Matt is a professional painter who enjoys fishing and metal detecting for old coins and relics.
Where Can You Go Metal Detecting Without Permission?
One of the best places to go metal detecting for old coins and rings is on private property, but for those who don't want to deal with getting permission to do so, there are public places you can often detect without having to seek approval from a property owner.
I should clarify that while you might not have to get permission to detect the public places in this article, you should definitely check in advance that your city and county allow metal detecting since local ordinances vary in the United States.
In my city, there are no local ordinances against metal detecting these public places, but that might not be the case where you live. Knowing your local laws before you head out with your gear is important.
1. Local Public Parks
Generally, most public parks don't require permission to metal detect them, but some cities don't allow it, or a permit might be required, which is easily obtained at your local parks and recreation office for a couple of bucks.
While most of my best metal detecting finds have come from private property permissions, I have found interesting copper and silver coins, as well as antique tokens, at older parks.
Old parks in rural areas are less likely to be hunted out, but with a little patience, you can still find cool stuff at high-traffic parks that have been detected for many years. Parks are trashy, but with a good detector, you can dig up less trash and more treasure.
2. School Grounds
Like public parks, school grounds are good places to make newer and older finds if you're fortunate enough to detect soil around a school that hasn't been turned over and landscaped a lot. The best time to metal detect a school is on a weekend when the students are gone. Never go when school's in session.
In most cases, you don't have to get permission to metal detect a public school, but historical school houses are a different story. Many of those are landmarks protected by the federal government, historical society, or located on private property.
Wood chip playgrounds at a school are also good places to find lost jewelry. Avoid detecting and digging in maintained sports fields.
3. Public Beaches and Swimming Holes
Public beaches and lakes with old swimming holes are awesome places to metal detect with a waterproof metal detector. The best time to go is early in the morning before it gets crowded.
Permission typically isn't necessary to metal detect beaches and lakes that are open to the public, but waterways that cross into government land are often protected and off-limits.
Underwater metal detecting high-traffic beaches and swimming holes can produce valuable silver and gold rings, lost cameras, and coins. With water detecting, you need water-proof gear and a good sand scoop.
4. Property Owned by Friends and Family
Do you have any close friends or family members who own property of historical significance? You probably wouldn't have to get permission, and you'd have a private place to go metal detecting.
Privately owned property has always produced my best finds metal detecting. Most of the rare coins that I've found came from yards around older homes. If you know someone with older property, I would definitely metal detect that first before going to a public place.
5. Curb Strips
Curb strip grass, the grass between the street and the sidewalk, is usually city-owned and doesn't require permission for metal detecting, but not always. In my city, I can legally metal detect the curb strips, but in another town down the road, I can't.
Call your police department and double-check that it's legal in your city before you start. I can tell you from experience that you can find interesting things metal detecting curb strips, but be aware that you will occasionally encounter angry homeowners.
I highly recommend avoiding digging in well-maintained curb strip grass. Even though the city owns the grass by the curb, the homeowner is required to maintain it. Only dig in curb strip grass that's weedy and neglected. The best time to go is during the week after everyone goes to work in the morning.
Most fairgrounds are public and you can metal detect them. Fairgrounds, especially older ones, have been used by thousands of people for a long time.
You can find coins and lots of different things in the dirt at a fairground, but be prepared to find a lot of trash.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Matt G.
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on February 22, 2020:
This is interesting.