In our family adventures across the United States, we weren’t far from Indiana come Memorial Day weekend, so I thought it would be fun to swing past Indianapolis for the Indianapolis 500. As this event is known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” I thought I’d take the family to see it. With so many tourists in town, there would be many a lost item to find with my detector, after all.

Regardless of whether you’re a race fan or not, there are plenty of great things to do in Indiana. The state boasts many great parks and places you can go to find nature and do some prospecting with your trusty metal detector.

The laws in Indiana are a bit stricter than in some of the other states regarding metal detecting. So, stick with me, and we’ll cover those laws after I tell you about my favorite seven state parks to do detecting in Indiana.


1.     Pokagon State Park – 2 Lakes, Beaches, And More

Once called Lake James State Park, this park near Angola in the northeast corner of Indiana is a great little park to stay for a weekend. It boasts a fishing lodge-themed inn which is a popular destination in the Midwest.

Nestled between Lake James and Snow Lake, there are ample opportunities to do some excellent shore detecting or prospecting. Just remember to get your permit from the park rangers. Here are a few of the amenities you’ll find at Pokagon:

  • Swimming
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Sledding
  • Ice fishing
  • Hiking
  • Paddle, pontoon, and rowboat rentals
  • Camping

Here’s how to find Pokagon State Park: https://goo.gl/maps/yuKRwQU7RMowGH9z5

Source: https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2973.htm


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.

2.     Pike Lake Beach – Family-Friendly Fun

On our adventures, we swung through Warsaw, Indiana, and spent the day at Pike Lake. There’s a campground there and some of the best fishing around. The lake boasts many pike fish, hence the name, which attracts many anglers to the lake.

There’s also swimming at Pike lake, and with such a nice campground and picturesque views of the lake, it’s no wonder this place is busy. And do you know what that means? More lost treasures to find! Just make sure you get your permission before you do any prospecting here.

  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Incredible views

Finding Pike Lake Beach and Campground are easy; just take a look: https://goo.gl/maps/8K4MzKSQs6j3okXi8

Source: https://www.kcgov.com/eGov/apps/locations/facilities.egov?view=detail&id=10


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.

3.     Deam Lake State Recreation Beach – Boating and Beauty in One Place

Deam Lake should be called Dream Lake because it’s so beautiful that it’s like being in a dream. You can rent these quaint little cabins to spend the night or camp on the 194-acre property. The views of the lake are incredible, and getting permission to do some hobby prospecting with your detector is no big deal – just swing by the park office first and get permission. You’ll be glad you did (but you might not want to leave this beautiful oasis).

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Picnicking

You can locate the Deam Lake State Recreation Beach here: https://goo.gl/maps/X1cWYsdo8F3Zujiz8

Source: https://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/4825.htm


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 Digging Tools for Metal Detecting
Lesche Digging Tools for Metal Detecting

4.     Indiana Dunes State Park – Lake Michigan Awaits

Located in Chesterton, Indiana, on the southern shores of Lake Michigan, is a vast expanse of beach and sand to explore at Indiana Dunes State Park. Permission is required to use your metal detector, like all state parks in Indiana, but this one is especially worth the effort.

Here are a few of the amenities you’ll find at Indiana Dunes:

  • Nature Center (the kids love this)
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Birding
  • Camping

You can easily find the Indiana Dunes State Park here: https://goo.gl/maps/dxgV26DidH194mwT7

Source: https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2980.htm


5.     Versailles State Park – Swimming, Boating, And More

If you’re headed to the rolling hills of southeastern Indiana, you need to stop in at Versailles State Park. The park boasts a 230-acre lake where you can swim, boat, fish, and more. There’s even a boat ramp here, so you can launch a powerboat (or detect near the ramp).

Here are a few of the fun activities you can do at Versailles State Park:

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Swimming
  • Rental canoes, kayaks, and rowboats

Source: https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2963.htm


Metal Detecting Tip: Winter weather is no fun, but when it melts, things start to heat up! The best time to go detecting is after the snow melts. Trinkets and treasures lost in the snow are often right in plain view or just under some surface clutter. All you need is your detector and these treasures waiting for you to find them. For more great tips for metal detecting, read this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/


Check Out These Spots for your Next Metal Detecting Trip


6.     Summit Lake State Park – Beautiful Lake and Woodlands

Located near New Castle in mid-Indiana is one of my favorite parks: Summit Lake State Park. The hiking here in the Zeigler Woods is incredible and looks like it has barely been touched by humans (another incredible feat). The park offers rental canoes, paddleboats, and rowboats and even boasts three boat launch ramps. With picnicking, fishing, hiking, swimming, and more to do, the family will have fun all day while you’re combing the beach with your detector. Just make sure you get permission, like in other State parks of Indiana.

  • Picnicking
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Boating (3 launch ramps)
  • Swimming

Source: https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2967.htm


7.     Potato Creek State Park

In north-central Indiana resides Potato Creek, State Park. This beautiful state park boasts a 327-acre lake (Worster Lake), wetlands, and mature woodlands. Its pristine beauty is only matched by the fun times you can have detecting here. Like other Indiana state parks, you’ll need permission, but it’s worth it. Look at all the fun things you can do at Potato Creek:

  • Boating (2 launch ramps)
  • Hiking
  • Biking (3.2 miles of bicycle trails and 6.6 miles of mountain bike trails
  • Fishing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Canoe, kayak, rowboat, and trolling motor rentals
  • Family-friendly playground

Source: https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2972.htm


Metal Detecting Laws for Indiana

Indiana has some of the best prospecting opportunities around, but you need a permit in most places. For us metal detecting folk, we are very restricted in Indiana. To do any real metal detection, in most places you need a permit. The laws are pretty clear about that fact.

Metal Detecting in Indiana
Metal Detecting in Indiana

Your best bet is to find some state parks where you can get written permission to use your metal detector. Often this falls to beaches within state parks. And unlike other states, you can’t just claim to be doing a hobby. You’re going to need a permit in most cases, but fear not, they aren’t that hard to get. In many cases, the park rangers are well aware that people with metal detectors will come around, and most park offices have the forms that need to be filled out.

Metal Detecting Tip: Steer clear of any national parks. These parks do not permit the use of a metal detector.

It may seem to you that Indiana is all “doom and gloom” when it comes to metal detection. Although it’s true, the state is relatively strict, there is hope, and that’s in finding land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management. According to mdhtalk.org, detection on BLM land is permissible as long as no artifacts are removed. Well, this doesn’t stop you from finding coins and jewelry lost at typical camping sites on BLM land, and you’re not required to have a permit, so it works out fine. (source)


Quick Indiana Law Recap:

Indiana State Parks: Only allowed with a permit and typically only on beaches.

National Forests: Permit required from US Forest Service.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Permitted without removal of artifacts.


Metal Detecting Clubs in Indiana

  • Fort Wayne – Miami Valley Coin and Relic Hunters Club – This club has a Facebook page that has been inactive since December, 2018. You can attempt to connect with them here: https://www.facebook.com/mvcrhc
  • Hartford City – East Central Indiana Research & Recovery – Another club with little to no activity (the last update on the website was 2017). You can attempt to reach this club here: http://ecith.weebly.com/

Metal Detecting Tip: Who doesn’t love fun in the sun and sand? Well, if you want a great experience with your detection, then go to the beach! Beaches are great because most of the time, using a hobby metal detector is no issue in most places. The sand is quickly turned over and easy to leave no trace. Best of all, people lose jewelry, coins, and other valuables at the beach all the time. Once lost, it’s up to you and your detector to find them! For more great tips, read this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/


Metal Detecting Treasures Found In Indiana

There’s nothing like a heartfelt story to make you smile. And metal detecting in Indiana can give us a story all right. Recently an Evansville, Indiana veteran of metal detecting Tony Montgomery (30 years or more detecting) found something in town, and it was gold!

The once lost item was the gold-plated fireman’s badge of a man named “C.Ayers,” as per the engraving on the badge. After contacting some local news agencies, Tony finally found the descendant of C.Ayers, who was ecstatic to have a memento from his late father’s career as a fireman.

You can read all about the story here: https://www.14news.com/2021/01/26/evansville-man-finds-retired-fire-department-badge-with-metal-detector/


Metal Detecting Resources in Indiana


Metal Detector Stores In Indiana For Expert Advice


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.