There are a few states in America filled with outdoor activities that seem to fly under the radar. They’re either in unique geographical locations that not many people target or their true beauty is unknown. Arkansas is absolutely one of those states. The Ouachita and Ozark mountain ranges cover much of the state and offer outdoor enthusiasts with ample opportunities to explore.
The fishing, hunting and hiking experiences available for people are quite impressive. As always, popular outdoor communities offer chances for people to metal detect. Arkansas is similar to many other states with some state and federally owned land being off limits for detecting, but the public parks and land is filled with treasure.
Here is a list of the 15 best places to metal detect in Arkansas:
1. Crowley’s Ridge – Lake and Beach Finds!
Crowley’s Ridge State Park is one of the rare exceptions in Arkansas where metal detecting is allowed on state owned property. There was a law passed in 2006 that allowed metal detecting within nine state parks across the state.
Crowley’s Ridge State Park is found in Northeast Arkansas and is the sight of a historic Civilian Conservation Corp camp. Within the park, however, metal detecting is only allowed around the lake and the surrounding beach area. The lake within Crowley’s Ridge stretches across 31 acres and there are two beaches for people to detect.
When detecting on the beach, be sure to manually set the sensitivity on your detector. Beaches can cause quite a bit of interference within your detector so it’s best to mess with the sensitivity until you discover what is best. Also, on beaches, remember to focus on the low points. This is where the treasure will be washed as the waves pass over the beach.
The park requires an entrance pass, but the small fee is well worth the effort! Also, be sure to bring the family because they’ll have plenty to do and you can easily sneak away for a few hours to see what you can find.
Access Crowley’s Ridge State Park here:
2. Lake Catherine State Park – Headphones Recommended
Lake Catherine State Park is another on the list of state parks that people can metal detect in Aransas. This is one of the more popular state parks due to the activities that the lake offers. Lake Catherine is one of the five lakes within the Ouachita Mountain region.
It’s located near Hot Springs so travel is simple and there is plenty for you to do. Remember, that metal detecting is only allowed near the beaches and water. Since it’s a busier park, time your detecting to the early morning or evening. People will be less likely to crowd the beach and cause trouble.
Headphones are super important – in fact so important I wrote a complete guide to selecting headphones – Selecting Metal Detecting Headphones
As you’re detecting, be sure to wear headphones. Headphones will provide the most clear signal and give you a chance to make the most of your detecting. Visit the beach during the day because you’ll then be able to identify what areas are going to be the most successful.
Only detect in areas that are heavily populated. If you do happen to find something of value, it may not be a bad idea to turn it in to the state park office. People will likely check here first if they lost a precious item.
Spend a weekend here hiking, fishing, relaxing and pack your metal detector. It’s a perfect excuse to get out of the house and explore a beautiful portion of Arkansas.
Access Lake Catherine State Park here:
3. Lake Ouachita State Park – Largest Lake in State!
Having the opportunity to detect around Lake Ouachita is a massive blessing for the metal detecting community. It’s Arkansas’s largest lake and stretches across 40,000 acres of the state. Located near Mountain Pine, you aren’t far from a variety of urban areas that offer exceptional entertainment.
It’s very important to stay near the beaches and water while searching in this park. A piece of land this large that is available to detect is extremely rare. As a result, it’s important that those in the detecting community don’t do anything to cause trouble or ruin the experience of others interested in detecting.
Learning how to metal detect in water is essential for Arkansas. Read this article to learn the skills to do ti right. – How to Metal Detect a Complete Guide
The beaches are likely going to be filled with treasure. The massive amount of people that visit this lake on the weekends leads to some exceptional finds. If you insist on going detecting during a busier part of the day, make sure to keep your distance. People don’t enjoy being crowded so don’t cause too much trouble with the detector.
Since it is the largest lake in the state, you can easily bring family and friends to visit. They’ll find a multitude of things to do while you spend a few hours looking for treasure. There are few places more beautiful in Arkansas than Lake Ouachita so don’t miss the opportunity to search near here!
Access Lake Ouachita here:
4. Daisy State Park
Daisy State Park is another agreed upon state park for metal detecting. It’s located in the Ouachita Mountains. Lake Greeson and the Little Missouri River combine in the midst of this state park. There is an exceptional amount of beach to explore within Daisy State Park.
Spend time along the banks of the Little Missouri. It might not hurt to bring along a fishing pole as well! These areas are great to fish and the metal detecting is also very solid. Be sure not to dig more than a foot into the ground. There are strict rules with being too intrusive.
Also, if you find something of historic value, you are required to turn it in to the state. The government wants to be sure that people are respectful of historical artifacts. There are 102 campsites along with some phenomenal ATV trails to explore.
Daisy State Park is a must visit for anyone interested in starting metal detecting. It’s not one of the more busy state parks so you don’t have to worry as much about high traffic or making mistakes. It’s always nice to learn in a quiet area.
Access Daisy State Park here:
5. Lake Charles State Park
Lake Charles State Park surrounds a nearly 700-acre lake with numerous beaches to explore. Lake Charles is located in Powhatan and it’s one of the larger state parks on the list. While state parks in Arkansas require that metal detectors stay near the water, it’s access that many other detectors in other states do not have.
Beaches are where most treasure is found anyways so it’s a great chance to get some practice in a highly successful area. Also, it doesn’t hurt to check in with the state park employees and find out the official rules of detecting within the state park.
There are ordinances and laws being passed quite often so it’s smart to stay up to date on the latest rules and regulations within the park. Again, bring your boat and some fishing poles to this state park! You’ll find nice bass and panfish within the lake.
Plus, you can have access to 60 different campsites if you’d like to spend some significant time in the great outdoors. The mosquitoes in the summer can be quite brutal so be sure you’re prepared to handle them. Escape for a weekend to Charles State Park and you’ll be impressed by what you find.
Access Charles State Park here:
6. Village Creek State Park
The reason state parks are so heavily emphasized on this list is because there are almost no other states across America that allow detecting in state parks. Many people believe that state parks should be detected since it’s not federal land, but convincing state governments that this should happen is difficult.
Detecting is only allowed on the beaches so keep this in mind. If golf is a passion of yours, The Ridges at Village Creek Golf Course is one of the best courses in the state to play. You can detect in the morning, play golf in the afternoon and detect again in the evening.
Located in Wynne, you have plenty of access to nearby cities and towns that will give you the chance to spend some more time in civilization. When you’re detecting on beaches, you’ll find quite a bit of trash buried under the sand. If possible, bring a garbage bag and do your part to clean up the beaches.
State park employees are guaranteed to be more kind to you if they see a detector trying to make the space nicer than when he/she found it. Bring your family and friends and spend a week at Village Creek State Park. You won’t regret the experience!
7. DeGray Lake Resort State Park
Located right near Hot Springs and Little Rock, DeGray Lake Resort State Park is a hotbed for outdoor activities. Golf, swimming, hiking, tennis, horseback riding, mountain biking and fishing are all available for you and the family.
To top it all off, you have a few beaches that you can detect within the park. You will not be bored with your time spent at DeGray Lake. Remember, you have to detect on the public beaches within the state park, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding some fairly significant treasure.
If possible, stay at the resort. The accommodations are top-notch and you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the lake during your entire stay. Plus, you have to walk right out the back door and you can begin your detecting adventures. This is the ideal place to bring your family. Don’t worry about overcrowding! You’ll have plenty of space and chances to make the most of your excursion.
8. Lake Dardanelle State Park
Lake Dardanelle is a 34,000 acre reservoir with multiple beaches and rich history. It’s actually located on the Trail Of Tears water route. If this sort of history fascinates you, you can attend a park tour and participate in a variety of other programs.
Access the most popular beaches in the Russellville portion of the park. It’s actually split into two different pieces of land, but the Russellville part of the state park is the better option of the two. You can visit the aquariums as well as spend time doing some fishing.
Your detector is going to take some time to adjust when you’re searching on beaches. Each beach is a bit different due to the consistency of the sand so don’t set it on auto and hope that it is going to work. Spend some time adjusting things before you truly benign.
There are 57 campsites within the park to stay if you’re interested in making a weekend of your visit. The massive reservoir leads to some pretty amazing treasure being washed up on the beaches. Take advantage of these opportunities to search within state parks!
9. Woolly Hollow State Park
Woolly Hollow State Park can be found in Greenbrier which is around 20 miles north of Conway. Lake Bennett can be found within the park. It’s a man made lake dug out in the 1930’s by the Soil Conservation Service.
There is a large beach that you are able to detect. It’s extremely popular in the summer so be sure to plan your visits around the time when you’ll have the most freedom to explore. Again, spend your time searching in the areas where the most people visit. It is only a 40-acre lake, but the beach stretches along quite a few feet of shoreline.
If you’re into mountain biking, the Enders Fault trail is one of the best trails in the state. You won’t ever get bored riding along this almost 10-mile trail.
The detecting is to be reserved for the beach and the surrounding areas. Also, if you do find a historical artifact be sure to submit it to the state office. They may stop you in the midst of your detection to see what you have discovered so don’t be afraid to show off your findings! The more polite you are, the more tips you’ll likely receive.
10. Wells Lake
Wells Lake is located right near Fort Chaffee! These areas are extremely appealing for metal detectors due to the potential of finding some pretty amazing historical artifacts. Wells Lake is a popular destination for tourists so you will likely not have any trouble finding some amazing treasure.
I know somebody who detects this lake every year and loads up on all of the fishing lures that he finds. He has filled multiple tackle boxes with the fishing tackle he has discovered on the beach and surrounding shore line.
The lake has seen significant use since the 1940’s so you never know what you are going to find. Fort Chaffee was established in 1941 and has served as an army base ever since. This is an extremely unique area. It even served as a prisoner of war and refugee camp in the midst of World War II. Don’t shy away from hunting near Wells Lake.
11. Park Springs Park
Park Springs Park is located in Bentonville and is an amazing place to detect. It was established in the 1890’s so there is quite a bit of historical land to detect. This area is beautiful and has a nice trail system along with a playground and pavilion for people to rent.
Don’t dig any deeper than a foot in the midst of this park otherwise you could be hit with a pretty significant citation. As long as you follow the Leave No Trace guidelines, you’ll likely receive little trouble from those in authority. The more damage you cause, the more of a chance you have to lose your privileges for yourself and others looking to detect in the area.
12. Perryville City Park
Perryville City Park has a nice walking trail and large open field for you to explore. It’s not always common to find large fields that are able to be detected. Since this is a fairly popular park, don’t spend all of your time detecting in the middle of the day.
You’ll receive the least amount of trouble if you begin detecting in the morning or later in the evening. Plus, at this point, you’ll have given people time to lose some of their items. If possible, bring along a garbage bag to clean up the park as you detect. This puts you in good standing with the other park goers and potentially city government employees.
13. Lake Atalanta Park
Lake Atalanta Park stretches across 236 acres in Arkansas. Located in Rogers, this lake and park is well worth the visit for anyone looking to enter the world of metal detecting. There is an ample amount of space to explore and you won’t find yourself intimidated by the variety of others searching in the area.
14. Riverfront East Park
Located in Little Rock, the Riverfront East Park is an 8 acre park right along the shores of the Arkansas River. Searching along rivers can be extremely rewarding. The more opportunity you have to explore moving water, the higher chances you have of discovering something quite impressive. Take a visit to this park on a lunch break or weekend trip and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
15. Private Land
Private Land is always the best option if it is available. It can be quite scary to ask for permission, but if it works, you’ll have some amazing land to explore for a long time. Farm land stretches all across the state of Arkansas and is definitely worth a try.
Knock on doors and ask for permission. Landowners are often quite happy to allow someone to metal detect their land as long as they’re willing to get rid of any large pieces of metal they find.
Arkansas Metal Detecting Laws
The state of Arkansas is one of the most generous states when it comes to metal detecting. All of the state parks listed above allow for metal detecting. This is a rarity across many of the states in America.
As far as city parks are concerned, the majority are okay to detect. As long as you don’t dig any deeper than a foot, you should be able to detect. However, it’s always smart to check the rules and regulations before you detect.
Arkansas Metal Detecting Clubs
Metal Detecting Northeast Arkansas– This club is one of the few in Arkansas. If you’re located in Northeast Arkansas and are looking for more information, give this group a try!
Favorite Metal Detecting Shops in Arkansas
Mastercraft Metal Detectors– This is perhaps the best metal detecting shop in all of Arkansas. There are very few that specialize in metal detecting so be sure to visit the store on your next trip to the state.
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.