Where to Treasure Hunt in North Carolina

15 Places to Find Lost Treasure In North Carolina (Maps and More)

As one of the original colonies, North Carolina is a historical state with lots of lost treasures for you to find. After all, most of the Revolutionary Wars occurred here, and some of the world’s famous pirates used this state as a base for their operations. And one of the most familiar tales of hidden treasures is the British Loyalists looting folks in Randolph that were buried near Bell’s Mills.

Therefore, what else does North Carolina have for treasure hunters? Let me help you with that.

Treasure Hunting in North Carolina
Treasure Hunting in North Carolina

The 15 Best Places to Find Lost Treasure In North Carolina

North Carolina is the twenty-eighth biggest state in the United States, with more than enough to offer. Plus, the fact that it is one of the 13 colonies means it is part of the Country’s history; therefore, it has more than enough buried artifacts and treasures from the Revolutionary War for treasure hunters.

So here are some of the best places for treasure hunters; who knows, maybe your hometown may feature in our list.

1. Revolutionary War Treasure Near Bell’s Mill

Generally, the Revolutionary War was mainly fought between the aristocratic wealthy and colonial poor in North Carolina to Saint Augustine’ Florida (source).

Like with every war on the planet, looting is common, but one of the most famous lootings was the one done in 1781 by the British loyalists at Randolph County.

After stealing massive plunder from the locals, they buried them at the Muddy Creek near Bell’s Mill. The Bell’s Mill is near the Deep River, over 2 miles from Randleman.

The soldiers planned on returning for their plunder after the battle; unfortunately, they were all killed in the fight before they could reveal the whereabouts of the loot. And up to date, the loot has never been found, so if you plan on hunting for treasure here, you should be ready to dive into the water since part of the loot is in the water.

Map to Revolutionary War Treasure Near Bell’s Mill – image Google Maps Orton Plantation is an exceptional plantation home in Brunswick County that played a vital role in the history of North Carolina. After all, it is one of the original plantations in this county, which Roger Moore developed in 1725. The Native Americans destroyed the Building before being rebuilt in 1735.

The plantation has changed hands over the last 150 years a couple of times; in fact, Thomas Miller confiscated it in 1865 after the Fort Fisher battle. It is owned by Louis Bacon, a direct descendant of the building’s builder.

Legend has it that Roger Moore buried some valuables on the property, and no one has ever found it since then. So, if the treasure is there, I’m sure you would love to look for them, but before getting into this compound, you should seek permission first. (source)

Map to Orton Plantation Treasure – image Google Map Link

3. Beaufort, North Carolina

Established in 1713, Beaufort is one of the oldest North Carolina towns found after Edenton, New Bern, and Bath towns. Budget Travel Magazine ranked Beaufort as the “Coolest Small Town in the United States” in 2012, but did you know that this town has a very dark past? Beaufort used to serve as a pirate’s haven, and several tales of buried treasure have been passed down for generations. (source)

Archaeologists discovered Blackbeard’s sword in this town in 2011 and still believe that Beaufort has more to offer. The discovery has challenged more treasure hunters to try their luck in this town. Fortunately, metal detecting is legal in this state, so you can pick the right places in Beaufort and start your search. (source)

Image of Beaufort, North Carolina – image Google Link

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

4. Clapp’s Mill, North Carolina

Situated near the junction between the Big Alamance and Beaver Creeks, Clapp’s Mill is a famous battleground that played a vital role during the Revolutionary War. In 1781, the patriots under Colonel Lee Henry ambushed Lt. Col Tarleton Banastre in a perfectly planned attack with the patriots running for their lives.

But before retreating, it’s believed that the patriots buried some bronze munitions and cannons. (source) Fortunately, they never discovered these valuables, so maybe you can test your treasure hunting skill around this place and find a few artifacts.

Map to Clapp’s Mill, North Carolina – Google Map image – Link

5. Deep River, North Carolina

The Deep River is one of the branches of the Cape Fear River that runs through North Carolina. The Deep River is located near Guilford town, and many believe that David Fanning buried his treasure in one of the caves along the river before fleeing. Fanning was a known murderer who, together with his gang, managed to kill hundreds of people.

Fanning set camp near Deep River in 1781 and launched several attacks against the region’s Whigs resulting in a violent and bitter civil war. But after being defeated, he escaped to Canada. But before that, he may have buried his loot along the Deep River. (source)

Image to Deep River, North Carolina – Google Map Image link

Beaches to Metal Detect
Beaches to Metal Detect

6. Snowbird Mt. North Carolina

In the early 1800s, the Cherokee Community was affected by smallpox resulting in the death of all but the Sontechee. And as soon as their population declined, the whites moved in and took over. They forced the Sontechee to move to a store where they stored their silver. (source)

However, most white settlers tolerated Sontechee and even became friends with the old Indian, and they would even give him food. On some occasions, Sontechee even gave the whites gifts from the silver collections, leaving them wondering where he was getting these things.

Some white settlers tried following him to his cave but never discovered the source of his treasure which has been hidden to date.

Map to Snowbird Mountain, North Carolina Google Map Image Link

7. Etchoe, Present-Day Franklin Town, North Carolina

Franklin is a unique town in the Nantahala National Forest that treasure hunters love for a good reason. Before the 1800s, the region was occupied by a Cherokee Nation. With their crucial settlement being Etchoe, they thrived in the state. But thanks to the battle between the two communities, the whites destroyed Etchoe several times. By 1819, the Cherokee Indians had left the region. (source)

Legend has it that before leaving, they buried all their golden idols all over the region. Therefore, this can be a great place to visit; unfortunately, most of the buried golden idols are on private land, so you may need permission to explore the region.

Map to Etchoe – Image Google Map – link

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8. Cape Lookout, North Carolina

The 56-mile-long part of the Crystal Coast or Outer Banks of NC is the Cape Lookout. With the treasure buried in the region by the Spanish in the 1750s, this shoreline is quite popular among treasure hunters. A Spanish Galleon is believed to have sunk near this region. But before this happened, some crew members managed to swim to the shores with gold and silver bullions and pesos.

They carried them to the highest spot at the Cape Lookout and buried them before being rescued by fishers. After a few months, they returned for the valuables but couldn’t find the area where they had planted them. Unfortunately, a massive hurricane that had hit the region altered the landscape; therefore, they assumed that the valuables were washed to sea.

But a mysterious Spanish jar, believed to be part of the wreck, was discovered in the region leading to archeologists thinking that the treasure was indeed offshore. But this is just an assumption; some of them may still be along the shores of this region. (source)

Map to Cape Lookout, North Carolina – Image Google Map – Link

9. Abbott’s Creek, North Carolina

Abbott’s creek is a part of the High Rock Lake that ends at the Hwy 8 causeway that saw a lot of action during the Revolutionary War. In 1781 Cornwall and his troops were trying to capture NC for the United Kingdom. And while passing through Abbott’s Creek, the weather was so bad, and it ended up leaving his troop tired; therefore, they had to leave some of the treasure they had accumulated behind.

Therefore, they camped at Abbott’s Creek, and while there, they dumped a barrel full of gold in the creek. They buried several kegs and chests of silver and gold near the stream that had never been found.

Map to Abbott’s Creek, North Carolina – Image Google Map – link

10. Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Blackbeard spent some years in North Carolina and is believed to have established one of his bases near Elizabeth City, where he buried lots of treasure. One of his popular bases was at the shores of Pasquotank River, 3 miles from Elizabeth City. The locals have found silver and gold coins in the region over the last century, and many believe it is part of the Blackbeard’s loot. So there could be more treasure waiting. (source)

Image to Elizabeth City, North Carolina – image Google map – link

11. Plum Point, North Carolina

According to some tales, several pirates, including the Blackbeard, used Plum Point as their place of operation. Situated close to Bath, NC, this base is on Pamlico Sound, and it’s believed that the colonial site contains thousands of buried pirate treasures. Over $10,000 worth of artifacts and coins have already been discovered in the region, and archeologists still believe there could be more for treasure hunters to find. (source)

Map to Plum Point, North Carolina – Image Google Maps – Link

12. Cape Fear River, North Carolina

Stede Bonnet is one of the most feared who terrorized the locals until the day authorities hung him in Charleston for piracy in 1718. But before his death, he partnered with the Blackbeard, and they committed piracy all over the American east coast.

Bonnet may have buried a massive chunk of his loot on the banks of River Cape Fear near Buccaneer Point. A young boy dug up some of his gold coins around this region while looking for a worm in 1930. (source)

Image to Cape Fear River, North Carolina – image Google Map – Link

13. Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina

Another historical place associated with the pirates is the Ocracoke Inlet, situated in the Outer Banks; in fact, it separates Portsmouth Island and Ocracoke Island. After all, Captain Blackbeard was killed in this inlet in 1718. (source)

It’s believed that some of these pirates buried their loot around the Ocracoke Inlet. But most of them are yet to be found. (source)

Map to Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina – Image Google Map – Link

14. Topsail Island

Topsail Island is a unique 26 miles barrier island between Onslow and Pender counties along the east coast. The region consists of Surf City, North Topsail, and Topsail Beach, with the Topsail offering an exceptional and undeveloped region for treasure hunters. Fortunately, there are several public beaches where you can test your metal detection gear. (source)

Before the 2018 Hurricane Florence, treasure hunting was unknown on this beach, but the hurricane moved several valuables to the surface.

Map to Topsail Island, North Carolina – Image Google Map – Link

15. Caswell Beach, North Carolina

Caswell beach is an exceptional beach region that houses the Oak Island Lighthouse. It is not one of the most highly populated beaches on Brunswick Island; therefore, it’s the best option for a relaxing weekend. The beach has lots of dunes, so when looking for treasure, you should stay away from them; instead, you should focus more on the sandy part of the beach. (source)

Map to Caswell Beach, North Carolina – image Google Map- Link

Treasure In North Carolina

Treasure Chest
Treasure Chest

Finding Treasure in North Carolina isn’t that hard, but you will require a bit of skill, finesse, and some geographical and historical knowledge are mandatory. These skills apply everywhere in North Carolina, but you may have to swim to get to some treasures that are submerged underwater.

Plus, considering North Carolina’s role in the American Revolutionary War, you’re bound to get some of the ancient artifacts and spoils of the war. Remember, some parts of this state were previously under the rule of the Native Indians, who left some of their golden idols when the white settlers defeated them.

Therefore, you can use these skills to try and detect treasures in North Carolina. Here is soothing to help you get started. – Link

Is It Legal to Metal Detect In North Carolina?

Generally, you don’t require a permit to metal detect on private properties from the environmental department. But there are some restrictions, especially when metal detecting in some parts of the state. In North Carolina, metal detecting isn’t allowed in state parks unless you’re looking for a lost personal item. 

Even when looking for a lost personal item, you still need permission from a Park designee or superintendent. But local ordinances might govern the usage of metal detectors on the beaches. Therefore, you should find an appropriate gear for detecting metals in your target destination.

Metal Detecting Tip: North Carolina has some clear regulations about metal detecting in the state parks. It is prohibited. Read more on with this shortcut link to the States Website. 👉 North Carolina Metal Detectors in State Parks

When detecting metals in inland lakes and beaches, you must contact the owner and find out which metal detector you can use on their property. In forests, you should ask permission from the supervisor overseeing the region. (source)

Can I Keep the Treasure Found In North Carolina?

Like most American states, North Carolina adheres to the 1979 Archaeological Resources Protection Act. The ARPA of 1979 claims that anything less than 100years old found on public land belongs to the state. On the other hand, when metal detecting on private land, the laws are determined by the property owners.

North Carolina Treasure In the News

Here are several treasures found by detectorists in the News today:

  • Metal detectorist Elton Franks discovered a Native American “Peace medal.” (source)
  • Metal detectorist Dana Meredith found a dime that dates back to 1765. (source)
  • Metal detectorists find a seventeenth-century Arabian Coin. (source)

Stories Of Treasure In North Carolina

Knowing and hearing the stories of lost treasure can help motivate any newbie. So here are some treasure tales from North Carolina:

Mary Anne Blythe’s Treasure Discovered.

Mary Anne Blythe was a female pirate who buried her loot at the mouth of River Cape Fear, which is yet to be found. But hunters uncovered a treasure chest in Plum Point in 1928 that’s believed to belong to her. (source)

Captain Kidd’s Buried Treasures

Captain Kidd buried a chest of jewels and gold before being arrested near Cape Fear in North Carolina. (source)

Coastal Treasure Cache of Bonnet Stede

Another famous pirate known for burying some treasure in North Carolina is Stede Bonnet. And by his demise, Bonnet may have buried some of his loot in North Carolina. He was already a rich man before turning to piracy. (source)

Books On the Treasure In North Carolina

Here are a few books I recommend you read before visiting North Carolina:

10 Treasure Legends! North Carolina

Authored by Jovan Pulitzer, this book features 50% customizable journal and 50% treasure legends of North Carolina. Therefore, it can hint at what to look for in this state. (source)

Commander’s Lost Treasures You Can Find In North Carolina: Follow The Clues And Find Your Fortune!

Unlike most books, this eBook will teach you everything you need to know about treasure hunting in North Carolina. It will give you some of the already proven methods of metal detecting and how you can always succeed when moving your metal detector. (source)

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.

Sources

  1. Robert Park, Treasure Hunting on a Budget, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=KFM6JgUwMc0C&pg=PA86&dq=Revolutionary+War+Treasure+in+north+carolina&hl=sw&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj8mpP_8vj4AhVIX_EDHVLiA7YQ6AF6BAgGEAI#v=onepage&q=Revolutionary%20War%20Treasure%20in%20north%20carolina&f=false/ accessed July 13, 2022
  2. Wikipedia contributor, Orton Plantation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orton_Plantation/ accessed July 13, 2022
  3. Wikipedia contributor, Beaufort, North Carolina, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort,_North_Carolina#History/ accessed July 13, 2022
  4. The Crystal Coast, Archaeologists Discover Famous Pirate’s Treasure off North Carolina’s Coast, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/archaeologists-discover-famous-pirates-treasure-off-north-carolinas-coast-114123019.html/ accessed July 13, 2022
  5. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources staff, Battle of Clapp’s Mill, 1781, https://www.ncdcr.gov/blog/2014/03/02/battle-of-clapps-mill-1781/ accessed July 13, 2022
  6. Surrender Terms and David Fanning, https://historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/house-horseshoe/history/surrender-terms-and-david-fanning/ accessed July 13, 2022
  7. W. C. Jameson, Buried Treasures of the South Legends of Lost, Buried and Forgotten treasure, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=_lAdLGqXU5EC&pg=PA125&dq=The+Lost+Sontechee+Indian+Silver+Mine+N.C.&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjg_MPa9fn4AhXjQfEDHfMFC5MQ6AF6BAgCEAI#v=onepage&q=The%20Lost%20Sontechee%20Indian%20Silver%20Mine%20N.C.&f=false/ accessed July 13, 2022
  8. Mark Price, Large Jar Hint at an Undiscovered shipwreck sitting close to shore off outer banks, https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article254714522.html/ accessed July 13, 2022
  9. Marjorie Ann Berry, Legendary Locals of Elizabeth City, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=5NUdBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA19&dq=Elizabeth+City+nc+blackbeard&hl=sw&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjo3PS8iPr4AhVV4oUKHerHAsgQ6AF6BAgEEAI#v=onepage&q=Elizabeth%20City%20nc%20blackbeard&f=false/ accessed July 13, 2022
  10. J. C. Judah, The Legends of Brunswick County Ghost, Pirates, Indians, and Colonial North Carolina, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=WIFYeYztzMoC&pg=PA61&dq=pirates+of+the+Plum+Point,&hl=sw&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi7ysfMivr4AhXfgM4BHZfRCscQ6AF6BAgGEAI#v=onepage&q=pirates%20of%20the%20Plum%20Point%2C&f=false/ accessed July 13, 2022
  11. Wikipedia contributor, Stede Bonnet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stede_Bonnet/ accessed July 13, 2022
  12. Wikipedia contributor, Ocracoke Inlet,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocracoke_Inlet/ accessed July 13, 2022
  13. Wikipedia contributor, Topsail Island, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topsail_Island/ accessed July 13, 2022
  14. Wikipedia contributor, Caswell Beach, North Carolina,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caswell_Beach,_North_Carolina/ accessed July 13, 2022
  15. North Carolina Environmental Quality Staff, Metal Detectors, https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/environmental-assistance-and-customer-service/z-topic-index/metal-detectors/ accessed July 13, 2022
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