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Find Gold Nuggets... While on Vacation

Updated on December 30, 2010

So, you want to take gold nuggets home from your next vacation...

If you've ever dreamed of striking it rich by finding a motherlode of gold, you can give it a try on your next vacation.

If you like the idea of doing some "recreational gold prospecting," there are several ways you can hunt for gold nuggets (or at least a few specks of gold!) while enjoying a vacation in an exotic locale. Scroll down to see some of your options.

Ganes Creek, Alaska

Ganes Creek, Alaska
Ganes Creek, Alaska

Metal Detecting for Gold Nuggets in Ganes Creek, Alaska - Alaska is well-known for its natural beauty *and* gold mining history

If you've dreamed of seeing the rugged, natural beauty of Alaska, you can take a trip to Ganes Creek, Alaska.

Not only will you get a chance to experience the beauty of Alaska, but you'll get to prospect for your own gold nuggets! (The heart-shaped nugget shown above was found at Ganes Creek.)

Ganes Creek has produced over 250,000 ounces of gold, including some of the largest nuggets ever found in Alaska (the largest weighed in at over 122 ounces, which is more than ten troy pounds!)

How to search for gold while on vacation in Alaska

There's an outfit called Clark-Wiltz Mining, Inc. that works the creek's alluvials, bedrock benches, and tributary creeks with big equipment. Much of the gold being detected and mined is coarse and frequently large particles of gold are found left by the wayside of the large equipment, and that's where you come in.

Clark-Wiltz lets paying visitors come to the mining area to search the tailing piles for gold nuggets lost in the old operations. Visitors have used provided metal detectors to find hundreds of ounces of gold since the tourism aspect started in 2002, including 120 ounces in 2006.

How much does this gold-nugget-seeking vacation cost?

The cost for a one week stay is $3,000, which includes all your meals, some ground transportation, small heated cabins, shower and restroom facilities, and satellite TV and VCRs.

Of course, the chances are the trip will cost more than you'll actually find in gold nuggets, but it'll be a fun vacation experience in beautiful Alaska, and who knows... you might just get lucky!

More information about searching for gold nuggets with Clark Wiltz

Pan for Gold Nuggets in Dawnson City, Canada - Explore the Yukon and search for gold like they did in the Gold Rush days

The Yukon is famous for the Gold Rush of the 1890s, and you can still find gold there today. In fact, you can pan for gold just like the first prospectors did.

Goldbottom Mine Tours & Gold-Panning

From the 1st of June through September, you can visit Goldbottom Mine Tours & Goldpanning to see the historic sites and pan for some nuggets (or at least some gold dust!) of your own.

A tour includes an hour of creek panning and instruction, rubber boots, gold pans, vial, shovels and authentic "paydirt." You get to keep any gold you find.

If you want more time to search for gold, you can continue on your own. Gold panning may be done from 10 am to 6 pm. And if you want to do more than wade in the creek with a pan, you can visit the mini sluice or "high banker" farther up stream.

The outfit has 69 placer gold claims along GoldBottom and Hunker creeks. Note:

"This activity is intended for the more serious 'hobby' miner and we have restrictions as to what we consider a 'hobby' miner."

This vacation is more for people who want the experience and to enjoy the historic setting--you're not likely to find any huge nuggets in the creek, but you'll likely get a few specks to take home, and you'll have the memories of panning for gold as they did in the olden days!

GoldBottom Mining Tours

Personalised Gold Prospecting Tours in Australia - Search for gold nuggets down under!

If Alaska and Canada are a bit chilly for you, head to Australia for a gold prospecting tour.

BendigoGold World sells metal detectors and offers personalized gold prospecting tours. As they say, "Nothing can beat the thrill of unearthing your own natural gold nugget and experiencing the beautiful Australian bush at the same time."

You can sign up for full or half-day excursions that include a guide, transportation, food and drinks, and use of their Minelab SD Series Metal Detectors as well as other required prospecting equipment.

If you have a larger group, you can sign up for a full-fledged nugget-finding vacation that features packages that include accommodations.

You're guaranteed to walk away with a gold nugget. Even if you don't find any nuggets of your own, the company will hook you up with some souvenir gold.

BendigoGold World

Serious Prospectors Get Metal Detectors to Find Those Gold Nuggets - Get your own metal detector and go prospecting any time!

More Resources for Recreational Gold Mining and Finding Nuggets

If you want to get serious, check out the links below:

These are links to other sites on prospecting for gold, either as a hobby or your new all-consuming passion!

Gold vs. Dollar - An eye-opening video on the falling value of the U.S. Dollar

Share your thoughts or stories:

Have you ever searched for gold nuggets, or would you like to? - Any other gold prospecting vacations I should write about?

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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      8 years ago

      FUn activity

    • WritingforYourW profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the posts, folks! I actually got to pan for gold in a stream when I visited Alaska last summer, but I didn't take home anything but a few flakes, grin.

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 

      8 years ago

      Wow. That's cool!! I panned for gold when I was little and got a few flakes. :)

    • sallemange profile image


      8 years ago

      Gold prospecting is something you can do in Wales in the UK.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have never searched for gold (other than in a jewelry store) but it sounds like it would make a really fun destination vacation. Great lens.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      8 years ago

      If given the opportunity, why sure! Fav'ed and 5*****

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Who wouldn't want to find gold! :)

      Great lens! Thank you!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      These are awesome suggestions! I purchased a metal detector for my husband for his last birthday. Now I know what to ask for on my birthday:) I do love to travel! Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      9 years ago

      We've done some prospecting in North Carolina. We had a blast but didn't come home with much.

    • religions7 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      It's certainly an incredible buzz when you find a little speck of gold!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great Lens! is my company, and we offer all-inclusive Gold Prospecting Vacations. Check us out!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Lindsay, this has been inspiring for me. I have been researching metal detectors because I would like to do that as a hobby. It would be fun finding somethings of value to add to a collection too. Thanks! 5*'s

    • LarryBass LM profile image

      LarryBass LM 

      10 years ago

      Great lens you've built here! I Love the pictures too!


    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 

      10 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group. We look forward to seeing your other travel related lenses in our group. Keep up the good work.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      10 years ago

      I love your lens... you make gold prospecting sound like a fun adventure! Welcome to All Things Travel.

    • drifter0658 lm profile image

      drifter0658 lm 

      10 years ago

      Very well done. Although, a mention of the Gold Diggers out in Vegas, or wherever rich, lonely old men hang out, was missing ;)

    • StevenCousley profile image

      Steven Cousley 

      10 years ago from Young, NSW, Australia

      I actually live just up the road a bit from a fossicking area in my town. You've given me the urge to wander over there and take a bit of a look around. ;)


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