How to Find Treasure When Metal Detecting the Beach

Are you thinking of hitting the beach for some metal detecting? It can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and potentially find some treasures. However, before you head out, make sure to check out this blog post to help make your beach metal detecting hunt as successful as possible!

Beach Metal Detecting

So You Want to Metal Detect at the Beach

Treasure hunting or metal detecting the beach can be a fun and rewarding hobby. By hunting at the beach, you can find treasures, some that were just lost and some that have been hidden for years. In addition, hunting at the beach is a great way to enjoy the natural environment and spend time with family and friends.

One of the most exciting things about hunting at the beach is that you never know what you might find. Treasures that have been buried in the sand for years can be found there. However, you are just as likely to find valuable items that were recently lost.

Another great reason to hunt at the beach is that you can enjoy the natural environment. The sound of the waves, the smell of the salt water, and the feel of the sand are all great reasons to metal detect at the beach. In addition, detecting at the beach is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air.

Detecting at the beach is also a great way to spend time with family and friends. It is an excellent activity for all ages and can be a great bonding experience. It is also a great way to make new friends and create lasting memories.

But if you’re serious about finding treasure, make sure to do your homework first!

Research the Area

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Before treasure hunting any terrain, it’s important to have a goal and know what you’re searching for. Otherwise, you may not have the right equipment, be in violation of local ordinances, or worse, walk right over the top of something great without even knowing it.

Local Regulations: Some beaches do not allow metal detectors at all, and some beaches only allow detecting during specific hours. So it’s always a good idea to check with local authorities before detecting at the beach.

Know What To Expect: Local beaches usually have a lot of foot traffic which means there are likely to be more modern items lost like jewelry, coins, keys, etc. But if you venture to a more remote beach, you may find things like old bottles, lost shipwreck treasures, or other interesting items. Some areas may even indicate the probability of finding very little or nothing at all – of course, you’ll want to stay away from those!

For example, by using an old map, I was able to determine the location of an old hotel that was torn down many years ago. So by metal detecting the area, I was able to turn up some very old artifacts as well as old coins that were lost long ago. Had I not done the research, I would have never known about the hotel and found the things that I did.

So, take the time to do your research before you hunt. Your research will give you a better idea if an area is worth detecting and what you may find at that location.

Equipment: By doing your research and having a better idea of what you are searching for, you will be able to figure out what type of metal detecting equipment you need, which is what we are going to talk about next!

The Right Equipment

When metal detecting the beach, it is important to have the right equipment. This includes a metal detector, a scoop, a pinpointer, and a collection bag at a minimum. You’ll probably also want to bring along sunscreen, water, snacks, insect repellent, and a towel.

Selecting a Metal Detector

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Just like any other location, when metal detecting the beach, it is essential to use the right detector. You’ll need one that is waterproof, and if you’re planning to hunt the surf, one that is specifically designed for use in salt water. Even if you’re only planning on detecting the dry sand, I still suggest a waterproof metal detector as I have yet to meet a treasure hunter that has not at least been tempted to get close to the ocean!

If you are planning on getting in the surf, know that not all metal detectors are designed for use in salt water. Some will not be as effective and may even be damaged by salt water.

However, some detectors have special features that make them more effective in salt water. For example, detectors with multi-frequency technology are less likely to be affected by the mineral content in salt water, and not using one will often mean an afternoon of frustration.

They will be more expensive but well worth the investment, especially if you plan on treasure hunting at the beach on a regular basis.

When I first began treasure hunting, I bought a simple waterproof detector that only used one frequency. Although, as I learned later, that kind of detector is fine for freshwater beaches, I was hunting the Atlantic Ocean where the salt water was wreaking havoc on my being able to find anything. After doing some research, I learned that I needed a detector with multi-frequency technology to be able to detect saltwater effectively.

Now I have a Minelab Equinox 800 that is specifically designed for use in salt water, and it has made all the difference in the world. I am now able to find items that I would have never found with my previous detector. However, this meant that I ended up buying two detectors early on in my treasure hunting experience.

So if you are serious about metal detecting at the beach, I recommend investing in a detector that is specifically designed for use in salt water. It will cost a bit more, but it will wind up saving you money in the long run as you will not have to buy two the way that I did.

A Good Scoop

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When metal detecting at the beach, you will need a sand scoop. A scoop allows you to quickly and easily dig up items that you find with your detector.

There are many different types of scoops on the market, but I prefer to use an aluminum scoop with a long handle. Aluminum scoops are lightweight, which means they will be a lot easier to carry. Having a long handle will mean a lot less stress on your back as you will not have to bend over every time that you locate treasure.

I also recommend spending some money here as well because a good scoop will hold up better and last longer. Just as with a metal detector, you’ll spend more but end up saving in the long run.

Tips for Metal Detecting Different Parts of the Beach

Now that you know what equipment you need to treasure hunt at the beach let’s talk about where to treasure hunt at the beach.

The Dry Sand

Detecting the dry sand is the easiest place to detect on the beach. There you’ll find a variety of freshly dropped items such as coins, keys, and if you’re lucky, pieces of jewelry.

The challenge is that public beaches tend to contain a lot of trash! Once someone drops a bottle cap or a piece of aluminum, it gets down in the sand and is lost forever – that is until your detector locates it.

So when detecting in dry sand, make sure that you have a detector that can discriminate or cancel out signals from certain types of metals. This way, you’ll be able to cancel out signals from things like aluminum foil and bottle tops.

By being able to discriminate, you will be able to reduce the number of false signals you get and make it easier to find the items you’re looking for.

The Surf

Treasure hunting in the surf is more difficult than detecting on the dry or even on the wet sand. The main reason for this is because you’re dealing with moving water which can make it difficult to find objects that are buried beneath the surface.

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But treasure hunting in the surf means that you’ll find along with items that were freshly washed up from the sea, coins, and even jewelry that people have lost while swimming.

So here, along with having the right detector, you’re also going to want to have a large scoop. The waves come in quickly, and if you’re not careful, they can knock you over or take your treasure out to sea even before you have a chance to dig it out. By having a large scoop, you will have a better chance of seizing your treasure on the first try.

The Wet Sand

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The wet sand is the area that was underwater when the tide was in but is now exposed. This is prime real estate when it comes to metal detecting the beach, but it is only exposed for a limited amount of hours until the tide comes back in.

It’s the area on the beach that is coveted because not only is it the area where many items are lost, and others get washed up, it’s much easier to hunt than the moving surf! But, since this area is only exposed for a couple of hours each day, it’s very important to detect it quickly and efficiently. Here are a couple of things to look for to help you detect the wet sand.

Cuts and Sand Erosion

When treasure hunting the wet sand, look for areas where when the waves have receded, they left low spots and small areas of pooling water. These areas, known as cuts, are excellent for catching lost treasures because as the waves move in and out, they act like small funnels and catch all sorts of items from lost jewelry to coins. Understanding how the sand forms and what treasure may lie beneath the surface is known as reading the beach.

Understand The Tides

When metal detecting the beach, it’s also very important that you have a basic understanding of how tides work. Since the tide goes out and then comes back in on a regular basis, you’ll need to know when low tide is so that you can take advantage of your limited time on the wet sand!


The best way to keep track of the tides is to either use a tide chart or an app on your phone. I use an app called Saltwater Tides 2.0. It’s available for both iPhone and Android, and it’s very accurate.

Locating that desirable area of wet sand can be a challenge, but once you find it, the beach will become much more profitable as swimmers tend to lose things in the water, and the arrival of new treasures from the ocean is constant.

Respect The Beach Environment

When treasure hunting public beaches or any area for that matter, it’s very important to respect the environment and other people who are enjoying it. This means not leaving any trash behind, not digging up more than you need to, and being respectful of other people’s belongings.

You also want to fill in any holes that you have dug and leave the area just the way that you found it! By being respectful of the environment, you will ensure that metal detecting is a hobby that can be enjoyed for years to come.


Metal detecting the beach can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it’s important to follow some simple tips in order to make the most of your experience. By checking for local ordinances, researching the area in advance, and following metal detecting etiquette, you can enjoy a fun and successful metal detecting hunt at the beach.

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Kwak’s Metal Detectors is the perfect place to begin your metal detecting adventure. We offer a wide range of metal detectors that are perfect for beginners and experienced hunters alike. We also have a great selection of metal detecting accessories. So whether you’re just getting started or you’re looking to take your metal detecting to the next level, Kwaks Metal Detectors is the ideal place for all your metal detecting needs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need Permission to Metal Detect At the Beach?

The simple answer is it depends. On some beaches, but not all, you may need a metal detecting permit to treasure hunt the beach. So it’s always a good idea to check local regulations before metal detecting, as you may be required to obtain a permit.

What Kind Of Metal Detector Should I Use On the Beach?

Although you can use almost any metal detector on dry sand, for wet sand areas, you want to look for a metal detector that is waterproof and specifically designed for saltwater environments. However, any waterproof metal detector should work just fine for freshwater beaches.

What Is the Best Time Of Day to Metal Detect At the Beach?

The best time to metal detect the beach is during low tide when you have access to more of the wet sand. The waves tend to wash all kinds of treasures ashore, so it’s a good idea to metal detect during low tide when you can take advantage of the low tide.