The 34 Incredible Sites To Find and Dig For Crystals In Michigan In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The 34 Incredible Sites To Find and Dig For Crystals In Michigan In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Crystals have captivated us for centuries with their incredible beauty and intricate structures. However, finding crystals in Michigan can be a challenging and sometimes overwhelming task, especially if you are just starting.

Michigan is a state that’s often overlooked in the world of crystal hunting, but it’s home to some truly remarkable specimens. Unfortunately, without the proper guidance and knowledge, it can be a frustrating and fruitless endeavor to find crystals here. That’s why we’ve gone all over our state to find the best spots to find crystals— Manitou Island, McLain State Park, Champion Mine, Ropes Mine, and even Presque Isle County. We’ll help make your crystal hunting journey as fun and successful as can be!

How We Picked The Best Places To Find Crystals in Michigan
We spent a lot of time determining which of the many options for digging and mining for crystals that we have available would be recommended. We wanted to have a good mix of locations for experienced and novice crystals hunters in a variety of settings. Here are the main factors we used when determining the recommendations we set out :

  • The extensive local experience and understanding of our team
  • Input from multiple local crystal hunters and crystal collecting groups
  • The accessibility of the crystal mining locations
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Private and public locations
  • A desire to include locations for both experienced crystal hunters and those who are just starting out

Using these weights we think we’ve put together the best list out there for those who love finding new crystals for our collections!

The Types of Michigan Crystals You Can Find

A look at the intricate patterns of an orange-brown Lake Superior Agate

Here in Michigan, you can find a wide variety of stunning crystals that are highly prized by collectors and enthusiasts. What makes Michigan crystals so special is their incredible beauty and diversity.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect addition to your collection or just want to marvel at the wonders of the natural world, these crystals are sure to capture your imagination and leave you in awe of their beauty. There are many different types of rocks found in Michigan and a lot of them are pretty spectacular.

Rare crystals found in Michigan

More common crystals found here

  • Amethyst
  • Azurite
  • Calcite
  • Chalcedony
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Chrysocolla
  • Celestite
  • Epidote
  • Fluorite
  • Jasper
  • Hematite
  • Malachite
  • Onyx
  • Prehnite
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Tourmaline

The Best Locations For Crystal Mining in Michigan

Pink Rhodochrosite crystals with translucent black Chalcopyrite

Here are our top recommended places to find crystals in Michigan. We’ve had the best of luck exploring them and finding crystals, and we’re sure you’ll have the same success and fun here, too.

Always Confirm Access and Collection Rules!

Before heading out to any of the locations on our list you need to confirm access requirements and collection rules for both public and private locations.

These requirements are subject to change without notice and may differ from what we state below.

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding.

Manitou Island is Our Favorite Crystal Mine in Michigan

An aerial view of Manitou Island showing its waters and rock formation

Lake Superior, Keweenaw Peninsula, MI

First and foremost on our recommendation list is Manitou Island, located off the coast of the Leelanau Peninsula. This is a must-visit for anyone looking to add some unique crystals to their collection. If you’re into gems, this is one of the best gem sites in Michigan, too.

Manitou Island has a rich history dating back to the Native American tribes who used the island as a gathering place for hunting and fishing. Today, it’s home to a small community of year-round residents and is a popular destination for hikers, campers, and, of course, rockhounds.

The geography of Manitou Island is breathtaking, with rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and dense forests covering much of the island. But it’s the geology that really makes this place special, as it’s a treasure trove of unique and rare crystals. The island’s rocky shoreline and exposed bedrock make it an ideal spot for finding crystals, especially after storms when the waves have washed away the sand and revealed new treasures. And while the island’s remote location and limited access make it a bit of a challenge to get to, once you’re there, you’ll find that your effort is well worth it.

Where we found crystals at the Manitou Island

The highly sought-after Lake Superior Agate can be found here. The Manitou Island is just off the east tip of Keweenaw Peninsula. You can explore all beaches surrounding the island, but you should know that the north shore of bays is especially productive with these crystals.

Rock pick being used

The tools every crystal hunter will need

When you're out looking for crystals having the right tools for the job is very important. You don't need a lot for most trips but there are a handful that are critical and will make your life a lot easier.

We get asked a lot about the equipment we use. Over the years we've found a handful of tools that we recommend to both new and experienced crystal miners which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding supplies guide. These are quality options that also happen to be relatively inexpensive.

Below are the basic tools that make your life so much easier and save you a ton of time. Check out the full guide to see everything we recommend bringing. One quick note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases but we try very hard to only recommend gear we would use ourselves and often recommend brands you can't find on Amazon.

At a minimum you should have:

1 - Sturdy rock hammer: The Estwing Rock Pick is our standard

2 - Rugged chisels: Try Kendo' 3-piece Chisel Set

3 - Compact shovel: The Koleiya 28-inch shovel works well

4 - Rock screen pan: The Wazakura Soil Sieve Set fits the bill

5 - Eye protection: DeWalt Safety Glasses are cheap and comfortable

6 - Head protection: Malta's Safety Helmet has been our go-to

7 - Jewelers lens with at least 20x magnification: Jarlink's Jewelers Loop is perfect

The crystal-finding books that we use most

There are also a few books that have been extremely helpful in the search for gems. These books have great recommendations and tips:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America 

Northeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Northeastern Quadrant 

We provide links to find these tools on Amazon but some can also be found at your local hardware stores. For more recommendations check out the link to our full tool guide above.

McLain State Park

A bird's eyeview of the McLain State Park showing its forested and seaside areas

18350 M-203, Hancock, MI 49930

The beautiful McLain State Park is located on the shores of Lake Superior. It’s fascinating history dates back to the 1800s, when it was home to a thriving copper mining industry. The park’s trails and shoreline still bear evidence of this past, with old mining shafts and equipment scattered throughout the area. Today, it’s a popular destination for outdoor activities, including rockhounding.

The park is situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking Lake Superior, with cliffs, boulders, and exposed bedrock covering much of the shoreline. Its rocky shoreline and exposed bedrock make it an ideal spot for crystal hunting, especially after a storm when the waves have washed away the sand and revealed new treasures.

Before you head out to McLain State Park, make sure you come prepared with the right gear and knowledge. Bring sturdy hiking boots, gloves, and a hammer and chisel to help you extract crystals from the rock. And don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the park’s rules and regulations to ensure you’re collecting responsibly and safely.

Where we found crystals at the McLain State Park

Make sure to explore the beaches of the McLain State Park for a better chance of finding Agate, Chalcedony, and Jasper.

Want to know how much crystals cost? Refer to our article on that!

Champion Mine

A look at the rock formations at the Champion Mine

42623 Hubbard Ave. Painesdale, MI 49905

The history of Champion Mine dates back over a century. It was originally established in the late 1800s as a copper mine, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that it became a hotspot for crystal hunters. Today, the mine is no longer in operation, but it’s open to the public for rockhounding and exploration.

The mine is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, near the town of Houghton, and it’s situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking the beautiful Lake Superior. The rock formations in the area are primarily volcanic, which means that there are plenty of unique minerals and crystals to be found.

If you want to visit here, make sure to bring the right gears and be aware that the mine is an old, abandoned structure, so you’ll need to take ample precautions when exploring.

Where we found crystals at Champion Mine

You can find beautiful samples of Hematite and Sapphire crystals if you explore the pegmatite mine dumps of Champion Mine.

Presque Isle County

An aerial view of the rock formations and waters of Presque Isle

Lake Huron, MI

Presque Isle County is home to a diverse range of geological formations, making it an ideal spot for rockhounding. Located in the northeastern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, this county is rich with a wide variety of rocks and minerals, including some rare and stunning crystals.

One of the most popular spots for crystal hunting here is the Calcite Quarry. This former limestone quarry is now open to the public for rockhounding, and it’s a great place to find calcite crystals in a range of colors, from white to orange and even pink. Another fantastic spot is the Lake Huron shoreline, which is famous for its agate beaches with beautiful translucent agates in shades of red, orange, and brown.

Presque Isle County’s unique geology is due in part to its location on the edge of the Michigan Basin, which is a large geological formation that extends throughout much of the state. The rocks in this area are primarily sedimentary, which means that they’re rich in a wide range of minerals and crystals.

Where we found crystals in Presque Isle County

Exploring this place will allow you to take in the breathtaking sight of the county, particularly its beach gravels, where you can find samples of Agate, Chalcedony, and Calcite crystals.

Ropes Mine

A view of the rock dump covered in greeneries at Ropes Mine

Marquette County, MI

Located in the Upper Peninsula of our state, Ropes Mine was a copper mine that operated from the late 1800s until the early 1900s. This day, it remains a popular destination for rockhounds looking to find crystals in Michigan.

The mine is located in the Keweenaw Peninsula, which is known for its volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The minerals and crystals found in this area are the result of the area’s complex geological history.

One of the most impressive things about Ropes Mine is the variety of minerals and crystals that can be found there. It’s known for producing some truly spectacular specimens, and one of the most sought-after crystals found at the Ropes Mine is copper. These specimens are highly prized by rockhounds and collectors alike for their unique beauty and historical significance.

Where we found crystals at Ropes Mine

We had the best luck finding crystals when we explored the tailing of Ropes Mine.

Our Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting

A spherical piece of orange Carnelian

With its interesting geography and geology, it’s no surprise that Michigan has tons of great sites to find crystals as well as to dig for Michigan geodes. Suffice to say, our top recommended places are not the only ones that you can visit. In fact, we’ve listed down some more options that are worth checking out:

Where you can find crystals for free in Michigan

While many of the best places to find crystals here require a certain fee, our state abounds in plenty other locations where you can search and dig for crystals for free.

County Location
Alger North shore beaches of Grand Island
Alpena At the Rockport Quarry
Charlevoix Area gravel pits and at the Medusa Quarry
Dickinson Area quarries of Randville
Eaton At the Cheney Quarry
Gogebic Lake Superior Shoreline
Isle Royale Head of Siskowit Bay and on north shore of Tobin Harbor and on adjoining island beaches as well as inland on prehistoric lake beaches from McCargo Cove
Keweenaw On shore and in ledges at the back of Esrey Park
Livingston At the American Aggregate Quarry
Luce West along shoreline of Muskallonge Lake in the Deer Park area
Marquette At Beacon Hill and the abandoned Old Lake Shaft
Monroe At the Scofield Quarry and France Stone Company Quarry
Ottawa 2 miles northwest of Eastmanville area
Schoolcraft Manistique area gravel pits and quarries

Other great places to dig for crystals

If you’re okay with sparing a dime to find crystals, here are some of the best spots you may want to consider. Take note that their fees might vary, depending on the season, so make sure to reach out to them first before visiting.

County Location
Houghton At the Arcadian Mine dump, Quincy Mine dump, and Wolverine Mine dump
Iron All regional iron mines and dumps
Keweenaw At the Allouez Mine, Central Mine dump, Cliff Mine dump, Delaware Mine dump, Mandan Mine dump, Mohawk Mine dump, Phoenix Mine dump, and Star Mine dump
Marquette At the Champion Mine, Archibald Mine, Cliffs Shaft Mine, Section Seven Mine, Holmes Mine, Section Sixteen Mine, Baltic Mine dump, Cambria Mine, and Morris-Lloyd Mine
Ontonagon Area mine dumps of Mass and Rockland areas

How to find crystals in Michigan

An intricate sample of a blue Azurite against a pastel purple background

We understand that some of the recommendations we shared above cover wide areas, so to help you focus your search, here are some of the best places that you can explore in those areas. Usually, these places bear the most number and variety of crystals in a location:

Mine and Mine Dumps

Mine sites and their surrounding areas are excellent locations to find crystals. When miners dig into the earth, they often uncover mineral-rich veins that contain all kinds of stunning crystals. And since waste rocks are discarded in mine dumps, it can also be a great crystal hunting spot specifically for discovering crystals that have been exposed by erosion.


Quarries are man-made excavations that are created when miners remove stone and minerals from the earth. These areas can be fantastic for finding crystals and minerals, as the exposed rock faces and excavated areas can reveal some amazing specimens. Because the rock is often exposed and easy to access, you can often find larger specimens than you might in other locations. Additionally, the unique geology of each quarry can make for a diverse array of crystal finds.

Streams and Creeks

Streams and Creeks are bodies of water that flow naturally over rocks and minerals, slowly eroding them away over time. As they do, they can reveal beautiful crystals that were once hidden deep within the earth. As the water flows over the minerals, it can create pockets where crystals can form. These pockets can be hidden deep within the rocks, but when the water erodes them away, they can be revealed in all their sparkling glory. Plus, because the water is constantly flowing, new crystals can be uncovered all the time here.

Michigan Crystal Mining Laws And Regulations

For as long as you abide by the local collecting laws of Michigan, especially the ones mandated by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, crystal mining is perfectly legal here. Primarily, you would need to acquire required permits from concerned government agencies. If you’re exploring private lands, it’s necessary to obtain permission from the owner. Guidelines to protect the biodiversity of the area may also exist, so make sure you are aware of them. Overall, following these rules and regulations will help ensure the sustainability of crystal hunting in our state for years to come.

The Best Crystal Shops In Michigan

The front store window of World of Rocks

There are so many different types of crystals in the state spread out over such a wide area that many of us like to spend a little money to round out our collections. These are the best crystal shops in California that we’ve found if you’re looking for rare and beautiful pieces for your collection:

Additional places to find crystals in nearby states

If you’ve already tried all of our recommendations above or are planning a trip out of the state, you should check out our guides for neighboring states:

If you have any recommendations we haven’t covered, please leave them in the comments below!

About Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He has worked as a professional Geologist for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelors Degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut.

Leave a Comment