Driving through New Jersey, you soon realize that there are a lot of diners. I love eating at diners, so I was in heaven, not only because I was visiting the hometown of Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi. If you’re in Atlantic City, you may even notice that the game of Monopoly used actual streets in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to name the game board’s properties.
Setting aside the interesting facts that make New Jersey a conversation-worthy destination, there are also some great opportunities to do some metal detecting within the state.
The rules in the state are a might strict, but often permission is just a friendly phone conversation away. I chose to investigate the state parks and called ahead to get permission to metal detect. In most cases, it merely meant meeting a park manager at a specific time/place to arrange my permit.
Acquiring permits was more a formality than anything else, and it felt right to be on the right side of the law, so I suggest you do the same. Here are the seven favorite state parks I adventured through. Let’s take a look.
1. Island Beach State Park – Swimming And Sun
Stretching for 10-miles between the Atlantic and Barnegat Bay is a narrow barrier island where you’ll find Island Beach State Park. I remember how white the sand on the beaches was. And there are a ton of things you can do at the park to entertain your family and yourself. Aside from some spectacular beaches to treasure hunt (with permission), there are some great things you can do at this park. These include, but are not limited to:
- Waterfowl hunting
- Scuba Diving
Here’s how to find the Island Beach State Park – https://goo.gl/maps/DBQ1nrk6zx8C6gGK7
2. Spruce Run Recreation Area – Year-Round Activities
The human-made lake at Spruce Run covers more than 1,290 acres and offers a whopping 15 miles of shoreline. That’s 15 miles to metal detect if you ask me. We went to Spruce Run a few years back, before the pandemic, when everything was open, and we had a great time.
The park includes a lot of different activities and is even open in the winter. There are several sports that one can play at the park. Here are some of the park’s available activities and highlights:
- Basketball courts
- Tennis courts
- Soccer Field
You can find this incredible park here – https://goo.gl/maps/xPszab3BRwgSqB148
Metal Detecting Tip: If you love Beaches and New Jersey, let me help you with the best beaches to metal detect in this guide: Best Beaches to Metal Detect in New Jersey
3. Round Valley Recreation Area – Blue Waters And Beach
Round Valley Recreation Area includes the Round Valley Reservoir – a human-made lake over 2,000 acres in size. The park boasts year-round activities and even has ice fishing, sledding, and cross-country skiing in the winter.
If you are like me though, you’ll want to go there in the summer or fall. Fall is best because it’s cooler, so less likely anyone will be on the beach. If no one is using the beach, it’s likely easier to get your permit to inspect the beach with your trusty metal detector.
Here are a few of the park’s amenities and activities:
- Waterfowl hunting
- Scuba and skin diving
- Mountain biking
- Horseback riding
You can find the Round Valley Recreation Area here – https://goo.gl/maps/Bos9V5YHz2cgS4RH7
4. Swartswood State Park – New Jersey’s First State Park
Swartswood SP was established back in 1915 as the state’s first state park. The park’s main feature is Swartswood lake, a calm and beautiful lake in the 3,460-acre park. The park is open year-round, and like other state parks, there is a nominal entry fee.
The park has some excellent trails and crosses a couple of eco-systems at the least, so it’s fascinating to see the different types of nature that reside in the area. There are campsites available if you want to spend the night and many other activities are permitted.
Here are some of the park’s activities:
- Mountain Biking
You can find Swartswood State Park here – https://goo.gl/maps/4kQMdxvf7bZQEe3N7
Metal Detecting Tip: People say that bad things happen in three’s. It may be because people put three or more coins in their pocket with that hole, so they lost all three. It’s a simple saying, but the phrase tells us something – that there is often more than one thing lost if there is a way for it to happen in the first place. It is valid for hunting coins as well. Often when there’s one coin, there are several more in the vicinity. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to get a big cache. If you find one, keep looking in the area, probability says you’re likely to find more. For more great tips on detecting and more, read this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/
5. Belleplain State Park – Swimming and Hiking Adventure
Belleplain State Park is a beautiful, forested park that includes lake Nummy. The lake has a lovely swimming beach that is often quite busy, making it an excellent target for treasure hunting when not in use for swimming.
The park includes activities and amenities such as camping, fishing, trapping, hunting, boating, canoeing, swimming, winter sports, and more. These make the park quite attractive to families, boaters, hunters, and anglers alike.
6. Parvin State Park
All nature enthusiasts will love Parvin State Park. I remember it well because of the swamp hardwood forest. It’s a world as alien as it comes and just as fascinating. Environments and ecosystems aside, Parvin State Park is also a fun park for various reasons.
The park offers camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, and more. I enjoyed using my metal detector on the beach there, although it was a touch difficult to get permission.
7. Wawayanda State Park
Wawayanda has a peacefulness to it that only a hiker or outdoor enthusiast can appreciate. The hills act as a beautiful backdrop to the picturesque Wawayanda Lake, making the park a top choice for canoeists and boaters that prefer a more peaceful boating experience.
The state park offers many amenities and permits many activities. These include but are not limited to the following.
- Horseback riding
Metal Detecting Laws For New Jersey
Metal detecting within New Jersey has a few hurdles. For detecting in state parks, for example, one must get a permit from the park management. As per section 7:2-2.16 of the New Jersey State Code: “ A person shall not use metal detectors or similar devices without a permit issued by Superintendent or designee. The permit may limit the location, hours, and days of use. A permit will not be issued for use in areas of significant historical or other value, or where such use would be incompatible with protection of the resource and/or interfere with public use of the facility.” (source)
National forests within the state also require a permit for using a metal detector. These permits tend to be awarded to only those attempting scientifically-backed endeavors, so they may be challenging for a hobby detectorist to obtain.
Quick Law Recap:
- National Forests: Permit required from US Forest Service
- BLM Lands: Permit required for relics, non-relic no permit required Read more in this article: Can I Metal Detect on BLM Land
- New Jersey State Parks: Only permitted via a permit provided by the park superintendent or a designated park staff member. Here are the regulations, see section 7:2-2.16: https://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/rules/njac7_2.pdf
Metal Detecting Clubs In New Jersey
- Deep Search Metal Detecting Club – Edison, NJ – A decent-sized club that holds regular meetings (virtual is the latest trend). The club also hosts events, some of which are charitable and help local organizations. Here is a link to their official new website – https://www.deepsearchmdc.com/
- South Jersey Metal Detecting Club – Haddon Heights, NJ – The SJMDC was established in 1972 and has an active population. The club holds regular meetings when local regulations allow it. They have a Facebook page with over 1.2k member; you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/69419118198/ The SJMDC website here: http://www.sjmdc.org/
- East Coast Research and Discovery Association – Pompton Plains, NJ – A club that holds regular meetings on the third Tuesday of the month. The club was established in 1983 for coin-shooters and relic hunters alike. The group holds private, member-only hunts and has a website that tells you everything else you may need to know about the club. You can find that website here: https://www.ecrda.org/
- Mid-Jersey Research & Recovery Club – Yardville, NJ – A metal detecting club with an authentic family-friendly atmosphere is the MJRRC. The club holds regular meetings and several events throughout the year to go on what they call “fun hunts.” The club was formed in 1979 and has grown over the years. You can find out more information about this club on their website here: http://www.midjersey.com/
Metal Detecting Tip: Learn to love the beach because your metal detector will. Beaches are great because of several reasons. First, people tend to lose stuff in the sand. Second, it’s easy to cover your tracks, leaving no trace. Third, many states allow metal detecting, and those that are more strict often allow metal detecting on beaches only. Therefore, you should learn to love the beach. For more great tips, take a look at this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/
The East Coast Has Some Amazing Places to Metal Detect
- Vermont isn’t just about Maple Syrup, it’s an inviting place to metal detect. Find where to go in this article 15 Best Places to Metal Detect in Vermont
- Maine, heck I think the whole state is a shoreline! I’ve got an article with a “where to” list: Where to Metal Detect in Maine (Laws and Maps)
- Delaware for treasure hunting. With lots of State Parks open to Metal Detecting Delaware is a great destination. Read where to go in this article: 15 Places to Metal Detect in Delaware
Metal Detecting Treasures Found In New Jersey
New and incredible finds show up all the time. New Jersey is no exception either. An anthropologist, Jim Bailey, an avid metal detectorist, found something extraordinary in a meadow in Middletown, New Jersey. Jim found a rare 17th-century Arabic coin. It was the first intact coin of this age and origin to be found in the United States.
The coin provides clues to a mystery dating back to the 1600s and the disappearance of a fugitive pirate. What greater historical story could you hope to be involved with than disappearing fugitive pirates holding 17th-century Arabic coins? Read the full story here – https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/rare-arabic-coin-0015146
Metal Detecting Resources In New Jersey
- MDHTALK forum has a fantastic quick reference resource for information about metal detecting clubs in New Jersey. Check out the reference list here: http://www.mdhtalk.org/cf/club.cfm?st=NJ
- New Jersey State Park Service Code: https://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/rules/njac7_2.pdf
Metal Detector Stores In New Jersey For Expert Advice
- CM Metal Detectors – Cape May, NJ – http://www.cmmetaldetectors.com/
- The Gold Digger – Raritan, NJ – https://thegolddigger.com/
- Lacey Metal Detectors – Bayville, NJ – https://www.laceymetaldetectors.com/
- Metaldetecting.com – Millville, NJ – https://metaldetecting.com/en