In this day in age, we’re all searching for an opportunity to get out of the house. Due to current restrictions, there are quite a few limitations regarding what we can do. This is where outdoor activities should come into play. While hiking and fishing have seen a massive increase in participation, metal detecting still is flying under the radar. It’s a PERFECT way to stay secluded and enjoy the great outdoors.
Metal detecting has always been a niche activity with few people who truly participate in it. There are beautiful landscapes all over the United States filled with artifacts that are relatively untouched. South Carolina is one of the more popular locations in the world for metal detecting due to the high amount of Revolutionary and Civil War artifacts across the state.
I’m always getting asked what equipment I use. I’ve been recommending the same solid metal detecting equipment for years.
- My first metal detector was the Garrett Ace 250 (link to Amazon for current prices and reviews). This machine is still working great after 6 years. I keep it around for “group” treasure hunts.
- I’m currently sweeping with a Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector (Link to Amazon for Prices). Since I bought my AT PRO Garrett has come out with a package that includes wireless headphones. Getting tangled up in a wire when your on your knees digging is a pain. Check out the Garrett AT MAX package with Z-Lynk Headphones and Pin Pointer (Link for great prices over at Amazon)
- When it comes to digging two tools are a must have. 1. A hand trowel -I recommend the Lesche Digging and Cutting Tool (link to check it out) and 2. A sand scoop – the one I’m using is the CKG Sand Scoop with Handle (Link to Amazon for current price and reviews) A good sand scoop is a game changer for beaches.
- Finally get a good pinpointer. I have an older Garrett Pro, but the newer version – Garrett Pro-Pointer AT with Z-Lynk is completely waterproof to 20 feet and hooks up to your wireless headphones.
However, if you’re a beginner or someone looking for a strong metal detecting community, South Carolina is a wonderful place to visit. There are ample opportunities to search and a wonderful group of people looking to educate folks on the world of metal detecting.
Here is a list of the 15 best places to metal detect in South Carolina:
1. Myrtle Beach State Park – Wonderful for Jewelry
Myrtle Beach State Park is a great spot for a home base during your next metal detecting excursion. There are numerous campsites, great proximity to all the attractions on Myrtle Beach and a nice amount of seclusion.
While the forests and trails look appealing for detecting, you are only allowed to metal detect on the beach. There is plenty of shoreline to explore and the beach is a wonderful place to find jewelry or other valuable items that people misplaced. In South Carolina, as long as you fill in your hole, you are free to detect on the beach.
READ even more about metal detecting at one of my favorite spots in this article: Can I Metal Detect at MYRTLE BEACH
Spend the majority of your time detecting in the early morning or evening. The beach fills up during the day so it can be difficult to find the seclusion that you may desire. Also, be sure you’re focusing on the high water mark and low areas on the beach. When water passes over these holes or dips in the sand, goods will fall into them. These are great places to look!
Here is the location of Myrtle Beach State Park:
METAL DETECTING TIP: If you’re detecting on the beach, be sure to manually set your sensitivity. Saltwater beaches are considered conductive ground and you’ll likely get inconsistent reads if you let your detector make the determination on how sensitive it should be.
Having the right tools to dig with makes a HUGE difference when Metal Detecting. Digging items quickly allows you to work more ground. I recommend three tools:
- Lesche RS Hand Trowel (link to Kellyco) – This hand shovel ROCKS
- Lesche Ground Shark (link to Kellyco for price and availability) – Essential on EVERY outing for me!
- Lesche Mini Pick If I’m in the woods cutting through roots and digging out rocks.
2. South Myrtle Beach
Southern Myrtle Beach is a hotbed of resorts and tourists. This is a smart place to search if you’re new to the world of metal detecting. You’ll get plenty of practice identifying tones and have the chance to mess around with the settings on your detector to get everything in the necessary order.
It’s also a great place to practice your digging. The state of South Carolina will fine you up to $100 if you don’t properly fill in the holes you dig. Practice unintrusive digging and see all that you can find. Scope out the beach during the day and mentally lock in places that you would like to visit in the evening.
Wide open spaces on beaches are not the places to search. If there aren’t people, there is likely not going to be any treasure for you to find. If possible, stay by the people. You can start your day by parking near the Nash St. Public Beach Access. This way, you can work your way up the beach for a mile and see all that you can find.
If you discover trash or any other unnecessary items on the beach, do your best to throw them away. It keeps the beaches clean and prevents you from finding any useless items.
Access the Nash St. Public Beach Access here:
METAL DETECTING TIP: If you detect during the day around people, be respectful. Plus, it’s smart to wear headphones. The beeping from the detector can be somewhat disruptive so if you stay silent and keep your distance, you should be okay.
3. Folly Beach
Folly Beach is a great spot to metal detect. Not far outside of Charleston, it’s another popular location for those interested in metal detecting so if you’re new to the game, be sure to visit. You can learn quite a bit in metal detecting if you’re willing to watch and observe what others are doing.
The beach has over six miles of area to explore so be sure you block out a decent amount of time to gain the full experience. Keep in mind that it’s illegal to dig holes that are deeper than one foot. If you have your detector’s sensitivity set on high, be careful with how deep you dig.
Also, the beach does not allow metal shovels! The world of metal detecting is highly regulated so it’s best to abide by the rules. It’s a wonderful pastime that needs all of the help it can get to stay relevant.
Keep in mind that detecting around the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve is prohibited.
You can access Folly Beach here:
4. Isle of Palms – Lots of Land to Scan
Isle of Palms is located outside of Mount Pleasant and is another beach area with a massive amount of land available for you to cover. Again, the best time to visit this area is in the morning or in the evening. You’ll be able to find the previous days items and have access to some wonderful views in the process.
On beaches, there are few regulations regarding what you can and can’t do. However, be sure that you stay out of the sand dunes and spend most of your time detecting in public access areas. The water can be fairly loud on the Isle of Palms so be sure you’re wearing your headphones. This will help you pick up any softer signals.
Access Isle of Palms here:
5. Morris Island – Ask First Civil War Relics
Morris Island is located just south of Fort Sumter. This was a popular spot in the midst of Civil War. Confederate troops were stationed here and they were tasked with keeping Union soldiers from making an advance on Charleston Harbor.
Hundreds of Civil War artifacts have been discovered on the island over the years so for any history buff, it’s a perfect location to visit. Access can be difficult due to the massive expanse of water. However, you’re able to schedule a boat ride or bring your own to access the beautiful landscape.
Schedule a boat tour here: https://adventureharbortours.com/morris-island-boat-tour/
METAL DETECTING TIP: Be sure you have a coil cover along when detecting. If you damage your coil, you’ll be spending quite a bit to get it fixed! Better safe than sorry.
Find out more about essential metal detecting gear with these articles
6. Berkeley County
Berkeley County is riddled with history. It was another important location in the midst of the Revolutionary War. There are ample areas to detect in the midst of Francis Marion National Forest. Also, the lake shores around Lake Moultrie are a wonderful place to spend your time.
Also, there is quite a bit of privately owned ranch land that requires permission to detect. If you’re interested, it’s worth trying your hand to ask for permission. Folks in the area are open to the idea of detecting as long as you’re respectful with their land and leave it better than you found it!
You can access solid detecting land here:
7. Hickory Grove
Hickory Grove is a wonderful place to spend your time metal detecting. There are several old gold mines nearby that are worth detecting. Also, the banks of the Broad River, King’s Creek and Wolf Creek are smart places to visit.
The areas around Hickory Grove are some of the most common areas to search for gold in South Carolina. These areas can be closely monitored so be sure that you access public areas and don’t trespass on private property. If you dig up any sort of hole, you must fill it.
These areas of South Carolina are not as heavily trafficked as the beaches so you will have more luck in discovering treasure. However, it’s important to follow the rules and regulations and not be too intrusive.
Warning: If your metal detector isn’t completely waterproof you might not want to scan beaches. When a metal detector manufacturers WATERPROOFS a unit it has been designed to keep SAND, SALT WATER and MOISTURE out. Don’t ruin your machine get a waterproof unit – I highly recommend the: Garrett AT MAX link to Kellyco
8. Chattooga Riverside
Along the Clemson River is another location to try and detect. This is another area where gold can be found. However, this is all surrounded by forest land so be sure you’re careful. The areas within National Forests are able to be detected, but digging happens to be prohibited.
If you’re willing to spend your time around the Chattooga River, it’s more of a place to practice your detecting. However, it’s a beautiful area worth your time exploring. There is an ample amount of land to see and you have a chance to find something special.
METAL DETECTING TIP: Stay away from non-sensitive areas. For example, fields marked with land structures such as dunes, historic buildings and areas with pipelines are prohibited.
9. King’s Mountain Belt
King’s Mountain Belt was one of the most productive gold mines in all of South Carolina at one point in the state’s history. It’s an area of land running between Gaston County and Lincoln County. These are great places to spend your time metal detecting. However, if you’re new to the world of metal detecting, I wouldn’t start in this area due to the difficult terrain.
Beaches are a great place to start your metal detecting. There are wide open spaces, quite a few artifacts and ample opportunities for you to test out your detector and see all that it has to offer. King’s Mountain Belt can be somewhat hard on your detector so be sure that you have your coil cover and understand the ins-and-outs of your detector.
Digging in King’s Mountain Belt must be done as minimally intrusive as possible. Be sure to replace your holes and fill them in as best you can. Don’t forget to take a look at the beauty surrounding you! The lower Southeast is gorgeous.
10. Sullivan’s Island
Sullivan’s Island is another popular area to metal detect in South Carolina. Spend quite a bit of time detecting here. There are several beach access points that will get you on to the public areas. It can be somewhat of a challenge to detect due to its wide and flat topography, but it’s well worth your time.
Sullivan’s Island receives plenty of visitors so there is plenty to be found. Remember, the lower areas in the sand and on the beach are the best spots to detect. The water washes the artifacts into these portions of the sand. Also, be sure to check the tide chart before you go detect on Sullivan’s Island.
It can be dangerous to get caught as the tide is coming in on the beach. However, low tide is the best time to search due to the more land available to cover. Don’t detect too close to the historical buildings. This will likely result in a fine and you could also lose your gear.
11. Daufuskie Island
The Daufuskie Island area is a wonderful spot to metal detect. There were numerous settlements and plantations in the area in the early 1500’s. The island itself is primarily private land, but the mouth of the Savannah River is off of the north point of the island and it’s a wonderful place to explore.
There were several shipwrecks off of the island so the possibility of aritifacts washing up near the mouth of the Savannah River is high. Be sure to do your hunting during the low water time. This will allow you more of a chance to do some hunting.
You can access the island via boat as well as vehicle. There is a beautiful winery you can visit in the process as well.
12. Hilton Head Beach – Lots of Folks Dropping Coins
Hilton Head Beach is another exciting place to visit. This area is similar to Sullivan’s Island in the sense that it is long and flat and can require quite a bit of search time, but it’s well worth it. You can likely come away with a nice amount of treasure and have the seclusion you may desire.
Learning How to Use Your Metal Detector Can Be Tough, But I’ve Got You Covered with These Articles
13. Parking Lots – Charleston Beach Parking Lots
Parking lots across Charleston and other major cities are also interesting places to metal detect. These areas don’t require digging and you can have quite a bit of success finding precious metals. Also, if you’re new to the world of metal detecting, go ahead and try parking lots.
Parking lots near beach access points are some of the best places to visit. Go in the early morning or late evening when the parking lot is empty and you’ll have your chance at some jewelry that may have been dropped throughout the day.
Also, parking lots outside of other public venues are going to be the other legal areas that you can visit. Private parking lots are illegal to search, but if you receive permission from the business owner, you’ll be able to still detect.
14. Local Beaches – Check Out the State Parks
Local beaches are a perfect place to detect. South Carolina has quite a bit of water for you to search. Whether it’s the low water point in the rivers or the beaches surrounding the lake, go ahead and detect around water.
These are the perfect places for beginners. Metal detecting is not an easy activity to perfect so be sure you put in your time in the easier places before you tackle some more of the difficult terrain.
The State of South Carolina has put out a great resource. Find it here – DOWNLOAD PDF
15. Private Land – Ask First!!!
Private land is another option for metal detecting in South Carolina. However, it’s going to require that you ask for permission from the land owners across the state. While this isn’t always the most comfortable situation, the risk can often be worth the reward!
If you see an area that would be a nice place to search, build up the courage to knock on a door and see what happens! You may find yourself with a great place to search all to yourself.
Metal detecting Laws in South Carolina
This link lays out the guidelines for metal detecting in South Carolina. Things are heavily regulated so be sure to follow these rules closely. If people continue to break these rules and regulations, metal detecting has the possibility of being even more limited in South Carolina.
Some great references can be found below:
- Here’s a blog post. http://www.mdhtalk.org/cf/city-regulation.cfm?st=SC
- Here’s a list of National Parks in South Carolina. https://www.nps.gov/state/sc/list.htm?program=parks
Metal Detecting Clubs in South Carolina
Low Country Metal Detecting– Low Country Metal Detecting is perhaps the most popular metal detecting group in South Carolina. There is a Facebook Group available to join and learn more about detecting all across the state. Spend your time introducing yourself to the group and you’ll find yourself with some helpful resources and perhaps the opportunity to detect some lesser known spots.
South Carolina Dirt Diggers is another popular metal detecting group in the state. The world of metal detecting is fairly small so the more people you get to know, the better of an opportunity you have to learn of the great areas across the state. Join this Facebook group and see what people and experiences come your way!
Favorite Metal Detecting Shops in South Carolina
Denton’s Detectors– Denton’s Detectors carries all of the necessary gear to get you into the sport. Plus, they have a nice amount of local knowledge on the areas to detect across the state.
Dig that beep– This is another popular metal detecting store in South Carolina. Plus, they have an online store for you to order the gear to get you started!
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.