Family Vacation Tips

Top Five Places Families Can Hunt For Treasure

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 20, 2016 4:32:56 PM / by Sally Black

Sally Black


treasure.jpg  Our friend Jenny Kile lives by a great motto - "Always Treasure the Adventure" Jenny is all about fun and games. She a writer, researcher, game enthusiast, treasure hunter, and Founder of Kardtects Building Cards.  She is also a wife and a mother on the ultimate quest of raising four wonderful children.

Jenny knows Vacationkids is always on the hunt for exciting  and unique new vacation ideas for our families. Jenny's top five vacation spots are not only beautiful places to visit, but also offer a chance to find lost treasure! She thought combining your next vacation with a place where the whole family could search for treasure would transform a typical trip into a thrilling  and unique adventure. And whether or not the actual treasure sought for is found, your family will create priceless memories to forever keep, and these are the ultimate treasures to cherish.

We couldn't agree more so,...Drum roll please for Jenny's Top Five Vacation spots where Families Can Hunt For Treasure:

Mount Desert Island and Fandango’s $10,000 Golden Key

Mount Desert Island is the largest island off the coast of Maine and is home to Acadia National Park.  The park and island offer numerous activities from biking old carriage roads to horseback riding; from hiking gorgeous trails to relaxing on beaches; from kayaking to shopping quant villages; and more.  One of the highlights, though, is driving (or hiking) to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the island, and being the first to see the sunrise over the USA (from early October to March). A matchless experience to have on your bucket list.

Amid all this island’s adventure is another which awaits to be realized: the finding of a Golden Key worth $10,000.  It is the prize of the Fandango treasure hunt and is hidden somewhere on the island.  This armchair treasure hunt involves clues hidden in a book, both visual and textual, and if you can solve the puzzle, you will learn exactly where to search.  Possibly by visiting Mount Desert Island, book in hand, you could be the one to discover clues leading to the Golden Key’s location and claim the treasure. Someone has to find it.  Will it be You? (learn more here:

The Rocky Mountains and Forrest Fenn’s Million Dollar Treasure Chest

The absolute beautiful scenery, unique landscapes, and awe-inspiring activities of the Rocky Mountains are plentiful.  You will certainly find treasure by just visiting there; whether you explore Yellowstone National Park in the Rockies of Wyoming, Rocky National Park in Colorado, or the Sangre de Cristo Mountains down into New Mexico. 

But among the natural treasures to appreciate in the Rocky Mountains, from New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, or Wyoming, is a hidden treasure chest filled with gold and other priceless artifacts and gems.  Can you find this million-dollar chest of treasure?  The 10x10 1150AD bronze safe box was secreted by a gentleman named Forrest Fenn. He wanted to share the thrills found in a chase for treasure; something he had so wonderfully enjoyed by collecting and searching for treasure himself. 

Now, by way of a cryptic poem included in his Memoir (The Thrill of the Chase), are directions to the exact location of this treasure.  If you can deduce the nine clues said to be in the poem, and follow them to the chest, the million-dollar treasure is yours to keep.  So plan a trip to enjoy the Rockies, but take time to read Forrest Fenn’s poem ( and be on the lookout for hidden treasure.

The Smoky Mountains and Gem Mining

Known as the Gem Capital of the World is the town of Franklin in the southwest corner of North Carolina.  Nearby to the North of Franklin, however, are the Great Smoky Mountains.  Planning a trip to include both of what these places offer will provide a memorable experience!  And if you find treasure, all the more. 

There are many gem mines in Franklin, and all of Macon County, where the public are welcomed to come and search for valuable treasures.  Advice and assistance on how to find the gems are also given. The area is well known for rubies, sapphires, and other precious stones.  One of the most notable to find is the ‘Star Sapphire’. The mines of North Carolina, like the Sheffield Mine, are one of the very few places in the World these have been discovered.  It is a worth the effort to dig and sift through the dirt to unearth these rare six pointed designs hidden in stone! (

East Coast Beaches and Sunken Ship’s Treasures

It is difficult to imagine, but thousands of sunken ships, and their cargos, are off the coasts of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia.  One of the main reasons for this is because Philadelphia was a major port, and ships attempting to navigate through the seas during unpredictable weather often didn’t arrive.

There are various places, all up and down the east coast, a person can metal detect, or just keep a sharp eye out for treasure during a stroll on the beach.  You never know what the waves wash up and you might then find!  A common beach in Delaware, named Coin Beach, has presented thousands of coins from the sunken ship, Faithful Steward.  So while you may plan on a vacation to relax on the beach, add a bit of excitement and explore for lost treasures.  Also be sure to visit the local museums which often hold and display the treasures from ships found.  

San Antonio and the Newton Boy’s Stash  

Visiting San Antonio, Texas, offers lots of charm and enjoyment by exploring the top attractions of the Alamo, Mission San Jose and the Riverwalk. These places are not to missed while vacationing there.  But on the outside edge of the town, imagining back to the wild wild west, you can look for a buried treasure believed to be lost there.

The lost stash of around 100,000 thousand dollars was hidden by Jess Newton. He was one of the Newton Boys notoriously known for pulling off the largest train robbery in 1924. This train heist of over three million dollars was the final event which helped the Newton gang become remembered as the most successful bank and trail robbers in US history.   

Although most of the stolen loot was returned, it is known Jess had fled with a small portion of it and hid it near San Antonio.  He was drunk at the time and only remembered he buried it under a rock to the Northwest of the city.  Can you find that rock?

Looking for treasure isn’t always successful.  But if these fascinating items were easy to find and achieve, then it wouldn’t provide the worth, thrills, and value the challenge of looking for treasure gives. It wouldn’t be a treasure.  

Thank you Jenny for these wonderful and creative itinerary ideas! Remember here at Vacationkids, we LOVE creating unusual and unique itineraries like these. We can help you turn any one of Jenny's ideas into reality and we promise it won't cost you a chest full of gold.

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Topics: Family Vacation Destinations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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