Whether you’re on a serious hunt for valuable treasures or just looking for a casual hobby, metal detecting can be a fun and exciting activity. In this article, I’ll look at the 8 best beaches to metal detect in the state of Florida!
Before you head out in pursuit of treasure like many before you, it is important to learn the tricks of the trade. Proper materials, researched locations, and knowledge of Florida metal detecting laws are all essential information to gather.
Key Takeaway: The best beaches to metal detect in Florida are: Vero Beach, Melbourne Beach, Bonsteel Park, Wabasso Beach, Lori Wilson Park, Siesta Key, Sebastian Inlet, and South Beach. But it’s essential to be aware of local laws governing metal detection and best practices.
Why is Metal Detecting on Florida Beaches So Popular?
Treasure hunting in Florida is a popular hobby that has been around for a long time. Florida beaches offer some of the best places for metal detectorists to find a treasure trove of items such as gold rings, silver coins, etc.
Florida has a vibrant Spanish and English settlement history that dates back centuries. It has been rumored that these settlers transported millions of dollars along Florida’s coasts. The most popular story is that of a fleet of Spanish ships called the “Treasure Fleet” that was shipwrecked in 1715, leaving silver and gold coins to wash up on the shores for years to come. In fact, a metal detector enthusiast recently found $4.5 million worth of gold off Florida’s Atlantic coast!
The coast of Florida is a good place to find precious items due to its 18th century history of the Treasure Fleet. This was a combination of two Spanish treasure fleets, totaling eleven ships, returning from the New World to Spain. All eleven ships sank due to a hurricane off the coast of Florida, near Vero Beach. This Spanish treasure has been washing ashore due to strong currents in the Florida waters for many years, gaining this coast the nickname, “Treasure Coast.”
Essential Things to Know Before Metal Detecting on Florida Beaches
If you are new to the world of metal detecting, you will need to brush up on important information in order to have the best experience. There are certain times of the day and year that are better than others for metal detecting. Additionally, you should always follow county rules when it comes to locations you can and cannot treasure hunt.
Best Time To Search Florida Beaches
The best time of day to search is daybreak. In popular treasuring areas, you will find other metal detectorists out bright and early. The early bird catches the gold! Additionally, storm season is the best metal detector time of the year. The large waves are strong enough to pick up coins and other materials that can be dropped off on the shores. When searching, look for the high-tide line or where there are many shell deposits. These are usually the best places to find valuable items among the rubbish.
Florida’s Laws on Metal Detecting and County Specific Rules
There are different rules centering on metal detection that vary by location, including Florida state parks, private property, and public beaches. In order to avoid any trouble with local authorities, it is best to be aware of the regulations before visiting.
Also, there are a few important laws to remember:
- Anything submerged in the water belongs to the state. Stay above the highline mark to avoid the wet sand, which is also included in this law.
- Objects more than 50 years old are state property and are illegal to retrieve by private operators.
- Waters adjacent to National Parks are off-limits.
- Private property is off-limits.
This chart is a quick reference on the metal-detecting policies for some of Florida’s counties:
|Florida County||Metal Detecting Rules||Find More Information Here|
|Okaloosa County||Metal-detecting is permitted on public beaches, no permit is required||Okaloosa County Information|
|Walton County||Metal-detecting is permitted on public beaches||Walton County Information|
|Nassau County||Metal-detecting is permitted on public beaches||Nassau County Information|
|Duval County||Metal-detecting is permitted on public beaches||Duval County Information|
|St. Johns County||Metal-detecting is permitted on public beaches. Anastasia State Park, Fort Matanzas National Park, or the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve are prohibited.||St. Johns County Information|
|Flagler County||Metal-detecting is permitted on public beaches||Flagler County Information|
|Pinellas County||Use of metal detectors is prohibited, except on public beaches||Pinellas County Information|
|Manatee County||Use of metal detectors is prohibited at preserves and parks||Manatee County Information|
|Sarasota County||Metal-detecting is permitted, but moving park property, soil, natural water bottom formation, sand, gravel, rocks, stones, fossils, minerals, or plants is prohibited||Sarasota County Information|
|Collier County||Use of metal detectors is prohibited, except on the public beaches||Collier County Information|
|Broward County||Use of metal detectors is prohibited||Broward County Information|
|Palm Beach County||Metal-detecting is permitted on public beaches||Palm Beach County Information|
|Martin County||Metal-detecting is permitted on public beaches. Removing natural elements from parks and beaches along with excavations and large shovels is prohibited||Martin County Information|
|Indian River County||Metal-detecting is permitted on public beaches. Removing natural elements from parks and beaches along with excavations and large shovels is prohibited||Indian River County Information|
|Brevard County||Metal-detecting is permitted in Brevard County Parks. Detecting in playgrounds, athletic fields, or endangered lands is prohibited||Brevard County Information|
8 Best Beaches to Metal Detect in Florida
Residents and visitors have been flocking to Florida’s beaches to metal detect for treasure since the 1960s. One of the most noted shipwrecks is the Spanish fleet of 1715, but there are many other historical sites where treasures can be found. Below is a list of the top 8 beaches to metal detect in Florida!
1. Vero Beach
As we have learned, Vero Beach is the closest location to the shipwreck of 1715 by the Treasure Fleet. With this in mind, it is one of the most perfect spots on the east coast to metal detect! Vero Beach is part of the Treasure Coast of Florida, which is a nickname given due to the massive finds in this area since the 1960s.
2. Wabasso Beach
Just 11 miles north of Vero Beach along the Atlantic Ocean sits Wabasso Beach. This beach is also considered part of the Treasure Coast, and another great place to search for treasures. In fact, a metal detectorist found dozens of silver coins in 2020 in this location!
3. Bonsteel Park
Coastal parks are a great way to find such treasures as gold and silver coins while avoiding the crowds that traditional beaches bring. Bonsteel Park is considered a county park with a beach area. Within the park boundaries, you will also find a spacious parking lot, hiking trails, restrooms, and a sand dune crossover.
In some state parks, you may be required to get written permission from the Park Ranger before you detect in the park, so it is important to confirm regulations before beginning your treasure hunt.
4. Melbourne Beach
Melbourne Beach is another good place to metal detect, as many treasures have been found at the water line here. On top of beach metal detecting, divers have even found ship timbers, silver platters, and an iron cannon in the waters of this Florida coast.
5. Lori Wilson Park
Just south of Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Coast is one of the best-kept secret spots for metal detecting. This beach is much less crowded than the close-by Cocoa Beach, which is one of the reasons that it is a great treasure-hunting spot.
Visitors also love the amenities including showers, a dog park, restrooms, barbeque grills, playgrounds, and pavilions. Lori Wilson Park is considered state lands, so keep off of the sand dunes to ensure you get to keep your treasure. The good news is there is a large area of public beach that is open for searching!
6. Siesta Key
If you are looking to treasure hunt on the West Coast of Florida, Siesta Key is a great option! This beach was once rumored to be a popular place for pirates to hide their treasure. Siesta Key Beach is located in Sarasota County, which has strict rules when it comes to metal detecting and disturbing nature, so be sure to be careful when you are exploring.
7. Sebastian Inlet
This beach is on the border of Brevard and Indian Beach counties and is considered the “center” of Treasure Coast. Sebastian Inlet has been a popular treasure-hunting beach for many years, with some hunters finding over $300,000 worth of treasure on the soft sands. Anything found within Sebastian Inlet State Park is off-limits and considered state property, so it is best to stick to the public areas on the beaches instead.
8. South Beach
Although Miami may be far away from Treasure Coast, it is still a perfect spot to look for treasure. Many ships traveling to and from Europe and Spain passed through Miami and South Beach, which means their treasures and artifacts could be waiting here for you!
Summary of Best Beaches in Florida to Metal Detect
Whether you are a beginner or a professional treasure hunter, you are bound to have fun looking for loot on Florida’s shores. Due to the exciting history that Florida has with pirates and the wreckages of ships off its coasts, many of the Sunshine State’s beaches have been known to have treasures such as gold and silver coins, rings, and other valuable materials washed up onto the shore.
In order to properly metal detect, you need to be in the right place at the right time. Many metal detectorists like to hunt in the early hours of the morning. A great time to metal detect is after a storm because the strong currents are able to carry the heavier treasure to the sand.
When metal detecting in Florida, it is important to be aware of state laws that dictate where and how you can metal detect. Some counties do not allow it at all, while others permit metal detecting in public areas such as beaches. Some of the most popular beaches to metal detect are within Treasure Coast, which is the closest location to where the Treasure Fleet sank. Some of the beaches included in the Treasure Coast are Vero Beach, Sebastian Inlet, and Wasbasso Beach.