The beautiful west coast. It’ss a place of fresh air, new beginnings, rugged mountains, and some of the best metal detecting in North America. Why do I say this? Because when I took my family to Washington state to see Mount Rainier – an active volcano in the mountains, I was surprised at how organized their metal detecting culture was.
The state of Washington makes life easy for metal detectorists. Sure, we still have to fill out a form, but unlike some states, Washington has an accessible online portal that makes it simple to register. You can register your detecting for many state parks, which gives you a wide variety compared to other stricter states.
With the ease of registration and so many state parks allowing metal detecting in designated areas, it can still be challenging to determine where to go. So, I’ve lined up my favorite seven state parks in Washington state where you can have a great time metal detecting and even bring the family. Let’s dive in.
1. Beacon Rock State Park – Amazing Adventures And Lots To Do And See
Our journey begins in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area of Washington. One thing that is impressive about this park is that Beacon Rock, towering above the local foliage, is the heart of an ancient volcano!
The park boasts over 9,500 feet of freshwater shoreline and holds over 4,400 acres of year-round park beauty. There are many things to do and enjoy at Beacon Rock, and one of the main reasons I like the park is the diversity of areas that you are allowed to detect. Look at the resource section further in this article and check out the state parks’ maps that show the areas where metal detecting is permitted (the map shows 13 large allowable areas where we can detect our heart’s content).
Some of the great things you can do at this park are:
- Equestrian Trails
- Rock Climbing
Here’s how to find the Beacon Rock State Park – https://goo.gl/maps/Exqu4XhzmJaERooe6
Map of metal detecting permissible areas – https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/8437/Beacon-Rock-State-Park-Metal-Detecting-PDF
2. Kanaskat-Palmer State Park – White Water Rafting And Detecting Adventures
Two miles of shoreline on the Green River and the Kanaskat-Palmer State Park might appear to be like any other state park where a river traverses its boundary. But, this park has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. Some of the best kayaking can be found at the K.P., as I like to call it. Although with no actual boat launch to speak of, the park does offer some of the most exciting whitewater rafting around if you don’t mind launching by hand. That being said, kayaks are an excellent option for a side-adventure when you tire of detecting the 19-acre permissible detection area and trails.
Here are some of the park’s highlights:
- White Water Rafting
You can find this incredible park here – https://goo.gl/maps/9Pv99c3qRQZf7wybA
Map of metal detecting permissible areas – https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/8162/Kanaskat-Palmer-State-Park-Metal-Detecting-PDF
3. Lake Sylvia State Park – Gorgeous And Quant
First arriving at Lake Sylvia State Park, I was taken aback by the beauty of this gem of a park nestled in the forest just north of the town of Montesano, Washington. The park boasts only 6 acres of permissible metal detection areas, but the beauty makes it completely worth it.
The small lake only allows non-motorized watercraft, so there’s no danger of loud and obnoxious boat engines buzzing around, polluting the pristine waters of Lake Sylvia. The area offers a variety of nature-based activities as well, from bird watching to fishing.
Here are a few of the park’s amenities and activities:
- Mountain biking
- Boating (non-motorized)
You can find Lake Sylvia State Park here – https://goo.gl/maps/VxfPHq1fYksJQoWcA
Map of metal detecting permissible areas – https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/9786/Lake-Sylvia-State-Park-Metal-Detecting-PDF
4. Rockport State Park – Green Forest West Coast Beauty
Do you like the forest? If you do, then Rockport State Park is a dream come true! There are some of the most beautiful hiking trails with ferns that you’re only going to see growing the way the west coast offers. Boasting over 14 acres of permissible metal detecting trails, this is one of those extreme inner peace kinds of parks. You can lose yourself in the beauty of the trails, stop for a picnic and admire the trees, some of which are over 250 feet tall!
Here are some of the park’s activities:
- Hiking (day use only)
- Bird watching
You can find the Rockport State Park here – https://goo.gl/maps/UDg2LLvAwYsa4eAs8
Map of metal detecting permissible areas – https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/8348/Rockport–State-Park-Metal-Detecting-PDF
This website is all about the how, where and gear used in metal detecting. Below are some great articles to teach a bit more about “treasure hunting” with a metal detector.
- 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.
5. Ocean City State Park – Clamming And Detecting In One Place
The first time we traveled to Ocean City State Park, I was surprised to find out we could do a little clamming. It’s a great spot to dig up razor clams for a great tasty treat in season. I mean, who doesn’t like doing a little clamming in between detection tours, right? With the four large detection zones in the park, you’re likely to get hungry, after all.
This park boasts camping, fishing, bird watching, hiking, and even has a picnic area. You can stop with a decent-sized group for a big outing together if you like. It has over 145 camping sites and also 29 RV hookup sites, so everyone is bound to find a way to spend the night and enjoy their time in Ocean City State Park.
Map of metal detecting permissible areas – https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/9796/Ocean-City-State-Park-Metal-Detecting-PDF
Metal Detecting Tip: Have you ever had a stretch where you didn’t get so much as a beep and realized your tuning was off? I once spent half a day hunting before realizing the long stretch of silence was a mistuned detector. So, how do we prevent this pickle? By carrying a test coin, that’s how. Or, as some on the forums like to call it – a tuning coin. Bring one in your gear so you can test and tune your detector on the fly to ensure top results. For more great tips on detecting and more, read this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/
6. Kitsap Memorial State Park – Beauty And Romance In A Park
Were you looking to spark a little romance in your life? Well, I can tell you we enjoyed the peaceful rental cabins nestled in this beautiful park. There are many great activities to do here as well, with over 1,700 feet of saltwater shoreline and over 20 acres of metal detection permissible area. Again allowing for things like fishing, crabbing, clamming, oystering, hiking, swimming, and more, you really can’t go wrong with Kitsap Memorial State Park.
Map of metal detecting permissible areas – https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/9784/Kitsap-Memorial-State-Park-Metal-Detecting-PDF
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
The last stop on our adventures brings us right to the coast at Westport Light State Park. The park boasts an area of over 50 acres for metal detecting along the gorgeous shoreline. The metal detection zone even stretches right out of the park and into the Seashore Conservation Area, so as long as you’re permits allow, you could detect until your heart is content.
Map of metal detecting permissible areas – https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/8352/Westport-Light-State-Park-Metal-Detecting-PDF
Metal Detecting Laws For Washington State
Washington State is one of those states that fall into the mid-zone for laws regarding metal detecting. For example, most cities don’t allow metal detecting in their parks, except for cities like Seattle that do allow it. However, Seattle law states that the shovel must be handheld with a blade no wider than 2”. So, if you’re staying in Seattle, have at the parks with your detector and small hand spade!
Like other states, National Forests and BLM land is illegal to detect metal without a special prospecting permit, so it may not be worth the effort, but that’s up to you.
Washington State Parks is a progressive state park service that allows metal detecting in multiple parks. You have to register first, but that’s easy via their online portal. Just make sure you check in with staff at the park after registering and find out which areas of the park you are allowed to detect metal.
Quick Law Recap:
- State Parks: Permit required, allowed in multiple parks in designated areas.
- National Forests: Permit required from US Forest Service
- BLM Lands: Permit required. – Go over to the BLM website to learn more about using a metal detector on BLM land. Link – Bureau of Land Management
Metal Detecting Clubs In Washington State
- Metal Detecting Association of Washington – Belfair, WA – https://sites.google.com/site/metaldetectwa/home?authuser=0
- Hood Canal Detectorists Club – Belfair, WA – https://sites.google.com/site/hoodcanaldetectoristsclub/home
- Olympic Peninsula Treasure Hunters – Bremerton, WA – https://sites.google.com/site/olympicpeninsulatreasurehunter/
Metal Detecting Tip: Have you ever tried hard not to disturb things with a big hole, but a tree root is right in your path? Try using a hand shovel that has a built-in serrated blade along one side. These handy tools work great at cutting through pesky tree roots blocking your path to a potential great find. For more great tips, take a look at this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/
Metal Detecting Treasures Found In Washington State
In June of 2020, a man and some friends were metal detecting on a beach in Washington when a man found something he’d never seen before. Buried just six inches in the sand was a brass button with a phoenix on it and some French writing. It turns out it was a brass military button from the 1800s. An English company made the button for the king of Haiti and his military. It just goes to show that you never know what you are going to find. Read the full story here – https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2020/06/25/Man-finds-Haitian-Phoenix-Button-from-1800s-on-Washington-state-beach/7521593114417/
Metal Detecting Resources In Washington State
- Washington State Parks – metal detecting brochure – https://www.parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/929/Metal-Detecting-PDF?bidId=
- Online state park metal detecting registration – https://www.parks.state.wa.us/FormCenter/Miscellaneous-12/Metal-detecting-form-76
- Washington State Parks metal detecting maps resource – https://parks.state.wa.us/127/Metal-detecting
Metal Detector Stores In Washington State For Expert Advice
- Black Jack’s Metal Detectors and Mining Equipment – Renton, WA – One of the few metal detecting stores that try to keep a resource on their website with information about the hobby within the state. Very helpful. – https://www.blackjacksmetaldetectors.com/
- West Coast Mining Supply – Bremerton, WA – http://www.westcoastminingsupply.com/metal-detectors
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.
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.