South Carolina has a long history with pirates. Most modern-day pirates like the Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet are closely tied with the Palmetto State. Currently, it’s a popular spot among treasure hunters, thanks to the fact that several towns, including Charleston, SC, were known hubs for pirates during the age of piracy. According to the locals, lots of these treasures were buried by pirates all over the state.
Therefore, what does South Carolina have to offer the metal detectorists and treasure hunters?
Despite being the 40th most extensive state in the United States, the Palmetto state has some of the best treasures for hunters. Since it was associated with pirates in the past, we will focus more on Charleston, SC, and some of its neighboring cities.
This article will also focus on other sweet spots all over South Carolina.
1. Myrtle Beach State Park – Myrtle Beach
The Myrtle Beach State Park is a beautiful park established in 1936 in Myrtle Beach, SC. This state park occupied an area of about 312 acres and was developed on land donated to the state by Myrtle Beach under a New Deal program initiated by President Roosevelt. There are several campsites near most of the attractions in the beach town, and some are well secluded. (source)
While the trails and forests look appealing to treasure hunters, you’re only allowed to explore the beach. Fortunately, the park has a long shoreline for you to explore, which means you will likely find jewelry or any other misplaced item. Remember, treasure detecting is legal on this beach, provided you fill the hole after you finish.
You can spend a massive percentage of your time at dawn or dusk detecting metals. Remember, the beach is full of people during the day; therefore, finding a secluded place to explore can be challenging. When looking for treasure on Myrtle Beach, you should focus more on the lower regions of the beach and high-water marks. After all, water is known to pass over the dips or holes, and you will likely find something.
Map to Myrtle Beach State Park – google map image link
Metal Detecting Tip: Looking to learn a little bit more about Metal Detecting on Myrtle Beach? I’ve got a complete guide 👉 Can You Metal Detect on Myrtle Beach (Laws, Places and Maps)
2. Hunts Bluff, The Great Pee Dee River
The Hunts Bluff is a cliff situated along the River Pee Dee where it’s believed that a barge transporting supplies for the troop overturned during the Revolutionary war. (source)
The barge overturned at a bend on River Pee Dee at Hunts Bluff. The unconfirmed tale is that the barge also carried the payroll for all the British soldiers in the Revolutionary War.
The locals believe that no one ever recovered the payroll; therefore, this is one of the best places to look for hidden treasures. Remember, soldiers were paid about 8 pence every day during the revolutionary war, making it one of the best places to explore.
Map to Hunts Bluff, the Great Pee Dee River- Google map image 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
3. North Island, SC, Georgetown County
The North Island is a 9 miles long island composed of sandy beaches, brushy dune swales, tall dunes, and a maritime forest of live oak, palmetto, and cedar. It is located at Winyah Bay, Georgetown County, where several estuaries and rivers converge while entering the Atlantic Ocean. (source)
It’s believed that in 1781, British soldiers raided some plantations in the region and buried the loot on this island. Unfortunately, these soldiers were killed in the battle before disclosing the location of their loot. The legend of this famous treasure claims that it contained silver and gold. Luckily, some of these treasures have been uncovered by many hunters, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find some coins the next time you explore this region.
Map to North Island, SC – Google Map Image Link
4. Isle Of Palms, South Carolina
The Isle of Palms is a beautiful island situated in the city of the Isle of Palms in Charleston County. It is a barrier island located on the state’s coast. The island offers a massive amount of land for treasure hunters to cover. (source) This town is along a strip of land that hugs the beach.
The best time to explore the beaches using your metal detectors is in the evening and early morning. You will likely find some lost items along the coast when it’s less populated. Fortunately, there are few rules for metal detection on this island, but ensure you stay away from the dunes.
Map to Isle of Palms – Google Map image link
5. Mulberry Plantation, Moncks Corner, SC.
The Mulberry plantation is beautiful in Berkeley County. Thomas Broughton developed this property in 1714, and it is considered one of America’s oldest plantations. (source)
The Mulberry Plantation house was built on a cellar fort with a slit for firing on the foundation wall.
The colonists may have fled into the foundation walls during the Yamassee War, taking all their valuables. But in this article, we’ll focus on silver and gold that the Red Indians buried near this site. It’s believed that the native Indians buried some treasures near or on this site. Unfortunately, these treasures have never been located to date. (source)
Map to Mulberry Plantation, Moncks Corner – Google Map Image link
6. Folly Beach, South Carolina
Despite being one of the most laid-back beach towns, Folly Beach is still a famous east Coast surf haven, and to metal detectors, it is a great spot to visit. It is home to several popular surf spots, and to the locals, it’s referred to as the “Edge of America.” (source)
It is one of the best locations for folks who are new treasure hunters; after all, you can learn a lot in this beach town by simply observing other metal detectorists who have been doing it for years.
Folly beach has more than 6 miles of space for treasure hunters to explore; therefore, you should take your time and gain experience. Remember, digging holes over a foot deep is illegal in Folly Beach.
Map to Folly Beach – Google map image link
7. Morris Island, Charleston
Morris Island is an uninhabited American island that is accessible by boat. It is situated on the outer parts of Charleston Harbor and was a strategic place for the American Civil War. (source) Morris Island became quite popular after the Civil War as its where the Confederate soldiers were stationed, with their main goal being to stop the Union soldiers from advancing to Charleston Harbor.
Unfortunately, beach erosion has destroyed a massive percentage of the old fortification, but treasure hunters have discovered several artifacts over the last few years.
Map to Morris Island – Google map image link
8. Hickory Grove, York County
Hickory Groove is home to a couple of old goldmines worth detecting. Therefore, it is an exceptional place to spend the day treasure hunting, especially if you’re looking for gold. While there, you can also explore the banks of River Broad, Wolf Creek, and King’s Creek.
Hickory Groove is one of the most popular spots in South Carolina to search for gold; unfortunately, this place is highly secured; therefore, you should try as much as possible not to access the private properties. And make sure you fill all the holes you dig up while searching for treasure. (source)
Map to Hickory Grove, York County – Google Map Image link
9. Hampton Plantation
The Hampton Plantation House is a famous historic plantation established in 1735. It is one of the most outstanding examples of a temple-front in a domestic design that was declared a historical landmark in 1970.
The British soldiers used this plantation as their base in the Revolutionary War; therefore, some locals believe there is a treasure chest full of gold buried near or on the plantation. There is a tale of Archibald Rutledge discovering a treasure map in a hidden property room. Therefore, folks still believe there is a hidden treasure on the property.
Map of Hampton Plantation – Google map image link
Metal Detecting Tip: This region of the US has an amazing history. Civil War relics, pirates’ and plantations. Below is a list of other state to search for treasure.
😎 Florida is friendly to Metal Detecting read 👉 Where to Metal Detect on Florida
😎 North Carolina is amazing, check out 👉 Where to Find Treasure in North Carolina
😎 Don’t forget about Virginia with beaches, and forests 👉 Where to Metal Detect in Virginia
10. King’s Mountain Belt
At some point, the King’s Mountain Belt was considered one of South Carolina’s most productive gold mines. But over the years, most of the mines have been closed. This region stretches between Lincoln and Gaston counties and is considered one of the best places to try metal detecting. Unfortunately, it’s not the best place for beginners as it has a difficult terrain.
Therefore, you can start your search at the beaches before venturing into the other parts of this region. Remember, digging should be done with minimal intrusion, and make sure you cover the holes as soon as you finish your search.
Map to King’s Mountain Belt – Google map image link
11. Sullivan’s Island
Another famous metal detection place among treasure hunters is Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina. This island and town are at the entrance of Charleston harbor. It was the entry point for up to 50% of the enslaved people brought to SC from Africa. Therefore, treasure hunters believe that there are lots of artifacts to be found on this island. (source)
The island also receives plenty of tourists all-year-round; therefore, there is plenty of treasure to be found. Make sure you don’t go near the historical buildings while searching for old artifacts.
Map to Sullivan’s Island – Google map image link
12. The Walnut Grove Plantation, Spartanburg
Located along River Tyger in Spartanburg, SC, the Walnut Grove Plantation is a historic farm owned by Mary and Charles Moore. It was constructed on a 3,000-acre property grant that King George III approved. Kate Moore planted beautiful black walnut trees on the farm, making them stand out. (source)
Besides being a farmer, Kate Barry was a crucial figure in the American Revolutionary War. In fact, in 1864, while general Tecumseh William’s troops were sweeping through the region, the people living on the farm buried all their silverware and valuable coins somewhere on the farm.
Map to the walnut grove plantation – Google map image link
13. Daufuskie Island
Another exceptional metal detecting destination in South Carolina is Daufuskie Island. The island is between Savannah and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina’s southernmost inhabited island. (source)
Daufuskie Island had lots of plantations and settlements during the 1500s, plus its Civil war history makes it the best place to explore with your metal detector.
It is primarily private land, but River Savannah mouth, situated on the island’s northern part, is a great place to start. Remember, there were many shipwrecks near this island. The possibility of some of the loots being washed to the shores is relatively high.
Map to Daufuskie Island -Google Map image link
14. Berkeley County
In terms of history, Berkley is one of the few counties in South Carolina that played a vital role in the Revolutionary War. Therefore, you will likely find some hidden artifacts in certain parts of the county. Some parts of the county, like the Francis Marion National Forest and the shores of Lake Moultrie, provide an exceptional place for detecting metals. (source)
You can also find some private land that requires permission for you to explore; fortunately, the locals are always open to the idea of detecting some lost artifacts in the region.
Map to Berkeley county – Google Map image link
15. Williamson Plantation, Brattonsville Historic District
During the revolutionary war, the patriots invaded this plantation in Brattonsville and captured it while killing some raiders who had hidden on the farm for over five years. Unfortunately, the Tory raider had collected and hidden plunder all over the farm for over five years, but they were killed before disclosing the exact position of their loot.
But no one has ever claimed to find an artifact on this farm to date, so you should try your luck; after all, many treasure hunters are still exploring this beautiful farm. (source)
Map to Williamson Plantation – Google map image link
Treasure In South Carolina
Thanks to the history of this region, South Carolina is the best place to learn and perfect your metal detecting techniques. Remember, it has sites for both beginners and experienced treasure hunters; plus, you can learn a lot by observing the professional metal detectorists doing their thing.
To help you improve your metal detecting skills, here is a video to get you started. Link
Yes, metal detecting is legal on all the BLM lands in this state; but you must be very careful when hunting for treasure. Remember, exposing or disturbing some artifacts in the BLM land is illegal. The ARPA (Archeological Resources Preservation Act) governs metal detection on federal land.
On the other hand, federal and state laws don’t apply to private properties; therefore, before you enter someone’s land, you should get written permission from the owner. But most importantly, avoid metal detecting near or on places of historical significance.
Generally, in most state parks, you’re not allowed to move any treasure, artifact, or relic without the permission of the park rangers. On private land, you can keep what you find, but this will depend on the owners; after all, they are not governed by state or federal laws.
Here are some treasures found by metal detectorists across South Carolina in the news.
- Hal McGirt discovers a rare relic from the slavery era. (source)
- Amateur relic hunter, Chuck Gainey, discovers signs of Lowcountry history. (source)
- Metal detectorist, Ralph Fields, finds the tenth known 1800s Free-slaves badge. (source)
Knowing more about treasure hunting can help motivate any newbie to improve their skills while attracting others to this hobby. So here are some unique treasure stories from South Carolina.
In 1857, the hurricane sank a ship known as SS Central American near the shores of South Carolina. The sinking of this ship caused an economic panic as it carried thousands of pounds in gold that was lost for about one and a half-century. (source)
Jack Morrell is a famous pirate who used to wait for the ships to dock before raiding them with his band of crooks and then fleeing. According to the locals, Jack buried most of his treasure at Murrell’s inlet; unfortunately, they forgot the sire. (source)
General Sherman and his troop raided Columbia, and before leaving, they looted everything they could find, including ammo and weapons. Unfortunately, it was too much for their ship to carry for a long distance; therefore, they threw the loot into River Congaree. (source)
Some of the books that I would recommend you read before visiting South Carolina include:
Written by Hutton Pulitzer, this book has everything you need to know about the treasure legends in this state and a journal you can use to track your metal detecting journey. (source)
This eBook will give you all the clues on where to find the lost commander’s lost treasures. It can help you plan your next metal detecting journey in South Carolina. (source)
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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.
- Wikipedia contributor, Myrtle Beach State Park, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrtle_Beach_State_Park/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Pee Dee River, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pee_Dee_River/ accessed July 11, 2022
- National Estuarine Research Reserve staff, North Island, http://northinlet.sc.edu/north-island/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Isle of Palm, South Carolina, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Palms,_South_Carolina/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Mulberry Plantation (Moncks, South Carolina) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulberry_Plantation_(Moncks_Corner,_South_Carolina)/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Folly Beach, South Carolina, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folly_Beach,_South_Carolina/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Morris Island, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Island/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Hickory Grove, South Carolina, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hickory_Grove,_South_Carolina/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Sullivan’s Island, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sullivan%27s_Island,_South_Carolina/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Walnut Grove Plantation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walnut_Grove_Plantation/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Daufuskie, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daufuskie_Island/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Berkeley County, South Carolina, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_County,_South_Carolina/ accessed July 11, 2022
- Williamson’s Plantation, Battle of, https://www.scencyclopedia.org/sce/entries/williamson%C2%92s-plantation-battle-of/ accessed July 11, 2022