Where to Find Treasure: Hunting in Unusual Places


Where to Find Treasure: Hunting in Unusual Places


By MetalDetector.com Staff

We are thrilled to have fully revised this article with updated resources to help you find the best detecting near you. We have added several new resources including an expansive list of metal detecting clubs that covers all 50 states. If you are looking for a great metal detecting near me site, then you cannot go wrong with the list we added of 50 places to get started near you. You are bound to find something of value by searching one or more of these great locations. Last but not least, our added FAQ section answers all of the top questions you may have when metal detecting in your local area. 

Location, location, location. Choosing a place to treasure hunt with your metal detector is especially important. It will dictate what you find and how much you will find. If you hunt on the beach, you’re likely to find lost jewelry, coins and watches. If you visit the site of a Civil War battlefield, you are more likely to find flat buttons, bayonets, canteens, and shell casings. And accordingly, if you hunt at the site of a century-old privy pit, you may encounter antique bottles and jars. Veteran detectorists have a rule of thumb: search where many people have walked or congregated. There are popular sites among treasure hunters. They include: beaches, parks, schoolyards, playgrounds, ball fields, bike or hiking trails, picnic areas, recreation areas and outdoor theaters. Inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell, who developed the induction balance as the first electromagnetic metal-locating device, never anticipated how many places they would be used at.

Start with the History of your Town

If you are sincerely interested in finding prosperous hunting ground, do some upfront planning and research. Call this information digging before the real digging begins. It is not difficult to find snippets about the background and history of your city or town. You might learn the details of a historical artifact that is just waiting to be found. Not everybody is aware of it, but most cities keep historical information on file at the library. Consider this fun research—it’s not like you have to write a report. This information is going to help you find treasure; without it, you may be detecting aimlessly for hours. Be sure to read our article entitled "Digging into research at your local library" for some great ideas on researching and uncovering the best sites in your town.

When you visit the library, check for the section on local history. Ask the research librarian to direct you. Look for stories about celebrations, local businesses, sporting events, boarding houses and the town industry. If you can get your hands on old maps with crossroads and homestead markers, this will also prove valuable. Here are some suggestions for good hunting locations that you can research at your local library:

  • Abandoned houses
  • Boarding houses, saloons, hotels
  • Civil War battlefields and encampments
  • Crime stories, unsolved robberies
  • Discovery of ores (gold, copper, silver)
  • Fires, floods or disasters that destroyed buildings
  • Halls and meeting places for civic groups (i.e. Elks club)
  • Local landmarks, points of interest
  • New bridges, thoroughfares that opened up a community
  • Wagon train and emigrant routes
  • Social and church events
  • Surveying expeditions
  • Location of the old town dump

Privy pits (or old outhouses) were used as refuse disposal areas many years ago. Bottle diggers flock to these sites in search of that elusive artifact, antique bottles, jars and relics. Also, keep an eye out for old highways, ball fields, town commons, fair grounds and railroads that have since closed. There are many detecting opportunities here.

Metal detectors for finding treasure near you

You can find reviews and ratings for all the metal detectors you need to find treasure in your local area in our Guide to the Best Metal Detectors. Metal detectors come in many shapes and sizes. We have sorted through all the hype to help you find the best model based on the type of metal detecting you plan to do and your goals. Here is a list of our top picks for finding your local treasures.

Accessories for finding treasure near you

As you are metal detecting in you local area, you will find three key types of accessories that prove invaluable. Beach scoops, pinpointers, shovels, trowels and headphones.

Beach Sand Scoops

If your local metal detecting brings you to the beach, a Sand Scoop will be your best friend in the field. In our guide The Beginner's Guide to Durable Sand Scoops for Metal Detecting we noted that "When you are walking along the water's edge or searching in sand that is full of rocks and other debris, you will need a rugged scoop. You can quickly dig through the sand to find coins and rings with a well-made scoop. If you want to dig in an area that is full of rocks or other miscellaneous junk, your scoop should also be strong enough to handle some resistance."

Metal Detector Pinpointers

When you are ready to dig up those local treasures, you will need to precisely pinpoint them. This will keep you from digging holes larger than necessary. In our article 11 Best Pinpointers: The Clear and Concise List we noted "Once you locate the target, most beginners realize that finding it is only half the battle. Locating and retrieving the target quickly and accurately from the plug of dirt you have cut is another challenge. A pinpointer metal detector is a handheld device that will help you quickly and precisely narrow the detection field of the target in the hole."


Digging up your local finds is the final step to bringing home the treasure! This is the most exciting part of your hunt, but can also be the most exhausting if you do not have the proper tools. In our article How to Find the Best Shovel or digging tools for Metal Detecting we noted "Consider your shovel as part of your detector setup. As beginners, getting started with a metal detecting tool is less expensive than you might think. A quality tool made of carbon steel or other high quality materials is an investment that will last a lifetime."


In our Guide to the Best Metal Detector Headphones of 2022, we noted that buy using a metal detecting headphone "you will be able to better hear those faint, deep signals, and more easily discern smaller items which might be lying on edge. This will allow you to find more items. Additionally, many distracting exterior sounds such as wind, waves and wolves will be muted." 

Finding Gold Treasures near you

If the treasures near you are gold, you are in luck as you have many great options for finding them. You can use a gold metal detector to find the targets. In our article What's the Best Metal Detector for Gold? we noted "Modern prospecting detectors can discover gold as small as a half a grain. As the size of the target becomes larger, gold nuggets can be located at significantly greater depths. A single grain nugget can be unearthed at a depth of 1-2 inches. A match head size nugget can be located at a depth of 3-5 inches. A nugget the size of a US half dollar can be located at depths of 9-11 inches. Larger nuggets can be located at depths over a foot with a Pulse Induction style detector." Another option for locating your gold would be gold prospecting the old fashioned way, by panning for gold. Gold panning methods have not changed much since the early days of mining. With that said, the equipment for panning has come quite a ways as the technology has improved greatly. With modern gold pans you can very quickly extract more gold in less time than ever before.

Our List of Metal Detecting Clubs in 50 States

We are often asked where can I find metal detecting clubs near me? The following is a huge directory of metal detecting clubs across the United States. Joining a metal detector club is one of the best ways to get involved in the hobby. Getting involved in a local metal detecting club can be a lot of fun and a great way to find out about good places to go metal detecting near you. Club meetings typically feature find of the month prizes, a discussion on new products, and tips and techniques that members are using to find success in the hobby. Aside from learning about the hobby, it is a great way to make some new friends and gain access to some top producing sites. The list is always growing, and if you are a member of a club that is not listed you can add your club to this directory. By far this the most up to date and largest directory of metal detecting clubs in the United States on the internet.

  1. Alabama (3)
  2. Alaska (3)
  3. Arizona (15)
  4. Arkansas (1)
  5. California (37)
  6. Colorado (14)
  7. Connecticut (9)
  8. Delaware
  9. Florida (25)
  10. Georgia (7)
  11. Hawaii
  12. Idaho (3)
  13. Illinois (17)
  14. Indiana (10)
  15. Iowa (4)
  16. Kansas (3)
  17. Kentucky (2)
  18. Louisiana (3)
  19. Maine (2)
  20. Maryland (10)
  21. Massachusetts (6)
  22. Michigan (3)
  23. Minnesota (4)
  24. Mississippi (3)
  25. Missouri (6)
  26. Montana (4)
  27. Nebraska (2)
  28. Nevada (5)
  29. New Hampshire (1)
  30. New Jersey (8)
  31. New Mexico (2)
  32. New York (10)
  33. North Carolina (6)
  34. North Dakota (1)
  35. Ohio (10)
  36. Oklahoma (5)
  37. Oregon (8)
  38. Pennsylvania (11)
  39. Rhode Island
  40. South Carolina (8)
  41. South Dakota
  42. Tennessee (6)
  43. Texas (18)
  44. Utah (2)
  45. Vermont
  46. Virginia (5)
  47. Washington (11)
  48. West Virginia (1)
  49. Wisconsin (8)
  50. Wyoming (3)

Top 50 Spots for Metal Detecting Near Me List:

Once you purchase a metal detector, you will probably ask yourself where the best metal detecting near me sites are? While you may automatically think of saltwater beaches or a state park, you may not realize there are some extraordinary locations just waiting to be found. So, what are some of the best metal detecting sites near me? Some of these locations may surprise you. Be sure to comply with all local, national and federal laws regarding metal detecting before approaching any site. If the property is privately owned be sure to obtain permission. Below is our top metal detecting near me places to explore. From Boston to San Diego and everywhere inbetween, there are many great places to enjoy with a metal detector. From basic Bounty Hunter metal detectors to high end XP Metal detectors, there are lots of places to use them.

1. Amusement Parks 

Parks have typically been used for years, decades, and even centuries by people in local towns and cities. The amount of foot traffic that has gone through many parks means there are likely trinkets to be found that have been dropped over the years.

2. Local Schools

Similar to parks, schools have often been used for years and the grounds around them could be littered with all manner of treasure. Coins, jewelry, and other metal items are likely to have been lost making schools a great location for metal detecting near me.

3. Old houses

A wealth of treasure possibilities can be found around old houses. Depending on when the property was built, the former owners may have dropped or buried items including coins and jewelry around the property. The old floor boards, foundations and porch are ideal spots to check.  Be sure to thoroughly search walk ways and drive way.

4. Local Public beaches and swimming spots

Beaches are always good locations to go hunting. They are frequented often by people and despite being searched regularly, can turn up new findings.

5. Churches

You may need permission to search churches and dig around them. Once permission is granted, a buried treasure trove of items could be found, including old coins. Money was used by visitors as donations to the church. You may find a few stray coins around the church.

6. Sports and athletic fields

Sports fields experience foot traffic from spectators. Many of these fields have food trucks or concession stands on game days. Any chance for money to be exchanged means there is a chance coins could be found buried underground. Sports fields are a top metal detecting near me spot to explore.

7. Old Fairgrounds

Just like sports fields, food stalls and concession stands mean coins could be buried underground. You may also find jewelry items that have been lost.

8. Abandoned home sites and foundations

An abandoned home site gives off a ghostly vibe. If you can handle the vibe, you may find some valuable trinkets left behind. Many abandoned home sites were thriving one day and the next left deserted. Tools, money, jewelry, and other metallic objects may have been left after building stopped. Some long forgotten homes have been destroyed yet their foundations may still exist in remote and long forgotten spots in the woods.

9. Tourist locations

Tourist sites see a lot of foot traffic which means lost money, trinkets, and jewelry. The busier the tourist sites, the more likely you are to find lost objects. Tourist sites may not be metal detecting near me sites, but they can be locations you go out of your way to visit for a hunt.

10. Old Abandoned Mines

Valuable items get overlooked in mines. Miners may not have been able to see the minerals with the naked eye. This is where a metal detector will help you locate gold, silver, and ore.

11. Ghost Towns

Deserted towns once saw people coming and going on a daily basis. The purchasing of goods and services means there could be hidden coins around the now defunct or ghost town. There may also be lost jewelry and other trinkets buried in the soil.

12. Battlefields

Hunting in old battlefields may turn up musket balls, old coins, buttons, relics, and treasure. You may need permission to hunt on battle sites or find that they are forbidden.

13. Your Backyard

Your own backyard is a great place to practice using your metal detector. Depending on how old your home is, you could locate some rather dated items. Who knows? You may even find a ring or necklace you lost. Your own backyard is the perfect metal detecting near me site.

14. Campgrounds

Campgrounds are hotspots for travelers. In the summertime, campgrounds welcome people throughout the week. Camping may lead to lost items. Swimming areas, hiking trails, and cabins are all great spots to search.

15. Playgrounds

Kids are notorious for losing items. Whether it be coins, cash, or jewelry, a playground makes for a great place to search. Many playgrounds at your local city park experience high foot traffic as well.

16. Picnic Areas

Relaxing picnic areas are a chance for people to kick back. Picnic areas are places people let their guards down and relax. Dropped coins and lost jewelry are potential finds. You may even find some old cutlery. A picnic area is always a good place to truck your luck at metal detecting.

17. Fishing Areas

Fishing hotspots have been frequented by anglers for years. Many fishing spots have anglers frequenting them multiple times per week. Old fishing relics could be found during searches of fishing areas. Coins and junk may also be found.

18. Old Sawmills

Junk, metal, and coins are all possible items at old saw mills. You are likely to find lumbermill relics like machinery and saws.

19. Florida

Buttons, buckles, coins, and more are on offer in Florida to metal detectorists. Florida is the ideal state to explore in America due to the potential finds the Sunshine State has to offer. The beaches alone make it perfect for exploring. Be sure to check the laws as the treasure coast has an abundance of rules and regulations.

20. Water parks

Searching water parks could lead to coins and jewelry finds. Water parks can wash away rings, earrings, and necklaces from unwitting individuals. A great tip is to check with park staff for suggestions on the most frequented spots.

21. Scout campsites

Buttons are potential finds at scout camps. You will likely need permission to explore scout camps and you may be restricted with your digging.

22. Old grain mills

Old work material and metals may be found around abandoned grain mills. Searching the grounds around the buildings may yield coins as well. Early in the century many local individuals and farmers alike would bring their grains to the mill for milling. A great deal of commerce took place at these old mills sites. In many regions they were or still are a center of business in a local community.

23. Abandoned foundations

Like old homes, deserted work projects may provide metal detectorists with objects used on the build. Depending on what was on the foundation’s site before work started, you may find something unexpected.

24. In the woods

Another great metal detecting near me place to search is the woods. Old tools, relics, and coins may lie under the ground in the woods. Hunting items and bullet casings are also possible finds.

25. Creeks, rivers, and lakes

Searching shores may be worth your time. Lakes typically have a lot of items that were lost by visitors. Creeks and rivers may be home to gold nuggets and relics.

26. Beaches

Beaches offer a number of great finds such as keys, Jewelry, coins, and mobile phones. Beaches are heavy traffic locations and many metal detectorists search them. However, due to the number of people that visit the beach each day, more treasures turn up daily.

27. Historic homes and buildings

You may need permission to detect at historic homes and buildings. You could find ancient relics, coins, buttons, and more on the grounds. Many of these sites are off limits to metal detecting so be sure to research thoroughly.

28. Goldfields

Many detectorists want to find gold nuggets. Goldfields offer you the chance to locate gold nuggets that were missed while the area was being mined. Many of the rights to hunting on these sites are permitted so you must check access. In some cases you can join national gold prospecting associations to obtain rights to pan or metal detect for gold in these locations for fun and recreation.

29. Swap meets 

Foot traffic, money changing hands, and goods being sold make swap meets locations great to explore with a metal detector. If you want a location for metal detecting near me, then search a swap meet during the offseason.

30. Flea markets

Flea markets are very similar to swap meets. Vendors and shoppers drop coins, trinkets, and jewelry while on the site.

31. Romantic spots

People get in and out of their automobiles at romantic spots. Objects such as coins and trinkets may fall out of the vehicles. When the romantic spots aren’t occupied during the day, they are excellent places to search.

32. Shipwrecks

Shipwrecks are renowned for lost treasure. Treasure hunting is a favorite pastime of metal detectorists. Searching underwater could lead to coins, gold, or jewelry. You will need to research the best shipwreck areas to search

33. Outdoor concert venues

Outdoor concert venues welcome people looking for a good time. Many of these people may enjoy alcoholic beverages which could lead to them losing coins and other items.

34. Drive-in movie theaters

Like outdoor concert venues, drive-in movie theaters are busy places. Mostly used at night, people lose coins and other items in the dark and struggle to locate them. Their loss could be your find.

35. Land you or your family or a friend own

Another great metal detecting near me location. Your friends and family may have some exciting finds on their property. Ask for permission and be sure to tell them your plans before starting the search.

36. Sides of the highway

You may not realize it, but the sides of highways across the United States are littered with all kinds of metals and objects. You may even find cellphones as you search the sides of the highway.

37. Running trails

Public running trails often receive a lot of visitors throughout the year. Runners getting in and out of their cars in the parking lot are vulnerable to drop and lose metallic items. Individuals in a hurry may not realize they have lost anything until it’s too late.

38. Dirt Parking Lots

Parking lots are great places to go metal detecting . How come? When people enter and exit their cars they can easily drop coins and jewelry on the ground. Parking lots make for great metal detecting near me spots.

39. Rodeo stadiums and arenas 

Rodeo arenas are a great place to find rings, necklaces, jewelry and lots of coins, and many other items. As well as being entertainment venues, they can also lead to lost items for those working there.

40. Roadside rest stops

Rest stops along highways provide drivers with the chance to relax. Some road stops are no longer in use. Valuable items could be found at these stops which could see or may have seen a lot of foot traffic previously.

41. Winter ski and sled areas

Ski and sled areas are gathering places for people of all ages. During the offseason, once the snow has melted, you may find a load of lost goodies from coins to cellphones.

42. Resorts

The walkways and common areas are ideal places to search around resorts. Swimming pools are also great places to search.

43. Old Barns

Old barns are fantastic places for metal detectorists to explore. Owners may have stashed all manner of metals, coins, and objects inside their old barns. Be sure to check gate posts and fence posts. Large old trees rocks and other markers are common locations for treasure stashes, caches and hoards to be buried or hidden.

44. Horse and Dog Race courses

Money is often the reason people visit horse or dog racecourses. People go to racecourses to win money. Lost and/or discarded coins could be found on a search.

45. Seaside Ocean Boardwalks

Seaside boardwalks are ideal for exploring due to the tide pushing sand and relics up to them. You have the chance to find relics, jewelry, and old coins.

46. Canal walking paths

If you are located near a canal walking path, you may find some cool objects as you search. A number of metal detector clubs use canal paths for team outings.

47. Motels and Hotels

When metal detecting near me, don’t dismiss places you pass by every day on the way to work. Abandoned motels can be good search spots, but be careful as the buildings may not be safe to walk through.

48. Private College campuses

It is unlikely that colleges will let you search their property. You may be able to find an old, abandoned part of the campus to search, however.

49. Local Garbage dumps

They may not be pleasant to explore, but garbage dumps are a treasure trove of abandoned metal material. There is really no limit to what you may find. These are perhaps the best metal detecting near me place to search.

50. Old gas stations

There is an abundance of old abandoned gas stations across America. Searching these old gas stations could yield coins and other items lost to time.

Be Opportunistic: Stay Tuned to Construction Projects, Urban Developments

If you think outside of the box, you may surprise yourself with ideas for treasure hunting sites to explore for that next great metal object. Brainstorm about past events and your town lore. Have you heard about a historical farm that was once run by wealthy folks and is now vacant? It’s wise to be opportunistic as a treasure hunter. Seize useful information and run with it! Here’s an example: people often hid their savings and belongings years ago. During the Great Depression, families didn’t trust their finances to a bank, so they stored valuables in hiding places for safe-keeping. They may have used loose planks on the floor, movable bricks on a wall or the attic to hide cash, jewelry and other possessions. If you can gain access to an abandoned homestead, these are spots for serious metal detecting that any metal detectorist will enjoy. (Always get permission first!)

Suppose you know the oldest areas of your town, which are highly populated now and don’t offer much open space for detecting. Instead of turning a blind eye, consider this: there are still small grassy areas by the curb, center strips on some boulevards and dirt pathways between buildings. These areas have probably escaped a bulldozer for the past 80 years. You will recognize areas that haven’t been developed for several years. These are precious hunting grounds.

Stay alert to changes in the landscape around you. If the city is tearing up the sidewalk or the utility company is laying new pipe, take the opportunity to search normally off-limit areas. When streets throughout the city are installing fiber optic cables—trees, bushes and road shoulders are often dug up. Detectorists say before or after the digging takes place is the perfect time to go out with a metal detector. Soil that was once 5 feet underground is now on the top layer. They have discovered valuable old coins and relics by doing so. You will realize that there are plenty of ‘ripe for the picking’ places to hunt right in your own neighborhood.

MetalDetector.com’s "My Metal Detecting Finds" Stories

Want to get inspired to find treasure in your home town? MetalDetector.com has a special website section dedicated for treasure seekers and metal detector enthusiasts to show off their noteworthy metal detecting finds. Anyone is welcome to submit real treasure hunting stories with photos of their metal detecting finds. Then, readers vote on their favorites. Adrian from Texas submitted "Can you Call it a Day?" A new hobbyist, he decided to do some hometown research. He found one of the town’s oldest and vacant schools. He came searching for silver and left the school a very happy man! You will surely find amazing treasure yourself by conducting research, thinking outside of the box and becoming an opportunistic detectorist!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where is the best place to metal detect for old coins?

Coins are lost everywhere people gather or used to gather years ago. By speaking to others in your local community or checking in on the many metal detecting forums online you will see that people are happy to share their successes. You will hear stories of where they found success locating lost coins near you. While coin shooting, locating jars of coins, purses of coins and buried coins with your metal detector can be extremely exciting and rewarding. You should start searching along the sidewalks and on the grass strip between the curb and the sidewalk in any given location. These areas often produce the best results. In fact in high-traffic areas, where a large number of people gather, this is especially true. As we noted in our article on Tips for Finding Coins in your own Neighborhood "The beauty of coin hunting is that virtually every professional metal detector will locate coins—whether it’s an entry-level, mid-level or high-end model. There are metal detectors specifically designed for coin-hunting, but general-purpose models will all signal when they locate coin targets. Coin hunting is also a great place to start for those who are new to the hobby of treasure hunting. Millions of coins have been recovered with metal detectors; and millions more still await discovery."

Where can I find a metal detecting spot?

Beaches are among the best metal detecting spots. In our article of tips on beach metal detecting tips we note that "Most people hang out on public beaches in these areas to stay dry, chill out, and relax. You will often see vendors setting up or walking along this section of the beach collecting money and tips. When wallets and coins come out, some coins and the like are bound to be lost or left behind." Other great spots and ideas for where to detect are included in our Top 50 Spots for Metal Detecting Near Me List. 

Where are the best metal detecting spots in my area?

We cover the topic of how to do local research for metal detecting locations in our article entitled How To Use Historic Maps to Locate Top Treasure Hunting Sites we noted that "Many newcomers to the hobby of metal detecting want to dive right in without taking time to research where they will search for treasure. It may be because they’re overzealous or simply think that research is a waste of time. Successful treasure hunters will tell you just the opposite—research will save you time and can greatly increase the kitty of treasure you come home with." By doing your research of these historical sites well, you may come away with some interesting historical artifacts

Can I metal detect at my local park?

When hunting on private property, make sure you get permission and check the laws in your area regarding hunting in a public park or in other public places. Local metal detecting clubs typically keep a log of local sites and their rules regarding metal detecting on public land and other locations. Always be sure to abide by the treasure hunters code of ethics as you are considering any new site for metal detecting.

Is it illegal to metal detect in national parks?

Federal laws govern what can and cannot be done on federal property.  The 1906 American Antiquities Act and the 1996 Archaeological Resources Protection Act regulate metal detecting. The 1906 and 1997 acts affect the National Parks, National Monuments, Beaches at the National Seashore, Civil War and Revolutionary War sites and battlefields, and on some Native American lands. Metal detecting is illegal in these places as a result of these natural resources acts. Metal detectors are illegal to possess while in National park or in any of these protected areas. As far as metal detecting in your local area and in state parks, in our guide to beach metal detecting tips we noted "In the United States, some state laws prohibit detection in certain public areas. Some laws prohibit hunting in national seashore areas. Some laws vary from town to town depending on local ordinances. To avoid problems, you should always speak to your local authorities or metal detecting clubs before embarking on your beach hunt. Pay attention to local postings and signage as well. You will always need to ask permission when hunting on private property. Beaches in certain areas have additional regulations."

What are metal detecting clubs?

Our top tip for finding a metal detecting spot near you is to join a local metal detecting club.  A metal detecting club is a group of individuals in your local area that meet periodically, typically each month, to share their passion for the hobby. You can meet old timers in the community who understand the best places to metal detect in your area. It is not uncommon to make some life-long friends who share this common interest. At the meetings you will learn quickly about the local norms in your area for metal detecting and have some fun along the way. Many of the clubs around the country have club hunts or get together events for members. There are times throughout the year when you can participate in an organized treasure hunt, a barbecue, or even a holiday potluck meal with your new friends. 

Copyright 2023 - Revised October 16, 2021