Everything shines in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.
This tiny, rural town of fewer than 2,000 people in the southeastern U.S. is known for its wealth of diamonds. Thanks to a 95 million-year-old inactive volcano, the naturally occurring precious gemstones brought a rush of settlers to town in 1906 to try to get rich.
Diamonds are still a draw for its 120,000 annual visitors today, as a novelty attraction for a relaxing outdoors getaway. But that’s just one reason to visit this gem of a destination about 375 kilometers northeast of Dallas, Texas.
Hunt for Diamonds
Murfreesboro’s most famous attraction is Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only site in the U.S. where the public can search for diamonds in their original volcanic source. The best part? The park lets visitors keep their treasures.
Try your luck at “wet sifting,” a technique that involves washing soil in a set of screens to filter it for potential gemstones. Rent equipment at the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, including mesh screens, buckets and shovels.
While the majority of diamonds discovered at the park are a result of wet sifting, some are uncovered by “surface searching” on top of dirt. Park officials estimate that one or two diamonds are found on the property daily. One of the largest finds was an 8.52-carat white diamond unearthed by a visitor in 2015.
If you find a diamond in Crater of Diamonds State Park, you can bring it home.
Experience the Outdoors
Many come here to hike the scenic trails, which offer sweeping views of Lake Greeson and area rock formations. Both the Prospector Trail and the Little Missouri River Trail are roughly 2 kilometers round trip, with the latter featuring wheelchair-accessible, partly paved trails. Visit the wildlife observation blind to possibly glimpse deer and birds in their natural habitat.
Where to Shop, Dine and Play
Outside its famous state park, Murfreesboro features a western frontier city center dating back to the 19th century, with shopping, dining and lodging options. Head to Courthouse Square to shop for vintage treasures or indulge in soda fountain drinks, ice cream and other comfort foods.
Search for arrowheads, crystals and pottery in an open mound at Kadoha Indian Village, a historical archaeological site about 3 kilometers north of Courthouse Square. Learn about the native Caddo tribes at the nearby museum and trading post, featuring exhibitions, educational programs and events.
Where to Stay
Stay downtown at local inns like the Queen of Diamonds Inn or Diamond Oaks Inn Bed & Breakfast, or experience rustic lodging at a number of area well-appointed cabins, including Diamonds Old West, Diamond K Lodge Farmhouse and River’s Edge Hideaway.
Like to camp in style? Reserve a spot at the park’s campground, which has 47 campsites equipped with amenities like free wireless internet and an on-site laundry facility.
This Diamonds Old West accommodation is one of many well-furnished cabins available in the area.