We all fantasize about striking it rich, whether by turning up a winning lottery ticket or mysteriously finding misplaced envelopes stuffed with crisp bills. The idea of getting rich without much effort is endlessly appealing. On your next vacation, why not see if you can actually make it happen? Across the globe, from California to the U.K., you can try your luck and go panning for gold. Who knows, you may just turn up a shiny nugget of your own.
California has been a destination for prospectors since the first “Eureka!” rang out in 1848. Those who are after an introductory experience to the art of gold panning can make a beeline for Jamestown, where Jamestown Gold Panning offers tours, equipment, and imparts wisdom on how best to strike gold. If historical precedent is anything to go by, you just might find something special.
Crow Creek Goldmine, Alaska
When we think of Alaska, we think tundra, grizzlies and glacial landscapes. Another one to add to the list though is glittering gold. Founded all the way back in 1896, Crow Creek Mine is the perfect place for the recreational prospector to give panning a try. The Prospector and Gold Miner Tours bring visitors to the most promising spots, while teaching advanced techniques like panning with sluice boxes.
Outside of Bendigo, in the southern Australian state of Victoria, Mark and Ronda Hyde run a series of gold prospecting tours. Here, the emphasis is less on damp panning and more on digging. In the past the red soil has turned up nuggets of incredible proportions, so you may just find a life-changing specimen on your next Aussie tour.
Dawson City, Canada
Hugging the Yukon River, Dawson City is found in the remote, mountainous region of northwestern Canada, close to its border with Alaska. The far-off location has been a destination for hopeful prospectors since the 19th century Klondike Gold Rush, while a gold mine has been operated in Dawson City since 1898. Those after a glimpse into the real mining lifestyle can sign up with Gold Bottom, which offers mine tours, gold panning lessons, and cabins for those eager for a multi-day excursion.
Southern Scotland has long attracted those with a case of gold fever (the metal was first discovered in the area during King James IV’s reign), with its many streams and rivers regularly turning up glittering treasure. In Lanarkshire, the Museum of Lead Mining, despite its name, is also a popular choice for those looking to perfect their gold panning skills. Five-hour courses are available in the spring and summer.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas.