Searching and exploring is in the DNA of many people in Vermont. Native Americans scoured the land in search of the heralded maple syrup. When the state was introduced into the union in 1791, the European settlers saw how valuable of a product it was and began trying to make a profit off of it.
Since then, the Vermont government has made it a priority to allow people to search for treasure and enjoy their time in the outdoors. There are few states in the country with as lax of laws as Vermont. All of the state parks are open to be searched as well as a majority of the city parks.
The most important thing with these states, however, is to respect the rules and regulations in place. Ask anyone who is an avid treasure hunter and they’ll describe how short of a leash they have in most states. These short leashes are in place because people have failed to follow the guidelines the state has put in place.
As long as you’re willing to go out of your way to Leave No Trace, Vermont will continue to be one of the best states in the union to visit.
Here is a list of the 15 best places to metal detect in Vermont.
1. Sand Bar State Park
Sand Bar State Park is a must visit for anyone interested in looking to detect in Vermont. You’re allowed to detect along the beaches, parking lots and within campgrounds. These are the main places you would want to detect if you had the opportunity.
The Park is on the far East side of the state right along Lake Champlain. Lake Champlain is one of the largest lakes in the entire United States. As a result, there is going to be quite a bit of treasure for you to find. When searching along the shores of the lake, be sure that you’re focusing on the areas where people spend the most time.
Also, on beaches, the low points in the sand are the first places you should look. As the water passes over the sand, artifacts are going to be pulled into the holes and other low areas of the beach. This park was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps so you have a strong possibility of finding something historical!
The campgrounds and parking lots are also available to be searched. Campgrounds can sometimes be more productive than beaches! Be sure that you aren’t crowding people or entering their campsites without permission. Campgrounds are smart to detect in the early spring and late fall when the park is not as busy.
State parks are a perfect place to bring your family. Sand Bar State Park is perfect for people interested in spending time on the water!
Access Sand Bar State Park here:
2. Button Bay State Park
Button Bay State Park is a 253 acre state park in Ferrisburgh. This was a farm up until 1964. It’s one of the more unique state parks in the entire state. It also borders Lake Champlain, so you’ll have plenty of beach to detect. The park has a fairly large campground with around 70 sites to search around.
If you do choose to dig, be sure that you aren’t going any deeper than 10-12 inches. Also, if you do find an artifact with historical value, you are required to submit it to the state. This is not always easy to do because of the value of it, but if you want to keep the freedoms that you have, you must follow these protocols.
The parking lots near the beach are a great place to detect as well. If you’re new to the hobby, go ahead and detect in these areas. You don’t have to do much for switching your sensitivity and there is no digging required. Be sure to wear headphones so you can easily pick up on the tones that your detector is providing.
When you’re hunting along the beach be sure that you don’t put your sensitivity to auto. You want to manually set your sensitivity to ensure that you’re going to have the most success in your searching. Sand can make the searching process difficult due to the density of the sediment.
Sneak your detector into the car and see if you can sneak away for a few hours! There is too much good land in this park to explore!
Access Button Bay State Park here:
3. Little River State Park
Little River State Park is located right near Waterbury. This park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935. Prior to it being a park, it was a settlement of around 50 families. There are cemeteries, sawmills and other historical sites spread throughout the park.
The CCC camp had 2,000 men in it at one point. The park surrounds the Waterbury Reservoir, so you’ll have access to both campgrounds and beaches. The reservoir is also an amazing spot to fish! If you’re somewhat interested in history, mountain biking or hiking, Little River State Park is a wonderful option for you.
The campground has around 100 sites for you to search. Spend the early mornings and evenings searching the beach. Take the afternoon to scrounge around the campgrounds. Remember, you should not enter campsites that are occupied. Even if people are not present, you need to stay away and only search around your campsite and those that are unoccupied. You can be hit with a hefty fine if you are detecting in areas that are off-limits.
You can access Little River State Park here:
4. Stillwater State Park
Stillwater State Park is located in the area where Europeans first settled in Vermont. Native Americans and Canadians had been traveling through the area for years, but due to the easy access to a variety of waterways, it was an ideal location for a settlement.
The park is surrounded by the Groton State Forest. Plus, it’s only an hour or so outside of Montpellier. It’s a beautiful spot that has ease of access and a nice amount of areas to detect. The beach area is a nice size for detecting. You can have a bit of privacy but be respectful of those around you.
If you want to try Metal Detecting under water look at my article – How to Metal Detect Underwater
It’s not nearly as large as the Lake Champlain beach so that is both good and bad. The items are going to be more concentrated, but you’ll have to time things properly, so you aren’t in the way of those looking to enjoy the beach.
The Groton State Forest is a beautiful area to spend time! You aren’t able to detect anywhere except the parking lots and campgrounds, but if you’re interested in mountain biking, off-roading or hiking, this is a wonderful spot to visit.
Due to the close proximity to Montpellier, this is one of the parks that will provide you with the most items. Plan the trip accordingly so you have some privacy. Also, wear headphones because you won’t interfere with people and their vacations!
Access Stillwater State Park here:
5. Woodford State Park
If you’re interested in spending time at elevation, Woodford State Park is your best option. It sits at 2400 feet and is around 400 acres. The state park surrounds the Adams Reservoir, so beach access is plentiful!
Plus, this is one of the largest campgrounds on the list. You have over 130 campsites to detect. The 2.7-mile trail around the lake is a great place to detect. Bring your family and give them time to explore. Sneak away and spend time around the water. The Vermont state fish is brook trout and the Adams Reservoir is filled with them.
The park is located on the southeastern border of the state. You are only an hour and a half away from Albany, New York. The increased elevation makes it for a bit more of an interesting area to search. Obviously, artifacts aren’t going to make their way up mountains. Since this area was the location of a historic settlement, you’ll have a decent amount of success in finding things.
This is an extremely unique state park. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy your time within Woodford. Sit back, relax and spend some time detecting. You’ll likely find something awesome!
6. Elmore State Park
Elmore State Park is located within the southern part of Lamoille County. Within the state park is Lake Elmore. The lake stretches across 219 acres and flows into the Lamoille River. The park was established in 1936.
Residents of Elmore gifted the state 30 acres and since then the state has taken 700 more. This is one of the larger state parks in Vermont. You’ll have 60 campsites to choose from as well as some enjoyable hiking to the top of Elmore Mountain!
The beach around Elmore Lake is extremely large! You could easily spend an entire morning searching along this beach. If you’re off the beach by 10 am or so, you’ll be fine. You’ll start running into crowds as the day continues.
You always want to have good digging tools when metal detecting. To learn move check out this article. Best Metal Detecting Digging Tools
Elmore State Park was another CCC location, so you have the possibility of finding some artifacts important to United States history. While it may be tempting to detect along the hiking trails, it is not allowed. You have to spend your time in the campgrounds, beaches and parking lots.
This is one of the more secluded state parks in the state. You won’t have to worry about running in to too many crowds. It also helps that some call this park “The Beauty Spot of Vermont.” As you walk along the beach take a look at the top of Mount Elmore. Even if you aren’t finding anything spectacular, you’ll be able to enjoy the views.
7. Muckross State Park
Muckross State Park is the newest state park in Vermont. Therefore, people aren’t as aware of this spot as the other parks on this list. It’s a 204-acre property so it’s a bit smaller. This land was owned by former Vermont State Senator Edgar May. It was 1000 acres, but the state took control of 200 acres to turn it into a park.
You can search around the trout pond as well as along the Black River. The most unique feature of this park is the 80-foot waterfall that’s just downstream of the pond. Overall, this park is fairly undeveloped. There is no designated trail system and you have more freedom for where you can detect.
In these undeveloped areas, make sure you are taking care of the property. If you dig, you must do your part and put the dirt back in place. There is also no specific parking area. However, there is a common spot that most people park their cars. Search around this area. You have a better chance of finding something because it’s a gravel lot and more of a challenge to find lost items.
The history of this land is fascinating. Plus, it’s not far from Springfield so you can enjoy the night life the town has to offer. This isn’t as family friendly of a park and there is no camping so be sure the people you bring along are capable. There are much more family friendly options on this list.
8. Emerald Lake State Park
The focal point of this state park is Emerald Lake. This is the site of a former marble quarry so industrial equipment are common finds within these lands. When the quarry shut down in the early 1910’s, Robert Alfred Shaw purchased 1,000 of the acres for his own land.
In 1957, the state purchased the land from the Shaw estate. They turned half of the land into the Emerald Lake State Forest and the other half was turned into the park. You can search around over 100 campsites as well as the acres of shoreline.
You can find this park outside of East Dorset. This is a perfect spot for the family. Having over 1,000 acres to explore is a rarity across the state so take advantage of it. If you’re interested in mountain biking and hiking, this is a perfect park for you.
The lake is non-motorized watercraft only. Enjoy the peace and quiet of this park. You’ll be thankful for the time you get to spend away from civilization.
9. Underhill State Park
Underhill State Park is located smack dab in the middle of the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. The forest itself is 40,000 acres and this park stretches across around 1,000 acres on its own. Within the park you can summit Mt. Mansfield at about 4,300 feet and see the headwaters of Brown River.
The headwaters of Brown River are a great spot to start your searching. Don’t venture too far from the banks of the river. You’ll have the potential to be stopped by a state park employee and lose your detector.
If you choose to hike Mount Mansfield, stay on the marked trail. Due to the higher elevation, there is some unique vegetation that the park does not want disturbed. The campground within Underhill State Park is a bit smaller. You have around 15 sites to explore.
However, the parking lot by the Mt. Mansfield trailhead is extremely popular and cars flow in and out of it all day long. This is a great spot to search before or even after your hike. Take a warmup lap around the lot and see what you can find.
10. Maidstone State Park
Maidstone State Park is the most remote park in Vermont. You can find it outside of Guildhall. Be sure to visit this park and spend your time searching around Maidstone Lake. If you want, bring your fishing pole because the lake is filled with salmon and large trout.
The 60 camp sites make for another great spot to search. The effort to reach this park often pays off for those detecting.
11. Gifford Woods State Park
This park is found right at the base of Killington and Pico Mountain. These are extremely close to access points for the Appalachian Trail. The colors in this park in the fall are miraculous. There are a few trout ponds found throughout the park that make for great spots to search.
The former CCC Camp is another useful spot to search. People seem to have a solid amount of success in this area. Spend the majority of your time around the ponds and the parking lots. It’s a nice day trip. Do some hiking and detecting!
12. Bomoseen State Park
This park is a must visit for anyone interested in metal detecting in Vermont. Within its borders is Lake Bomoseen, the largest lake only in Vermont. Bring your family to enjoy this large body of water and camp in one of the 65 campsites.
It’s one of the more popular parks on the list so if you are interested in detecting in an area filled with people, this may be your best option. It’s well-developed and has ample space for you to find some seclusion with your detector.
13. Smugglers Notch State Park
This is another very remote part of Vermont. It was a spot where quite a bit of smuggling took place between Canada and the United States. The notch is a small pass through the Green Mountains. It has 1,000 cliffs on both sides and is wonderful to hike.
The campsites in the park require some hiking due to the complicated terrain. These areas are rarely detected so I would highly recommend putting in the effort to see what you can find. Don’t shy away from this park. It’s perhaps the most beautiful on the list!
14. Mt. Philo State Park
Mt. Philo State Park was the first state park ever established in Vermont. It was officially crated in 1924. It provides you with some amazing views of the Lake Champlain Valley as well as the Adirondack Mountains.
This may be the most historic park on the list and well-worth the visit. Parking lots and the trout ponds are the best places to detect.
15. Private Land
As always, private land is an option. You obviously have to have permission, but these private lands are well-worth trying to detect. Put on a brave face and start knocking on doors. You’ll never know how willing people are to let you detect on their land!
Vermont Metal Detecting Laws
Vermont is one of the most lax states in America regarding metal detecting. Most of the state owned land has areas where people can metal detect. Stay on the beaches, parking lots and the campgrounds.
Do not dig any further than 12 inches!
To find more about the Vermont Metal Detecting Laws check out this website – https://fpr.vermont.gov/recreation/activities/metal-detecting-and-gold-panning
Vermont Metal Detecting Clubs
Vermont Metal Detecting Club– This is a great option for anyone in Vermont. They’re experts on all areas of metal detecting within Vermont.
Best Metal Detecting Shops in Vermont
R&L Archery– This store has everything you would need for outdoor equipment! Make sure to visit on your next trip to Vermont.
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.