A couple of years ago I was heading west and had to drive pretty much straight through Kansas to get to where I was headed. Of course I brought my metal detecting gear. (Who’d go on vacation without taking the gear right? 😉) At the time the state seemed to be a boring, but beautiful, characteristically midwestern state with nothing special about it in particular. But, after coming back to the Sunflower State for a proper vacation I discovered something amazing…
Until I went to Kansas for myself, I had no idea the state is pretty much a metal detectorist’s dream. Originally inhabited by nomadic Native American Tribes, Kansas has been inhabited by everyone from Spanish conquistadors to French fur trappers before eventually being overtaken by frontier towns. Even better, Kansas was home to many battles in the American Civil War. Essentially, the place is a relic hunters paradise!
That’s not to say that detectorists looking for treasures of all kinds can’t find what they are searching for… it just means that even if you’re just looking for some coins or jewelry you still might wind up discovering a real piece of history!
1. Shawnee Mission Park – Great for Metal Detecting
Shawnee Mission Park is located at the very tip of the northeast of the State of Kansas, right in greater Kansas City location, at the border between Kansas and Missouri. The Shawnee Mission Park is a massive 1600-acre multi-use park that impressively is most visited park in the entire state of Kansas. You know what that means… tons of foot traffic and potentially dropped coins, jewelry, etcetera.
However, unlike all of the state parks on this list, at Shawnee Mission Park you don’t have to only stick to detecting on the beaches. Because this park is owned by Johnson county the rules regarding digging holes while metal detecting are much different.
In fact, all you have to do is get a permit from Johnson County Parks and Recreation Department for around $6.00-$11.00 which will last you all year. For more information about this permit visit… https://www.jcprd.com/642/Annual-General-Permits
That being said, if you did want to metal detect on the beach at Shawnee Mission Park that wouldn’t be a problem. This park is named after a beautiful 120-acre lake, Shawnee Mission Lake, which is the heart and soul of the whole area. That being said, whether you like to look for treasure on the beach or treasure in the fields, Shawnee Mission Park has you covered.
2. Shawnee County Swimming Beach at Lake Shawnee
Even though this place has a similar name to the first location on this list, don’t let it fool you! The Shawnee County Swimming Beach is quite a distance from Kansas City, and is in fact located in the westward town of Topeka. Built as a Work Progress Administration Project Lake Shawnee was created from 1935 to 1939 when it was finally available to over 5,000 fisherman who attended its opening day.
However, one thing that these two loctations do have in common is tourism. Lake Shawnee has been cited by the tourism industry as the top travel destination in all of Kansas and it’s no doubt as this one lake is visited by over a million people every year for various recreational activities.
This beach is, of course, more of coin and jewelry type of location rather than somewhere where you can expect to find some historical relics. But what a coin and jewelry location it really is. Just imagine, a million people a year wind up at this lake, in its waters and on its beaches, there’s bound to be some rings, earrings, necklaces, and especially coins just waiting to be found.
3. Corporate Woods Founders’ Park
Corporate Woods Founders’ Park is a 52-acre recreational park that has tons of forested trails and wooded areas. This park is on this list because it is one of the few city parks in Kansas that both allow metal detecting and have a large amount of wooded land for you to metal detect in. State parks have plenty of wooded land, but due to laws regarding digging holes on state land it is impossible to legally metal detect anywhere besides their beaches. City parks in Kansas often allow metal detecting, but rarely have any substantial wooded areas for nature lovers like me.
That being said, the city of Overland Park allows metal detecting but only with the use of a permit… something very common amongst city parks in this area of Kansas. Luckily, unlike Johnson county which makes you pay for a permit, the City of Overland Park will issue you a five-year permit for free. For information on how to obtain this permit call the Indian Creek Recreation Center at (913)895-6390.
4. The Beaches of Glen Elder State Park
As this is the first state park on the list, I must warn you that while there are no laws that prohibit metal detecting on state land in Kansas there are laws which prohibit digging holes on state land. That is what it is most likely that you will only be able to metal detect on the beach as digging a hole in the sand isn’t nearly as frowned upon as digging into the dirt or grass. This is something that goes for every state park on this list and is something that is pretty much standard nationwide.
That aside, the beaches of the Glen Elder State Park are definitely not going to leave you wanting for more places to metal detect, even if you can only detect on the beach. That is because the Glen Elder State Park is on the north side of the 12,500-acre Glen Elder Reservoir which is more commonly known as Waconda Lake. Waconda Lake is one of Kansas’s lakes and the land surrounding comprises one of the state’s largest parks clocking in at around 13,200 additional acres.
Besides the parks amazingly beautiful in its scenery, the countless recreational opportunities bring tons of foot-traffic every year to the Parks beaches. As it is a state park you can even camp right in the park if you are planning a trip to try out some new spots in Kansas. However, you should always be as respectful as possible in regard to what you take and how “in the way” you are at a state park. You don’t want the rangers giving you any trouble as they may still ask you to stop metal detecting, something that would be terrible if you had camped there specifically to do some metal detecting.
5. The Beaches of Cedar Bluff State Park
This is another beautiful state park with plenty of beachfront to go treasure hunting on. Unlike the Glen Elder State Park. However, the Cedar Bluff State Park has beachfront on both side of its namesake reservoir. In fact, the entire park is split into two distinct areas which comprise its 850-acres of land.
The north side of the 6,800-acre Cedar Bluff Reservoir is The Bluffton Area which is the more developed and feature rich side of the lake. On this side you can expect for the beaches to have a great deal more foot-traffic than on the south side, but you can also expect them to be more heavily managed. By this I mean that it is more likely that the sand will be raked once a week on the north side as compared to once a season on the south side if at all. This means that there will be more chance for you to find something someone has dropped on the northside, but there’s also a higher chance it will get picked up or damaged by the sand rake.
The south side of the Cedar Bluff Reservoir is known as the Page Creek Area and offers an undeveloped experience on the shores along with plenty of primitive camping. One advantage of this side of the reservoir, at least how I see it, is that you won’t be bothered nearly as much when you’re out-treasure hunting.
6. Antioch Park
Antioch Park is another city park located within the bounds of Johnson county and is actually the counties oldest park. While this park isn’t nearly as big as the Shawnee Mission Park, coming in at only 44-acres, it is still a heavily visited area that attracts up to 700,000 people every year. That means that it gets almost as much foot-traffic, but instead of that foot-traffic spanning 1,600-acres it only spans 44-acres for you to search!
This park has two fishing lakes and plenty of open fields as well. Just remember, because this is a city park in Johnson county you will need the Johnson county metal detecting permit which you can find at… https://www.jcprd.com/642/Annual-General-Permits.
7. The Beaches of Perry State Park
Perry State Park is located in Jefferson county, Kansas, in the bustling city of Ozawkie. The park has 11,000-acres of total land and water, but, the crown jewel of Perry State Park (at least in regard to detectorists) is the Perry Reservoir and its 160 miles of shoreline. Not all of this lake’s shoreline is owned by the state, but a large portion of heavily trafficked public beaches can be found on the east side. The reservoir itself is a huge attraction for fisherman across the state but camping and tourism in the area ensure that the beaches of Lake Perry are never empty for too long.
8. Big Bull Creek Park
Big Bull Creek Park is the largest park in the Johnson county parks department coming in at 2,060-acres of land. Opening only two years ago in 2018 Big Bull Creek Park is also one of the newest parks in Johnson county. This park has a full 18-hoe disk golf course and is already being visited by thousands of visitors every year.
This park made it on the list because it is still relatively unknown compared to other parks of its size, so if you like open fields and wooded trails but don’t like crowds of people being nosey while you’re trying to search for treasure then the Big Bull Creek Park is the place for you.
Just remember, because this is a city park in Johnson county you will need the Johnson county metal detecting permit which you can find at… https://www.jcprd.com/642/Annual-General-Permits.
9. The Beaches of Milford State Park
While Milford State Park can’t take the trophy of the most visited state park in Kansas it definitely can take the trophy for the largest reservoir. Located in Junction City the Milford Reservoir is the state’s largest lake coming in at a whopping 15-709-acres. The park is located on the southeastern shore of the lake and, itself, comes in at over 19,000-acres of total wildlife area. Of course, the beaches are the only thing that a detectorist can utilize in a state park, and luckily the Milford State Park has no shortage of them. Extremely popular amongst anglers, Milford Lake gets its fair share of swimmers and tourists from all around the state every year.
10. Cimarron National Grassland
Welcome to the relic hunter’s paradise in the State of Kansas! The Cimarron National Grassland is the largest area of public land in Kansas as it contains 108,175-acres of land which is, importantly, managed by the Forest Service. National Forests lands, unlike state parks, allow the recreational use of metal detecting on its land. That along with its immense size and potential means that the Cimarron National Grassland is one of the best, if not the best, place to go looking for some unique piece of history long forgotten and buried by time.
11. The Beaches of Lake Scott State Park
Lake Scott State Park is one of the most historically significant state parks in the state of Kansas as it is the site of the only known Native American pueblo in the entire territory. And, while of course these remains were declared a historic landmark and can definitely not be metal detected upon, that doesn’t mean you can’t try you luck on the beaches of the nearby Lake Scott. Given that it’s unlikely to find anything historic on these beaches its lucky that the history of the area brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors every year which swim in the Lake and bring with them coins, jewelry, etcetera.
Metal Detecting Laws in Kansas
State Metal Detecting Laws
The State of Kansas has no laws which directly prohibit, or even mention, the practice of recreational metal detecting. However, State Parks do have rules which prohibit the practice of digging and removing property from their parks.
Most, but not all, state parks will allow metal detecting on their beaches only as digging holes in the sand isn’t as damaging to an area as digging holes in dirt or grass. More information can be found on the State’s Parks and Recreation Department Webpage here… https://ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/Park-Regulations
Local Metal Detecting Laws (as they relate to locations on this list)
Johnson County, KS requires a permit to be purchased every year for the privilege of metal detecting in their county’s parks. More information can be found here… https://www.jcprd.com/642/Annual-General-Permits.
Overland Park, KS requires that a permit be obtained, although for free and it last for five years. Information regarding obtaining this permit can be found from the Indian Creek Recreation Center at (913)895-6390.
General Best Practices for Metal Detecting
- Always respect the Treasure Hunter’s Code of Ethics which can be found here… https://www.metaldetector.com/learn/buying-guide-articles/getting-started/code-of-ethics
- Always do your own due diligence and call the office of wherever you plan to detect to ensure your legal use of their properties. Laws and regulation can and may have changes since the posting of this article.
Metal Detecting Clubs in Kansas
- Treasure Hunters of Dodge City
- Mo-Kan Search and Recovery (Kansas City)
- Mid-Western Artifact Society (Olathe)
- Topeka Treasure Hunters Club
Metal Detecting Shops in Kansas
Looking to More about Metal Detecting?
- Are you looking for a couple Metal Detecting Tips? I’ve gathered 41! Checkout this article that should help put you on TREASURE. 41 Metal Detecting Tips and Tricks
- Looking to find some old coins? Learn some strategies in this article – Best Places to Metal Detect for Old Coins
- If you’re looking for something a little more technical read – How Does a Metal Detecting Coil Work