Virginia is a scenic state with a vast history. From the earliest Native American settlers to the establishment of Jamestown in the 1600s to the later European settlers, the territory has been inhabited for hundreds of years. Dozens of early relics, war artifacts, coins, and jewelry have been found throughout the state.
Metal Detecting Tip: When you are unsure if you can metal detect in a location or not, call or stop by the nearest city or county building, park rangers’ office, or park managers office to double check. Areas like state parks will require permits, while other areas like National Forests do not. Learn more about metal detecting in National Forests here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5261774.pdf
Virginia’s picturesque beaches are one of the best places to metal detect. These areas attract a lot of visitors and locals alike. Most public beach areas allow metal detecting, while others are off limits. You must do your due diligence and ensure you are legally metal detecting when searching in the Old Dominion State! Be sure to avoid national parks, refuges, and military areas. Stick to the sandy areas of the public beaches for the best metal detecting!
1. Chesapeake Beach – Gentle ocean, vast metal detecting opportunities!
Chesapeake Beach is nestled along the gentle waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Beach is known to locals as Chic’s Beach. This area provides many opportunities for recreation including fishing, swimming, volleyball, biking, camping, running, dolphin watching, and simply basking in the sun.
The area surrounding Chesapeake Beach is filled with restaurants with outdoor and waterfront dining. The Chesapeake Bay Bride Tunnel stretches nearly 18 miles and dominates the landscape. There is fee based or street parking for public access to Chic’s Beach.
Metal Detecting Tip: Virginia is awesome for metal detecting. With so much history and complicated laws it can be tough to find where to go. I’d love to share my complete Virginia guide -> Best Places to Metal Detect in Virginia (Maps, Laws and More)
Where to Metal Detect on Chesapeake Beach
The best places to metal detect on Chesapeake Beach are the sandy areas. The so-called towel line, where people set up their towels and chairs for the day, is one of the best places to search. Check near the edges of the beach and the parking areas, also. These are all great areas to find dropped items like coins and jewelry.
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2. Little Island Park Beach – 122 acres of fun!
Little Island Park is in Sandbridge, Virginia, north of the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. This is a 122-acre beach area with a 400-foot fishing pier and 2775 feet of beach to scan. This area is popular for fishing, swimming, crabbing, and relaxing. The beach has a playground, volleyball, tennis, basketball and pickleball courts, canoe launch area, picnic shelters, grills, concessions, and restrooms.
The park office has a rental station for those interested in renting sporting equipment or beach wheelchairs. This is a public beach area and as such, is open to metal detecting!
Where to Metal Detect on Little Island Park Beach
The best places to metal detect are always where people gather. Check the towel line along the beach. Check the areas near the various sports courts, picnic shelters, grills, and concessions. You can also check near the parking areas. All these hold great opportunities for you to find lost items dropped by recreators!
Be aware that south of the Little Island parking lot is off limits until you reach North Carolina. This area is a preserve where you can hike, canoe, or camp, but you may not metal detect.
3. Ocean View Beach Park – Hidden treasures in the Jewelry of Ocean View!
Ocean View Beach Park is a 6.5-acre beach that is part of Chesapeake Bay. The beach has and band shell, a boardwalk, green spaces, lifeguards, and handicap access ramp. The beach hosts Big Band music and dancing each Saturday from end of May to the beginning of September. The beach also hosts themed party nights from early July through the end of August, movie nights, and family nights.
Ocean View Beach Park has public restrooms, shower facility, and parking area. There is a nearby shopping center with restaurants nearby, and the beach is rarely crowded. This makes Ocean View Beach a wonderful place to relax, and metal detect in peace.
Where to Metal Detect on Ocean View Beach Park
The sands of the beach area hold a lot of dropped items. Sandy areas are one of the best places to find lost coins, jewelry, and other metal artifacts along beaches. Ocean View Beach also has the band shell, where people gather for evenings during the summer months. The area around the shell is a beautiful place to find items!
4. Virginia Beach – Popular with tourists, great for detectorists!
Virginia Beach holds the Guinness World Record for “Longest Pleasure Beach.” It is 35 miles of coastline filled with campgrounds, fishing areas, swimming, and relaxation. Virginia Beach has a 3-mile boardwalk. This boardwalk is 59 city blocks of statues, music, restaurants, hotels, and shopping. There is also a bike path that runs parallel to the boardwalk.
Virginia Beach has a lot of tourists during the summer months. In fact, they receive approximately 10 million visitors a year! That is a lot of opportunities to find dropped items! I’ve got a complete guide to this best -> Can I Metal Detect on Virginia Beach
Where to Metal Detect on Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach is massive, and many lesser beaches are considered part of the Virginia Beach community. Anywhere people congregate, such as near the piers, along the towel line, and along the boardwalk, are great places to metal detect. You will likely not find historical artifacts on the beach, but you have a great chance of finding necklaces, rings, watches, and coins.
Avoid Buck Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. These areas either require a permit or are off limits. Check with park or beach officials prior to detecting!
5. Buckroe Beach and Park
Buckroe Beach is on the Chesapeake Bay and is nearly a mile of pristine beach. The area features picnic tables, grills, a pier and shelter, a stage pavilion, playground, and restroom facilities. Beachgoers can rent jet skis, paddleboards, or kayaks. There are also concessions stands.
Metal detecting was illegal on this beach for many years due to unexploded ordinance from the World Wars. The beach is now open to metal detectorists, with a catch. Anyone who wants to metal detect Buckroe Beach must watch a video by the Army Corps of Engineers regarding artillery shells and what to do if you find one. Detectorists will then receive a badge of completion that is to be worn while detecting.
6. Croatan Beach
Croatan Beach is nearly a mile long. It extends from Camp Pendleton to Rudee and features 2 surfing areas. The beach is dog friendly before 10 am and after 6 pm, so bring your furry friend with your while you detect! This beach is tucked away compared to more popular areas, so it is nice and quiet for metal detectorists!
Try searching the surf areas, since people congregate there. Detectorists report finding a lot of clad items in this area.
7. Yorktown Beach
Yorktown Beach is a 2-acre public beach near historic Yorktown, Virginia. This beach is popular for sunbathing, fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, and bicycling. There is free public parking and several tours. Metal detecting is allowed on Yorktown Beach in the sandy areas. You must avoid all vegetated sand dunes, however.
Metal Detecting Tip: What do you need while metal detecting on Virginia Beaches? When detecting on beaches, a sand scoop will be one of your most important tools. It makes finding treasure in sand so much easier by eliminating the need to dig a larger hole. The sand scoop will filter out the sand and leave behind the treasure! Learn more about sand scoops here: Best Metal Detecting Tools for Digging
Metal Detecting Laws for Virginia
Metal detecting in Virginia is governed by federal level laws such as the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Per this Act, no manmade object over 100 years old can be removed from public lands. Report any such object to the authorities. Some State Parks in Virginia allow metal detecting with a permit. You must ask the park ranger for specifics and obtain the proper permits for these areas.
If you want to metal detect underwater, you must also obtain a permit. Underwater zones in Virginia rivers, bays and coastal zones are state property. If you will be detecting on private property, ensure you receive written permission from the landowner prior to metal detecting.
When in doubt, always ask the city, county, or park supervisor of the area you wish to metal detect. Better to be safe than sorry! Learn more about metal detecting laws in Virginia here: https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/faqs/metal-detecting-and-permits/#:~:text=Metal%20detectors%3A%20Metal%20detectors%20may,obtained%20from%20the%20park’s%20manager
Metal Detecting Clubs in Virginia
- Northern Virginia Relic Hunters Association has been in operation since 1972. Club membership is currently around 200 individuals. Learn more about this club here: http://www.nvrha.com/about.html
- Hampton Roads Recovery Society is an active club of detectorists who hold many annual group hunts and events. Read more here: http://www.hrrsmetaldetecting.com/aboutus.html
- The Central Virginia Civil War collectors Association has regular meetings and helps promote the preservation and study of American history in Virginia. Learn more about this great club here: http://www.cvcwca.com/
- Tidewater Coin and Relic Club operates in Sandbridge and holds regular meetings. Learn more about them here: https://www.tc-rc.com/
Metal Detecting Treasures Found in Virginia
In 2021, a group of kids using a metal detector found a Civil War cannonball from the Union Army about 2 feet underground. War relics are a common find in the state.
Detectorist Henry Braithwaite was metal detecting along Chesapeake Bay when he found a ring in the sand. It was a ring missing since 1997 with a name engraved inside the ring. He was able to reunite the ring to its rightful owner. Read more about this incredible metal detecting find here: https://www.pilotonline.com/news/article_83768510-89d4-11e8-99cb-1b8b18ad8aaa.html
Metal Detecting Resources in Virginia
- The website Silver Recyclers always has valuable information for metal detecting. Check out their information and resources for metal detecting in Virginia here: https://www.silverrecyclers.com/blog/metal-detecting-in-virginia.aspx
- MDHTALK is one of my favorite resources for metal detecting in Virginia. They have information about laws, clubs, and general metal detecting advice. Learn more here: https://www.mdhtalk.org/cf/city-regulation.cfm?st=VA
Metal Detector Stores in Virginia for Expert Advice
- Cold Harbor Metal Detectors: https://www.coldharbormetaldetectors.com/
- Aldridge Metal Detector Sales in North Chesterfield, Virginia does not have a website, but can be reached by phone at (804) 271-9523.
- Cabela’s: https://stores.cabelas.com/us/va/gainesville/5291-wellington-branch-dr.html?y_source=1_NDQ4OTczMi03MTUtbG9jYXRpb24ud2Vic2l0ZQ%3D%3D
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
Metal Detecting Tip: Treasure hunting doesn’t mean making a mess, digging holes and destroying historic sites. Use some ethics and preserve history. Sharing pictures and documenting the location and researching the back story is the most important part of finding treasure. Read my article 👉 Metal Detecting Rules, Ethics and Laws
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.