Best Places To Metal Detect – Where to Look For Desired Finds?

Best Places To Metal Detect – Where to Look For Desired Finds?

If you ask yourself, is metal detecting near me possible? Or, what are allowed places to metal detect near me? This overview is definitely created for you! Many beginners start with looking for the best place to metal detect, and end up completely puzzled. However, Detect History has your back covered.

There are three main criteria to keep in mind when you decide upon the best places to use a metal detector. The first criterion is “available location” – actual locations available to you, located near you, or you’d like to visit. The second criterion is “allowed location” – whether the places you choose are legally allowed in your jurisdiction. And the third criterion is “location by expected find” – what finds are the most desired for you, and depending on these items, you choose the best place to find this or that item.

Best Places to Go Metal Detecting

Every beginner detectorist asks “what are good places to go metal detecting near me?”, and “what are allowed public places to metal detect near me?”. Without knowing the three criteria listed above – available location, allowed location, and location by expected finds – looking for the best places for metal detecting can be chaotic and ineffective. This is why Detect History provides the list and overview of the most widespread and popular places for treasure hunting; most of these locations exist almost in or around any town, and there is no big difference what country you are in. Check the list out and take notice of locations present in your area.


Almost any town, even the smallest one, has a local public park; bigger cities usually have more than one, and some jurisdictions even allow metal detecting in national parks. Parks can be fruitful in terms of modern jewelry, coins, smartphones, and even some older items. Just make sure you inform the park management about your activity in advance. Also, remember that you have to neatly fill in any holes you make while digging.


Woods are usually public places opened for metal detecting. Although there are no “nobody’s” land and woods belong to the state, and there are forestry departments, most often no one minds if you metal detect in the woods. However, it is better to make sure you are not close to the forestry department; the less noticeable you are, the better. Please remember that you must not damage vegetation if possible, must not disturb the animals or birds, and should take any trash you find with you. Also, detecting in the woods can be tricky, because the surfaces are usually challenging, and you risk catching roots or bush with the cable, or scratching the search coil.

Gardens and Orchards

Unless the garden or orchard was organized on a previously busy populated place, or a historical place, it is unlikely you find anything really outstanding there. However, gardens and orchards are usually well looked after, and this is a perfect location for metal detecting exercise.


Backyards are among the most available places for beginners, because one can give it a try on their own property, or ask permission from neighbors or friends. In fact, these seemingly unattractive locations can be promising and bring some unexpected items like coins or jewelry or even relics. So, you’d better discuss the right of ownership beforehand, even if this is your best friend’s backyard. What if you find a real treasure there?

School Areas

School areas can be very attractive, because they may contain both old and modern items. Older schools are usually rather promising, since generations of schoolchildren lost their stuff there. However, you’d better discuss your activity with the management, and perhaps promise to give away lost personal items like smartphones, if any.

College and University Areas

These lands can be godsent in terms of all kinds of treasures. The older the college or university, the more chances you have to spot something really outstanding, or even valuable. However, if the truth is known, the administration of many colleges and universities is most likely to prohibit any metal detecting on their grounds, to prevent damage to any structures or vegetation.

Sports Grounds

Most sports grounds are usually managed and you are unlikely to find many old finds, but these are good places for modern finds, like coins, jewelry, or lost watches. The best time to treasure hunt on sports grounds is in the evening, and of course after any sports competitions taking place there.

Play Grounds

The same story with playgrounds; parents and children spend considerable time on playgrounds and many valuable lost items can be spotted afterwards. Make sure you choose the right time for detecting, preferably when everyone leaves. Parents can be really nervous about adult strangers with weird equipment hanging around.

Picnic & Camping Areas

Picnic and camping areas are extremely promising for all kinds of items, both old and contemporary. You can look for lost personal items, and also for relics and antiquities, depending on your preferences. However, avoid doing this with many campers around, and also reach out to the area administration beforehand, to avoid getting into trouble.

Lakes and Rivers, Banks of Water Bodies

Not everyone is lucky enough to live near the seashore, but many have a lake, river, or creek nearby, and guess what, these can be perfect locations for productive detecting. You can search in wet sand, in the dirt on the banks, in shallow waters, or in deeper waters. The exact type of activity depends on finds you expect, the metal detector you use (whether it fits underwater search or not), and your skills. Lakes and rivers hide the most unexpected objects, so you will not be disappointed. However, you will need a waterproof metal detector, so check out this underwater metal detectors review.

Fishing Areas

Fishing areas can bring lots of typical bank-area finds, but these exact spots are usually more populated than just random spots on the bank. So if you see a popular fishing area, you just know that people come here more often than on other spots near the body of water, so this spot gives more chances of finding at least something.


Beaches can be very fruitful, regardless of whether this is a beach near the river, or a seashore beach. People come to have fun and relax on the beach, so they spend lots of time there, and lose lots of stuff. Beaches are among the most popular places for treasure hunting, and in fact these locations are legally allowed more frequently than other places, even within the same jurisdiction. If you have proper equipment for beach search, you can be successful; just contact the administration in the first place. Some beaches have limitations on hours or places where detecting is allowed. Also, make sure your metal detector is fit for beach search.

Fields and Pastures

Fields and pastures, if they are owned by the state and not by a particular farm, are usually allowed for metal detecting with hand held equipment. They can bring lots of finds, or bring none; that depends on what happened in the area in previous decades or centuries, and whether other treasure hunters visit this area often. Please remember that, as a rule, you’d better detect only on already disturbed (plough) lands, and you should not dig much deeper than the ploughing depth.

Old Farms

Private farms are among the most desired places for metal detecting, because private farms are usually old, tracing their history to previous decades or even centuries, making them potential accumulations of old items of different value and significance. However, to enter the farm lands, you have to get permission from the landowner and\or tenant. Trespassing will get you into trouble. Also, you should agree with the landowner on compensation in case anything valuable is discovered on their land. Keepers finders rule does not work on private property.


If there are known battlefields available to you, and they are not protected by the state as historical, archaeological, or memorial grounds… well, there are probably many other treasure hunters there! However, don’t fall into despair, this does not mean you cannot try, too. Sometimes, it is even better to seek on already searched through land, because other detectorists may have removed all the surface trash, and you can see what they have not seen underground.

Old Towns and Villages

Old populated areas can bring all types of finds imaginable, if you know where and how to look for the items. However, old towns and villages are complicated locations, firstly, because you will face roads, footpaths, gardens, roads, yards, abandoned structures, meaning you will need either a powerful versatile metal detector which you will need to reset all the time, or you will need more than one metal detector. Also, you will have to consider private property borders, ask permission from owners, and also inform local authorities about your activity.


Roadsides are usually available everywhere and few people would object to your metal detecting there. These are usually public lands, and unless any specific rules work for a specific area around the road, you will not find any obstacles. Roadsides will for sure be fruitful in terms of trash, but some unexpected finds also happen. Just make sure you follow the safety rules and avoid traffic. Being around a busy road is also not really healthy.

Footpaths & Hiking Trails

Footpaths and hiking trails literally mean that people walk there a lot, on a regular basis. Footpaths may be checked from time to time if they are near you. Hiking trails are locations you should check with persistence and patience, but some curious finds are almost guaranteed.

Ghost Towns

Ghost towns are once populated areas left behind, with most buildings and infrastructure still standing. Ghost towns can be found, for example, in California, left there after the famous Gold Rush that started in 1848. Ghost towns are extremely promising, especially if you are interested in historical finds, relics, and antiquities. These towns can also be rather dangerous, so make sure you are safe searching inside or around old structures.

Abandoned Buildings

If there is no ghost town nearby, you will for sure be able to find an abandoned building, be it a house, an administrative building, or an old industrial object. In most cases, searching there will be deemed illegal, because this is private property. You can try contacting the owner or local authorities to get a permit. Abandoned buildings can be really interesting in terms of finds.

Abandoned Mines

Make sure the mine is abandoned and no new claims are staked on these lands or nearby, because the claims are protected by the law. If there are claims, find out what distance should be kept between the area claimed, and the place of your hobby detecting. Abandoned mines can bring old and modern items, spots of mineral deposits, and even gold or silver. If you are interested in gold or silver, check out the best metal detectors for gold prospecting.

Flea Market Sites

The name speaks for itself here; if you search the place after the flea market event, you are likely to spot all kinds of curious objects, some of them even valuable. Flea markets can be a good place to exercise with the metal detector, and learn to interpret the signals.

Show Sites, Amusement Parks, & Racing Tracks

These sites see crowds of people who come there to entertain and spend money. So, the person with a metal detector can spot money, jewelry, phones, watches, old coins, and even various interesting things like details of vintage cars. Just make sure the administration is aware, and does not object to your being on the site.

Under Ski Lifts

If you have access to the ski center location and can get permission to hunt with a metal detector under the ski lifts, you are most likely to be lucky enough to find skiing equipment, phones, cameras, watches, skipasses, and so on. But you will only be able to do so when the ski lifts are off; moreover, seeking in the snow, and on a steep hill, can be exhausting.

Old City Dumps

This project does not sound attractive, but knowing the places of old city dumps and checking these places out can result in finding some unique stuff. It also makes sense to track the dates of dumps relocation, and get to the place of the previous dump earlier than other smartass treasure hunters.

Locations After Natural Disasters

As unethical as it may seem, searching for treasures on locations after natural disasters like floods, fires, or other natural disasters, can be promising. If you are not sure about that, you can actually try finding valuable and lost personal belongings and return them to the owners. If you cannot find the owners, then finders keepers. To work on highly littered locations after natural disasters, you will need powerful and versatile metal detector, so you may want to check professional metal detectors.

Places to Metal Detect Without Permission

Legal places to metal detect depend heavily on the laws applicable to this or that jurisdiction. In some countries, hobby detecting does not require a license, and you can go detecting in most public places. In other countries, a license is not needed, but a permit is needed for every public location like park or beach; other countries still have their own rules for every specific case. The locations listed above are the generally the most widespread, popular, and usually available for treasure hunting of all sorts. But every detectorist should double-check the situation for their country, state, or province. You can find out about metal detecting laws and peculiarities in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Best Places to Metal Detect For Old Coins

If you are wondering how to find buried money, and are interested in metal detecting old coins, you are lucky because coins can be found almost anywhere. The best places to metal detect for coins include roads, parks, streets, playgrounds and sports grounds, squares – the main rule is to make sure people walk often there, or used to spend their time in this place in the past. If you ask yourself how to find coins of the past, look at your location and think whether people used to walk, trade, or entertain there. Even if you search in the woods, you can find coin spills around old trees or along forest roads.

Best Places to Find Gold

If you are looking for a place to find gold, first ask yourself whether you want modern gold jewelry, old coins and jewelry, or you want gold nuggets and flakes.

Modern jewelry can be found in public parks, on the beaches, and everywhere you meet crowds of people on a regular basis. Old coins and jewelry that contain gold are kinda rare, and these can be actually classified as treasure by many governments. You will have to look for really historical sites, and be really lucky to spot ancient coins or jewelry that have gold in them.

The most promising and the most popular type of search for gold is prospecting. Gold is usually found on highly mineralized soils, on certain geological areas like Canada, California, or Australia. Flakes or dust of gold can be spotted in rivers or creeks, and you may even get away with panning instead of using a metal detector. However, gold prospecting is a complicated activity, and there are many nuances to keep in mind, both in terms of detecting process, and in terms of legislation.

How To Research For Good Places to Metal Detect?

There are many places to use a metal detector. Now you know where to go metal detecting if you want specific finds. But your research of the future locations also depends on where can you metal detect. If you are after coins or modern jewelry, you want to know allowed public places and what rules the authorities apply. If you are after old coins, jewelry, relics, or even treasures, you have to know potentially historical sites which are not prohibited by the law, check out old maps and newspapers, and learn exactly what types of finds can be classified as treasure.

If you are more into underwater metal detector hunting, you may be interested in peculiarities of local beaches and water bodies, currents and tides, rules applied by administration, routes of the ships, and weather information. You can learn more about possible locations, finds, and research, in the “Time to Detect” book by Detect History. Also, beginners can find lots of useful information in popular metal detecting TV shows.

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