If you’re traveling with kids or are a wannabe prospector yourself, stop 3 miles west of Boone to pan for semiprecious stones. Several gem-mining spots are located near the parkway, but this is a smaller operation, run by graduate gemologists who take their craft seriously. Buy rough stones by the bucketload – or even wheelbarrow-load! – and sift them in a flume line.
For additional fees, they'll cut and mount your favorite finds.