Ohio was the first state that I went metal detecting in, besides my home state of Michigan, and it’s not just because the two share a border. While I will always favor Michigan over Ohio, there is no denying that Ohio has some of the best public areas for detectorists. From the extensive beaches of Lake Erie to some of the most detectorist friendly city park systems in the nation; There is more recreation to be had in the buckeye state than just the roller coasters at Cedar Point.
In terms of history, Ohio was originally inhabited by Native American tribes and over time also American and French fur trappers. Once officially part of the union, farmers and homesteaders moved in as well. This means that if you are a relic hunter you can expect to be searching for Native American artifacts, early English artifacts, and even artifacts from early American settlers. Not to mention the various lost/buried treasures which are suspected to be in various locations across the state.
With all of my experiences in Ohio through the years I’ve put together a list of what I believe to be the best 15 places to metal detect in Ohio…
1. Headlands Beach at Headlands Beach State Park – For Metal Detecting
Headlands Beach is a beautiful 120-acre state park that has all of the recreational activities one would expect from a state park, but it has one special natural attraction that makes it particularly attractive to detectorists. Headlands beach is the longest natural beach in the state of Ohio. It is a mile-long natural sand beach on the shores of Lake Erie surrounded by even larger and more majestic sand dunes.
These attractions combined bring in up to two million picnickers and swimmers every year. It is often ranked as Ohio’s best beach and is certainly its most popular. To all of you who like to look for coins and jewelry that visitors have left behind, the Headlands Beach is the place for you.
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2. Geneva State Park Beach – Scanning Beaches
Geneva State Park Beach is another amazing beach located on the shore of Lake Erie. Although, the entire park is around seven times larger than the Headlands Beach State Park coming in at nearly 700-acres of land. The beach may not be as long, however visitors praise it as having some of the cleanest and whitest sand of any beach along the lake. Hundreds of thousands of visitors visit the park every year.
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The land that the park is sitting on was originally inhabited by Native Americans, and before becoming a state park was also once part of the state’s extensive canal system for the shipping of goods to Ohio’s many rural farms. While metal detecting is usually reserved only for the sand areas of state parks (see metal detecting laws in Ohio below) there is also some talk on the forums of the park allowing detecting elsewhere in the past.
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3. Kelley’s Island State Park Beach – Isolated Treasures
Kelley’s Island State Park Beach is one of the most unique locations on this list because, as the name suggests, it is located on an Island in the Lake Erie Island system. Located on the northern shores of Kelley’s Island, known locally as Lake Erie’s Emerald Isle, this is a 677-acre state park renowned for its unique location and size (It takes up almost 1/5th of the entire landmass).
While a unique location for vacationers, the isolation aspect of the island does mean that it doesn’t get nearly as much foot traffic as some of the other places on this list. To get to the island one has to take one of the frequent daily ferries which service everything from RV’s to bicycles.
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4. Alum Creek Beach at Alum Creek State Park – Massive Potential for Metal Detecting
Although it differs from the previous four places on this list by being the first inland beach, Alum Creek State Park is still one of the most historically significant state parks in all of Ohio. Alum Creek State Park is a massive 4,630-acre park located just north of the state capitol of Columbus and has evidence of Native American settlements dating back over 2,000 years.
Furthermore, as Ohio shared a border with a former slave state of Kentucky the land that is now Alum Creek was once vital to the freeing of slaves along the Underground Railroad. More recently, the Alum Creek Dam was constructed as a flood control plan for the Ohio River basin and was completed in 1974 creating the Alum Creek Lake. Along the shores of this lake is the longest inland beach in the state of Ohio coming in at 3,000-ft long.
5. Wayne National Forest – For History Buffs
The Wayne National Forest, along with every other piece of land managed by The National Forest Service, benefits from loose restrictions regarding the use of metal detecting. The only restriction placed upon metal detecting is that if you find something which you believe to be a historical artifact you are supposed to report it to the forest management office. Otherwise, the enormous 240,101-acre forest is open to all kinds of treasure hunting.
The forest itself is split into three regions; The Athens Unit, The Marietta Unit, and The Ironton Unit. All of these divisions are located in southern Ohio, two of them in south-eastern Ohio. The land was originally cleared for lumber use, so there has been recent human activity which could result in treasures from the 18th and 19th centuries buried beneath the new growth.
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6. National Trail Parks and Recreation District (Springfield, Ohio)
This location is different from the others on the list because it isn’t just one location. The National Trail Parks and Recreation District is a collection of 24 city parks all located in Springfield Ohio.
According to the CEO of the National Trail Parks and Recreation District Tim Smith “You can use your metal detecting equipment in the open park areas, you are required to return the turf to its original condition. You are not permitted to go on any athletic areas; softball, baseball, soccer, golf courses, etc. You are not permitted to go into any fenced/secured areas, pools, stadiums, etc. You are not permitted to utilize your equipment while events are ongoing in the parks.”
Given that many city park systems either require a permit to metal detect, or more likely do not allow metal detecting whatsoever, this is definitely a city that detectorists can support. Springfield is located just north-east of Dayton so it would be a great weekend getaway for those who live in the city and are looking for places to treasure hunt.
For more information visit… https://ntprd.org/
7. Cleveland Metroparks – Lots of People Means Lost Treasures
The Cleveland Metroparks system is another one of the unlikely pubic park systems in the State of Ohio which demonstrates Ohio’s uncommonly positive attitude towards metal detecting. It is 23,700-acres of land separated into 18 total reservations located in the famous city of Cleveland. Although, there are some additional restrictions which the city of Springfield does not require a permit to metal detect. The process takes two weeks and comes with a list of further restrictions for the use of the metal detecting equipment within the park. The permits expire at the end of every year and therefore need to be renewed.
Some important considerations for swinging a detector in the parks is
1. Holes can only be 12 inches deep or less
2. All holes need to be filled
3. NO DIGGING is allowed in woods or grassy areas.
To obtain more information contact/visit the
Cleveland Metropolitan Parks, Administration Office, Division of Activity Permits at
4101 Fulton Parkway, Cleveland, Ohio 44144 or at (216) 351-6300 by phone.
For more information visit… https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/
8. Salt Fort Beach at Salt Fork State Park
The Salt Fort State Park is the largest state park in Ohio at 17,229-acres of land and 2,952-acres of water. The Salt Fort Beach isn’t the largest inland beach in Ohio, but it still comes in at the impressive length of 2,500-ft. It also happens to be one of the few inland beaches in south eastern Ohio to be popular enough to be worth visiting looking for treasure. The park itself has some of the most developed, but amazing, amenities common amongst the more well-funded midwestern state parks including a large clubhouse with an accompanying swimming pool.
However, with so much land, even with all of these more developed version of recreation available there is still no shortage of wooded nature trails and grasslands. This is something that is always important to me when it comes to finding great places to metal detect because I love to take trail walks to either work off my frustration from not finding anything, or to work off my excitement of a good day treasure hunting.
9. East Harbor State Park Beach
East Harbor State Park Beach is an 1,831-acre state park located at the very tip of central Ohio on the beautiful shores of Lake Erie. This beach, while still large in comparison to most beaches, would have been the longest public beach on the shores of Lake Erie if had not been for a storm in 1972 which reduced the previously two-mile long beach into a much smaller area located at the north end of the park. And, if it wasn’t for the four additional breakwaters that were constructed and are segmented equal-distant from each other offshore the rest of the beach would be gone today as well. However, thankfully it is not because this is one of my favorite stops along the coast of Lake Erie and a quintessential part of every trip I make down to Ohio.
10. City of Aroura Parks
The city of Aroura Ohio is an eastern suburb of the Akron area just south of Cleveland. Within this suburb there are 11 parks with a total of over 1,500-acres of property all together. These parks have tons of open fields and other similar grassed areas which are perfect for easy day of metal detecting and are especially good for practicing your technique.
According to the director of the Parks and Recreation department of Aroura Jim Kraus the rules for metal detecting in the parks of Aroura are as follows…
- Metal Detecting is only allowed during normal park hours which are typically dawn to dusk unless otherwise posted.
- Metal Detectors shall respect other park users. Detecting should be limited to low use times at the activity fields, pavilions, boat landings, and other areas within the park.
- A reasonable effort should be made to return items of value or significance to its original owner. The Parks and Recreation Department would assist you in this process if you desire.
- All excavations must be returned to their original condition.
- Metal Detectors are subject to all rules and laws regulating conduct on County property.”
For more information visit… https://www.auroraoh.com/467/Parks-Recreation
11. City of Hillard Parks – A Great Weekend Treasure Hunt
The city of Hillard is a small suburb of the states capitol Columbus and has a total of 12 parks cumulatively. These parks are visited regularly by the nearly 40,000 residence of the city and have large amounts of open space and other recreational areas which people use every day. It’s location also makes it perfect for college students at Ohio State interested in metal detecting who are looking for somewhere to go on the weekends.
Most importantly, according to the Assistant Director of Recreation and Parks, Phil Schroeder, they “do allow metal detecting in the Hilliard Parks, except inside the fenced areas of the pool.”
For more information visit… https://hilliardohio.gov/recreation-parks/
12. The Beaches of Maumee Bay State Park
Maumee Bay State Park is 1,336-acres of land on the coast of Lake Erie. It also has some of the finest recreational facilities that I’ve ever seen. The clubhouse is enormous and has its own pool, even though its right next to one of the great lakes. The beach itself is kept immaculately clean and has been shaped into an interesting pattern of half circles. This of course means that you would want to go detecting near the end of the day or early enough in the morning that you get there before they clean the sand. This is certainly one of the most scenic location on this list, and definitely would be my pick if I was looking to stay at the lodgings of one of these facilities.
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
13. Buck Creek State Park Beach
The land of Buck Creek State Park was once the setting of a small battle between the Native Shawnee and the American’s who, led by George Rogers Clark, led a 1,000-man conflict in 1780. Although, today Buck Creek State park is more well known as a year-round attraction for recreation and appreciation for the natural world. In total the park is 4,016-acres of land located in Ohio’s Clark county. However, the C.J. Brown reservoir built by the Army Core of Engineers, in which the parks boundaries surround, is what makes this location attractive to detectorists. This beach is not the largest or most visited in the state, but it is the quintessential small-town getaway that is just filled with classic Midwest scenery. Plus, the city of Springfield is just a few miles away so you could spend an entire day detecting both this beach and the parks of Springfield.
14. Springboro Parks – Treasure Hunting in City Parks
Springboro is one of the more upscale suburbs of Cincinnati, although with the way that Parks and Recreation Director Greg Mytinger describes their metal detecting laws you wouldn’t know it. According to him, “The City of Streetsboro Parks & Recreation Department currently does not restrict the use of metal detectors within its city parks.” And even gives you well wishes by finishing his statement encouraging “Happy Hunting!” Only in Ohio will you get that kind of warm reception when you ask to metal detect in the parks of a posh city. Best of all, they have a total of 10 parks so you could spend days searching them all.
For more information visit… https://www.cityofspringboro.com/Facilities?clear=False
15. Oldfield Beach at Indian Lake State Park
Indian Lake State park is a 5,100-acre park with 2 different inland beach’s both on the shore of the namesake Indian Lake. Located in west-central Ohio Indian Lake State Park is one of the most visited parks in the entire Ohio state park system. And, although the park does have two beaches the more popular and larger of the two is the famous Oldfield Beach which draws a crowd almost every day in the swimming season. However, if you don’t like the self-conscious feeling that a crowd can often elicit the other beach is still popular enough to be worth your time.
Relevant Metal Detecting Laws in Ohio
- Metal Detecting in State Parks: Metal detecting is prohibited in state parks except for the sand areas such as the beaches. However, permits can sometimes be acquired from park officials for use of a metal detector on other park land.
- Metal Detecting in National Forests: Metal detecting is not restricted on any land managed by the National Forest Service. The only restrictions are ones which mandate that finds of significant historical value are supposed to turned in to the National Forrest Service.
- Metal Detecting in City Parks: Most city parks either don’t allow metal detecting or require a permit. The ones on this list do, although rules and regulations can always change so it’s best to contact the Parks and Recreation Department of the city before you start looking for treasure.
- Metal Detecting on Private Land: Just like in every other state, trespassing is a crime. You should always obtain permission from the landowner before you metal detect on private land.
- General Practice: Always respect the Treasure Hunter’s Code of Ethics which can be found here… https://www.metaldetector.com/learn/buying-guide-articles/getting-started/code-of-ethics
- General Practice: Always do your own due diligence and call the office of wherever you plan to detect to ensure your legal use of their properties. Laws and regulation can and may have changes since the posting of this article.
Ohio Metal Detecting Clubs
- The Central Ohio Metal Detecting Association (Columbus, OH)
For more information visit… https://www.facebook.com/Central-Ohio-Metal-Detecting-Association-109509939086210/
- The Dayton Diggers (Dayton, OH)
For more information visit.. http://www.daytondiggers.com/index.html
- Tri-State Historical Research & Recovery Association (Cincinnati, OH)
For more information visit… https://www.facebook.com/groups/26272854730/
Best Metal Detecting Shops in Ohio
- Treasure Hunters Supply (Lebanon, OH)
For more information visit… http://treasurehunters-supply.com/
- CEIA USA (Twinsburg, OH)
For more information visit… https://www.ceia-usa.com/
- Sylvania Metal Detector and Coin (Sylvania, OH)
For more information visit… http://www.sylvaniametaldetectors.com/
- USA Metal Detecting (Lebanon, OH)
For more information visit… www.usametaldetecting.com
Looking for More Places to Metal Detect?
- Kansas is a hidden gem, check out this article –11 Best Places to Metal Detect in Kansas
- As a beginner to this hobby I wish somebody would have pointed me to this article. – 7 Best Places for a Beginner to go Metal Detecting
- Coin shooting is one of the most popular styles of metal detecting, find out where to find old coins with this article. – 5 Best Places to Metal Detect for Old Coins
David Humphries here, Wow! A couple years ago I grabbed my son’s metal detector to take on a camping trip. I thought it would be fun to walk the beach and just do a little sweeping. Little did I know I would be bitten by this amazing hobby. Read more ABOUT DAVID HERE