good places to metal detect without permission

9 Best Places to Metal Detect Without Permission!

places to metal detect without permission

I totally understand that the most challenging part of Metal Detecting as a hobby is bypassing the permission hurdle to be able to detect without any legal issues …

… One of the best ways to do so is to target places where the permission is no required! If you are a beginner in the hobby, then that’s a great way to Go!

In this article I list several places where you can swing your beloved detector without being concerned about getting a Permit whatsoever.

9 Places Where you can Detect Without Permission

1. Your Backyard!


Before heading out into unknown territory, it helps to get used to your machine by using it in your backyard! If you don’t have one, you may want to ask among your family and friends to give you access to their backyard …

… That would be a cool experience!

Even if you have built a new house, this doesn’t mean that the land has not been used before. It could have been old farmland, an old settlement, or a building site.

So remember the old saying that goes, “where there are people, there’s treasure.” So never assume you won’t find anything in your own backyard.

Your Yard is also a great way to benchtest your device against different targets under different depths!

If you are looking for a good beginner machine to start with, you can Check this good model Here at Amazon!

2. Beaches


Beach detecting is a great and lucrative aspect of the hobby fore sure! And the Great part is that in many (probably most) cases no permission is required (This obviously depends on the country you are in)!

Beaches everywhere attract huge crowds of people who frequently drop stuff which could be a great opportunity (Yet, I still suggest you return lost stuff to the owner as much as possible).

BTW, if you can have a look at these waterproof detectors … They will help you get better results while exploring beaches!

I’ve written this Post that gives lots of details about this Topic! The Post probably needs to be updated, but it still will give you a global idea.

3. Parks


Parks are amongst one of the best places to find valuable targets! Old parks that are not considered to be archeologically protected could generally be searched without permissions …

…  For National Parks in general you will need permission from the park manager … Yet, in many cases depending on the park you are targeting there are places that are allowed without a prior park manager consent!

4. National Forests


National forests are not only a good place to search, but also an untapped area! However, there are certain rules that you need to be aware of before you can detect there.

While most of the time, you do not require any permits, you still have to find out whether any specific areas are out of bounds for using a metal detector.

If you find an artifact in a national forest that is at least 50 years old, then you cannot remove the item from the forest. However, anything you find that can be identified as being less than 50 years old is open for claiming.

I invite you to check this guide for metal detect in the woods! You will learn a lot …

5. Ghost Towns

Most seasoned detectorists have at one point or the other thought about exploring ghost towns!

These are communities that have been abandoned for different reasons. The best part is that you do not need a permit to detect there in most cases.

Exploring abandoned towns can lead to many exciting finds depending on the activities that were held there back then.

For more info, you can check this ghost towns detection Post!

6. Around Lakes and Rivers


Areas around rivers and lakes hold a lot of potential!

In fact, there are excellent opportunities near a river or lake as these places can hold all types of historical targets. What’s more, you do not need to have a permit to detect in these places as far as they are not archeologically protected!

Finally, if you are looking to do some underwater activities, then you may want to check these underwater detection tips!

7. Fields


Detecting in Fields is an enjoyable aspect, not only because such a place is mostly clean, but also because the finds tend to be closer the soil surface!

Your only chance to detect there without permission is if you know a friend of a friend’s friend who owns one! The opportunities there are massive and definitely worth a try …

… It is even worth going Bold for a bit and asking for a Permission!

Anyway, this fields detecting article will give you more insight about that.

8. Churches

Churches tend to be very old, thus the big opportunities in term of relics! Keep in mind that you should respect any burial grounds that may be present in the church’s compound and stay away from the gravestones.

Many detectorists have found ancients coins in churchyards! For whatever reason these coins used to be dropped a lot in there …

… Do remember to ask the priest or the churchwarden first for their consent to do so!

9. Stadiums and Bleachers

Most sporting events attract huge crowds that stand, sit, and jump around in excitement. Coins and other types of valuables tend to easily fall out of pockets.

There are some cases where you can detect without an actual permission! But, finding that, could be quite challenging.

Top 5 Countries that allow metal detecting mostly no Permission!

1. United States

The US is one of the best countries that give you several opportunities when it comes to detection activities! You can sense that simply by the large numbers of clubs consistently practicing this hobby.

Apart from national forests and state parks that could require a permission, you are free to search in most places (of course, you will need to get a land owner consent if you want to detect on private lands).

When it comes to the beaches and other places within the US also, you will find that there are no significant limitations …

The best states where you can detect are:

2. United Kingdom

The UK is pretty favorable towards hobbyists! However, keep in mind that it is illegal to use your machine at a protected scheduled ancient monument without a permit. You can easily obtain a license from the Office of the Secretary of State for the Environment.

You can also get a license easily from the website of the British Crown Estate.

If you have a permit for metal detecting in the UK, then you can detect anywhere you want without running into trouble with the law.

Detecting at the many beaches in the UK can turn up some valuable finds.

Some of the best spots in there include:

  • Norfolk
  • Coventry
  • Bristol
  • City of York
  • East Anglia
  • Lincolnshire

I’ve written this UK detection Post! You can refer to it for more info …

3. Australia

Gold prospecting is a massive aspect of the hobby! And there is no better place to do so quite freely other than Australia! Beach detecting is Huge there also …

Many states in Australia require you to have a Miner’s Right or Fossicking permit.

Also, national parks are forbidden unless they are covered under your fossicking license.

However, it you want to go freely, the ideal places in there are the old goldfields, ghost towns, sports, and camping grounds, around piers, and of course, on the beaches.

You can check this Gold Prospection Guide in Australia for more ideas.

4. Canada

There is no law that prohibits the use of detectors in Canada! The only limitations are when you use them on private properties …

… Provincial and national parks do not allow metal detector usage, though, in parks that do not have any registered archaeological sites, you can go ahead and explore after getting permission from the park manager.

Beaches in Canada also have no regulations against the hobby, and you can detect freely across all the beaches in the country.

For more insight, you can check this Canada detection article.

5. France

France is one of the most historically rich countries you should explore! You can detect all you want in France provided you have prior permission.

There is no permit required to explore beaches of France! Yet, I would still suggest you double check to avoid any trouble …

For more info, you can check this France detecting Post.

Getting Permission is not as Hard as you might think!

Obtaining permission to metal detect is not as difficult as you may think! Indeed, getting permission is not something you do just for yourself, but you do it for all detectorists …

… Remember that the more people choose to trespass, the higher is the chances of more regulations and prohibitions get placed on the hobby.

After all, the worst thing that can happen is that you will get a No, in which case there are still lots of other places to search. Additionally, when you obtain permission for searching, it makes your detecting much more enjoyable and stress-free!

The first thing you need to do is to locate the actual owner of the site where you want to detect. This is important because you can’t just take the word of someone else (neighbor, tenant, etc.) who says that the owner won’t mind. If you cannot talk to actual owner, then do not go ahead and start detecting on the land!

Once you find him, do not call them on the phone, but instead go directly to their front door. Ask for permission on the same day as you intend to metal detect.

You should also leave your metal detector and other tools in the car to avoid arousing suspicion and fear of strangers. There are still many people who have never seen a metal detector.

Smile, be polite and introduce yourself. Explain who you are and what hobby you are pursuing. Clearly state your intentions and state precisely what you are looking for in order to reassure the owner. Request for permission and assure the owner that you will treat the property with full respect and not cause any damage or harm to it.

Why you actually should get Permission?

The biggest advantage of obtaining permission to detect on private property is the peace of mind it offers!

Furthermore, by getting permission by speaking with the owner, you might just be able to find out more about the land…

…For example, the owner might ask you to find something specific for them and may even offer a reward for finding the item …

… By offering your help in finding something for the owner, you may also make it more favorable for them to say yes to your request for detecting.

Since most private properties remain unexplored by other detectorists, your chances of finding something valuable in an unexplored piece of land becomes quite high!

That’s why you should have the courage to ask! After all, the worst that can happen is that your request will be turned down – in which case you can move on to another exciting piece of land!


I am not 100% sure whether this Post was helpful for you or not! I really hope this was actually the case and that you’ve got some of your questions answered…

… What I want you to keep in mind is that targeting places that don’t require a permit is a great way to go, especially in the beginning … But as far as you get more experience, the real treasures are generally on underexplored lands that usually require a permission.

Finally, you can have a look at these metal detecting cameras that will help you find document your journey!

About the Author

Carissa Harmer

Carissa is the huge metal detecting enthusiast that loves collecting coins. She is also highly interested in other treasure hunting activities like magnet fishing and gold prospecting/panning.