Maine, it isn’t all lobster fishing and lighthouses, although there is no shortage of those things. In truth, Maine has an impressive diversity of extensive coastlines, early colonial history, and northern wilderness. With all three of these things comes treasure hunting potential, something Maine is overflowing with.
It is for that reason, and also that I was sent there for work, that I visited Maine a couple of years ago. And, of course, whenever I go on a business trip, I bring my metal detecting gear! Who wouldn’t? I remember finding some coins that looked to be quite old on a beach, and even a single earring. It turned out to be stainless steel and cubic zirconium, but it was still cool to find something other than pop-can tabs and construction debris.
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I love going to new places to metal detect, as each new state and each new location feels like a renewed chance to find something incredible. However, I always have difficulty finding the best places to metal detect in whatever state it is I have journeyed. That’s why I created this list, and others like it on this website, to hopefully help out my fellow metal detecting enthusiasts.
The Top Maine Metal Detecting Locations (in no particular order)
1. Birch Point Beach State Park
This 62-acre pocket beach on the Penobscot Bay in Owl Head wonderfully represents the picturesque northern beaches that one can find in the state of Maine. Studded, and surrounded, by tall pines, and even taller oaks, this state park is a perfectly unique beach treasure hunting location. If you are used to west coast, or even more southern east coast, beaches, then I highly recommend visiting one of the beaches on this list. It is a completely different experience in the best way imaginable.
Birch Point Beach State Park, known to the Knox County locals as Lucia Beach, is a relatively new state park, acquired by the state in 1999. It was purchased with funds from the Land for Maine’s Future program, and what a good purchase it was. The crescent shaped sand beach bordering the majestic Atlantic Ocean is a treasure hunters dream, bound to be used by detectorists for generations.
2. Popham Beach State Park
If you are looking for a highly foot-trafficked beach, the Popham Beach State Park is the place for you. It is not only Maine’s busiest state park beach, but also the state’s highest volume day use park. It is a peninsular beach which, in recent years, has fallen victim to erosion. However, large boulders have been dispersed throughout the beach to help hold off the surf. Nonetheless, as it is still the best place in Maine to go looking for items dropped in the sand.
The Popham beach State park is around 605-acres of clean white sand on the shore the Atlantic Ocean, located in the town of Phippsburg. Sagadahoc County, Maine.
3. Bradbury Mountain State Park
The Bradbury Mountain State park is one of Maine original 5 state parks, acquired by the state in 1939. The parks namesake ‘Bradbury Mountain’ is, in reality, nothing more than a less than 500-foot hill. However, this hill does provide park visitors with unbelievable panoramic views of the park wilderness, something that attracts tons of visitors every year. The park covers 730-acres of natural forest, which hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders take advantage of during every season of the year.
This park is a great place to metal detect because of its surprisingly rich history. Before Europeans arrived, the Wabanakis natives camped on the mountain while on their treks to the coast. Furthermore, in the 1800’s, the historic Cotton family grew grapes on this land as a part of their farm. Plus, in the early twentieth century, some parks of the park were even used for mining. Remnants from all of these historical periods that the park has gone through over the last few centuries are just waiting for you to discover them.
4. Lily Bay State Park
While the whopping 3,478-miles of tidal shoreline that Maine has (51-miles longer than California’s!) might be the main focus of many, the inland beaches of Maine’s many freshwater lakes are nonetheless bursting with treasure hunting opportunity. The Lily Bay State Park encompasses 924-acres on the southern shore of Moosehead Lake. The largest inland lake in the state!
The pebble style shoreline of the Lily Bay may make it more difficult to dig up your finds… but it also means that it is easier to lose things like coins, jewelry, and other small valuables. They get trapped in the cracks between the stones, and a metal detector is the best tool to be able to root out these forgotten treasures. The tens of thousands of people who visit this park every year are bound to have left something for you to find.
Metal Detecting Tip: I’ve got a detailed guide to the best beaches in Maine for metal detecting. Read it -> Best Beaches to Metal Detect in Maine
5. Ferry Beach State Park
Located just north of the mouth of the Saco river in Saco, Maine, this park is spans nearly 120-acres of both inland and Atlantic shoreline wilderness. The superb white beaches of this south-western state park are tremendous recreation locations that thousands of people visit every year. Moreover, this park gets an additional bump in tourism from its exceedingly rare stand of Tupelo, or Black Gum, tress which are highly uncommon at that latitude.
Before highways became commonplace in Maine, and throughout the states on the coasts of the United States, beaches offered travelers with a safe and easy way to navigate transportation throughout the state. The Ferry Beach get its name from this history, and who knows what relics from this period in time still lay in the sand and soil of this fantastic state park.
6. Aroostook State Park
Another of Maine’s legendary original 5 state parks, the Aroostook State Park is a 900-acre wilderness park that encompasses the Quaggy Jo Mountain and Echo Lake. Both of these landmarks, as well as the sheer beauty of the northern Maine forestry, attract thousands of visitors every year. This also means that you can metal detect on either sand or soil in this park, as Echo lake has a swimming beach and the rest of the park has a lengthy trail system.
The Aroostook State Park, like many of Maine’s State Parks, was once the site of a native settlement. In fact, the Mountain ‘Quaggy Jo’ is named after an alternate pronunciation of the Native American name for the mountain ‘Qua Qua Jo’ which means twin peaked. It should be no surprise then that this location is a potential treasure trove of relics and historical items.
7. Sebago Lake State Park
One of the larger of Maine’s State Parks, the Sebago Lake State Park is 1,342-acres of land plotted on the north shore of the Sebago Lake. It was one of Maine’s original 5 State Parks and remains one of its most visited today. The forested portion of the park is split into an eastern and western portion by the Songo river. The Sebago Lake itself is, impressively, the second largest inland lake in the state!
Because it is located in one of the more metropolitan portions of Maine, this state park is sure to have tons of foot traffic. Thousands of people visit the beach of this south-western freshwater lake every year. I wouldn’t come here looking for relics or anything like that, but for: coins, jewelry, etc. I would give it a wholehearted recommendation.
8. Lamoine State Park
One of the smallest State Parks on this list, the Lamoine State Park comes in at a miniscule 55-acres. However, before you get disappointed… it’s pretty much entirely beachfront property on the Atlantic Ocean! This park has a broad view of the Mount Desert Island (as well as its mountain range) and the sublime Frenchman’s Bay. The park was once home to a coal-burning warship refueling station which has been out of operation for over a hundred years. Who knows what has been left behind from this astounding military history!
The area where this State Park is located is nestled firmly into the most sought-after vacation destination in all of Maine. Out-of-state tourists with lots of money, the kind who wear and potential loose real precious metal and jeweled jewelry, come here every year to swim and enjoy the beach at Lamoine State Park.
9. Scarborough Beach State Park
This State Park is the closest park to Maine’s most populous city Portland, Maine. It is also one of the most visited public beaches in all of Maine given that the water gets all the way up to the high 60’s in temperature during some summer months. This might not seem that impressive to you west coast people, but for people who know how cold north-eastern ocean beaches can get… it’s unprecedented. This is a great location for treasure hunters because of its location, foot traffic, and also the fact that it is a family-friendly beach that is always clean and safe. Plus, if you do wind up taking a dip in the blimey waters of the great blue you can be assured that lifeguards are on duty at all times that the beachfront is open to the public.
10. Rangeley State Park
Deep in the heart of Maine’s Western Mountains, the Rangeley State Park is 869-acres of land and lake, with the 9-mile wide Rangeley Lake being the parks namesake attraction. From the soft sand beaches, decorated with pine trees spaced out, you can see the majestic Saddleback Mountain in the distance.
The Rangeley Lake also has world-famous populations of landlocked trout and salmon which brings fisherman from all around the country. This State Park might not be number one in foot-traffic, historical value, or convenience, but it is unmatched in sheer beauty of the surrounding you get enjoy while you are treasure hunting.
11. Wolfe’s Neck State Park
This 244-acre State Park is located on the Casco Bay just 5-miles out of Freeport, Maine’s bustling shopping district. Even though it is so close to the city, the Wolfe’s Neck State Park offers forests filled with white pine, hemlock, and a unique salt marsh estuary. However, those things are not what the park is famous for. The Wolfe’s Neck State park is well known for its signature residents the ospreys. Ospreys have an impressive average wingspan of around 1.5-meters! They, of course, bring birdwatchers from all around the region to the park.
Furthermore, the park gets its name from Henry and Rachel Wolfe, the parks first European settlers who arrived in 1733. Plus, in the 20th century the park was an organic beef-raising farm. This, along with the osprey’s, means that the park is the perfect combination of high foot-traffic and historical significance. Just think, you can be searching for coins and jewelry at the same time that you’re looking for relics left behind and forgotten in the sand and soil.
If you’d like more articles about metal detecting check out the links below.
- Metal Detecting Digging Tools – Tells you all about shovels, scoops and how to dig a plug.
- Where are the Best Places for a Beginner to Metal Detect? – Just like the title says, this article points the beginner to the highest probability places.
- Can You Metal Detect on BLM Land? – So many people have asked me about BLM detecting I had to write this article.
12. Footbridge Beach
The Footbridge Beach is one of the more popular tourist beaches on Maine’s oceanic coastline. In fact, it often gets so busy that I have to recommend this location for either early morning or nighttime treasure hunting. And, unlike the state parks on this beach, no permit is required to metal detect. It is a public beach in Your County, Maine in the south-western most portion of the state’s coast. The beach gets its name from the fact that a lengthy footbridge has to be crossed to get to the shoreline because the beach and the mainland is separated by a portion of the Atlantic which juts into the landmass in a sort of river like formation.
13. White Mountain National Forest
The only National Forest on this list, and in the state of Maine, the White Mountain National Forest is a massive 750,852-acres of rolling peaks and pine spotted hillsides. While the vast majority of this park is actually located in the state of New Hampshire, around 5% of the forest is on the border between the two states. The major peaks of the mountains are over 4,00-feet high, and around 100-miles of the legendary Appalachian Trail traverses the White Mountain National Forest.
Like all national forest, you do not even need a permit to metal detect on the premises, which sets White Mountain apart from most of the locations on this list. There are some regulations in regard to what you can and cannot legally take from the forest, these rules can be found linked below in the ‘Metal Detecting Laws in Maine’ section.
14. Ghost Towns (Flagstaff, Dead River, Ligonia Village, Madrid)
Ghost towns are a favored treasure hunting location for detectorist all around the country, and this is no different in the great state of Maine. However, always make sure you aren’t metal detecting on private land without the permission of the landowner. Some ghost towns have public land, or simply plots of land that no one bothers to manage, and these locations are what I recommend you seek out.
In Maine some of the more well-known ghost towns are Flagstaff, Dead River, Ligonia Village, and Madrid. All of these locations were at one-point busy up-and-coming town which for one reason or another have since become all but deserted. Moreover, each of these town have a unique history that has likely been undisturbed in regard to what’s been left behind of that history in the soil.
15. Private Land
Some of my best finds have come from private land, I think this is due to one simple thing… nobody had bothered to metal detect there before. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to just start digging up people’s lawns throwing caution to the wind. You still need to get permission to metal detect on the land from the landowner, if you don’t you are committing a crime, and that I will not endorse. But, if you can find some friends, or even just nice people you meet somewhere along the way, to let you search their back yard… you just might be in for an exciting find!
Metal Detecting Tip: People who have larger yards will be more likely to let you metal detect on them because they don’t see the slight malformation from the holes as that much of a disruption. I’ve got a great article for getting permission to detect on private land – HERE
Metal Detecting Laws in Maine
Metal detecting in any state park in Maine requires you to obtain a metal detecting permit from the park office. These permits allow you to metal detect in the park, however, it is at the discretion of the park management to decide where in the park they will allow you to metal detect.
The only state park you are not allowed to metal detect in is Baxter State Park, because it is not actually owned or managed by the state government.
Metal Detecting Tip: After years of swinging my machine, I’ve come to realize find treasure is cool, but also having a conservation ethic is better. If you read just a little bit about the 1906 Antiquities Act you understand the idea of perseveration and conservation. Here’s a link. 👉 Antiquities Act U.S. Department of Interior
Metal detecting is allowed in all National Forests, with some regulation.
For the specifics visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5261774.pdf (link to National Forest metal detecting and mineral collecting policy)
Unlike in Maine’s State Parks, at Footbridge park you are allowed to metal detect without a permit. Of course, you should always respect the land and the people around you, permit or not.
You must get permission from the landowner to metal detect on private land. Failing to do so will result in you committing a crime.
Maine Metal Detecting Clubs
- Livermore Falls Metal Detecting Club (https://www.metaldetectingmaine.com/ weblink to their forum)
- Maine Gold Prospectors (http://www.mainegoldprospectors.club/ weblink to their member page)
- Bangor Coin Shooters (Neal Finson Road Bangor, ME 04401 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Metal Detecting Shops in Maine
- White’s Metal Detectors / Republic Jewlery & Collectibles (Auburn, ME) (https://www.republicjewelry.com/metaldet.htm weblink to their homepage)
Treasure Finds in Maine and Metal Detecting News
- A man in Embden, Maine found a 222-year old penny a few inches underneath the surface of the ground on the grounds of a local church. The penny is valued at around 200 dollars! https://bangordailynews.com/2020/10/22/news/central-maine/man-finds-222-year-old-penny-outside-maine-church/
- In the early 1840’s the Grindle family found a treasure trove of around 500-2,000 colonial coins in Castine, Maine.
- Both the Smuttynose and Malaga island of the 5 Maine Duck islands are reported to have buried treasure hidden somewhere on them. https://numa.net/2013/02/is-there-treasure-off-new-englands-isles-of-shoals/