Crescent City’s majestic coastline features some of the best agate hunting in the states. Once you discover your first agate hiding just under the sand, their glassy mystere will have you hooked.
Avid hunters are known as rockhounds and currently they are rejoicing. Winter is primetime for uncovering agates along our beaches. This is when the Pacific renews its supply from ocean storms stirring up the rocks. The tides then carefully transport the agates to the beach. Now it’s your turn to unearth these geological treasures.
What is an agate?
Agates are a type of quartz typically found where volcanic activity was (or is) high. They are extremely hard but have a semi-transparent appearance when you frame them in front of light. They shine up incredibly well and often have rich colors or banding.
How to hunt for agates
Plan your quest during an out-going tide when the shoreline has been ruffled by the waves. If you can swoop in right after a spirited storm, your chances are even better at finding agates. Dress in layers and bring some fuel for a shore-side picnic, too. As you hunt, walk toward the sun. You can better catch the shimmer from the agates. Wet stones are easier to spot so work from recent waves. You may also need to dig down a few inches into the sand.
Remember to go nuts! And by that we mean: keep in mind that the size of an agate is most often between an almond and a walnut.
Where to hunt for agates
Pebble Beach: Crescent City, California
Start the prowl for polished glory at Pebble Beach. Nestled at the base of a cliff, it is best to wait for low tide. This will reveal many small rock beds; the treasures are mixed within. In addition to agate, you may also find Jasper. Jasper is similar to agate but with an opaque appearance. Pebble Beach is also a great place for fishing and hiking, so plan for an adventure.
Kellogg Beach: Crescent City, California
Just north of Pebble Beach is the more remote Kellogg Beach. Listen to crashing waves and take a moment to just sit back and sink in. Reward yourself with a seaside gem discovery. Agates aren’t the only thing you’ll find at Kellogg Beach while beachcombing. Fossils like petrified wood are lurking in the sand, revealing a swirling terrestrial history.
South Beach: Crescent City, California
Spend the day at South Beach. Dig for shimmering quartz as well as delicate sand dollars. When your eyes need a break from surveying the sand, grab a stand-up paddleboard or surfboard. The jetties help create great surfing and paddling conditions around the beach and harbor.
Crescent Beach: Crescent City, California
Find a treasure that makes your spirit sing at Crescent Beach. Mostly contained within the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, the dynamic craggy landscape makes an inspiring setting for your agate and sand dollar pursuits. Take a half-mile detour and hike to Enderts Beach to admire its magical tidepools. And every good hunter needs a retriever. Dogs are allowed on leash throughout all Crescent City public beaches so you can get your fur friend to help you dig!
Take only photos and leave the agates behind
These enchanting ocean treasures and the coastline deserve our respect. As stewards of Northern California’s incredible landscape, tread lightly and leave the stones behind for the next rockhound.
Be sure to snap photos of your finds and share them with us to earn your Visit Del Norte County patch!