Metal detecting is an excellent hobby for those who enjoy treasure hunting, finding lost items, or being in different environments experiencing the anticipation of what is beneath a beep.
Some finds are unexpected, exciting, and occasionally disappointing. Researching an area before metal detecting will provide the detectorists with valuable and general information on what to expect and how to prepare.
When thinking about metal detecting, it is common to imagine detectorists sweeping historical sites looking for war relics or vintage antiques. However, some laws keep some areas preserved and protected from being dug up.
Most of these locations are owned by either the state or federal government. They are prohibited from having any items removed from where they were found without prior consent by proper authorities.
Fortunately, not all places are under the same high level of protection. By applying simple rules and following specified guidelines, there are still several open sites for metal detecting.
You can start metal detecting in many different places, and the best place for you will depend on your interests, location, and the type of metal you are most interested in finding. Here are a few top places to consider:
- Beaches: Beaches are a popular place to start metal detecting, as they are often frequented by many people and may contain a wide variety of metal objects, such as coins, jewelry, and other metal items.
- Parks: Parks and other recreational areas are good places to start metal detecting, as they may contain metal objects that have been lost or forgotten by park visitors.
- Yard sales: Yard sales and garage sales can be a good place to start metal detecting, as they often contain metal objects that are being sold or donated.
- Flea markets: Flea markets and other open-air markets are good places to start metal detecting, as they often contain various metal objects.
- Antique stores: Antique stores and other retail outlets specializing in vintage and antique items may be a good place to start metal detecting, as they may contain metal objects that are no longer in use or have been forgotten.
- Historical sites: Historical sites, such as battlefields, ruins, and abandoned buildings, can be a good place to start metal detecting, as they may contain metal objects that have been preserved in the ground for many years.
- Farms: Farms and other rural areas may be a good place to start metal detecting, as they may contain metal objects that have been lost or forgotten by farm workers or equipment operators.
- Campgrounds: Campgrounds and other outdoor recreational areas may be a good place to start metal detecting, as they may contain metal objects that have been lost or forgotten by campers.
- Abandoned buildings: Abandoned buildings, such as houses, factories, and warehouses, may be a good place to start metal detecting, as they may contain metal objects left behind by previous occupants.
- Urban areas: Urban areas, such as cities and towns, may be a good place to start metal detecting, as they may contain metal objects that have been lost or forgotten by city dwellers.
Overall, there are many different places where you can start metal detecting, and the best place for you will depend on your interests, location, and the type of metal you are most interested in finding. Consider these top places to start metal detecting and choose a convenient location with a good likelihood of containing metal objects.
Beaches And Parks
Beaches are popular places for treasure hunting. That’s especially true for those most visited. People often lose various jewelry pieces while swimming that can be later found in the water or buried in the sand. The high and low tides change the water levels close to the beaches, making it easier for metal detectors to pinpoint lost items. Using waterproof metal detectors while on beaches and searching in or near water is highly recommended to increase the search area and potentially find more.
Beaches are usually without legal restrictions for metal detecting, but always check for posted signage or ask a local officer before digging. Some beaches may be included in a national park or government-owned land. While national parks are forbidden for metal detecting, state and local parks are not. Local metal detecting clubs are another excellent resource for questions and answers when visiting unfamiliar locations.
Parks and beaches have been popular gathering locations for centuries. Additions to parks could have been made at any time in history, including extending land, installing water features, constructing playground equipment, and even adding layers of topsoil.
Any of these additional features could create a reason for someone to lose a precious item, such as a change, jewelry, phones, cameras, tools, or junk that never made it to the trash can. Metal detectors, pinpointers, long screwdrivers that can be used as probes, small shovels, and collection bags are tools that should be brought along on every outing.
Forests And Abandoned Cemeteries Near Ghost Towns
Forested areas are an excellent place to practice and master using a metal detector. Many historical sites that are now gone once thrived in these areas. Mining camps, start-up towns that never made it, homesteads, and travelers passing through make up the mix of treasures to be found here.
Ghost towns and old cemeteries can offer a glimpse into the past and what life could have been like. However, you are not permitted by the law to metal detect in cemeteries or around graves. The action would be punishable by law.
Unfortunately, metal detecting in ghost towns can be a tender subject that not always ends in a positive answer. Some ghost towns have been given the special status of a historical site and prefer to be left as-is for future generations to see and experience the area for what it once was.
Other ghost towns have been left abandoned and pose safety risks for visitors, while some former towns are only visible by rock foundations. The surrounding areas of ghost towns can be metal detected on public land. Don’t be discouraged by what is and is not allowed when detecting near and in ghost towns. Some of the best finds are discovered outside the town perimeter.
Riverbanks, Private Lands, And Schoolyards
Riverbanks are popular places for metal detecting. The discrimination settings on a metal detector are necessary for areas like this due to the amount of trash and junk found under rocks and sand. When you spend time in rivers and along riverbeds, your detector might receive a constant fake signal because of pop tabs, cans, and other metallic trash items.
Not everything is invaluable that is found in a river, though. Jewelry, phones, cameras, keys, coins, toys, and other finds are frequently discovered in low-level and higher-level water.
Private lands might also hide many undiscovered mysteries. Some of these lands might have been owned for hundreds of years by the same family, so it is hard to say what could be found under years of soil coverage. To metal detect on privately owned land, it is mandatory to obtain permission from the landowner before turning on any detector. Written permission is always best.
Schoolyards are also places where many possessions go missing. Children often forget what is in their pockets when they are playing at recess, after school, or during the summer, and more times than not, the contents will be unknowingly left behind. Most schoolyards are public property and accessible to metal detectorists, but it is good to check with school administration to guarantee there will be no issues.
Backyards, Swimming Areas, And Fields
Backyards are also excellent places for metal detecting. You can be surprised by the number of possible targets you can find around a house. In the days long gone, it was common for homes and landowners to bury valuables on their property that they did not want thieves or shady officials to take. The buried items could be anything from gold, silver, coins, cooking utensils, weapons, or any other valuable commodity of the time.
Today’s backyards may not be as exciting, but they still offer a place for numerous belongings to go missing. Coins, jewelry, and small toys can be lost in grass, sand, fountains, gardens, or under loose fences or patio boards.
No special permission needs to be granted to metal detect your yard but ask first before trying to search your neighbors or anyone else’s. If you are brand new to metal detecting, your backyard is a perfect place to start.
Swimming areas are also good places to find valuable items. Swimming areas can be found along rivers, lakes, and oceans. While swimming is fun, it is also easy to lose jewelry or personal items stored in waterproof bags.
Finding a ring or other small object lost without a metal detector is incredibly challenging. A waterproof metal detector can save the day and use the notorious beeps they are known for to alert where an item can be found.
Fields are also excellent locations to practice and master using a metal detector. Each season the ground is tilled, potentially exposing lost objects and providing new areas to be searched. The farmland we use today for fields and pastures was most likely used for the same purpose in previous years.