metal detect florida beach

The 7 Best Beaches in Florida to Metal Detect (And The 3 Best Times to Go)

Now that you have gathered all the tools, you have decided on the wise decision to go beach hunting. With 663 miles of beaches, you have your work cut out for you. Here are the best beaches in Florida to metal detect.

Finding a suitable location can be a bit tiring. Depending on the region you’re located, here are some of the best beaches to metal detect in Florida:

Northern Florida:

  • Emerald Coast
  • Panama City Beach

Central Florida:

  • Daytona Beach Area

South Florida

  • Lee County Beaches

These are just some of the beaches that this article will cover. Not only that but there are restrictions and other hurdles such as permits you will require to go metal detecting. This article will cover that and more. Be sure to keep reading and learn more about beach hunting in Florida.

The Best Beaches in Florida to Metal Detect

Beaches are an excellent place to start hunting. Whether you’re hunting for coins or nuggets (please note that you can find primarily find gold nuggets on hillsides), regardless of your experience level, beaches are a great and fun place to start.

Why Are Florida Beaches Considered a Treasure Trove?

The specific area that made Florida into a metal detecting haven is the Treasure Coast. Why is it called the treasure coast? In 1715, eleven Spanish ships known as the Treasure Fleet carried gold and silver, traveling to Spain.

Seven days after they left Cuba, the ships sank from a hurricane. Experts assume that the ships sank near Vero Beach in present-day Florida. Over time, gold coins would wash to shore, and thus, the treasure coast was born.

In 2015, metal detector enthusiasts found $4.5 million worth of gold off Florida’s Atlantic coast. That was just one instance of the results of metal detecting in Florida.

This article will guide you through the best beaches for beach hunting and the laws surrounding them. So, keep reading for more information on beach hunting in Florida.

What You Need to Know When Beach Hunting

Beach hunting can come across as similar in some ways. However, there are differences and things to consider before going beach hunting.

  1. Salty water beaches are more problematic than freshwater beaches. Why? Because of the salt. The salt causes a loss of sensitivity. There’s no going around it, and the best metal detectors to handle it are the more high-tier and expensive metal detectors. The best solution to this problem is to reduce the sensitivity of your machine.
  2. You need to know that objects on the sand sink at an incredibly higher rate than on typical soils.
  3. You will need to constantly check your ground balance, more so than on typical soils.
  4. When hunting on ocean soils, experts recommend focusing on cuts. A cut is a sand shelf made as a result of a high watermark. Beach hunting on a cut allows you to find targets that the waves have redeposited as they move back and forth.
  5. On the other hand, with freshwater beaches, you have the issue of heavy mineral deposits. These deposits make your metal detector go haywire, so you’ll need to increase the sensitivity.
  6. Not only that, but there isn’t enough turnover in freshwater beaches compared to saltwater beaches. So, it would be best if you had consistent ground balance and high sensitivity the entire time you’re prospecting.

Nonetheless, do not hike the sensitivity to the point it negatively affects you, the metal detector enthusiast. Ensure that you raise it to a level that you are capable of enduring.

Metal Detecting Tip: If you’d like to find all the good spots in Florida to sweep a metal detector check out this article: 7 Best Places to Metal Detect in Florida

The Top Beaches to Metal Detect in Florida

Florida Beaches Great for Metal Detecting
Florida Beaches Great for Metal Detecting

Now that the history lesson is done and dusted, it’s time to get into the best places for beach hunting. Please note that authorities regulate some of these areas, and it is upon you to conduct research. You don’t want to break the law.

Northern Florida

1.    Emerald Coast

On the map, you can find the Emerald Coast in the North West direction of Florida. The best thing about this beach is that you do not require a permit to go beach hunting with your metal detector.

As long as you adhere to the general ethics set in place and do not go into the water, you should be fine. Another thing the authorities ask is that metal detector enthusiasts stay away from the dunes. Why should you stay off the dunes?

The dunes have plants, and when you walk on the dunes, you destroy the plants holding the dunes together. These plants are detrimental to the dunes because they stop soil erosion from occurring. No more soil equals no more dunes and ultimately a deteriorating coastline.

2.    Panama City Beach

Authorities permit metal detecting on the beaches, but here are a few restrictions that come with this site:

  • You cannot go to the beach with metal shovels
  • Any holes that you dig should not be wider than two feet

There are 27 miles of beach hunting for you to search, and Trip Advisor named this beach one of the top three beaches. There’s also Shell Island, a Peninsula nearby that you can try out. However, you will have to contact the local authorities and inquire whether you can beach hunt.

3.    Jacksonville

Located on the North East of Jacksonville, metal detecting is allowed on all beaches. There are 22 miles of beaches here, so you have a lot of ground to cover.

Of course, metal detecting in Jacksonville is only allowed on public beaches. You can check out Atlantic Beach or Jacksonville Beach to get started. 

Metal Detecting Tip: The natural progression after beach sweeping is getting wet! Learn how to metal detect in the water with this ARTICLE

Central Florida

1.    Daytona Beach

Now that we’ve left the Northern region of Florida, it’s time to head to central Florida. First on the list is Daytona Beach. It’s first on this list because of the ease of accessibility. It’s one hour away from Orlando.

The downside to this beach is that you cannot go beach hunting in the Volusia County Park. The Park does cover some parts of Daytona Beach but not all of it. The parts that the Park doesn’t regulate are free real estate at this point.

2.    St. Petersburg

In 2021 Trip Advisor named this beach the #1 beach in the United States. But how does it fare in terms of metal detecting? When it comes to metal detecting, it’s pretty good.

The local authorities do have one specific rule.

You cannot use any metal detectors if it’s not on the beach. This regulation applies to both private and public beaches. So as long as you keep the beach hunting on the beach, you should be fine.

Southern Florida

Northern Florida and Central Florida have their charm. However, if you want to invest in your metal detecting hobby, it would be a good idea to check the South of Florida.

Why? Because the majority of the best beaches to metal detect are in the south of Florida. They are also on the treasure cost where the Spanish ships in 1715 sank with chests full of gold and silver.

Here are the best beaches to go beach hunting in Florida:

1.    Vero beach

As shared earlier, the ships that sank in 1715 sank near modern-day Vero Beach. It tends to be a hotspot not only for metal detector enthusiasts but curious tourists and historians. 

Vero Beach Metal detecting
Vero Beach Metal detecting

Occasionally, debris or coins from the ship will wash up along Vero Beach. That’s why Vero Beach is at the top of this list. It’s right next to the underwater wreckage.

2.    Wabasso Beach

A couple of miles north of Vero Beach is Wabasso Beach. Similarly, it also falls on the treasure coastline. What’s interesting about Wabasso Beach is that another ship sank there in 1698. Making it another hot spot for metal detecting.

In February of 2020, a man named Jonah Martinez found a dozen silver coins at Wabasso Beach.

There are other beaches on the treasure coast like:

  • Sebastian Inlet
  • Melbourne Beach

Be sure to check them out for beach hunting and more interesting treasure finds.

Metal Detecting Tip: Learning the “art” of digging makes a detectorist more efficient. Check out this article on The Best Metal Detecting Tools for Digging

The Best Time to Go Beach Hunting with Your Metal Detector

The best time to go beach hunting is after storms like hurricanes. Yes, you could call it the calm after the storm. The excessive wave movement stirs up the ocean floors. This movement exposes and deposits any new material that was sitting there.

Metal detecting experts also recommend beach hunting during the winter. It’s considered an excellent time, most especially after the summer. The summer sands have left the shores, and you have the tides to thank.

Another good time is after a rainstorm. The rain washes out the beaches and exposes the lower levels of the sand. Since the sand level has gone down, you have reduced depth to work with along the coastline.

Are You Interested in What Other Metal-Detector Enthusiast Are Asking? Here Are Some Extremely Helpful FAQs.

1.    Can You Metal Detect the Water in Florida?

Unfortunately, the law does not allow metal detecting in the water. According to the State of Florida, anything submerged in the water belongs to the state. So, by metal detecting in the water, you’re on State property. This law also includes wet beach sand below the high-water line.

2.    Do You Have to Have a Permit to Metal Detect in Florida?

It depends on the beach. Check with your local authorities on the metal detecting requirements. Some beaches need one while others don’t.

Metal Detecting in Florida is legal; however, any actions like stepping on dunes are illegal. It would be best if you kept your hands to yourself. More info about being legal HERE


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

Read about David -> HERE

Want to send me a question – contact

Additional Sources

Brandon Neice, The Metal Detecting Bible  (Berkley: Ulysses Press, 2021) 128.

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