Hawaii is home to lush, tropical forests and white sand beaches, but its geology doesn’t support the formation of gold. If you have a metal detector, you might have some luck finding discarded jewelry or coins, but if gold is truly what you’re after, you’ll have to leave the state.
Fortunately, you won’t have to leave the country. The western United States is home to several areas where tourists can try their hand at panning, sluicing and other related mining activities. If you want to take a trip back in time, consider one of these “golden” summer getaways.
Rye Patch State Recreation Area, Lovelock, Nevada. Northern Nevada is home to vast deserts and hundreds of old mines. It’s also home to Rye Patch State Recreation Area in Lovelock. This beautiful recreational area features 72 miles of shoreline and 11,000 acres of water surface perfect for panning. Visitors also have the option to camp, fish, hike or swim.
Lynx Creek, Prescott, Arizona. Lynx Creek is just a little over 90 minutes north of Phoenix, making it a quick getaway for visitors to the Valley of the Sun. The area is surrounded by Ponderosa pine forests and beautiful rugged scenery. To get the most of your experience, bring a rockhounding kit or mining pan.
Arapahoe Bar Gold Panning Park, Golden, Colorado. A community park dedicated to gold mining? You betcha. Golden is about an hour west of Denver. If you visit during the warmer months, you can also take a guided gold panning tour just up the road in Blackhawk.
Quartzville Recreation Corridor Oregon. A section of Quartzville Creek just above Green Peter Reservoir is open to recreational gold prospecting. It’s a historical mining area not too far from Eugene and Salem that’s produced a fair amount of gold. The Dogwood and Yellowbottom recreation sites are within this stretch that’s open for prospecting.