Gold Museum, Mine, First Gold Rush
Villa Rica, Georgia
America's first gold rush wasn't in California. It was in the hills of Georgia, nearly 200 years ago, and the town of Villa Rica is still battling for the title of "First Gold Rush" with rival Georgia town Dahlonega (Villa Rica says that it mined gold years before Dahlonega, but then an "obscure law" forced it to keep it a secret). The town now stakes its claim with its Gold Museum and Mine, a hole in the ground that was producing gold into the early 20th century. You can pan for gold here, and Villa Rica says that it's 98 percent pure (23 carat).
Experts estimate that only 20 percent of Villa Rica's Mother Lode has been recovered!