New Jersey is a wonderful place for metal detectorists. The Lenni-Lenape Native Americans initially inhabited the state, followed by Dutch settlers, and those who came during the incorporation of the state into America. The Revolutionary War and Civil War left their marks across the state.
The state has relatively lax rules for metal detectorists, and a rich history. These combine to make the Garden State a fantastic place to metal detect!
Point Pleasant Beach – Beach, boardwalk, and bounty!
In Ocean County, you will find Point Pleasant Beach. This beach is great for families and features a miniature golf course, a mile-long boardwalk, food stands and restaurants. The beach is close to hotels and shopping, nightclubs and bars, and a comedy club.
This beach is popular with tourists and locals alike, so you have a great chance of finding dropped items along Point Pleasant Beach. It is just an hour drive from New York City, making this town a fantastic getaway location.
Where to Metal Detect on Point Pleasant Beach
All beaches have what is known as the “towel line.” This invisible line is where recreators set their items out for a day of fun on the beach. This is a wonderful place to metal detect for dropped items like jewelry and coins. You can also check near and under the Point Pleasant boardwalk. There is plenty of undisturbed items waiting under and near the boardwalk.
Ocean City Beach – Pristine white beaches, endless detecting opportunities
Ocean City Beach is 8 miles of white, sandy beaches that are open year-round. This is a popular location for families, fishermen, and surfers. Ocean City requires beach tags for all visitors aged 12 and over. These can be purchased here. These tags can be for the day, week, or season. You can also purchase them at City Hall, Post Office, Welcome Center, and Information Center.
Some rules to be aware of while enjoying Ocean City Beach include no dogs from May 1 to September 30, no alcohol or smoking, no motorized vehicles, and no fires. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months. This beach is popular with locals and tourists, especially during the summer months. The more people come to an area the better chance you have at finding dropped loot with your metal detector!
Where to Metal Detect on Ocean City Beach
Always check areas where people commonly set their items out to enjoy a day of recreating. Check near parking areas, bathrooms, and food vendors. Ocean City has several weddings on the beach, so you may find items dropped by those attending weddings. Check near the water’s edge for items recently uncovered by the changing sands.
Seaside Heights – Safe and clean beach
Seaside Heights Beaches are public and require a beach badge to enter. These badges are designed to help keep the beach clean and safe. In fact, Seaside Heights Beach is one of the safest and cleanest beaches on the East Coast! A day badge is $8, weekly is $35, season is $45 – $60, seniors is $10. Kids 11 and under are free.
Seaside Heights Beach features a boardwalk, which is the main attraction on the beach. During the summer months, the boardwalk is full of rides, games, and food vendors. Winter months are calmer but still feature pubs and arcades.
Where to Metal Detect on Seaside Heights Beach
As with all beaches, check the towel line where people typically set their items for the day. You should also metal detect near the boardwalk. The boardwalk is the featured attraction on Seaside Heights Beach and always draws in the crowds. People getting money out of their wallets in this area leads to many dropped coins for metal detectorists to find!
Atlantic City Beach – One of New Jersey’s Best-Known Beaches
Atlantic City Beach is well-known, and for good reason! These beaches are within walking distance of resorts, hotels, casinos, five-star restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. The 4-mile boardwalk is spectacular on Atlantic City Beach and was built in 1870.
Atlantic City Beach is popular for relaxing on the beach, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing, and surfing. Lifeguards patrol the beach from July 1 through Labor Day. This beach does not require beach badges, so all can get out and enjoy the scenery.
Metal Detecting Tip: New Jersey is filled with great detecting spots. I’ve got a full guide -> Where to Metal Detect in New Jersey
Where to Metal Detect on Atlantic City Beach
As always, the sandy areas of beaches produce lots of dropped items for detectorists to find. Atlantic City Beach has a long boardwalk, also. This is a beautiful place to metal detect. People flock to the boardwalk and it features many vendors. This is perfect for finding lost and dropped items like jewelry and coins.
Cape May Beaches
Cape May is home to several beaches, including Broadway, Windsor, The Cove, Madison, and Baltimore, among others. Beaches in Cape May are family-friendly. They are all within walking distance to food, restrooms, and other accommodations. Lifeguards patrol the beaches from July 1st through Labor Day. Beach tags are required for everyone 12 and older, Memorial Day through Labor Day. These tags are good for all the beaches along the Cape May area.
Cape May beaches (link to map) are popular areas for picnics, kayaking, fishing, surfing, and volleyball. Metal detecting along Cape May beaches has the potential to net some great treasures. Sandy areas along the beaches are the best places to search for loot. Check near bathrooms, the towel line, and near parking areas for the best chances.
Metal Detecting Tip: When metal detecting along saltwater beaches, you may find your typical metal detector does not respond as it normally does. Saltwater is naturally conductive and can interrupt signals from the metal detector, causing it to relay false signals or even overload. To combat this, take a metal detector that is designed for hunting in saltwater. Learn more here: Are Metal Detectors Waterproof?
Wildwood Beaches (link to map) are 5 miles of pristine white sand and have been called the best beaches in New Jersey. Wildwood is popular for swimming, boogie boarders, body surfers, playing frisbee, beach volleyball, and simply relaxing on the beach. Many events unfold along Wildwood Beaches including soccer, lacrosse, Motocross, sand sculpting festivals, concerts, kit festivals, and monster truck races.
This popular area and the number of events means that metal detectorists will have a great chance to score some items dropped into the sand. Check the sandy areas, as with all beaches, and near parking lots, bathrooms, and event sites. These areas all have a good chance of producing dropped items like jewelry or coins.
Ashbury Park Beach
Ashbury Park Beach is smaller than some others, but its mile of sand and water remains popular with swimmers, surfers, sunbathers, and for fishing. Ashbury Park Beach is home to a boardwalk featuring miniature golf, playgrounds, music, restaurants, shopping, water parks, and more. Beach passes are required from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Ashbury Park Beach (map link) is also home to many events throughout the year including a jazz festival, oyster festival, and theater. Take your metal detector along the sandy areas, near the boardwalk, parking areas, and restroom areas for the best chance of finding dropped items.
Metal Detecting Tip: Do not get discouraged if you find more trash than treasure. This is a normal part of all metal detecting hunts! You might feel like it is all in vain, and you will never find anything worthwhile. If you keep at it and keep yourself from getting too discouraged, you will eventually come across something amazing! Be patient with yourself. Learn more about finding better targets here: Metal Detecting Tips to Find More Treasure
Metal Detecting Laws for New Jersey
New Jersey, like all other states in the country, is governed by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. This Act states that any man-made item over 100 years old may not be removed from any public property. Any such item should be reported to the proper authorities and left where you found it. This Act’s purpose is to preserve the history and culture of America by preserving artifacts and relics from the past.
New Jersey is relatively relaxed as pertains to metal detecting laws. If you want to metal detect in a State Park in New Jersey, you will need to obtain a permit from the Superintendent or designee. This permit will limit hours, location, and days of use. Any area with cultural or historical value will be off-limits to metal detecting.
You may need a permit to metal to detect on Bureau of Land Management lands. Certain areas are protected, and permits will only be granted to those with the proper credentials, like archaeologists and historians.
Be aware, New Jersey has a lost property law. If an item is found and is deemed to be lost, and not abandoned, finders are required to report the items to the police. The state will hold the item for 120 days, with public notice and reasonable effort to notify the public of the item. This gives the owner time to come forward and claim the item. After this 120 period, the item will be returned to the finder if the owner does not claim it.
Metal detecting on private property means you will not have to follow the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Any item you uncover is yours for the taking. Always make sure you have the proper written permission from the property owner before you metal detect. This will keep you safer than oral permission. Ensure you decide with the landowner what will happen to the items you find.
Metal Detecting Tip: Learn about a couple ways I get permission to treasure hunt on private property in this article -> How to Get Permission to Metal Detect on Private Property
Metal Detecting Clubs in New Jersey
Deep Search Metal Detecting Club is an active club with a ton of valuable information on its website. You can find information regarding tide charts, abandoned areas to search, coin dealers, and meetings and events. Check them out here https://www.dsmdc.org/
South Jersey Metal Detecting Club has been in operation since 1972. They have over 100 members and are a friendly group seeking to promote the hobby of metal detecting. Read more about them here http://www.sjmdc.org/
East Coast Research and Discovery Association is the northeast’s largest treasure hunting club. They have been operating since 1983 and offer members information about all aspects of metal detecting. Learn more at their website https://www.ecrda.org/
Metal Detecting Treasures Found in New Jersey
John Fallon is a New Jersey native who uses his metal detector to uncover history. He has found items ranging from wedding bands, coins, silverware, and other items of ordinary life lost in the ground underfoot. In 2015 in Woodbridge, New Jersey, Fallon, using his White’s DFX metal detector at a construction site, found a coin.
This coin was no ordinary piece of money. It was the rare Fugio Cent, first minted in 1787. The coin was well preserved by the clay-rich soil, featuring the sun and sundial on one side, with the inscription “Mind Your Business” on the reverse. Read more about Fallon’s amazing discovery here https://www.dailyrecord.com/story/life/2015/11/03/woodbridge-man-uncovers-history/75085242/
Metal Detecting Resources in New Jersey
- MDHTALK is a fantastic resource for information about metal detecting in New Jersey. Learn more here http://www.mdhtalk.org/cf/city-regulation.cfm?st=NJ
Metal Detecting Stores in New Jersey for Expert Advice
- Lacey Metal Detectors: https://www.laceymetaldetectors.com/
- DeMarco Detector Sales: https://metaldetecting.com/en/
- The Gold Digger Metal Detectors: https://thegolddigger.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