Gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) have been investigated for a number of biomedical applications, including drug and gene delivery vehicles, thermal ablation therapy, diagnostic sensors, and imaging contrast agents. Surface functionalization with molecular groups exhibiting calcium affinity can enable targeted delivery of Au NPs to calcified tissue, including damaged bone tissue. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the binding affinity of functionalized Au NPs for targeted delivery to bone mineral, using hydroxyapatite (HA) crystals as a synthetic analog in vitro. Au NPs were synthesized to a mean particle size of 10-15 nm and surface functionalized with either L-glutamic acid, 2-aminoethylphosphonic acid, or alendronate, which exhibit a primary amine for binding gold opposite carboxylate, phosphonate, or bisphosphonate groups, respectively, for targeting calcium. Bisphosphonate functionalized Au NPs exhibited the most rapid binding kinetics and greatest binding affinity to HA, followed by glutamic acid and phosphonic acid. All functional groups reached complete binding after 24 h. Equilibrium binding constants in de-ionized water, determined by nonlinear regression of Langmuir isotherms, were 3.40, 0.69, and 0.25 mg/L for bisphosphonate, carboxylate, and phosphonate functionalized Au NPs, respectively. Functionalized Au NPs exhibited lower overall binding in fetal bovine serum compared to de-ionized water, but relative differences between functional groups were similar.