In Coloma, California there is a park where a fellow can pan for gold, free! Yep, on the north bank of the American River running staight through the park you can take a pan and have some fun. You cannot bring automated tools, not even hand tools. You may use your hands to dig. Even though the park is very clear about what you can and can’t do, it is a beautiful place. And, I found a tiny nugget and one placer flake, too! I’ve got photos along with all the details at the link above. Give it a try.
This summary is just a taste of what you can see at the Oceanview mine near Temecula, California. For a reasonable entrance fee, you can enjoy hunting for gemstones at one of the last active gemstone mines near Temecula. You can find Tourmaline (pink, green, watermelon), Aquamarine, Citrine, Morganite, Schorl, Smokey Quartz and others I cannot remember. Oh, don’t forget Kunzite, perhaps the most valuable of these gems.
For an insight into the area, classifying material (screening), washing, and searching for gemstones you should read this article: http://john000.hubpages.com/hub/Pink-Tourmaline-Gemstone-Mining-The-Pala-Mining-District-CA.
In addition to having a vacation in Southern California and its beauty, you will also spend no less than 4 hours under the direction of experienced miners learning about the local gemstones, how to work the tailings to get them, and the result which will definitely be some nice stones to take home.
There are plenty of nice hotels and motels in the Temecula area. If you are a person who enjoys physical activity and an educational experience while having a wonderful vacation, this spot at Oceanview Mine, Pala Mining District, San Diego County, CA should not be missed.
The place is the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park in Coloma, Ca. It is located in the famous gold country of California where the 49ers did their work.
On the north bank of the American River within the park there is a stretch of shore that can be panned for free. Along with the panning activity there are historical sites to see such as: John Marshall’s Monument, a Sutter Mill recreation, jail ruins, local shops with keepsakes from the area, and scenery that is spectacular.
If you are into panning and would like to drop by and see what this place is like, get more information at