Thousands of years ago, Woolly Mammoths and
First Nation tribes were wandering what is now Ontario, Canada. Each day, the
goal was to find enough food to survive to the next. First Nations tribes
followed the animals and gathered whatever vegetation they could to keep a
steady diet. Hunting and Gathering were the means of survival until the 18th
Etienne Brule, the first European explorer to
travel through Ontario in the 16th Century, saw the land for all it was worth,
but failed to erect a settlement. The Iroquois fought to keep their land until
the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763. In 1776, nearly 9,000 British
Loyalists moved to Ontario to claim the land.
Fast forward almost 100 years to 1867 and
Ontario was named one of the first four provinces of Canada. The others were
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Today, Ontario is home to Toronto,
Ottawa and Mississauga and is the second most prosperous province behind
There are numerous outdoor pastimes to be
found in Ontario. Fishing, hunting, hiking and kayaking are amongst the most
popular, but metal detecting could easily be considered in the top five. The
large amount of public land available to search makes it a common place to try
the hobby. There are no regulations against detecting on beaches, parks and
beaches. As long as respect is the main goal, people rarely have trouble
finding places to detect.
The rules for private property and Provincial
Parks in place similar to the United States. People need permission for
detecting on private property and detecting within 500 meters of a historical
site within a Provincial Park is illegal.
There are few laws on where people aren’t
allowed to detect. The issues arise when people start trying to dig. Again,
digging in designated historical areas is illegal. However, as long as the
holes aren’t more than several inches on school grounds, public parks, etc.,
there are going to be few issues.
There is all sorts of public land to search
all over Ontario! Here are a few spots to start:
GRAND BEND ONTARIO – Beach Lovers and Metal Detecting
Grand Bend can be found on the shores of Lake
Huron. Located on the Southwest coast of Ontario, it’s a popular vacation spot
for families all over the area. Everyone knows how much stuff gets brought to
the beach. In Grand Bend, there is the “Main Beach” where thousands of people
can be found lounging on a warm summer day. There is also the North Beach where
younger folks hang out leaving behind all sorts of treasures.
The South Beach is designated more for
families. Rambunctious children running around causing parents to drop
valuables makes for a metal detectors dream. The difficulty with detecting on
beaches is crowding folks who are trying to have a relaxing afternoon. I’ve had
my fair share of elderly ladies give me death stares for getting too close.
Don’t forget to bring your headphones! The loud beeping of your detector
interrupts the screams of children and crashing waves. Check out our article on
the best headphones to wear metal detecting for some options.
The Pinery Provincial Park has in Great Bend
has a 10km beach perfect for detectors of all abilities to explore. While
you’re at it enjoy the Oak Savanna trees and 300 bird species within the park.
The sunsets over the water even make a slow day detecting enjoyable. When
searching a Provincial Park, you’ll need to secure a permit from the
superintendent. Since it’s not a “public” park, you’ll need to jump through
some hoops to receive permission.
The prevailing winds drive finds up onto the
beaches. The waves do their part by keeping the treasure up on the beaches.
Look for the natural dips in the sand. The water will bring the treasure to the
lowest point. The beaches in Grand Bend are extremely smooth so no need to worry
about gravel and rocks.
BURLOAK WATERFRONT PARK- Water, Picnic and Metal Detect
Burloak Waterfront Park is located between
Mississauga and Hamilton and just south of Toronto. The proximity to the major
cities makes it a hotspot for all sorts of people to visit. It’s a great place
to spend the day picnicking and searching. Be careful with how deep you dig in
the park. Don’t go further than several inches. Most police officers and park
workers won’t mind, but if you’re creating a mess, you may find yourself in
The beach as well as park provide detectors
with different types of ground to explore. It’s always exhilarating to search
in the midst of the city.
HIGH PARK – Lots of Room
High Park is Toronto’s largest public park.
There are numerous hiking trails, sports facilities and a waterfront that
borders the Grenadier Pond. Again, the more people, the more treasure. However,
you may encounter fellow detectors due to its proximity to the cities. It’s a
great spot to bring your family! There is a playground as well as a zoo for the
kids to enjoy while you’re out detecting.
Digging shallow holes here is fine, but be
sure to only dig three sides so the soil can fall back into the place. Also,
feel free to mess with your sensitivity while at the park. You’ll likely be
catching all sorts of different metals due to the constant traffic so it’s
important to have your settings exactly where you want them.
CHRISTIE PITS PARK – Lots of Activity
This is another park in the heart of Toronto.
It’s a public park with baseball fields, soccer fields and other green
surfaces. There is also a playground and pool. This is a common spot for
sledding in the winter. Sledding hills are great spots to look. Kids get too
ambitious and take a tumble off of their sled and send half of their belongings
flying. It’s a perfect spot in the summer to detect, but go ahead and try it in
the winter. Choose a morning during the week or early on the weekend and you’ll
have the hills to yourself.
Pay attention to your digging depths! No need to get in trouble.
BLUFFER’S PARK – Many Parks to Scan
Bluffer’s Park is one of several parks located
along the Scarborough Bluffs. It has one of the best urban beaches that folks
love to spend time on in the warmer summer months. In the Instagram era we live
in, people are spending quite a bit of time in this park due to the scenic
views. When people are searching for the ideal Instagram photo, they wear
fancier things. Go ahead and look at common photo spots and see what you can
Also, be sure to search the beach. It’s
wonderful sightseeing. It’s one of the best parks in the greater Toronto area.
CENTENNIAL PARK – Busy but Lots of People Means $$
Centennial Park is going to be one of your
busiest parks on this list. However, it also has the greatest variety. It’s
home to a BMX park, ski hill, conservatory, sports fields and a wading pool.
Again, it’s a great spot to bring family and let them entertain themselves
while you detect. If you can secure permission in the winter, go ahead and
search by the ski hill. Be sure to focus on looking near the lifts. This is
where people will slip and fall and lose some of their precious cargo.
Also, the baseball fields are home to many
weekend tournaments and league games. Search near the dugouts to see if you can
find earrings or rings that parents or players lost.
METAL DETECTING FINDS IN ONTARIO
In 2018, DJ Dowling, a patient at the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre in Whitby discovered an old silver coin that belonged to the former agricultural minister of Canada. The coin was worth nearly $1700 and the man donated it to the Diabetes Centre. It will be displayed once their expansion is complete. Read the complete news article HERE.
Dowling has also found a 1990’s pure gold
locket and a powder flask from the mid-1800’s while detecting in the area.
One of the most historical finds in Ontario
was part of a gold Pyx from the 1600’s. A pyx is small round container that is
used to carry the Eucharist. It was found in Northern Ontario off the coast of
Fort Pierce. Underwater metal detecting is growing in popularity over the years
and can be an extremely fun if you’re looking to expand your abilities!
DETECTING CLUBS IN ONTARIO AND CANADA
Metal detecting clubs are great places to network and grow in your skill. Metal Detecting can be a lonely hobby. Joining a club gives you access to more ideas and locations to hunt as well as a chance to meet people. Members of these clubs are generally extremely nice and let folks borrow equipment when needed.
Forums of all types are useful to join. Forums
are online clubs that give people a chance to ask questions and research
anything they may be curious about. If you have a keyword or phrase you want to
research, type it in to the forum and see what pops up. You may have to request
permission to join, but once you’re in, you’re all set!
David Humphries here, Wow! A couple years ago I grabbed my sons metal detector to take on a camping trip. I thought it would be fun to walk the beach and just do a little sweeping. Little did I know I would be bitten by this amazing hobby. Read more ABOUT DAVID HERE
When I first got into metal
detecting I didn’t realize how quickly I would run out of places where I could
look for finds (mostly old coins because that is what interests me). After I
extensively searched my yard, my local beach, and even my parent’s yard, I
didn’t know where else I could go. Since then, I’ve done a lot of metal
detecting, and not just in my yard, so I’ve compiled a list of places which I
have found to be the best places to look for old coins.
1.Parks – Every Town has a Park
In general parks are the most
accessible location to metal detect, simply because they can be found in or
around almost any town in the United States. Many of these parks, whether state
or county owned, exhibit large swaths of open land along with historical
preservations such as monuments or buildings. I love to go to parks for this
reason, because I almost never run out of places to look before I eventually
decide to go home.
I have found plenty of old coins
and other relics which patrons of these parks have been losing for decades.
Moreover, getting a permit to access the park is relatively cheap and lets me
go to any state park I want to as many times as I want to for the entire year.
The only downside about metal detecting in parks is that the laws which govern
whether or not metal detecting is allowed vary widely from park to park.
It is always a good idea to check
with the state laws for your state, and then oftentimes even to check with the
park manager to obtain permission before you go looking around. I haven’t had
many problems with this, most parks I have been to allow it, however even with
permission it is extremely important to always practice good metal detector
etiquette when on land you don’t own. The actions you take when metal detecting
on public land can have an effect on whether or not a park will allow people to
use that park for metal detecting in the future.
2. National Forests and Bureau of Land Management Land – Scan Carefully
National forests are much like
state parks, except they are minimally developed for public use and as a result
of this have a significantly lower number of visitors. I personally like them
because of this, but it does mean that there are fewer old coins or other
objects which you will most likely find. Because there are less visitors, and
those visitors aren’t focused in any areas in particular, it is more of a
gamble in terms of where to metal detect.
One major advantage of National
Parks (and other Bureau of Land Management Lands) is that there is no need to
get permission or a permit of any kind to metal detect there. Collecting rocks,
minerals, or other small artifacts is almost always allowed with only a few
exceptions which relate to historical preservations. I haven’t had any problems
at National Forests, in fact they are usually the least stressful places to
metal detect, but if you are worried about the rules of one in your area you
can usually find information on its website.
One downside of National forests
that I have experienced, besides the relatively lower chance of finding
something, is the terrain of much of the forest. In addition to countless trees
and bushes, there are also leaves and other natural debris which cover the
forest floor. However, every once in a while, you can find trials, paths, or
openings, and these are my favorite places to try finding something. You never
know what you’re going to find, or if you are going to find anything at all,
but National Forests are some of the calmest and most untouched areas where
someone could metal detect.
3. Beaches – the GOLD Standard Literally
It is a common occurrence to see
someone metal detecting at almost any public beach, and for good reason. I
recommend for anyone who wants to try and metal detect in new places to look
for a public beach in their area. Beaches are a huge location for people to
concentrate especially in the summer. Moreover, I enjoy the fact that it is
always easy to dig in the sand and even easier to backfill the holes you create
by simply pushing the sand back into the whole. Sometimes the sand will even
try to fall back into the whole while you are digging, although that in
particular can be frustrating at times.
When looking for old coins, beaches might not come to mind because it is likely that if any old coins were at the beach they most likely have already been found by the countless numbers of people who have searched for them before you. And, this can be true of some beaches where patronage is very high and management of the sand is carried out on a consistent basis.
If the sand is being raked on a weekly or daily basis then most object will either be removed or heavily damaged by this process. This is why I try to find beaches which are not heavily trafficked or maintained. These are more common than you would think and can often be recognized by a large amount of debris in or near the sand and also a large amount of seaweed in the water adjacent to the beach.
Saltwater beaches can be a particularly fun place to metal detect as you get to see the ocean as you search. For me, I frequent the beaches of the Great Lakes for this same reason. People drop tons of stuff at the beach mostly due to the fact that they often don’t have pockets on their bathing suits / summer attire.
However, people also love to litter on beaches, in particular aluminum cans and bottle caps. I always just do my best to use discrimination on my metal detector, when I can, and not get overly hopeful when digging up a hit.
4. Rivers – Folks Swimming and Canoeing
Both the banks of rivers and the
riverbed itself can be great places to metal detect, especially if the river is
shallow enough that you can comfortably dig without getting too deep in the
water. Rivers are a place where many people visit, but also, they carry things
down the river through their currents. Because of this, you never know what
type of thing you can find on account of the fact that it could come from
anywhere along the river.
Most river access will either be on
private land, in which case you only need to make sure that you have the
permission of the landowner to metal detect there, or on state owned land, in
which case you should make sure that it is legal for you to be metal detecting
in that specific river at the location you plan to be searching at. I do this
by calling the main office of whatever state park or county park the area is
Read all about metal detecting in Rivers and Streams in this Article:
When I metal detect in the river,
as opposed to just on the banks, I always make sure to have a metal detector
which is waterproof as well as to wear waders when I am in the water. Digging
in the water can be tricky, so I always try to dig very slowly and carefully.
Moreover, I only search in shallow water where I can see the riverbed I am
5. Churches – Usually Older is Better
Some churches, depending on who
owns them and what kind of church they are, will let you metal detect on their
land if you get permission beforehand. They might only giver permission for
some area and not others, or for some times and not others, and in general it
is just very important to be respectful and mindful of the land you are on when
you are metal detecting.
I think the reason why I have
always had luck with church land, in particular with finding old coins, is that
people gather in these locations at least once a week and have been for
generations. Of course, this is only true of older churches, but sometimes even
newer churches will be built on land which had an older church on it
previously. In general location which have previously had a building on them
which was formerly highly trafficked, but which now is demolished and
relatively abandoned, is a good place for metal detecting. In particular in
finding old coins due to their heritage.
Tips for Looking for Old Coins
Use Metal Detector Discrimination Features as Much as Possible
On Very Low Frequency Metal Detectors, there are often discrimination features which either can help you look for the specific metals which coins are made of or which will specifically have a mode called ‘coins’ which does the same but in a simple way.
in the Areas Where People Would Have Their Things Out
While you are searching in any of
the areas listed above, or anywhere in general, I always like to try and look
near places where I know people would most likely congregate. Furthermore, in
the areas where people congregate, I like to look in the areas where people
would most likely be using or moving their belongings. Anytime people are
moving around their stuff is an opportunity for them to lose something, and
often this can be coins or small things which could be easily overlooked.
Areas Where People Have Been for a Long Time
If you are looking for old coins in
particular, you’re going to need to find a place where people who could have
owned these coins could have lost them. Of course, this could be anywhere in
the world, but some places can be proven to have been frequented by people who
lived in the time when these coins were in circulation. This means looking for
the year when a park, or beach, or church was founded / created. In the United
States this is a particularly important consideration given the relatively
short time that it has been a country. And, an even shorter time that many of
its land holdings have been a part of the union.
Make Sure You Have Permission
Unless you own the land, it is possible that it is illegal for you to metal detect on that land. Moreover, even if you are allowed there may be limits or regulations which govern your access and utilization of the land. Because of this, it is extremely important to always be as thorough as possible when doing research for a location.
Gaining permission from a landowner, a park manager, a church owner, or government (via laws) should always be the first step. The punishment for metal detecting on restricted land can vary all of the way from being asked to leave the location to being shot at if you are on private land in a state with a stand your ground law in effect.
It is one thing if you dig up a hundred locations, leaving piles of dirt at each one, in your own backyard. Is a completely different thing to do this on private land which you have been given access to or public land which you are visiting. If you want to continue to be allowed to metal detect in an area, you should always do your best to not disturb the land which you are searching on.
The easiest way to do this, and to know how to do this, is by following the Metal Detectors Code of Ethics. This is a document which details exactly what you should and should not do when metal detecting on land which you do not own. It can be found online at multiple websites by simply searching ‘Metal Detectors Code of Ethics’ on Google.
The start of anything can be nerve wracking.
My first ever time metal detecting was a disaster. I went along with an
experienced friend and expected to find something valuable enough to pay off my
student loans. He took me to a remote field that hadn’t been touched in years.
We came away with a 20-year-old penny and a few nails. This experience nearly
made me quit metal detecting all together. Why spend an entire day searching
just to find nothing?
It wasn’t until I tried more popular areas
that I realized how addictive of a hobby it can be. For beginners like myself,
it was all about detecting in the right places. Here are a few suggestions to
get you started:
1. Playgrounds – Especially Swing Sets and Monkey Bars
Playgrounds are going to give you all sorts of
action. As a beginner, it’s important to get as much experience as possible.
Learning how your detector works, the different sounds for metal types and
gaining an overall feel takes time. Playgrounds are going to have all sorts of
artifacts and things to find.
Whether it’s change or a bobby pin, you’re
guaranteed to be successful. Mess with your sensitivity and discrimination
while at playgrounds. With the plethora of goods in the ground, you’ll want to
learn how to dissect between them all.
sure to get permission to metal detect on school grounds. Obviously, it’s best
to go on weekends when students aren’t around. Ask a maintenance person or
someone in administration before you begin hanging out on school property.
2. Under Bleachers Near Sports Fields – Lots of Coin!
Searching under the bleachers at a local park or school field can make for a profitable afternoon. It may be smart to start with searching under the parents section.
During my third or fourth time ever metal detecting, I found the keys to a Mercedes SUV and there was a tag on them that had the name and phone number of the owner. I decided to give the number a call, ended up returning the keys and received a $50 bill for my trouble! I’ll forever have a soft spot in my heart for bleachers.
3. Old Abandoned Houses – Relics
This is by far my favorite suggestion on this
list. There’s something about searching around an abandoned house that not only
makes me a bit nervous, but my optimism is always high. I never know what I’m
going to pull out of the ground. Depending on what part of the world you live
in, the abandoned houses near you may be extremely old and could hold some
Be careful when you’re thinking of detecting
around abandoned houses. Some of these may still be private property and you
could find yourself in trouble if caught trespassing. There’s no written rule
on what to do before detecting around an abandoned house, but it’s best to ask
permission before you do it. Local courthouses all have records of who owns property
so a simple phone call can tell you everything you need to know.
You’d be surprised at what people will let you
search if you ask. I’ve been granted permission to search a few properties
around my school in small town Iowa that I thought I’d never have the chance to
scour. I called the owners, asked politely and they said go ahead. Most are
curious and ask me to let them know what I find. You’ll get in trouble if you
go without asking permission.
Tip: Try and find a house built around 1900. These likely had outhouses and other outbuildings that could hold some valuable artifacts. Take advantage of the opportunities to search abandoned areas if you get them. Be thorough in your digs and put in a little extra effort if at all possible.
4. Fair Grounds – Folks Dropping Money SERIOUSLY
Think about your town or county fair. Imagine
all the people that cycle through it throughout the two weeks. The more people,
the more chance that some valuable things were misplaced. Many county/town
fairs take place in a local field or other public area. This gives you more
freedom to start searching. If you attended the fair, take note of where
certain things are. If there’s a popular food or game, remember where the booth
is located. Also, below where any rides/rollercoasters may have been is a great
spot to detect.
I was able to find a watch buried in the
mud/dirt below where a rollercoaster was at my local fair. I had it appraised
and it was valued at around $200. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the
original owner, but it’s made for a nice fashion accessory.
If there was a rodeo that took place, see if
you can search inside the stadium. Rodeo members tend to wear all sorts of
bling and jewelry. It’s a great chance to find something interesting!
5. Beaches – Rings and Jewelry Slide Off with a Little Suntan Lotion
Beaches are perhaps the easiest place to
search on this list. When you detect a beach, there is little to worry about.
No proof of holes dug, the water adds a new aesthetic and if you get hot take a
Choose a nice evening or early morning to
search. While it may be the easiest place to hunt, beaches are where I have had
the most trouble with the general public. People don’t go to the beach to be
crowded and want to enjoy their time relaxing. I have had numerous mothers yell
at me to get out of their “area”. I’m not the type of person to crowd anybody,
but again, go in the evening or morning and you’ll be just fine.
Also, it’s important to wear headphones while
at the beach. People don’t want to hear the loud beeps from your detector. If
you’re curious about what headphones to wear, check out this article on the
best headphones for metal detecting.
Look for the towel line or other spots where
people tend to gather. This is where people are going to lose earrings or
rings. Also, look for parts of the beach where there are holes or dips. Water
is going to sweep things to the lowest point. If you can find one of these, be
thorough with your dig because there’s likely more there than you think.
6. Campground – Think about Folks Packing and Unpacking Every Weekend
Campgrounds are another great place to look.
If you’re going out for a weekend of camping, bring the detector along and
search around your campsite to see what you can find. There are very few
activities where people lose more things than when they are camping. People are
used to all sorts of space and places to put things in their homes. If something
gets bumped off the picnic table, chances are it’s not going to be found.
I have had great success at campgrounds. I
like to go camping as many times as I can in the summer and I always like to
have a detector along. This past summer, I found a small metal fly box that had
over 20 flies in it that worked perfectly on the stream next to my tent. I
couldn’t have been more fortunate. I wasn’t sure what to use so it was a
at the local Metal Detecting Club meeting
There are metal detecting clubs in almost
every single state. Here is a great website that lists the various clubs
throughout the US. Stop by one of these and see what the members have to say.
Most outdoor communities are going to be extremely friendly and inviting.
People aren’t going to give up their secret spots, but if you gain their trust
they may take you.
I heard a story of a guy that blindfolded and
took the phone of each person he took to a certain site of his. He was that
secretive, but it always produced. You never know who you’re going to meet, but
it will always be an adventure!
for What you Can or Can’t Keep
Be sure to check the state or local
regulations when detecting. There are going to be numerous rules that you’ll
have to follow and some may cause more confusion than others. The Federation of
Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs has an ethics
code that is a great place to start. This will give you a bit of an
idea of what to do any time you go detecting.
Also, there are certain states that have
finders keepers rules and others that say everything found belongs to the
landowner. States like Minnesota, Idaho and Tennessee require anything found on
private land to be given to the land owner.
New York and Oregon are considered to be
finders keepers states. Where anything found belongs to the person who found
it. There are certain exceptions to these rules so it’s very important to be
knowledgeable before you go out detecting. If you’re searching on federal or
state owned land, check out this article that describes how to properly search
on BLM land. It can be a bit tricky, but nothing that a few phone calls can’t
National Forest (BLM) Land is the best land to explore in all of the United States. It’s 245 million acres that act as a playground for anyone and everyone who wants to experience the outdoors. People hunt, backpack and fish this acreage, but very few choose to metal detect it. Most don’t ever bother trying.
There are going to be restrictions when it comes to metal detecting on BLM land. However, the recreational use of metal detectors is generally legal. These landscapes are not only beautiful, but they are full of artifacts worth finding.
What BLM Land is Illegal to Metal Detect on?
As metal detecting has gained popularity, the exact guidelines and restrictions have begun to become more clear. The National Forest Service encourages people to metal detect, but are protective over certain areas. Any piece of BLM land that is considered historic is off limits. However, as of the last 10 years, there is a program called Passport In Time that allows the public to work with archaeologists to help work through historical sites. Visit passportintime.com to find out more information on how this can become a partnership.
There are considered to be four types of metal detecting. The first type is searching for “treasure trove.” Treasure trove is considered to be money, precious metals, etc, that have been hidden with the intention of recovering it later. This type of detecting is going to require a permit. Applications for those permits can be found through the state’s website in which you choose to detect.
The second type of detecting is searching for objects that have historic or archaeological value. The requirements for this are mentioned in the paragraph above. Don’t remove artifacts or detect in any area that is considered to be historical.
Searching for gold is allowable without a permit on most BLM land. As long as you aren’t searching within a mineral claim, you’re good to go. If you are, all of the minerals found belong to the claim holder.
The safest type of detecting is what the Forest Service considers to be recreational. If you are searching for coins that are less than 50 years old or other small objects with no “historical value” in areas that aren’t restricted you should be good to go. Don’t be surprised if these rules continue to get more strict. The best option is to call the local National Forest Service office to get up to date information on the exact regulations.
What artifacts can and can’t I remove from BLM land?
Like mentioned earlier, cultural materials are not allowed to be removed without a permit. Anything that was used or produced by humans that is more than 100-years-old is considered a cultural artifact and can’t be altered.
Newer artifacts dropped by tourists such as jewelry, coins, etc., are all fair game. Also, gold and other minerals are allowed to be kept.
The main issue is your location more so than the artifacts you find. If you’re disturbing a historical site, you are likely going to be subjected to a hefty fine. First, pay attention to your location and then worry about the things you find.
Otherwise, the best option is to choose places with a decent amount of civilization around. For example, the BLM land in Wyoming is extremely barren. The Bighorn National Forest is vast and only has a few lodges spread across it. In this case, there are likely not as many artifacts to be found. If you’re searching for seclusion, Alaska, Wyoming and New Mexico are going to be your best bets.
The Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota would be a great option for metal detecting. This is where I have done the most of my detecting and I have been successful every time. There is a large stretch of National Forest, but there are towns and other communities spread throughout the forest that provide plenty of artifacts.
Access can be a bit tough, but any road sign that is brown is considered a forest road. Travel down these and as long as you don’t cross through privately marked cattle gates, you’re okay to begin searching. The north side of Custer all the way up to Hill City is full of lakes and forest roads. You can spend a weekend alone on this land!
Colorado, Utah, California and Arizona are going to be some more populated land that is great for metal detecting. I’ve spent quite a bit of time searching the Prescott National Forest since it’s only an hour and a half from my parents house in Phoenix. It’s a beautiful, wooded escape from the heat of the valley. I have found the Forest Service employees to be extremely friendly at the Prescott office.
Try detecting near campgrounds or picnic areas. These are obviously going to have the most traffic around them and keep you the safest. Also, any public beach is going to give up solid treasure. Any lake in a National Forest is going to receive a lot of traffic. People love lakes in beautifully wooded areas and the more people, the more treasure.
Rangers will not stop people detecting around these areas because chances are anything found is going to be newer than 50-years-old and considered to be recreational. The further you venture off the beaten trail, the more risk you are putting yourself and your group in.
Can I Metal Detect in a National Forest?
The National Forest Service is extremely happy to answer questions. They’ll always tell you that they are much happier when people ask for permission before they start doing something. More often than not, if you call to ask, they’ll give you some secret spots that people don’t know about.
Given that the city of Virginia Beach holds the Guinness Book of World Records record for the longest pleasure beach in the United States, it is natural to assume that this city would be a huge destination for detectorists who are looking for places to vacation. While the city of Virginia Beach as a whole has plenty of great places to go metal detecting, the name of the city gives a clue of where the truly wonderful locations really are. The ocean beaches of Virginia Bay, where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic, offer scenery that is unique and metal detecting opportunities that are even more rare.
So… Is It Legal to Metal Detect at Virginia Beach?
While the State Parks, Battle Grounds, and other DNR Lands located in Virginia Beach all have some regulations when it comes to metal detecting; as it stands currently, the public beaches of Virginia Beach are free for detectorists to use unimpeded. However, always check with the local authorities prior.
Why Should you Metal Detect at Virginia Beach?
Despite the state of Virginia being one of the most difficult places to find locations where you are able to go metal detecting, there are still plenty of detectorists many of which are some of the most experienced in the nation. Virginia Beach in particular is very popular with both local and tourist detectors.
Within the detectorist community, Virginia Beach is known mostly for the miles of beautiful ocean-front beaches that thousands of people visit every day. Due to the size, and the popularity, of these beaches they are prime locations for coin hunting. Every once in a while, you may even find a ring, or some other piece of jewelry.
Besides the wonderful time you would have metal detecting in Virginia Beach your stay, if you are traveling for a vacation, will also be top notch. There are hundreds of hotels and restaurants which are conveniently located close to in beaches. Moreover, the historical sites in the area are some of the best in the country as Cape Henry (the location of a famous Virginia Beach lighthouse) is actually the location of the first landing of the English colonist who eventually settled in Jamestown.
Rules for Metal Detecting Virginia Beach
Searching On the Beaches
All of the public beaches in Virginia Beach are open to the public for metal detecting unless otherwise marked. Those areas which are otherwise marked are most likely park of a State Park, in which case it is unlikely they will allow any metal detecting without an approved special use permit.
There are no specific laws regarding digging, although many beaches prefer only surface detecting and may ask you to comply as such. In general, respect for the land, the people, and the beach itself will get you a trouble-free experience. You can read even more at the City of Virginia Beach Website – Beach Rules VBgov.com
For Virginia Beach, and most other public beaches in the city, there are also some additional rules which all visitors should be aware of such as that there should be no…
Fires, including grills
Electric or motorized vehicles, except City Manager-authorized use by disabled persons or authorized by a special event permit
Riding horses on the beaches or dunes unless authorized by a special event permit
Scanning at the State Parks
The public is permitted to search in some designated areas of Virginia’s State Parks, and in these areas, there is usually no trouble when it comes to actually going out and detecting. However, many State Parks in Virginia don’t allow detecting whatsoever, and many also don’t allow detecting in certain areas. Many of these restrictions stem from the fact that Virginia is home to a bounty of historical artifacts which come from the many battles fought there during the civil war.
The restricted areas of Virginia’s State parks are usually well marked with plenty of signage, so don’t worry too much about that. The only thing which you really need to know about metal detecting on battle grounds and other historical sites is that it is completely prohibited without a special use permit. And even after one acquires a permit, artifacts cannot be removed from the location for any reason. Instead, you need to report the artifacts to the appropriate Field Office of the Bureau.
Metal Detecting in National Forests
Unlike State Parks, detecting in National Forest is much less restricted from the public. In fact, metal detecting in the National Forests of Virginia is permitted in all areas except those which are known to have archaeological remains present.
Who to Contact for Questions about Metal Detecting in Virginia Beach?
The City of Virginia Beach
Phone: (757) – 385 – 3111
Or you can also contact…
To acquire a Special Use Permit for State Parks, fill out this form…
When is the Best Time to Metal Detect at Virginia Beach?
In terms of time of year, there is never really one best time to go. In the spring you may get more hits because there has been less time for people to find everything already. However, as the spring time turns into the summer time, more people will be visiting the beach so you will have a better chance of finding stuff that has been dropped. I will say though; the fall is not a good time to go as less and less people are coming to visit the beaches and most everything has already been found by the dozens of detectorists that can be found on Virginia Beach every day.
Unlike time of year, the time of day that you go out searching can be chosen to your advantage. Some people like to go out at night once things have cooled down, and most anyone who could have dropped something in the sand during the day already has. This is a good time to go detecting because you will have first dibs on anything that was dropped during the day, however you have to be careful because they do rake the sand sometime in between 3am – 6am.
That’s not to say that there aren’t other good times to go metal detecting on Virginia Beach. For a similar reason to why many detectorists enjoy going at night, another faction of detectorist enjoys searching early in the morning. In both cases the sun won’t be too warm and the sand won’t be too hot. And most Importantly, the beaches won’t be too crowded.
What are the Best Places to Metal Detect at Virginia Beach?
1. Metal Detecting at High Foot Traffic Areas by Beaches
At first glance, the fact that Virginia Beach had miles of shoreline which can be searched looks like an almost endless opportunity. However, if you think about it, this also creates somewhat of a problem for detectorists as you don’t have enough time to search it all. Since you don’t have enough time to search it all it’s important to know where the best places to search are so you can most efficiently utilize your time.
The best way to do this on any beach, or in any area to some degree, is to look for the most trafficked areas. Assuming that you are looking for mostly coins and jewelry which could have been dropped by other beach goers, you will have the highest chance of finding what you are looking for if you go to where it is most likely that these things would be located. The opening of a beach area, and a triangle which gets wider as it reaches the water, is one of the most likely areas.
2. Metal Detecting by High End Hotels
Much like the previous item on this list, this location is determined by logically thinking about where something is most likely to be based on human behavior. High end hotels are most likely to be expensive to stay at. Because they are expensive, it is most likely that people who have a lot of money will stay at them. Because these people have a lot of money, it is more likely they will have expensive jewelry. And finally, because they are more likely to have expensive jewelry it is logical to assume that there is a higher chance of finding lost jewelry in the location which these people will most likely be spending their time.
This logic can, and should, be used in conjunction with the logic of the previous area I recommended to ensure the maximum chance of finding stuff which is valuable, and therefore worth your time. Stuff like rings, necklaces, bracelets, and even some coins. But, of course, other places can be good as well. In the end, it’s all up to chance, and these methods are just a way of improving your chances.
3. Metal Detecting at Virginia State Parks
As I mentioned previously, it is a bit more difficult to metal detect in Virginia’s State Parks then it is to metal detect on its public beaches. Because of this, many detectorists don’t even bother going through the effort of searching to find the designated areas where the public can search, and even less go through the trouble to obtain a Special Use Permit for those areas where the public are not allowed to search.
Despite the difficulty, this actually makes Virginia’s State Parks some of the best places to search in Virginia. These preservations, battle fields or not, are the sites of some of the most important historical events in our country’s history. The fact that not many people go through the hassle of finding a place where they can search just means that there is a higher likelihood that you will find something if you do go through the trouble.
However, as I keep saying, it is more difficult to legally metal Detect in Virginia’s State Parks. There are areas which are open to everyone, there are even more areas which are only open to people with Special Use Permits, and even more areas which are completely off limits to any detectorist. It is always best to contact local authorities to ensure that you have permission to metal detect wherever it is you go, and to obtain that permission before you go! (The link to an application for a Special Use Permit can be found above).
Why Metal Detecting at Virginia Beach is a Great Idea
Metal Detecting on any of the Beaches in Virginia Beach is a great experience for any detectorist or aspiring metal detector enthusiast. The Ocean is beautiful, the sand is clean, and the shore goes on for miles. Thousands of people visit these beaches every day and leave behind hundreds of pieces of jewelry a year (on accident but hey… better for you to have it than for it to be lost forever). Furthermore, your experience in the city itself will be amazing due to their heavy focus on tourism and the preservation of historical and cultural heritage.
Out of the many possible Metal Detecting vacation locations, Virginia Beach is one of my personal favorites. You can spend an entire day out in the sand searching and still have miles of shore to cover the next day. It truly is a detectorists dream, especially if it doesn’t get too hot. But, if it ever does, you can always take a quick dip in the ocean to cool down.
When it comes to outdoor activities, most people seek solitude. It’s Saturday morning, you’ve been in the office all week and are looking for a chance to get away and relieve some pent-up energy. This is never a bad strategy. It’s therapeutic and a great chance to reset.
This description may not sound too appealing to those who have metal detecting as a hobby. Treasure hunters want to find the nearest park or beach and get to swinging. We’re searching for treasure and know that the best finds are going to be where people spend time.
There are few universal places that always produce finds. Each region of the world has a unique geographical aspect that holds treasure. The beach, no matter where in the world you hunt, is always going to be one of the best places to try. All different types of people visit the beach. Plus, the sand holds treasure extremely well.
There are few beaches that in the world as popular as Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. As a result, it’s an amazing place to search. Not only do you have the anticipation of finding something great, but you get a great view of the Atlantic Ocean the entire time.
Can you Metal Detect at Myrtle Beach? Laws and Rules!
Yes, you can. There are a few restrictions you need to be aware of, but for the most part you’re good to search wherever you would like. According to the city of Myrtle Beach website, the beach is okay to detect, but it’s illegal to climb or walk on the sand dunes. It’s also illegal to damage any of the beach grass.
Final note: Metal Detecting isn’t allowed in Myrtle Beach city parks or on other city property. The beach, however, minus the sand dunes is fair game.
Map to Best Places to Metal Detect on Myrtle Beach
The City of Myrtle Beach has around 10 miles of shoreline to hunt. The best places to look are going to be near the resorts! These areas of the beach receive the most attention.
Southern Myrtle Beach: The first spot to look is the far south side of the beach. Park in the Nash St. Public Beach Access and get to walking. There are well over 10 resorts in a stretch of a mile.
It’s extremely popular and you’ll have plenty of areas to search. Be sure to try and detect in the morning or evening before it gets too busy! Plus, when you’re done, you have plenty of restaurants or bars to choose from!
Central Myrtle Beach: This second spot is a little further north on the beach in the heart of 15 or so resorts.
It’s going to be a similar experience to southern Myrtle Beach, but again, the key is to focus on the areas with numerous hotels. People are going to be in and out of the water constantly leaving treasure for you to find.
North Myrtle Beach: North Myrtle Beach is considered to be a different city than Myrtle Beach. There are a plethora of hotels and resorts on North Myrtle beach.
The biggest mistake you can make while metal detecting Myrtle Beach is hunting the wide open spaces. There are a few along the coast and while they are quiet, they’re quiet for a reason. Stay by the people! Also, be sure to fill in your holes on North Myrtle Beach. If you don’t, you can be hit by a $100 fine.
Myrtle Beach State Park: This is a final option that is smart to hunt on. Detecting is only allowed on the beach, but that’s okay! The closer you can stay to the water, the better. If you’re finished detecting, there are miles of hiking trails and other activities! Plus, it has numerous camping locations for you to crash. Read more about “Metal Detecting Policy for South Carolina State Parks” in this .pdf link.
Best Time to Hunt with a Metal Detector at Myrtle Beach
The best time to search Myrtle Beach is either the early or later part of the day. During the middle of the day, the beach is going to be crawling with people. If you start at sunrise, you’ll get a great view and have ample time to look around before people come to claim their spot. It’s also smart to search around sunset. This is going to be busier than sunrise, but still a good time to look before it gets dark.
If at all possible, go early in the week. You have the best shot at the treasure that was dropped over the weekend. Also, you don’t have to worry as much about the beach being full. You have more chance to wander near the beach chairs and other places where people usually congregate.
Metal Detecting Clubs and Stores in the Myrtle Beach Area
Denton’s Detectors is a metal detecting equipment supplier near North Myrtle Beach. This is a great spot to visit and ask for advice. They’re local, so they know what is best!
LMS Metal Detecting is a metal group located near the Myrtle Beach area. They’re a reliable contact to have if you’re planning on heading down to South Carolina.
Take a peak at the Treasure Net forum about Myrtle Beach. It always has people posting on it about trips or interest in forming a club. You can find the forum here.
Tips for Hunting on Beaches
Every beach is going to be a bit different. Some have extremely pure sand and life is easy for metal detectors. The lack of minerals in the ground makes treasure simple to identify. Digging can be frustrating on these beaches due to the fine sand, but do your best to look quickly before the hole refills.
Other beaches are going to have rocky sand and it’s a bit more difficult to hunt. However, it makes the digging easier; especially if the sand is damp.
The best place to search is always going to be the towel line. This is where people generally sit. Whether it’s someone losing a ring when putting on sunscreen or dumping something out of their bag, it’s always the most successful. Take your time in these areas. If there aren’t too many people around, be thorough and see what you can find.
It’s important to hunt the troughs and pockets. These are the areas of sand close to the water line. They are natural dips and holes that treasure gets washed into. The water swirls around more in these pockets and treasure sinks to the bottom of them instead of getting washed away. Take your time at these pockets. If there’s one piece of treasure there is likely going to be more!
Pay attention to the tide. If it’s low tide, you’ll have much more of the beach to search. The high tide shifts the sand around as it pulls out. Be careful! Know when the tide is going to change and be sure you aren’t too far into the open sand.