Metal Detecting on Hilton Head

Can You Metal Detect on Hilton Head Beach (Rules and Places)

Hilton Head Beach is a fan favorite for any metal detectorist. Thanks to the beautiful beaches, the promise of colonial treasure, and long tracts of land for prospecting, it makes for a great place to search for treasure. Are you interested in finding your ultimate treasure on this beach? Let me help you with that.

Can you Metal Detect on Hilton Head beaches – Yes! Metal Detecting on Hilton Head beaches is legal. However, there’s a catch. Hilton Head beaches and many other beaches in South Carolina have strict rules that all metal detectorists must follow.

This guide will I want to guide you through these rules and explain them, so you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying yourself while you beach hunt.

Metal Detecting Tip: Things can change with the beach regulations for Hilton Head Island, the city maintains a great website to help beach goers. The regulations can be found with this LINK HERE

Map to Best Places to Metal Detect on Hilton Head Beach

Hilton Head Island - great places to metal detect
Hilton Head Island – great places to metal detect

The Hilton Head beach is 12 miles long. There’s some good and bad news with that stretch of land to work with during prospecting. The good news is that detectorists have massive tracts of land at their disposal. The bad news is that if you’re new, you may not know the best places to start beach hunting.

So, where do you even start? I’ve got some great locations to share with you that you can use in real-time to help you during your beach hunting with your metal detector.

  • South Beach
  • Coligny Beach Park
  • Bass Head
  • Singleton Beach
  • Burkes Beach

Let’s take a quick look at each of these great beaches for metal detection.

South Beach

South Beach on Hilton Head Island is a great place to start. First off, you have a long stretch of land to get beach hunting. The best part about it is the public access road that you can use to access the beach. There are around three villas on the left side of the beach, and everything on the right is accessible to the public.

The area around South Beach is residential, so you’ll find numerous homes surrounding it. Regardless, you can find the Salty Dog Café a few miles away to visit for lunch. It’s a seafood restaurant and has some pretty good reviews, so if you are a seafood lover this may just be the place for you.

Metal Detecting Tip: South Carolina has amazing metal detecting opportunities. If your looking for a complete guide check out my article -> Places to Metal Detect in South Carolina

Coligny Beach Park

A couple of miles along the beach stretch is Coligny Beach Park. It’s a lot closer to non-residential places, and you can find restaurants, bars, and there’s parking.

Coligny Beach Park is one of the most popular beaches on Hilton Head Island. It offers other activities like cycling on the beach and beach matting. Another great thing about Coligny Beach Park is that it provides a public restroom, which is always a welcomed benefit.

Bass Head

A couple of miles ahead of Coligny Beach Park is Bass Head. It strays away from the commercial side of Hilton Head Island, but it’s a vast stretch of beach land to prospect. You’ll find several resorts and clubs in that area.

Singleton Beach

Next up is Singleton Beach, it’s farther away from Bass Head and Coligny Beach Park. It’s in a somewhat residential area but not like South Beach. 

There are several entryways, but there aren’t a lot of public facilities. Again, there are multiple resorts and a restaurant nearby, but it’s pretty quiet in Singleton Beach and I recommend trying this beach out for hunting metals.

Burkes Beach

Next up is Burkes Beach, right next to Singleton beach. Burkes Beach is just one wide and long stretch of beach for prospecting. There is a parking lot close by, and you can use it while you’re in either Burkes Beach or Singleton Beach.

Some rules come with beach metal detecting in South Carolina, and a lack of information can cost you. Hilton Head Island is a popular place for beach hunting. With that comes laws and regulations that every detectorist follows. It’s all in the spirit of fun, conservation, and retaining historical importance.

So, what are these rules?

Laws And Rules for Metal Detecting at Hilton Head Beach And South Carolina

Hilton Head Island is notorious for having strict regulations that metal detectorists and the general public must follow. Not only do you have to watch for the rules and regulations of Hilton Head Island, but you also have state laws to follow.

It’s a lot to swallow, but I took the liberty of curating these rules and regulations for you. You can also check back here if you need to confirm a thing or two.

Hilton Head Island Beach Regulations

Here are the rules and regulations from the island that you need to take note of:

  1. Shovels are not allowed except those made of wood or plastic less than 30 inches in length and 6 inches in width.
  2. You cannot dig holes in the sand that are more than 12 inches deep.
  3. You cannot damage dunes, sea oats, or other dune flora.
  4. Do not leave personal belongings on the beach overnight; they are subject to confiscation and disposal if left.
  5. Glassware such as bottles and containers are not allowed on any beach.
  6. Do not harm, harass or remove any live beach fauna (sea turtles, birds, or their eggs; sand dollars, conchs, starfish, etc.)
  7. Do not possess or consume alcohol, wine, or beer on the beaches.
  8. Do not litter on the beach, and officials will discard any items left overnight. So, be sure not to forget any of your tools behind.

There are other rules, but these are the main rules you need to note when beach hunting as a detectorist. What about the state rules and regulations? – Read everything the city has to say in this article – Hilton Head Beach Regulations

South Carolina State Metal Detecting Rules

Metal Detecting on a Beach
Metal Detecting on a Beach

Here are the South Carolina state laws you need to remember when beach hunting in the area:

  1. You can only conduct metal detecting in places where it’s allowed.
  2. Do not conduct metal detecting in the regions that hold historical importance.
  3. Do not conduct metal detecting in land formations such as sand dunes.
  4. Do not conduct metal detecting in areas inhabited by endangered species.
  5. Do not conduct metal detecting in areas with power lines, sewer lines, phone lines, water lines, and cables.
  6. Do not dig in areas susceptible to soil erosion or forested areas. In a nutshell, areas that are at risk of destruction.
  7. Before using a metal detector, you must seek a permit from a Park Manager.
  8. Do not remove historic or prehistoric artifacts from any park.
  9. You must turn in everyday personal items such as rings or jewelry to the park manager.
  10. Do not conduct metal detecting on the beach grass. You should conduct your beach hunting on the beach sand.

Metal Detecting Clubs and Stores In South Carolina

It’s always a good idea to get in contact with other detectorists. It’ll be even more helpful if you can ask them questions about the locale and how they maneuver the South Carolina metal detector beaches.

Fortunately, there are multiple Facebook groups, organizations, and clubs you can reach out to in South Carolina. Another bonus point is that I’ve curated some of these helpful resources for your convenience.

With that in mind, here are some Facebook groups, organizations, and subreddits you can visit to learn more about metal detecting in South Carolina.

  1. Metal Detecting SOUTH CAROLINA https://www.facebook.com/groups/153193808081859
  2. metaldetecting on Reddit (you can find many experts from the South Carolina area here) https://www.reddit.com/r/metaldetecting/
  3. South Carolina Metal Detecting and Relic Association https://m.facebook.com/groups/South-Carolina-Metal-Detector-and-Relic-Association-198004933697/
  4. Low Country Metal Detecting Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/LowCountryMetalDetectingClub/
  5. Metal Detecting SC https://www.facebook.com/groups/650648019100500
  6. Low Country Metal Detecting Club http://www.lcmd.club/

Don’t be afraid to join any of these communities. They offer unparalleled information on metal detecting in the great state of South Carolina. You have absolutely nothing to lose.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can you get a metal detecting permit in South Carolina?

If you’re metal detecting in a park, you can request a permit from a park manager or the relevant authority. However, if you are searching for historical artifacts, that will require a special use permit. These permits, however, are granted for research purposes only.

2. What Do You Do If You Accidentally Find a Historical Artifact?

According to the USDA Forest Service, you have to cease metal detecting and notify the relevant official. Suppose you choose not to do any of these things. In that case, you are privy to prosecution under the Code of Federal Regulations or ARPA.

3. Why Are There Rules in Metal Detecting on Public Land?

The metal detecting policy on public lands is fairly restrictive to protect our valuable, non-renewable historical resources. Not only that, but they also protect the natural fauna and flora from destruction. In some cases, the rules and regulations protect endangered species.


Wondering What Metal Detecting Equipment I Use? Check Out My Favorites Below

Nokta Makro Simplex+ an awesome machine
Nokta Makro Simplex+ an awesome machine

I’m frequently asked what machines I use and recommend. No doubt about it, for the beginner get the Nokta Makro Simplex + Kit it’s the best. 100% waterproof, wireless headphones and pinpointer. Check prices and reviews with quick links below.


Lesche T Handle Shovel
Lesche T Handle Shovel

The next thing you need is a great shovel, believe me when I say you’ll dig more knowing you can dig FASTER. Links below to the nearly bullet proof Lesche T- Handle Shovel


CKG Metal Detecting Beach Sand Scoop
CKG Metal Detecting Beach Sand Scoop

Metal Detecting and Beaches are a perfect match. Easy digging and lots of people dropping coins and jewelry. To search a beach you’ve GOT TO HAVE A SAND SCOOP. CKG Sand Scoops are heavy duty and able to be used as a shovel.


Minelab Equinox 800 amazing Metal Detector
Minelab Equinox 800 amazing metal detector

If it’s time up UP YOUR GAME and get the industry standard metal detector. The Minelab Equinox 800 IS THE BEST. Okay it’s not cheap, but your finds are going to increase with this machine. Shortcut links for reviews and current prices.


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.

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