You can find buried treasure almost anywhere. So whether you are looking for ancient relics, coins, jewelry, or gold nuggets, there is much to discover.
However, choosing the right search site increases the chances of a great find. Places with high traffic to replenish items, areas of historical activity or those that have not been searched by other detectors are often the most fruitful.
However, there is a problem: the best search locations are almost always private property (aside from some beaches).
After all, trespassing is still trespassing. Therefore, you should check the rules and ask if there is any doubt. However, there can be dire consequences if you get caught, including fines and the confiscation of your metal detector, so it’s not worth the risk.
Do not be discouraged!
Obtaining permission is not always easy, but you will be surprised how often it is possible, even for private owners. The key is to select the proper hunting grounds so that your chances of making a great find are increased when you get the permit.
To aid you in searching for hidden treasure, here are ten of the best places to hunt.
Note: Always replace the plugs and take the sand with you. Try to leave your search site in better condition than when it arrived. Then, you are much more likely to be invited back!
1. Your yard
Your backyard may not be the most exciting place to hunt for treasure, but it’s a great place to try out a new detector and take a long, gentle sweep. I often recommend that new detectors bury different items in your garden to learn how your detector reacts to various types of metals (this is known as a test garden).
There is always the possibility of finding an unexpected item as well. For example, you never know what coins, jewelry, or other items you or previous owners might have dropped.
Your backyard is also one of the few places you don’t need to worry about getting a permit!
Tip: If you haven’t purchased your detector yet, check out my top picks. Depending on your budget and what you’re looking for, I’ve included a variety of categories.
2. Land owned by friends and family
Once you’ve exhausted your backyard, the obvious next step is to ask your friends and family if you can register your property. Shipyards are usually small and unlikely to contain ancient relics, but there is always the possibility of an exciting find.
You can even take this one step further and ask people with great gardens in your neighborhood. As long as you are polite and open about your plans, many people will be intrigued by what is hidden in your garden.
3. Sports stadiums
Lots of coins and other goodies are lost at sporting events. People get distracted, jump, and generally don’t focus on what might fall out of their pockets.
The downside is that many detectorists know about it. Therefore, try to reach a stadium or bleachers shortly after a game is over for best results.
Sports stadiums are private property, so be sure to get written permission.
The general rule of thumb for metal detection sites is that more footfalls lead to more lost items.
As is the case, parks are one of the best places to look for coins or jewelry. Items are constantly being replenished by people picnicking, playing games, or just walking their dog. Searching for public meetings or events can yield even better results.
However, you will normally need permission to dig plugs in public parks. So be prepared for strange looks from other park users as well.
Man detecting metals on the beach
Items on the beach are easily lost due to the combination of water, slick sun lotion, and vigorous play.
This implies that jewelry, coins, and other valuables are replenished daily. The tides also reveal older features, making beaches one of the best places to hunt.
Metal detecting is permitted on most public beaches, though you may need to apply for a permit. Private beaches are a different story, as they require written permission.
The only disadvantage of beach metal detecting is that it can be a competitive environment. To increase your chances of finding a valuable item, try to arrive late on busy days or after a storm.
Tides frequently wash multiple items in pockets. If you find an item, keep scanning because there may be more in the exact location.
6. Look for gold in well-known hunting grounds.
Relics, jewelry, and coins can be found almost anywhere. But the gold nuggets tend to be found in more specific places.
For this reason, prospecting for gold requires in-depth research and an understanding of where nuggets are most likely to be discovered. As a beginner, stay in places where large gold nuggets have been found in the past, as this increases the chances of a similar find.
You will also need a different type of detector when looking for gold. For example, high frequency VLF or pulse induction detectors are best for cutting mineralization and detecting small nuggets. Read our guide to the best gold metal detectors for more information.