When it comes to adventure, Florida has no shortage of fun-filled experiences. One of the many exploits that people love to engage in is the art of metal detecting.
There’s something truly zen about metal detecting; it requires little thought, it is serene and repetitive in nature, it is not physically taxing, and it can function as either blissful alone time or a new activity to do with a friend or spouse. Sign us up!
Whether you are new to metal detecting or you are new to Florida, you may be wondering how to get your feet wet, so to speak. We will go over some of the basics of metal detecting for those who are new to the activity, as well as some of the Floridian hot spots to check out.
What Is Metal Detecting?
Metal detecting has been around for decades. However, many people find their way to this enriching activity every year. Metal detecting, for those who are unfamiliar, involves using a highly sensitive instrument to seek out precious metals that could be just below the surface of the ground.
Most people like to go metal detecting on the beach because items like jewelry and money often get lost in the sand. Another benefit is that when digging up these precious metals, sand is pretty easy to sift through.
Essentially, in metal detecting, you’re the pirate and you are digging up buried treasure. It’s modern day treasure hunting! What’s not to love?
Why Should I Try Metal Detecting?
Metal detecting has universal appeal: it’s something that people in all age groups, from all walks of life can enjoy. There are some great benefits to metal detecting, including:
- You can find many interesting items, such as jewelry, coins, gold, relics, or other unique artifacts.
- It’s a fun and relaxing hobby.
- You can explore different terrains and spend a lot of time in the fresh air.
- It’s a great way to get your steps in for the day and get a little mild exercise.
- It keeps your mind sharp and your imagination active.
- Have fun learning about the history and value of the artifacts you find.
- A great activity to do with friends and family members. Get the grandkids involved!
What Are the Rules and Laws About Metal Detecting?
One thing that everyone should be aware of before they start their new favorite hobby of metal detecting, is the rules and regulations in your area regarding the activity. There may be certain laws, depending on your location, that governs whether or not you can go metal detecting.
Of course, you want to be careful to steer clear of private property. This sounds like a given, but believe it or not, many people are caught trespassing in order to metal detect! Sometimes, they aren’t even doing it on purpose. It’s easy to get lost in your own little world when you are out there being a professional treasure hunter. Though all states have different regulations, here are some that are specific to the state of Florida.
It is Generally Allowed
There is no law that outlaws metal detecting in Florida. Though different counties may have different bylaws, it is totally legal activity.
You May Need a Permit
While on public property, there’s nothing to stop you from metal detecting. However, a caveat is if you want to use a state park. Any state park in Florida will require a permit before you engage in any prospecting!
You Can’t Do It in a National Park
There is one rule that Florida is very strict about: you absolutely cannot go metal detecting in a national park. The preservation of nature is taken very seriously in this state, and it’s important that you follow this rule, or you're liable to face some steep fines.
When it comes to Florida’s many sandy beaches, unless you happen to wander onto private property, the shores pretty much fall under the finders keepers rule. If you want to keep the treasures that you unearth, you are more than welcome to do so!
What Equipment Do I Need for Metal Detecting?
If you’re just getting started with metal detecting, there are a few things you should procure before you begin your journey. While the equipment needed is minimal, there are some things you should consider:
- A metal detector: Okay, this one is obvious, but we’ve still got to say it. There are so many types and styles of metal detectors out there; you just have to do your research and decide what works for you based on your goals and your price range.
- A small satchel or backpack: You want to have a way to hold all of the various objects you find on the beach. And if you find trash, you can do a good deed by cleaning it up.
- A shovel or other digging implement: You want to invest in a shovel that is lightweight and easy to tote around. Many people like to use something like a gardening spade since it can easily fit into a small bag.
- Sunscreen: We can’t emphasize this enough; wear your sunscreen! Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays while you’re out and about. It’s easy to lose track of time and before you know it, you’ve been in the sun for hours.
- Beachwear: If you are metal detecting on the beach, you want to wear something comfortable. In the hot Florida sun, you will probably be most comfy in a swimsuit and a tunic coverup.
- Water: Stay hydrated. If you normally carry a large, heavy water bottle, you might want to consider getting a camelbak-style bag, or a lightweight aluminum water bottle that’s not adding much extra weight.
Where Are the Best Spots for Metal Detecting in Florida?
Where are the best spots to seek out if you are going to go metal detecting in the sunny state of Florida? We have done our homework so that you don’t have to worry about a thing. Check out these hot spots!
If you are looking at the southernmost part of Florida, there are a few different areas that are going to become your go-to spots.
Lee County Beaches
In South Florida, you will be able to go metal detecting on one of the Lee County beaches. These are your best bet. It is totally permitted, and you will probably see some other detectors out and about while you’re there!
There are 10 different beach parks in Lee County, all of which are beautiful, and have public access. Your best bet for metal detecting is at the following beach parks:
- Bonita Beach: This is a pristine beach with a mix of shells and sand. There is ample parking nearby, and restroom facilities.
- Bowman’s Beach: If you’re looking for a beach that’s a bit more isolated and incredibly picturesque, this is your pick. It’s a five-minute walk from the parking lot, but the views, amazing shelling, and metal-detecting opportunities make it worthwhile.
- Lynn Hall Memorial Beach: This is a lively Gulf-front beach park that is right near shopping, restaurants, and other attractions. This is a good spot if you want to be near the action, but if you’re looking for a more serene experience, you might try it elsewhere.
- Little Hickory Island Beach: Another lovely area, this is also known as beach access #10. Here you will find parking, restrooms, picnic tables, and a pavilion should you need to take a break and/or shield yourself from an afternoon rain shower.
- Turner Beach: This beach is commonly used for saltwater fishing, and there are bars and eateries nearby, making this a great place to find some hidden treasure and then grab a bite and a beer.
In Central Florida, although you have many choices, your best bet is going to be the Daytona Beach area. Though Daytona is known for its massive events, such as the Daytona 500 racing event, or the National Cheerleaders Association Collegiate National Cheerleading Championship, the beaches are the real attraction.
Believe it or not, Daytona Beach, also known as the world’s most famous beach, is only one of the beaches in the Daytona area that you can use for metal detecting. Check out some of these other amazing locations as well:
- Bicentennial Park Beach: Grab your swimsuit! One of the nicest beaches in the Daytona area, this one has many amenities, such as bathrooms, outdoor showers, grills for public use, and several pavilions with picnic tables. Because it gets a lot of traffic, it’s a great spot.
Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park: With free parking and no entrance fee, this beach is a great budget choice. Also, it’s close to the riverside park area, where you can play pickleball, basketball, and volleyball, or take the grandkids to the playground.
- Al Weeks Sr. North Shore Park: This quiet beach offers free parking complete with a paved overflow lot across the street. There are restrooms and showers available as well.
- New Smyrna Beach: Part of the Daytona Beach Shores area, New Smyrna Beach offers gorgeous views, plenty of facilities nearby, and bars and restaurants in the area if you want to grab some chow after your adventure.
You might be surprised to learn that North Florida actually has the most areas where metal detecting is completely permitted. The only thing you have to be careful about is accidentally stumbling onto National Park land.
Metal detecting is allowed on public beaches in all of the following areas:
- Emerald Coast/ Okaloosa County
- Panama City
- South Walton
- Amelia Island
- Saint Augustine
- Flagler County
With too many beaches to list in these areas, we have curated a couple that we absolutely love for metal detecting. You’ll have to do some of your own research if you want to look into more choices!
Panama City Beach
If you’re looking to take a vacation that involves metal detecting, you can’t go wrong with The Panama City Beach area. With over 31 miles of pristine beaches and almost a hundred public beach access points, it’s a metal detector’s dream!
There is also a ton of stuff to do in the area. You can visit Shell Island, check out Shipwreck Island Waterpark, or even go skydiving at Skydive Panama City. We love this spot if you’re looking to do a little destination detecting!
Henderson Beach State Park
This beach has it all: amazing swimming, white sands, and calm waters in the summer. It has a nature trail that makes for some easy hiking and even a campground with 60 state park campsites that are connected to the beach via a boardwalk.
If you are coming to the area with a family that includes kids, there’s a playground too. We love this option because it not only has great metal detecting opportunities but it also provides a truly immersive beach experience. You’re not going to want to change out of your bathing suit.
If you want to stay at the campground, you will have to make your reservations months in advance, but it’s worth it! If camping’s not your speed, you can check out the Henderson Beach Resort instead.
There’s no way you can go wrong with metal detecting on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches. No matter your goals, you’ll find the right beach for you. Double-check the regulations in your community or the community to intend to travel, and have a blast becoming a modern day treasure hunter!