For fossil hunters and arrowhead scavengers, Maryland is a treasure trove rich in rewards.
For rockhounds on the hunt for geodes, however, the Old Line state is not exactly ideal.
In this article, we’ll help the aspiring geode hunter in Maryland get started.
Where To Find Geodes In Maryland: A Guide
The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.
The area’s heavy vegetation and significant state ownership limit the amount rock-hounds can hunt there in general.
Still, there is some hope for those looking for geodes in this northeastern state.
Although geodes are usually located in deserts and volcanic terrain such as the southwestern United States, Maryland’s abundance of limestone and suspected volcanic prehistoric era give way to a half-decent geode population.
These rocks are usually lighter than one would expect at their size.
They tend to be egg-shaped, but they can also come in other formations.
Geodes have a bumpy, cauliflower-life texture on the outside.
However, once we crack them, we see a beautiful gem formation on the inside.
When we’re in Maryland and on the hunt for geodes, here are the three best locations in Maryland to start our search for these deceptively humble beauties.
Located in southwestern Maryland, Calvert Cliffs is about an hour and a half drive from the state’s largest city, Baltimore.
While many rock-rich parts of Calvert Cliffs are privately owned or designated as state-owned property, there are a few key places for rockhounds to seek out geodes and take their treasures home.
Before grabbing up anything in nature, speak with a park ranger or local nature authority to ensure that we are not breaking any laws by taking something from the land.
Although the majority of Calvert Cliffs State Park is off the table for digging up gems, an approximately two-mile-long hike along a service road will lead to a modest beachy area at the end of the service road.
This section may yield some good finds, including geodes and fossils, after a storm.
While this area is accessible during high tide, it is better to go rock-hounding during low tide since the land is more visible during that time.
While this park usually welcomes the public from March to November, it is always best to call ahead of our visit to make sure it is still open.
While we are digging, we must make sure to avoid digging in the cliffs themselves.
This is a safety hazard that could cost our lives if we violate this rule.
In the 1980s, a portion of the cliffs collapsed and claimed casualties in the process.
Therefore, in general, maintaining an awareness of our surroundings, taking the weather conditions into consideration, and checking local news for warnings before venturing to the cliffs is a good practice.
Nearby Matoaka Cottages might also be worth contacting to see if their visitors have had any luck finding geodes in their collecting site.
Although the Cottages charge a small parking fee, the opportunity to dig up some geodes may be worth the price.
While we are close to other Calvert Cliffs, we like to pop over to the nearby Chesapeake Beach to continue a rock-hounding road trip.
Although much of the shore along the Chesapeake River is state-owned and therefore off-limits for rock collecting, certain areas in Brownie’s Beach allow scavengers to keep their discoveries.
To get to the best part of this beach for rock collecting, get off Route 2 in Calvert County onto Route 260.
Once we get to Chesapeake Beach, head south onto Route 261.
After crossing a stream at the end of the first hill that lies south of Chesapeake Beach, we can park near a locked gate to the left of the road.
After parking in this area (fees may apply), walk along a path to the cliffs.
After less than half a mile, we’ll arrive at our destination.
Keep in mind that this site is not accessible during high tide.
Sifting through the fossils on this beach, we may be lucky enough to stumble upon the coveted gray bumpy rocks that hold a hidden crystal formation inside.
If we don’t manage to find any geodes in this location, however, we can always take home some of the beach’s abundant quartz as a consolation prize.
Before pocketing any of our finds, we make sure that we are not on public preserved territory.
In this state, it is illegal to take natural items that one finds in state parks and other protected regions.
Reaching out to the Chesapeake Gem & Mineral Society before a rockhounding trip to Brownie’s Beach could be our best bet for guaranteeing that it is safe to retain our geode goodies.
The Piedmont Plateau sits slightly north of the capital Annapolis at the inner edge of the Coastal Plain and folds out into Catoctin Mountain.
Rock-hounds will be excited to note that Maryland’s geological pride and joy, the 1.1 billion-year-old Baltimore Gneiss, hails from this region.
This can motivate us to seek out our fortunate finds.
Because this area contains rocks of likely volcanic origin such as gneiss, marble, schist, and quartzite, it carries a high potential for containing geodes, which are also frequently formed as a result of volcanic activity.
With essential gear such as a spray bottle, specimen bags, gloves, hiking boots, and a small shovel in tow, head into the woods of the Piedmont Plateau to begin our hunt for geodes.
Before we start rock hunting, we ensure that the property we choose is not privately owned or forbid nature collectors from taking their finds off the land.
Contact the Annapolis Visitor Center at 26 West St., Annapolis, MD or ask a local rock and mineral club such as the Baltimore Mineral Society for tips on the best nearby forests for rockhounding.
As one can tell, Maryland offers a wonderful array of settings for rock-hunting of all kinds.
Although this state is mostly renowned for its large quantities of quartz, serpentine, and agate, geodes are not impossible to locate with a little determination and a small pinch of good fortune.
At the very least, even if our geode hunting proves fruitless, we can always snag some fossils or other semi-precious stones to make our trip worth our while.