the Bear Creek Cycle Trail, a strenuous ATV trail.
In Murfreesboro, shop the antique and rock stores in town and learn about the rich history of the area and the Caddo Indians who once lived here at the KA-DO-HA Indian Village.
The DinoDig at 1124 N. Washington Ave in Murfreesboro lets kids dig for and keep gems and small fossils.
Cute shops make sure you have souvenirs of your trip. There are also a couple rock shops where you can even buy diamonds found in the mine!
If camping is not your thing, there are several motels in town.
Crater of Diamonds State Park
209 State Park Rd, Murfreesboro, AR
Click HERE to visit their website.
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