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New Jersey Rockhounding Location Guide & Map

New Jersey Rockhounding Location Guide & Map

New Jersey is one of the best states in the entire U.S. for rockhounding, with a long history of producing high-quality gemstones and mineral specimens. Dozens of rare minerals were first identified in New Jersey and, to this day, some of them can only be found here. The superior quality of specimens is nearly matched by the sheer number of viable rockhounding sites. Particularly in the northern and central part of the state, almost any rocky outcrop, exposure, or gravel pit has the potential to produce interesting rocks, minerals, or gemstones. Southern New Jersey is particularly notable for its amber and ‘Cape May Diamonds’ which are actually weathered quartz crystals that wash up on ocean beaches.

The best places to rockhound in New Jersey are ocean beaches, old quarries, the dumps of historical mines, gravels of streams and rivers, and the debris at the base of rocky exposures and outcrops. New Jersey is particularly famous for the gemstones produced from its basalt and diabase outcrops.

State Symbols
State MineralFranklinite (unofficial)
State RockBrownstone
State GemstonePrehnite (unofficial)
State FossilHadrosaurus foulkii
New Jersey
Prehnite on Epidote
Prehnite on Epidote

This article will dive deeper into the many great rockhounding sites across the state, but I’d like to highlight a few standouts here. The top 10 rockhounding sites in New Jersey:

  • Higbee Beach, Cape May A great place to spend a day doing some rock picking, Higbee Beach and other beaches near Cape May are famous for their ‘Cape May Diamonds’. These are actually quartz crystals that have weathered out of the mountains and made their way to the ocean via the Delaware River. You can also find various colors of chalcedony at Higbee Beach.
  • Pennington Mountain – This area is well known for producing a wide variety of gem-quality minerals. There is a quarry occupying much of the area, but you will likely have the most success searching on the north side of the mountain.
  • Burlington County – The sands, gravels, and marls all across Burlington County make for great rockhounding, but particularly near the Delaware River and its tributaries. This region is famous for fine gem-quality amber specimens but you can also hope to find jasper and banded agates.
  • Manasquan Beach – The ocean beaches near Manasquan and extending south along the coast are a great place to rockhound. You can often find ‘Cape May Diamonds’, fossils, and even petrified wood in the beach gravels.
  • Franklin Furnace – This old mine (and the entire surrounding mining district) is one of the most significant and famous gemstone producers in the United States. Hundreds of mineral varieties are present in the area and include fluorite, franklinite, ad magnetite. Check out the nearby mining museum while you’re there for a world-class display of fluorescent minerals.
  • Pompton River – Check out the gravels and sands of the Pompton River to find gemstone quality specimens of a wide variety of minerals. The best area to search is near the town of Wayne.
  • Stirling – The brooks and streams all around the town of Stirling can contain high-quality carnelian. Try digging at least two feet into the soil and gravel to have the best shot at exposing them.
  • Bergen County – Nearly all basalt and diabase outcrops and exposures in the county have the potential to contain agates, amethyst (crystals, geodes), Carnelian
  • Snake Hill – Search all over the area in gravels for banded agates.
  • The Palisades – The Palisades are famous for their rock and mineral production, including beautiful banded agates, amethyst, opal, and quartz crystals.

New Jersey boasts a variety of rocks and minerals that is unmatched almost anywhere in the world. Hundreds of mineral varieties have been found in New Jersey, many of which were first identified there. The unique geology of the northern part of the state has created a breeding ground for high-quality gemstones and minerals that are sought by rock and mineral collectors all over the world. While you will likely need a lot of luck and determination to find some of the rarer minerals of New Jersey, there are plenty of beautiful and collectable varieties that you will likely be able to find with relative ease.

The most commonly found minerals in New Jersey are:

  • Agate
  • Amethyst,
  • Datolite
  • Opal
  • Albite
  • Quartz
  • Prehnite.
  • Amber
  • Pyrite
  • Jasper
Amethyst
Amethyst

Through quite a bit of research and cross-referencing of available literature, I have compiled this list of some prospective locations in New Jersey which I would recommend to people looking to do some rockhounding. These are mostly comprised of beaches, old mining prospects, streams, and historically known rock and mineral collecting sites. For additional reading, I’d highly recommend these books you can find on Amazon:

Please remember that rock collecting locations are constantly changing. Specimens may become depleted from other collectors, the location may have been built on or altered, locality information in literature may be inaccurate, and property ownership may have changed hands. Joining up with a local rockhounding club for a group trip can often get you access to otherwise off-limits locations like privately owned mines and quarries. Though there are many locations listed here, this list is far from exhaustive. A location’s listing here is not a guarantee of accuracy. Be safe, never go underground, and make sure to get permission from the landowner to search for and collect specimens.

If you’re planning on heading to the field, make sure you have all the gear you’ll need! To get started, you can check out my recommended gear page which contains my full reviews for every Geologist’s favorite rock hammer and the best hiking backpack I’ve ever owned.

Rockhounding Sites in New Jersey

NOTE: All the locations listed in these tables are clickable, and will take you to the location on Google Maps.

I’ll break up the state into the north and the south for ease of reference and so that I can discuss the rockhounding sites in each region a bit more in-depth.

Northern New Jersey Rockhounding Locations

Northern New Jersey is home to some of the best rock and mineral collecting in the United States (and even the world). Almost every exposed outcrop and gravel pit has the potential to contain interesting mineral specimens. The best places to rockhound in northern New Jersey are basalt exposures in road cuts, tunnels, and outcrops, local mines and quarries, and in the gravels of streams and rivers. Minerals found in northern New Jersey are too numerous to list, but most commonly include agate, amethyst, datolite, opal, albite, quartz, and prehnite.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Bergen County, all basalt & diabase outcrops, road cuts, etc.Agate, Amethyst (crystals, geodes), Carnelian, Chalcedony, Datolite, Natrolite, Opal (common, fire)
Houdaille QuarryAgate, Prehnite, Amethyst
Bergen Hill by Hudson River, all road cuts, tunnels, exposures, etc.Agate (banded agate), Albite, Amethyst, Analcime, Apatite, Calcite crystals, Datolite, Epidote, Galena, Malachite, Opal (common, fire), Quartz crystals, Siderite, etc.
Snake HillAgate (banded agate), Albite, Amethyst, Analcime, Apatite, Calcite crystals, Datolite, Epidote, Galena, Malachite, Opal (common, fire), Quartz crystals, Siderite, etc.
Bayonne to Edgewater, area railroad and road cutsAgate (banded agate), Albite, Amethyst, Analcime, Apatite, Calcite crystals, Datolite, Epidote, Galena, Malachite, Opal (common, fire), Quartz crystals, Siderite, etc.
Hoboken, area basalt exposures (in cavities)Agate, Amethyst, Opal (common, fire)
Hoboken, area serpentine outcropsMagnesite, Serpentine
Montville, deposits in area limestonesSerpentine
The Palisades, in cavities and debrisAgate (banded agate), Albite, Amethyst, Analcime, Apatite, Calcite crystals, Datolite, Epidote, Galena, Malachite, Opal (common, fire), Quartz crystals, Siderite, etc.
Mine Hill, near summitFeldspar, Sunstone
Mine Hill, area mining dumpsBornite, Calcite, Chalcopyrite, Chlorite, Garnet, Hematite, Magnetite, Pyrite crystals, Quartz crystals, Spinel, Sunstone, Tremolite, etc.
Hibernia, area minesApatite, Pyrite, Pyrrhotite
Nolands Point, area near Lake HopatcongGarnet
Morris County, all regional quarries and pitsPrehnite, other gem-quality minerals
Turkey Mountain near Lake Valhalla, in exposuresDiopside, Marble, Serpentine
Mt. Freedom, area pits, exposures, road cuts, etc.Allanite, Amphibole, Augite, Chalcopyrite, Chondrodite, Coccolite crystals
Mount Hope, area quarries and pitsApatite, Pyrite, Pyrrhotite
Stirling, area brooks (dig into gravels)Carnelian (gem-quality)
Warren Township, in brook gravelsAgate (banded, moss), Chalcedony, Jasper, Petrified wood, Quartz crystals, Amethyst, Citrine, Sard
Haledon, area quarriesAgate, Datolite crystals, Pyrolusite, Goethite
Prospect Park QuarryAgate (banded), Amethyst, Barite, Calcite, Chalcedony, Cuprite, Datolite, Dolomite, Galena, Goethite, Hematite, Opal, Prehnite, Quartz, Silver, many more (some fluorescent)
Pompton Lakes, area quarriesAgate (banded), Amethyst, Barite, Calcite, Chalcedony, Cuprite, Datolite, D.olomite, Falena, Goethite, Hematite, Opal, Prehnite, Quartz, Silver, many more (some fluorescent)
Ringwood, mines and quarries near state parkCalcite, Chalcopyrite, Corundum, Epidote, Garnet, Hornblende, Pyrite, Serpentine, Zircon, many gemstones
Pompton River, gravels near WayneGemstones (many varieties)
Sulphur Hill Mine, AndoverWillemite (fluorescent)
Franklin, mining dumps on Wallkill River (fee)Many, many minerals, some rare and/or fluorescent
Franklin, mining dumps along Cork Hill RoadApatite, Azurite, Cerussite, Corundum, Franklinite, Galena
Franklin-Ogdensburd-Sterling Hill mining districtDozens or hundreds of mineral varieties, some gem-quality
Franklin FurnaceFluorite, Franklinite, Magnetite, Tephroite, Willemite, Zincite, etc.
Mine Hill, area quarriesAxinite
Sparta, area limestone quarriesChondrodite, Corundum, Ruby, Diopside, Microcline, Tremolite, etc.
Union County, area quarries and exposuresAgate, Apophyllite, Albite, Bornite, Chalcedony, Datolite, Galena, Hematite, Opal, etc.
Oxford Furnace mining dumpsMagnetite
Phillipsburg, area quarriesSerpentine, Soapstone

Central New Jersey Rockhounding Locations

Central New Jersey is home to many fantastic rockhounding locations. Much like the northern part of the state, central New Jersey is riddled with many mines and quarries which help expose the mineral-rich strata beneath the surface. Plus, the ocean beaches offer a great opportunity to do some relatively easy rock picking. The best rockhounding sites in Central New Jersey are the many local quarries and mining dumps, ocean beach gravels, and the gravels of regional streams and rivers.

The most commonly found gems and minerals found in central New Jersey are axinite, prehnite, datolite, quartz, pyrite, and agate. There are many more mineral varieties to be found in select location, but they are far too numerous to list here.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Clinton, area mines and quarriesBraunite
Lambertville, in traprock cavities of area quarriesAxinite crystals, Tourmaline
Goat Hill, in veinsPectolite, Stilpnomelane
Lambertville QuarryAxinite, Prehnite, Datolite
Mt. GilboaMany gem-quality mineral varieties
Belle MountainMany gem-quality mineral varieties
Sayreville, area sands, gravels, streams, etc.Marcasite, Pyrite crystals, Petrified wood
Hopewell, area quarriesMany gem-quality mineral varieties
Pennington Mountain, N endMany gem-quality mineral varieties
Rock Hill QuarryAlbite, Chalcocite, Chrysocolla, Galena, Goethite, Malachite, Prehnite, Quartz gemstones, Tourmaline
Washington Crossing State ParkJasper (black)
Long Branch, ocean beach gravelsQuartz crystals
Manasquan, ocean beach gravels all the way SQuartz crystals (‘Cape May Diamonds’), Fossils, Petrified wood
Shark River, in marls near Neptune CityAmber
Ocean County, entire stretch of ocean beachesQuartz crystals (‘Cape May Diamonds’)
Barnardsville, area quarriesAgate, Geodes, Quartz, etc.
3M Quarry in Belle MeadQuartz, Agate, Jasper, Quartz family minerals
Bound Brook, area quarriesAgate, Bornite, Calcite, Chalcocite, Copper, Silver, Prehnite, Quartz crystals, Cuprite, Malachite, Tourmaline
Kingston, Trap Rock QuarryAgate, Prehnite, Quartz crystals, etc.
Somerville, area quarriesAgate, Albite, Datolite, Copper, Silver, Quartz crystals, Serpentine

Southern New Jersey Rockhounding Locations

Southern New Jersey has long been known for its rockhounding, particularly for the amber specimens which are so prolific in the region. The best places to look for amber in southern New Jersey are in marls, sand and gravel pits, and stream gravels. In addition to amber, the ocean beaches all along the coast produce weathered quartz crystals which are locally known as ‘Cape May Diamonds’. These quartz crystals can be clear or smoky in color.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Crosswick’s Creek, area marl and sand pitsAmber
Burlington, Riverside, Riverton sands and gravelsAmber
Vincentown, area sands and gravelsAmber
Burlington County, sands and gravels near Delaware RiverJasper, Agate (striped, clear), Amber
Camden County, sands and gravels near Delaware RiverJasper, Agate (striped, clear), Amber
Cape May, all ocean beaches and gravelsQuartz crystals (‘Cape May Diamonds’), Chalcedony (all colors)
Bridgeport & Gibbstown, area sands and gravelsAmber
Oldman’s Creek, marl pit E of Rte. 45Amber
Mullica Hill, area marl and sand pitsAmber, Fossils
Chestnut Creek, near SewellAmber
Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil ParkAmber, Fossils
Atlantic County, entire stretch of ocean beachesQuartz crystals (‘Cape May Diamonds’)
Salem County, all area gravels, sands, streams, etc.Amber
Harrisonville, area sands, gravels, pits, etc.Amber

Where to Find Amber in New Jersey

While it may come as a surprise to some, New Jersey has long been known for the quality and quantity of its amber production. Especially in the southern part of the state, amber can be found in marls and sand pits with surprising regularity. Amber is one of the most sought-after gemstones by collectors so, naturally, we rockhounds want to find our own specimens.

The best places to find amber in New Jersey are:

  • Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park – This large marl pit lets you search for amber and fossils for a small fee
  • Crosswick’s Creek – Try looking in marls and sands along the creek
  • Vincentown – Search in the sands and gravels all around the town
  • Oldman’s Creek – There is a marl pit along the creek, east of Route 45 and north of the highway which contains amber specimens
  • Mullica Hill – Search in any marl and sand pits you find in the area
  • Salem County – You can likely find amber in almost any gravelly or sandy area in the county, including streams.
  • Chestnut Creek – You may find amber specimens along this creak, especially near the town of Sewell
Amber

Where to Find Agates in New Jersey

Agates are among the most common and the most beautiful specimens collected by rockhounds, so if you’re looking to collect some you’re not alone. Luckily, there are many locations in New Jersey where agates are found so you can take your pick. The colors and varieties you can find will depend on where you search, but New Jersey is home to some beautiful banded agates that come in several colors.

The best places to find agates in New Jersey are:

  • Bergen County – Nearly all basalt and diabase outcrops and exposures in the county have the potential to contain agates
  • Snake Hill – Search all over the area in gravels for banded agates
  • The Palisades – The Palisades are famous for the rock and mineral production, including beautiful banded agate specimens
  • Prospect Park Quarry – If you can gain access to this quarry, you are likely to find many agates
  • Somerville – Quarries and mining dumps all across the area are likely to contain agates
  • Burlington County – Try searching in the sands and gravels of the Delaware River and its tributaries
  • Camden County – Same goes for Camden County, especially along the Delaware River
Agate
Tumbled Agate

Tip: Check out my Complete Rock Tumbling Guide to make your rocks and gemstones really shine!

Where to Find Geodes in New Jersey

Geodes are some of the most sought-after rocks regardless of location. While New Jersey has many world-class rockhounding sites, geodes can be relatively hard to come by even if you’re looking in the right areas. Still, there are some places in where you can go searching with the hope of finding crystal-lined geodes. In general, its best to search near the weathered debris of volcanic rock exposures.

The best places to find geodes in New Jersey are:

  • Bergen County – Nearly all basalt and diabase outcrops and exposures in the county have the potential to contain geodes
  • Barnardsville – Try searching in the local quarries in the area
  • Bergen Hill – This specific area is worth searching, especially in road cuts, railroad cuts, and any other exposures near the Hudson River
Geodes

Where to Find Crystals and Gemstones in New Jersey

New Jersey is one of the most prolific producers of high-quality gemstones and crystals in the entire world. Dozens of minerals were first identified in the state and some can only be found here. The regional geology lends itself to creating some amazing gemstones and crystals that are highly sought after by collectors all over the world. You will likely need quite a bit of luck and determination to find gem-quality specimens but there are quite a few places all over New Jersey where you can give it a shot.

The best places to find gemstones and crystals in New Jersey are:

  • Stirling – The brooks and streams all around the town of Stirling can contain high-quality carnelian. Try digging at least two feet into the soil and gravel to have the best shot at exposing them.
  • Franklin-Ogdensburd-Sterling Hill Mining District – This mining district is world-famous for its gemstones, the varieties of which are too numerous to list here.
  • Mt. Gilboa – Try searching around this area to find gemstones and crystals.
  • Morris County – Any quarry, gravel pit, or rocky exposure in the county has the potential to contain prehnite and other gem-quality minerals.
  • Belle Mountain – Belle Mountain has been known to produce gemstones and crystals of many varieties.
  • Hopewell – The quarries and mining dumps around the town present the perfect opportunity for gemstone collecting.
  • Pennington Mountain – The area all around Pennington Mountain is known to contain many varieties of gemstones and crystals, especially on the north side of the mountain.

New Jersey Rockhounding Laws & Regulations

One of the most common questions rockhounds have is whether or not they are allowed to collect at a certain location. It is the responsibility of each rockhound to obtain permission from a landowner to search and/or collect on a piece of property.

The ownership and status of land can and does change frequently, making it impossible to document accurate information on this page. However, I have compiled a list of resources here so that you may investigate and obtain permission for any locations (found here or elsewhere) for yourself.

Public Land Resources

I have written entire articles which cover the rockhounding laws and regulations for nearly every type of public land you can think of. I encourage you to check them out if you are curious about the legalities of rock and mineral collecting.

To determine what type of public land a particular location is on, I would recommend starting with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s public access land maps.

Private Land Resources

As with most states, each county in New Jersey will have records of who owns each piece of property. Unfortunately for rockhounds, the law in most states prohibits them from publishing their names or contact information online. You can usually get the landowner’s name and address by visiting the county records office. In New Jersey, I would recommend starting with the County Assessor’s office.

Sources & Further Reading

The locations and information contained in this article are primarily derived from academic papers, online resources, and other outside sources. If you would like to read some of the source material for yourself I have listed them below. The majority of these locations are my interpretation of Robert Beste’s A Location Guide for Rock Hounds in the United States. Other sources include: