Michigan has been inhabited for over 10,000 years. Relics from early settlers have been found throughout the state. There are several ghost towns where metal detectorists have found relics from the past. Some of these were mining towns that cropped up before it was determined prospecting was not as profitable in Michigan as it was in other states.
Iron and copper were mined throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and proved to be extremely profitable. Relics from early miners, and even some ores can be found throughout the area. Copper nuggets are common finds and are considered very collectible.
The French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, Pontiac War, and the War of 1812 all left scars on Michigan soil. Military artifacts are common finds across the state. Many areas are now Historical sites, so they are off limits to detectorists without the proper permissions.
Metal Detecting Tip: Oh Man! If you like sweet water beaches and beautiful sunsets. Michigan is a detectorists dream. It almost seems like the folks have forgotten search for treasure. I’ve got a complete guide to where to go – Best Places in Michigan to Metal Detect
Many areas of Michigan are popular with locals and tourists alike. Anywhere people gather and recreate offers opportunities for you to find treasures with your metal detector. While you always want to check with the proper authorities before metal detecting, Michigan has multiple state parks that are open to metal detectorists giving you ample opportunities to find buried treasure!
1. Brimley State Park & Beach – All Areas Open to Detecting!
Brimley State Park is one of the oldest state parks in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Brimley State Park covers 151 acres of beautiful scenery perfect for detecting! This area offers great recreational prospects on the Lake Superior shoreline. This area is great for swimming, fishing, boating, and camping. Metal detecting is open in all areas of Brimley State Park.
Where to Metal Detect in Brimley State Park & Beach
The campground, boat launch area, swimming beach, overnight lodging areas, shelters, and picnic areas are all great places to metal detect within the park. There are many nearby rivers and bays that are popular destinations for fishing. These areas see a lot of foot traffic, and that means you have a great chance of finding dropped items like coins and jewelry!
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2. Grand Haven State Park – Gorgeous Scenery and Ample Detecting Options!
48-acres of scenic Lake Michigan shoreline sits within the Grand Haven State Park. The northside of the park is home to the mouth of the Grand River. Grand Haven features a campground, lodges, swimming beach, picnic areas, pavilion, boardwalk, a pier, and two lighthouses. The Park even features track chairs for mobility challenged visitors.
Where to Metal Detect in Grand Haven State Park
The common areas where recreators frequent, like the campground, beaches, and boardwalk, area fantastic locations to metal detect for dropped items. Grand Haven State Park allows metal detecting within the entire park, so there are no restrictions, unless posted! Always check with the park rangers prior to detecting or check the Michigan DNR website for additional information.
Metal Detecting Tip: Several State Parks in Michigan are open to metal detecting, while others strictly forbid detecting. Always check the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website prior to metal detecting in Michigan State Parks! Learn more here: https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/places/state-parks/metal-detecting
3. Lakeport State Park – Massive Park, Endless Metal Detecting Opportunities!
Lakeport State Park is a massive, 565-acre Park along Lake Huron in southeastern Michigan. Lakeport State Park is divided between two campgrounds with a total of 250 sites. These sites feature fire pits, picnic tables, modern shower facilities and toilets, and camp pads for trailers. There is even a Camp Store that is open Memorial Day to Labor Day with many camping items and souvenirs.
Where to Metal Detect in Lakeport State Park
This State Park is huge, and metal detecting is allowed throughout the entirety of the Park. Camping areas are always a great choice for detectorists. Some of my favorite place to metal detect are campgrounds. While you will find trash in camping areas, you can also find some great treasures! I have found many coins, old cans and bottles, and even pieces of silver!
You can also detect near the shore of Lake Huron for any treasure that may have been dropped or washed ashore from the Lake. Shorelines change constantly during storms so items previously buried can be unearthed after storms.
Get a Beach Sand Scoop as TOUGH as a Shovel
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4. Mears State Park
Mears State Park is a 50-acre Park on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is located near the picturesque village of Pentwater. Campsite lots are paved and surrounded by sand. A harbor pier sits opposite a beautiful swimming beach.
Fishing is very popular in Maers State Park, all year round. Hiking along an interpretive trail also affords some beautiful scenery for recreators. This trail winds around Old Baldy which is a wooded sand dune with picturesque views of Lake Michigan.
Where to Metal Detect in Mears State Park
Mears State Park allows metal detecting within the entire park. This area features 174 modern campground sites, a modern lodge, sandy beaches, a concession stand, and special programs and events. The entire park is a great opportunity for metal detectorists to find dropped items.
Again, campsites are fantastic places to find dropped items. Mears State Park has a lot of campsites so you will have no trouble finding items here. Try using a sand scoop on the sandy beach area to find dropped jewelry, coins, and even relics.
Metal Detecting Tip: When metal detecting in Michigan parks, ensure you do not damage natural resources, and allow park staff to review all items found. You must also make sure you follow all state and federal laws, such as the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Learn more here: https://www.nps.gov/archeology/tools/laws/arpa.htm
5. Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park
Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park is a popular urban destination near the eastern edge of the Grand Traverse Bay. This State Park is open year-round. It lies two miles from downtown Traverse City and features a lodge, miniature cabins, modern campground, and a day use area. This park is 75-acres and has a quarter mile sandy beach area.
Metal Detecting Tips: Keith J. Charters is one of those beaches folks don’t think about scanning. It isn’t wide so you can search it quick. Here’s a map link – Map Link
The campground area, lodge, cabins, and day use areas are great places to metal detect for dropped items. You can also search the sandy beach area, which features a beach house and picnic area. There are also 30 acres of undeveloped woodlands where you can metal detect. The entire park is open to detectorists, so get out there and find some treasure!
6. Aloha State Park
Aloha State Park lies along Mullett Lake in Cheboygan, Michigan. Aloha State Park features two swimming beaches, campgrounds, boating, park areas, volleyball and basketball courts, softball field, and horseshoe pits. Aloha State Park is also close to the Northeastern State Trail, which is popular with many recreators.
Aloha State Park is popular with campers, boaters, and bicyclists. This means you have a great chance of finding items dropped by recreators like jewelry and coins.
Metal Detecting Tips: Now I’m giving you the “good” stuff. Aloha State Park isn’t on one of the big lakes, only the locals think about getting their metal detectors out to scan the beach. Map Link
Unlike the other State Parks on this list, Aloha State Park has designated metal detecting locations within the park. Portions of the park are off limits to detecting. You can find the map of available detecting locations here: https://www2.dnr.state.mi.us/publications/pdfs/RecreationCamping/metal-maps/aloha.PDF
Metal Detecting Tip: One of my favorite places to search for coins and jewelry are canoe take outs. Learn some tips for metal detecting in rivers and streams -> HERE
7. Indian Lake State Park
Like Aloha State Park, Indian Lake State Park has designated metal detecting areas, while other areas of the park are off limits to detecting. Indian Lake State Park is in Manistique, Michigan, and is the fourth largest inland lake in upper Michigan. This lake area is 8,400 acres in area. It is three miles long and six miles wide. Log cabins near the outlet were once occupied by Native Americans.
Indian Lake State Park is a popular site for hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, swimming, berry picking, and metal detecting. The west unit of the park is open to metal detecting, while the east unit is closed to detectorists. See the map here: https://www2.dnr.state.mi.us/publications/pdfs/RecreationCamping/metal-maps/indianlake.PDF
Metal Detecting Laws for Michigan
As with all states, Michigan metal detectorists must follow the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. This prohibits removing man-made objects over 100 years old from public lands. Several Michigan State Parks allow unrestricted metal detecting, others have designated metal detecting areas, and still others prohibit the activity. Be sure to check with the park supervisors prior to detecting.
You can use a metal detector for underwater hunting in Michigan, but only in certain locations. Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and Lake Ontario all allow underwater metal detecting. The towns of Fayette, Sherman, and Clifton all allow metal detecting.
If you will be metal detecting on private property, you will need to obtain the property owner’s written permission prior to hunting the property. Laws like the Archaeological Resources Protection Act do not apply to private property, so you can keep any items you find regardless of age.
Always check with the city, county, or park you wish to metal detect to ensure you are following all rules and regulations. Ingham County does not allow metal detecting in county parks. Oakland County allows metal detecting in campgrounds, picnic areas, and general park areas. Beaches in Oakland County can be detected with permission from the park supervisor when the beach is closed. Learn more here: https://www.oakgov.com/parks/Resources/OCPR%20Rules%20and%20Regulations.pdf
Metal Detecting Clubs in Michigan
- Michigan Treasure Hunters has operated for more than 40 years. This is one of the largest metal detecting clubs in the country. Learn more here: https://www.michigantreasurehunters.com/
- Gold Prospectors Association of America Michigan Chapter is a great resources for anyone wishing to prospect in the state of Michigan. Learn more about GPAA here: http://michgpaa.homestead.com/
Metal Detecting Treasures Found in Michigan
Michigan’s long history ensure numerous treasures are found within the state. Metal detectorists have found including silver dimes, buffalo nickels, relics from Michigan’s automotive manufacturing background, old bottles, and French Army buttons. Other military artifacts have been found, large copper nuggets, and old mining relics. Learn more about Michigan treasures unearthed by metal detectorists here: https://www.wzzm13.com/article/life/people/michigan-treasure-hunter-james-stottlemyer-digging-up-historical-artifacts-across-the-entire-state/69-c6a1a8b0-4374-4aca-92f4-a5ac77d1f5a7
Metal Detecting Resources in Michigan
- MDHTALK is a great resource for information about metal detecting in Michigan including laws, clubs, and general information. More here: http://www.mdhtalk.org/cf/city-regulation.cfm?st=MI#:~:text=Metal%20detecting%20is%20recognized%20as,be%20retained%20for%20further%20investigation.
- Michigan DNR has lists and information about metal detecting in State Parks within Michigan. Their comprehensive information can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/places/state-parks/metal-detecting
Metal Detector Stores in Michigan for Expert Advice
- Pro Stock Metal Detectors – https://prostockdetectorsmi.com/
- Serious Metal Detecting – https://www.seriousdetecting.com/
- GTC Metal Detectors – http://gtcmetaldetectors.com/
What do You Need For Beach Metal Detecting?
I’m going to provide an ESSENTIAL beach gear list. Everyone wants to enjoy beach time and dragging a pile of gear to the beach sucks.
- A great multi-frequency metal detector. Different metals react to different frequencies. Having a machine that utilizes multiple frequencies at the same time will greatly improve finding gold and coins. The Best Value is the Nokta Makro Legend check prices and reviews on Amazon with this shortcut link -> Nokta Makro Legend
- A great pinpointer, I’m an absolute believer in wireless tech. For years I would get tangled in my headphone wires. GO WIRELESS the Nokta PulseDive links to the Legend’s wireless headphones. Since it’s built for diving, it’s Heavy Duty. Short cut link to Amazon – Nokta Makro PulseDive
- Get a heavy duty sand scoop, I’ve bought the cheap plastic and metal scoops – NOT GOOD. They usually break within a day. 2+ years later I’m still hammering on my CKG Metal Detecting Sand Scoop <- Link to Amazon