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The Best Places for Metal Detecting

Updated on December 13, 2017
Blond Logic profile image

Mary has many hobbies and shares her ideas and passion in an easy to read user-friendly way.

Metal detcting on a beach
Metal detcting on a beach | Source

Why You Should Use a Metal Detector

Whether you are new to metal detecting or have simply lost interest due to a lack of success, I've brought together some places where you may not have considered using your metal detector.

I can't guarantee you'll find a treasure chest bursting with Spanish doubloons and rubies as big as saucers but who knows!

We all dream of finding a treasure of forgotten gold jewelry or coins but don't dismiss other smaller finds, these can be equally as interesting but perhaps not as valuable. Whether your interest is coins, artifacts, or jewelry any discovery, I'm sure you'll agree, is a welcome one.

Buried Treasure
Buried Treasure | Source

Gerber Folding Shovels

Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade, Serrated Edge [30-000075]
Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade, Serrated Edge [30-000075]

I love my Gerber shovel. I was given this as a present from someone who uses theirs when camping. Knowing that I was into detecting, they knew it would be ideal to fit into my bag.

I began with a garden trowel, which was a waste of time, let me tell you. Sand would fall back into the hole faster than I could remove it.

All my gear, my detector, headphones, Gerber shovel, and extra batteries fit into my carrying bag. That way, I am not wasting time going back and forth to the car.

 

Detect for Metal on a Crowded Beach

Have you ever dropped a coin in the sand? I know I have and guess what, so have lots of people and it is nigh on impossible to find it without a metal detector. It's is almost as though the sand has swallowed it up, claiming it as payment for the using the beach.

Not only for lost coins but also jewelry. These could be things that were put into a bag which was knocked over or simply came off when the owner was wearing it. Imagine someone throwing a beach ball and their ring flying off, it is lost waiting for you to find it. Likewise, when people go into the cold water, loose rings can slide off because of the change of temperature.

The best time to go searching is as soon as the crowd has left for the day, as it is likely other metal detectors will be out scouting as well. Don't be put off by them, get your headphones on and start scanning.

Often in front of a kiosk which was selling drinks, snacks and ice cream is an ideal place to start. As people are opening and closing purses or rummaging in pockets, coins fall out and get lost.

After a storm is also an excellent time to go detecting at the beach. This will have disturbed items which had been lodged possibly underwater and are now thrust into an area within your detecting zone. The advantage of doing this is there will be fewer people out metal detecting.

If your detector is one which can be used underwater or in shallow water, schedule your visit for low tide. Items from the beach side often get lodged near rocks as the tide goes out.
If you are detecting in or near the water, always play it safe. Know your tide tables and don't get caught in an incoming tide.

Just as the rocks are good for trapping items from the beach, the opposite side is excellent for anything brought in on the tide. Working around rocks is a little trickier but it can be a bountiful area to detect in. Watch out for crabs which like to hide in areas near these rocks.

Old wooden bench
Old wooden bench | Source

Detect for Metal Under Seats and Benches

What happens if you're wearing pants or shorts and you sit down? Sometimes coins fall out of your pockets. If you doubt this, go look in your sofa.

Under benches is a great place to look for coins. But remember, don't just look where there are "new benches" go and find old benches or even a place where benches use to be and have been removed. This is the place you will find older coins.

People also have rested against trees, had picnics on the grass look for these types of places as well.


Deserted Towns
Deserted Towns | Source

Metal Detecting in Deserted Towns

Do you know of a deserted town? There are disused areas dotted around the country. Perhaps where businesses have closed down and left the town without any source of work. Old mining towns for example. Here would be a good place. Not only would you find old coins but other items of a bygone era.

Ask Your Grandparents
Ask Your Grandparents | Source

Speak to Older People

Your grandparents are a wealth of information on where people use to congregate, where they sat for picnics and buildings that are no longer there. They will love telling you stories of how life used to be. Remember you have to be a bit of a detective to decide where to metal detect!

As one reader suggested, coins fell out under washing lines. Pants were hung upside down and the coins would have fallen out unnoticed.

Exposed tree roots
Exposed tree roots | Source

Metal Detecting Near Trees

Think about how trees are used. They are used not only for climbing but also people use to lean up against them to rest. Here again, things could have fallen out of their pockets or bags and lodged themselves in the roots. If this was covered with grass, it is possible the owner would never have found it or even noticed it was missing until later in the day.

Kids often were climbing trees, hanging upside down. Articles or even coins could have dropped out.

Going even further back, when people were riding through the countryside on horses and needed to hide something of value, often near the base of a tree was a good place for them to remember its location. For whatever reason, they may not have returned to collect it. Remember to think about times gone by, where were the old passageways? Look for old trees or mounds where stumps have been and rotted away.

Besides coins, tree roots hold gold. Many years ago in northern California, gold was unearthed after a heavy rainstorm. It had been trapped in tree roots. Gold is where you find it, as they say, and this time it was in under a tree.

Another good place to detect is near gates. As people climb over them, articles could have fallen out of their pockets or they could have used this as a marker to return to just like at the base of a tree.

Detect at crossroads

Old crossroads are a good place to look for treasure. Years ago when people were travelling on foot or horseback they may have needed to leave behind things. Perhaps they were saving them from being stolen or perhaps they didn't want the extra weight. For whatever reason, they would have needed a point of reference to return to. This was often where two roads met. A crossroad.

Of course the crossroads of today may not be the same as they were hundreds of years ago. This is where you have to become a bit of a detective again. By using old maps you can discover the roads of yesteryear. To find old maps, start at the library in their local history section.

Metal detect on farmland
Metal detect on farmland | Source

Farmland can hide treasure

Ask a farmer if you can detect on his land between plantings. If you offer him a 50-50 share of the finds, he would probably be more than pleased. When covering such a vast area, it is a good idea to use a grid pattern when covering the ground. You don't want to be scanning an area twice or missing any areas that could unearth a find.

Newstead Abbey
Newstead Abbey | Source

History and Metal Detecting

To the right is a drawing of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England. Near this abbey are underground passages that run outside the abbey grounds. Located within a close proximity was found one of the richest finds in England called the Fishpool hoard.

Know your history and local area.

Black Widow spider
Black Widow spider | Source

The Dangers of Metal Detecting

If you are searching in an overgrown area, be it under trees, benches or any scrub land, watch for spiders, snakes, and even scorpions. Using a metal detector first, may scare away snakes but not the spiders or scorpions.

It is a good idea to have gauntlet style gloves in your bag to wear for this type of location and also a stout pair of boots.

Gauntlet Gardening Gloves

Magid TE195T-M Terra Collection Professional Rose Gardening Gloves - Womens Medium
Magid TE195T-M Terra Collection Professional Rose Gardening Gloves - Womens Medium

These will easily fit into your detector bag and could save you from a painful bite or sting. You don't need them to use your metal detector but in long overgrown grass and brambles, you'll be glad you've got them. Scratches, stings, and bites can keep you from enjoying your day, don't let that happen to you.

 
Bombs
Bombs | Source

Unexploded Bombs

Although not a potential problem in America, it does happen in Europe. Remnants of WWII, when bombers were depositing their payloads over England and most of Europe. These unstable bombs could explode if disturbed. If you do find one, contact the police and give its location.

Don't try to dig it out!

The area will be cordoned off and the bomb will either be removed or detonated in a controlled explosion.

© 2011 Mary Wickison

Have you tried metal detecting?

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    • Blond Logic profile image
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      Mary Wickison 4 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi And,

      You're right where Will is heading sounds great.

      However, your area hasn't always been suburbs. Research what was there before houses were built.

      Head to the local library and see if they have old maps of the area. Now there may be farms where an old crossroad was, ask the farmers if you can scan their land.

      Not only will you be learning more about your local history, you could find another stagecoach stop or something equally as interesting.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 4 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Will,

      That sounds like a perfect place to go metal detecting. You must let me know how you get on.

      That is a good example of detecting where you are most likely to find something. Places such as where they tied their horses or stepped down from the stagecoach, you can almost visualize how items could have fallen.

      Good luck.

    • tritrain profile image

      And Drewson 4 weeks ago from United States

      It's all burbs where I live. Such a place as an old stagecoach station sounds like so much fun!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 4 weeks ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      My best friend owns an old dude ranch in Arizona. Across the road is the remains of an old stagecoach station. On top of all that, it's all adjacent to a gold bearing stream!

      Needless to say, I'm itching to take my detector there for a few days. There's a very good chance of finding old gold and silver coins and perhaps some nuggets.

      Well written and interesting article, Mary.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 7 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Dolores,

      Oh yes, in fact, many gold finds in rivers are discovered this way. Plus scuba divers also use them.

      Obviously, those which are waterproof will be more expensive. If you aren't using it in deep water, it is possible to change the head to a waterproof head as long as the electrics in the control don't get wet.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 weeks ago from East Coast, United States

      Recently at a local beach, I saw a guy wandering around in the water, about waist deep, with a metal detector. He had a little float for his finds. I had not realized that there were metal detectors you could use in water!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 8 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Alan,

      I don't know if detecting is something you do, but with your knowledge of history, you'd be well placed to discover where items may have been left. Of course, not everything found is valuable even if it's hundreds of years old. I've often seen finds for sale on Ebay (UK) which detectors have chosen to part with.

      With such a rich history both monetarily and culturally, England is a fantastic place to start.

      Wherever I lived in the UK, there was something of historical importance which happened there. Although Californian, I lived in the UK for 20+ years.

      In California, there are many missions still standing and they are fascinating but gold is what most detectorists are after. In northern California, there are still those who pan for gold and use dredging machines to find it. After a heavy rainstorm some years ago, road workers found it under the road when doing repairs. Also, heavy rains expose tree roots where gold lodged itself. California is called the Golden State and for good reason, there is still gold to be found there.

      Great to hear from you and thanks for such a detailed list of different eras in the UK history.

      You're right, it is best to be ethical in all discoveries and report findings as it may be considered treasure trove. Also when digging, I can't stress this enough, people should fill in their holes. It takes virtually no time at all and keeps metal detectorists from getting a bad reputation.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 8 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Some solid advice here, Mary. Your native California was originally settled by the Spaniards in what was then named New Spain. Who knows what's under the ground in some deserted or ruined hacienda?

      Elsewhere, as in the UK - especially England - we've had the pre-Celt era (e.g. Lake dwellers) , the Celts from different parts of Europe, each with their own particular artforms, the Romans came next (AD 45), followed in different regions by the Jutes (Kent, Isle of Wight, Hampshire), the Angles in the east, the midlands and the north-east. The Saxons came in through the Thames and fanned out north and south, as well as in the south and south-west as far as the River Tamar. In the north-west we had the Kingdom of the Strathclyde Britons, then Norsemen booted out of Ireland or migrating from Orkney, Shetland etc. In the east we next had the Danes between the Tees and the Thames, twice (second time led to Knut being made king) and the Normans, another brand of Viking who showed their origins from time to time. There were villages burnt to the ground between the Tees and Lincolnshire in 1069... Lots of opportunities for gold diggers!

      There are stipulations and laws about finding treasure here that apply, such as 'Treasure Trove', large hoards such as found near Tamworth, where not only the landowner has vested interests but also local or national museums and county councils. Scattered finds on farm land can lead to profit, but again the landowner gets a share (up to 50%) that the finder MUST abide by. There are some rogue detectorists who ruin archaelogical sites in 'night raids' by not recording where artefacts were found, and moving them away out of context. Archaeologists are then unable to provide a 'picture' of an important site.

      On public land a detectorist who finds items keeps them, but if they are historically important then the sites need to be advised to local museums.

      In the Staffordshire Hoard there were artefacts of Byzantine, Pictish and Northumbrian origin, as well as Celtic Christian, scattered across a field near two major roads. Finder Terry Herbert and his friend reported the finds and along with the farmer received a percentage of the estimated value. He was one of the 'good guys' who understood his responsibilities. There are many who ignore the niceties and spoil it for the others.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 years ago from Brazil

      It is an interesting hobby, plus you're out there in the fresh air getting exercise. All of that and the chance at finding something valuable.

      Glad you enjoyed the hub, thanks for the vote.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Real interesting to know about metal detecting and the hidden dangers from it. Thanks for sharing. It sounds like fun. Voted up!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Tristan,

      Hopefully you will find something both interesting and valuable.

    • profile image

      Tristan30404 3 years ago

      I find this site very helpful and would like to thank you for your advice ut should help me when i go to beaches

    • imtii profile image

      Imtiaz Ahmed 3 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      Blond Logic nice articles you written. I really liked this one. I will take metal detector with me when going to the beach and going to a visit to the Farmlands :) thank you

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

      Interesting question. No I have never taken it on a plane. If you do you will probably have to pay additional fees such as when people take golf clubs or surf boards. Plus if you are going to foreign shores, you will need to read up on the laws regarding metal detecting there and those sites may not be in English.

      Finding trash is a problem when you are detecting. I keep a bag close by to take any I find away with me.

      There is nothing wrong finding treasure in the antinque shops, garage sales and such. There is an old saying, "gold is where you find it".

      Thanks for reading, I am glad you found it interesting. Wherever you go, happy hunting.

    • profile image

      LisaKeating 3 years ago

      I love metal detecting but never really do it. Do you take your detector on a plane? The only time I am at the beach is on vacation. I have thought about using my detector around our local lake park, but I think I would mostly find trash. Thanks for the ideas here. I love treasure hunting but usually just stick to antique stores!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

      Hi James,

      Good luck with your hunt, let us know what you find.

    • profile image

      james 3 years ago

      Great idea thanks I will go to the beach soon! Yay

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

      It is an exciting hobby, you never know what you'll find. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      We live near Laguna Beach and often see people out with their metal detectors, especially right after a big holiday weekend. I'm sure they find lots of fun treasures!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Ilona,

      Glad you enjoyed the page. Thanks for your comment.

    • Ilona1 profile image

      Ilona 4 years ago from Ohio

      Fascinating. I always wanted to use a metal detector.You give so many good ideas on where and how to look for "lost treasure".

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Kevin,

      I would love to hear if you find anything interesting and so would other readers. Often it isn't just about things for monetary gain, it is also interesting from a history point of view. Glad you enjoyed the hub, and I look forward to hearing from you again when you find your buried treasure. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Kevin Peter profile image

      Kevin Peter 4 years ago from Global Citizen

      Nice hub. I used to detect for metals when I was young. The places that have more chances of finding metals are explained well in the hub. I have decided to try some of the methods mentioned. I will surely inform you if I find something. Thanks a lot.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hi ocfireflies,

      Well as the old saying goes, "Gold is where you find it." It could be in your back garden! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Makes me wish I was at the beach right now metal detector in hand. Great tips for looking in other places besides the beach.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Vibesites,

      Thanks for the votes.

      Metal detecting at the beach is perfect for multi-tasking. Tanning, swimming and discovering a fortune. LOL .

      A day well spent, I'd say.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 4 years ago from United States

      Wow, I think I'll do metal detecting on the beach -- now it's another reason for me to love the place aside from the usual swimming and tanning. Sounds exciting! Hehehehe. Voted up and useful, awesome.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hello Yourblingfinder,

      Thank you for that, I am sure everyone will check out that site. The people I have met, who enjoy this hobby, are always eager to talk, explain and are very open. (Within reason), as long as no one tries to 'jump their claim'.

      Great to hear from you.

    • profile image

      yourblingfinder 4 years ago

      Wanted to say that is a great list you put together for new and experience people who like to Metal Detect. I would like to add as well that there is a site that is really great at finding hidden places in almost every city for people to go out and metal detect. They are able to locate old farm house or public venues that have been plowed under or just for gotten. Some of their locations are even date back before the 1900's. They do it for free as we.. Its called MetalDetectingPlaces.com.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

      Hi John000,

      What a great idea about where people did washing.

      I now live in rural Brazil and have seen people washing their clothes in small lagoons. I will add this to the places to look. You can just imagine that coins or whatever could have fallen out. Or near a swimming hole when they leave their clothes on the bank.

      Something else to mention, in Britain they used to bury their rubbish and it is possible to find some wonderful old bottles. (not with the detector of course). That is a story for another hub!

      Thank you for your wonderful comment. Have a great day.

    • john000 profile image

      John R Wilsdon 5 years ago from Superior, Arizona

      Your suggestion to ask granny about where people congregated and how they acted is great. I have found beaches are so scoured that you really need to time when you go to the beach to find things. However, I don't live in England, I live in the Southwest, USA, and I have found that searching near areas where people may have washed clothes 150 years ago is productive.

      Of course, you need to do some research and find out if communities used to be near river and stream avenues you have found. Trails where riders passed frequently is another goodie. Yes, big shade trees are great, especially for coins. Stadium seats are good, too. Ghost towns can yield valuable stuff, but realize that many others have scoured before you. In the United States, our history (at least history of civilizations that used metals) is much shorter. The 19th century in the United States West is the big prize. Searching for places where folks congregated, for whatever reason, is what I discovered is best. Areas where prospectors continually tried to find their riches, communities near mining towns, CHURCHES, and all other places your COMMON sense lead you to are productive.

      I can't think of a better way to spend the day, either. Hmmm... every time I hear about an old Celtic ruin newly discovered with gold amulets, chains, rings, maces?, or whatever, I wish I had the money to fly over. What a hoot! There is a great advantage to having thousands of years of fascinating history! Maybe, someday, this cowboy can get there. Thanks for the hub, it was good.:)

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

      That is so true. I have found coins around the base of a tree in the house where I use to live. It was an old tree and I can just imagine people resting against the trunk or kids hanging upside down with coins dropping from their pockets. Their Mother calling them in for dinner and of course they forgot to collect the coins.

      It is an enjoyable way to spend a day out in the fresh air.

      Thanks

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      What an awesome hub doing one of my favorite things searching for treasures. Does not matter how big or how small the treasures are, it is the fun of the search.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

      Thank you. I think this is a fabulous lifelong hobby. A person can learn so much from this. Patience is necessary but hopefully it will be rewarded.

    • Jonathan Grimes profile image

      Jonathan Grimes 5 years ago from Devon

      Interesting hub