Metal Detecting in Alabama: A Complete Guide for 2022

If you are looking for a guide for your next metal detecting quest in Alabama, you’ve come to the right spot.

Alabama is one of the best states when it comes to treasure hunting and metal detecting. The weather is great for metal detecting and the land is rich in gold and hidden treasures. The experience is so thrilling and you never know whether you find jewelry, coins, civil war artifacts, or even gold. However, it is important to do your due diligence and understand the state and federal laws regarding metal detecting in the Yellowhammer State of Alabama.

Metal detecting laws in Alabama

Like every other state, metal detecting in Alabama has its own set of laws and regulations in place.

Metal detecting laws in Alabama are not so straightforward. It seems like a lot of areas are prohibited from metal detecting, however, it’s far from that. Once you understand the laws, you can better interpret them and find your way around them. 

The first thing to keep in mind while metal detecting in Alabama is that you must not metal detect on any of the historical grounds in Alabama. This means metal detecting on any public lands with a significant history associated with it is strictly prohibited. Therefore, think twice before performing any excavation works into aboriginal mounds, burial sites, or earthworks.

Moreover, it is also illegal to metal detect on Civil war battlefields and on Native American lands without any permits. Sometimes you may get lucky and get permission to detect metal in these places but it is very rare.

As a responsible metal detectorist, you will also need to understand the law regarding private properties. Since most of the land in Alabama is considered private property, you will need the landowner’s permission to detect or dig treasure.

All in all, it is crucial to understand the laws and follow them while metal detecting in Alabama. Breaking these laws will have serious repercussions including fines or at worst jail time. Therefore, if you are planning to detect in the new location in Alabama, contacting the city, county, and state officials to ensure you’re following all pertinent laws is a good idea.

Related: Dumpster Diving in Alabama: A Comprehensive Guide

Is it legal to metal detect in Alabama?

Yes, it is legal to metal detect in Alabama. However, there are limitations to the legalities. As mentioned earlier, it is illegal to go metal detecting in historic lands, state parks, and federal lands of Alabama without the permission of either the park manager or the concerned authority.

Also bear in mind, that metal detecting on Trust’s land is also illegal in Alabama without the authorized permit.

Where can you metal detect in Alabama?

Even though the laws of Alabama have prohibited some of the best metal detecting spots in the state, there is no shortage of other great places you can go for metal detecting.

One of the first places to go for metal detecting in Alabama is your hometown. Understanding the history of the location will not only save you time but also give you a chance to hunt for great treasure. The places you choose to metal detect and the history of the place will define what you’ll find and how much value it holds. All in all, metal detecting with historical research will yield better returns compared to detecting on random lands.

Some of the best places you can go for metal detecting in Alabama are:

  1. Abandoned Buildings and Structures
  2. Abandoned Parks
  3. Old wagon train routes
  4. Native American Trails
  5. Natural Disaster Distruction Sites
  6. Alabama Beaches, Rivers, Lakes, and Creeks
  7. School yards
  8. Civil war sites

Is there any buried treasure in Alabama?

Alabama is not only a beautiful state with amazing landscapes but it also has a rich history and chronicles. Alabama is said to have a great amount of buried treasure that dates back to the civil war. Confederate gold and silver coins are said to be buried under Alabama’s soil to keep the Union Army from getting them. These are still out there, just waiting to be discovered! Although a lot of these stories lack supporting evidence, treasure hunters and metal detectorists are positive that they’ll find it one day.

Metal detecting in Alabama Beaches

Alabama is home to 60 miles of coastline. Metal detecting on Alabama Beaches is perfect for finding lost jewelry and coins. As a result, you will find a lot of fellow metal detectors flocking over the Alabama beaches in the evening for their metal detecting adventure. 

As of writing this article, metal detecting at public Alabama beaches are perfectly legal. However, if you find any stuff with archaeological importance, the state of Alabama has a right to take it away from you.

Some of the most famous beaches to go for metal detecting in Alabama are:

  1. Orange Beach
  2. Gulf Shores Beach
  3. Dauphin Island Public Beach
  4. Lagoon Pass Beach
  5. Fort Morgan Public Beach

Metal detecting in Alabama Rivers

Alabama is not only rich in coastline but also in rivers and creeks. It has numerous rivers, creeks, and streams which is a great place to go metal detecting. Make sure you have proper waterproof metal detectors while detecting in rivers and streams. Some of the best rivers to metal detect in Alabama are:

  1. Black Warrior River
  2. Tennessee and Elk River
  3. Chattahoochee River
  4. Locust Fork
  5. Mulberry Fork
  6. Tallapoosa River

Metal detecting in Ghost Towns of Alabama

Alabama is home to hundreds of ghost towns. These are the towns where mining was done in the past and the inhabitants just abandoned it when the ore was exhausted. There are also other numerous old cities where the resident left for a variety of other reasons.

All in all, all these small and abandoned towns and cities are considered ghost towns in Alabama. These towns add another layer to Alabama’s rich history. Bear in mind, that metal detecting in ghost towns of Alabama may require permission from the local authorities. Once you figure out whether you need a permit and get one if needed, ghost towns in Alabama will surely be one of your favorite places to go metal detecting.

You may find various historical artifacts in these ghost towns. Furthermore, finding a coin spill, fine jewelry, or other expensive items in these ghost towns of Alabama is not unusual.

Some of the popular ghost towns in Alabama for metal detecting are:

  1. Barnesville – 1
  2. Erie – 3
  3. Vienna – 3
  4. Riverton – 1
  5. Centerdale – 1

Metal detecting clubs in Alabama

Metal detecting is one of my favorite hobbies because it is a great way to connect with friends and make new friends along the way. If you want to meet new friends and go for a metal detecting adventure together, I will highly recommend joining a metal detecting club in Alabama.

Metal detecting clubs can offer you a lot of great information and help you find places to detect. As a beginner, you are likely to have issues tuning your metal detector for a specific area. Joining metal detecting clubs is a nice solution to this issue. 

Alabama does not have any shortage of great metal detecting clubs. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran metal detectorist, metal detecting clubs in Alabama can help you enhance your skills.

Metal detecting clubs do not have to be online. Facebook groups are a great way to connect with fellow Alabama Metal Detectorists and share your knowledge and skills. 

Some of the best Metal detecting clubs in Alabama are:

  1. Alabama Gold Camp
  2. Madison County Coin Club
  3. North Alabama GPAA Chapter

Similarly, some of the most popular Metal Detecting Facebook groups in Alabama are:

  1. Central Alabama Group
  2. Sahrara Club Mobile Alabama
  3. Detecting Alabama Group
  4. Detecting North Alabama Group

Final Thoughts

All in all, Alabama is a great place to quench your metal detecting thirst. The nature, history, weather, and lenient laws make this hobby really enjoyable in Alabama. Just make sure you understand the metal detecting laws in Alabama before attempting it in public places. In the case of private properties make sure to have the permission of landowner, or else you may be charged with trespassing.