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Forbes: Mining for diamonds at Herkimer Diamond KOA resort

This is a great KOA for a first-time RV traveler. There is so much to do at the campground that once you park the RV, you don’t have to move it until you leave. Plus, it’s a Resort category KOA, which means it is at the top of its game and has plenty to do and see.

The Herkimer Diamond Mines are part of this KOA—the diamonds are actually quartz crystals and were faceted by nature over half a billion years ago. The Miner’s Village is a full-day activity. One of the most unique experiences families can have is to search for their own Herkimer diamonds by breaking open rocks with a hammer or simply digging in the dirt. These crystals were formed over 500 million years ago, so kids are learning about geology as they are having fun. The best part? Families can keep everything they find. You can also make jewelry out of your discoveries—including necklaces, bracelets, and rings.

Kids and adults can also go sluice mining—you can purchase a bag of gemstones, diamonds, or fossils and then screen for your treasures with water and sand. 

When the weather turns warm, head to the resort pool (shaped like a Herkimer Diamond), which has tables, chairs, and umbrellas for shade. 

Another favorite family activity is tubing down the West Canada Creek. You can purchase tubes at the general store (they will also inflate them) and then head to Splash Alley, where you’ll ride the rapids along the creek. You will also pass Crayfish Island where you can go fishing for crayfish—they sell nets and bait in the general store. If you’re an angler, West Canada Creek has some great trout fishing.  

When it comes to dining, the Miners Table is one of the reasons this KOA is so unique. This restaurant features a level of culinary cuisine not normally found at a campground. For kids, they have burgers, pasta, and authentic wood-fired pizzas, but it’s the chophouse that will have the adults coming back each night. There is a wide variety of culinary options including steaks, osso bucco, salmon, pork chops, and salads. The restaurant features Herkimer Diamond beer on tap and multiple vodkas distilled through Herkimer Diamonds. This restaurant could easily pass for a big-city hot spot—the food is fresh and delicious and the service is top-notch. If you’re looking for something more casual, the Canteen is a great snack shop with hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, nachos, make-your-own sundaes, and other treats. It’s a great grab-and-go to take back to the campsite or to eat on property after a morning or afternoon of mining. 

If you’re traveling via RV, the waterfront spots are the way to go. These deluxe RV sites include concrete patios, patio furniture, propane grills, and firepits. But it’s the views that make these spots the Four Seasons of camping. Watch tubers, birds, and water float down the river.  You’ll feel your blood pressure lower simply by taking in all the surrounding nature. 

The hospitality at the resort is also top-notch, from the waitstaff at the restaurants to the front-desk check-ins to the staff at the Miner’s Village—it really feels like one big family whose sole purpose is to make sure you’re having a good vacation.

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