Metal Detecting: The Perfect Retirement Hobby

After we retire, a lot of us start searching for ways to fill our days. Prior to retiring, we likely had much of our time already spoken for. Whether we were busy at work, with kids, or completing any number of items on a seemingly never-ending to-do list, we so rarely had a moment to ourselves. Retirement is a wonderful change, but it can be a jarring one too.

As a result, we need to find new pursuits that fulfill and entertain us. After all, we can only see the grandkids so often. Turns out, there are few activities more fun than relic hunting. This can be done at estate sales and through other means, but we prefer to do our prospecting straight at the source. 

There are so many great finds just waiting to be added to our hoard; all we have to do is go treasure hunting and find them. What’s the best way to do this, you might ask? By getting a new metal detector, and getting your adventure started.

What Exactly Is Metal Detecting?

In short, metal detecting is a hobby where you actively search for metal items and trinkets that might have been forgotten about. These items can appear either underground or underwater. 

You may have seen people walking around sandy beaches holding a sort of scanning device in their hands above the ground. If so, those people were probably metal detectorists.

With the help of a metal detector machine, you can find all sorts of items that were once lost. The point isn’t so much that these items will have a high resale value; it’s more about the excitement of what you can scrounge up. Chances are that whatever you find has a long and storied past, and digging it up is the first step to discovering it.

How Do You Metal Detect?

Getting started with metal detecting is much easier than it might seem for beginners, but you can always look up a full video for a visual guide of how to do it. If nothing else, checking out videos from creators like The Hoover Boys can help you get in the spirit to find lost treasures.

The key to metal detecting is to go slowly. If you move the detector too quickly over a patch of land, you might miss something. As a result, most people find it best to walk at a leisurely pace and move the metal detector back and forth in sweeping motions. Chances are that your detector will be beeping the majority of the time, so you have to learn to identify what the different beeps and tones mean.

Hold the search coil just above the ground, and listen. Once you hear a tone indicating that the detector has picked something up, it’s time to get digging.

What Items Do You Need?

In order to begin metal detecting, you’ll obviously need an effective metal detector. You will also need a pair of gloves to use when and if it comes time to dig. If you’re dealing with soil, a small shovel is best to access your treasure. If you’re on the beach, consider a sand scoop.

You don’t want to poke around and disturb the ground too much, so if you have trouble finding the item, you can get in there with a pinpointer. A pinpointer is a smaller and more precise metal detector that will help you nail down the exact spot where your treasure lies.

You can also get items like headphones and more, but those are the basics that you need to find any civil war relics hiding underground. If you’re planning on going metal detecting at the beach, don’t forget that there are more items you’ll need to bring to make your trip perfect.

A Great Activity for People of All Ages

One of the reasons that we can’t get enough of metal detecting is that it’s an activity for all ages to enjoy. Even the most rambunctious of grandchildren are excited over the prospect of becoming treasure hunters. Letting them hold the metal detector allows them to feel a sense of agency, and you never know what amazing old goodies you could dig up. 

Meanwhile, we may come back to this hobby for the peace and tranquility it brings. Sure, the possibility of finding old coins or other metal-detecting finds is exciting, but this activity allows us to see our surroundings in a new light. What better way to explore the beach than to search for buried treasures that might lie just beneath the surface?

What Kind of Metal Detector Should You Get?

There are so many different kinds of metal detectors out there, it can feel overwhelming when trying to find the right one for you. If you are a beginner, it might be best to stick with a more introductory model. This metal detector should still come with all of the functions and settings that you need, but it should also be very user-friendly. The last thing you need is to become overwhelmed and fed up with what could have been a lovely pastime.

If you’re more experienced, then you’re more likely to already have a certain brand of the model in mind that you’ve deemed to be the best metal detector for you. You should consider the types of relics you are hoping to find. If you’re looking for waterproof metal and goodies hidden under the sea, make sure to get a metal detector that is designed to handle water.

If you are more interested in a certain type of metal like old silver coins or gold nuggets, you can find a detector with settings that hone in on those kinds of items. People who have used metal detectors before know that it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the specific model you’re using. Otherwise, you could accidentally miss some of the best finds.

Nowadays, metal detectors are pretty sensitive, so they might get tripped up by any and all metal that they register. However, there are ways to specify which types of metal are worth alerting you about and which aren’t.

While there are too many excellent metal detector brands and models to name, here are a few of our favorites that range from introductory to premium:

  • Garrett Ace
  • XP Deus
  • Nokta Makro Simplex
  • Minelab Equinox 800
  • Garrett AT MAX

You can also feel free to scour Amazon and other retailers to find the right metal detector for you.

A Good Time Is Easy To Find

Metal detecting is an exciting adventure, but it also provides a great way for us to get moving. It can be hard to find the motivation to keep walking if there is no destination, and there’s nothing to focus on. However, if we are walking with the intention of finding interesting relics, there is a lot more of a reason to keep moving.



How Hobbies Improve Mental Health | Utah State University

Children’s Agency in Parent–Child, Teacher–Pupil and Peer Relationship Contexts | PMC

Walking: Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health | Mayo Clinic