Metal Detecting in North Carolina: A Complete Guide for 2022

You’ve come to the correct site if you’re looking for information on how to get started metal detecting in North Carolina.

Metal detecting is a hobby in which one uses a metal detector to find precious and rare metals such as gold and silver and then sells them for profit. This hobby has existed as a recreational activity for a long time. However, it has only recently become a popular option to go on a treasure hunting trip while earning money. Detecting these rare metals has become relatively easy thanks to technical advancements in metal detectors, as long as you find the right area.

When it comes to treasure hunting and metal detecting, North Carolina is one of the top places. The weather is ideal for metal detecting, and the area is rich with gold and undiscovered riches. In addition, the state’s beaches, rivers, lakes, and streams contribute to the excitement of metal detecting. You never know whether you’ll find jewelry, money, civil war artifacts, or even gold nuggets when you go on this adventure. However, you should do your homework and learn about the state and federal legislation governing metal detecting in The Old North State.

Metal detecting laws in North Carolina

As much as we would like the government to remain uninvolved in our hobbies, the government does have a responsibility to maintain historical monuments on their land. This is why, on public lands, each state has its own set of metal detecting rules and restrictions.

Metal detecting rules and regulations in North Carolina are administered by the state. The Archeological Resources Preservation Act, or ARPA, is a federal statute that regulates metal detecting on federal property.

Keep in mind that under ARPA or state legislation, metal detecting is only permitted on public or federal land. On private property, metal detecting is permitted with the express permission of the proprietor or lessee.

The rules for metal detecting in NC are rather simple. All you have to do is remember not to metal detect at North Carolina’s historical sites. This means that metal detecting is prohibited on any public grounds that have a history. As a result, when digging native mounds, burial sites, or earthworks, use caution.

Keep in mind that without a permit, metal detecting on Trust’s property is unlawful in North Carolina.

Don’t dig anything you suspect is an artifact or anything older than 100 years if you’re metal detecting in North Carolina on state or federal land. Always notify officials if you find and recover a historical artifact so they can properly care for it. Without a valid permit, metal detecting is likewise prohibited in North Carolina State Parks. You might be lucky and get granted authorization to detect metal in these locations, but this is quite unlikely.

Overall, when metal detecting in North Carolina, it is critical to understand and respect the restrictions. Breaking these regulations will result in harsh consequences, such as fines or, in the worst-case scenario, jail time. If you wish to detect a new location in North Carolina, you should contact the local, county, and state officials to ensure you’re following all necessary rules.

Related: Dumpster Diving in North Carolina: A Comprehensive Guide

Is it legal to metal detect in North Carolina?

Metal detecting is totally legal in North Carolina. The legalities, however, have limitations. Metal detecting is prohibited on historic sites, state parks, and federal property in North Carolina without permission from the appropriate authorities. You’ll be fine if you apply common sense and simply search for jewelry, money, and gold nuggets on public lands. If you want to metal detect at a historic site, phone the local county office and inquire about the rules and regulations.

Where can you metal detect in North Carolina?

Despite the fact that North Carolina’s regulations have made several of the state’s historic metal detecting areas illegal, the state still has lots of fantastic metal detecting spots.

If you are a local resident of the state, one of the first places to go for metal detecting in North Carolina 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 North Carolina are:

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

Is there any buried treasure in North Carolina?

North Carolina is a lovely state with gorgeous scenery and rich and storied history. North Carolina has a considerable quantity of buried wealth dating back to the 1800s. Hidden wealth includes pirate loot, revolutionary war stockpiles, and personal buried fortunes. There are still some to be discovered! Despite the fact that many of these claims are false, treasure hunters and metal detectorists remain hopeful of finding them soon.

The following are some of the most common stories in North Carolina about hidden or misplaced treasures:

The Lost Sontechee Indian Silver MineIndians raided the European settlements in the area in the early 1800s. They concealed their treasure in the mine, but then locked the entrance. All we know is that the mine is located somewhere in the Snowbird Mt, near Andrews but the exact location is still not discovered yet.
Clapp’s Mill Buried TreasureA battle between General Cornwallis and the Patriots took place here in 1781. The Patriots did, however, bury bronze cannons and munitions before withdrawing. The Patriots may or may not have recovered the cache. The mill is located near the junction of the Beaver and Big Alamance Creeks.
Beaufort’s Pirate TreasureThis seaport was well-known as a sanctuary for pirates. Many buried treasure stories have been passed down through the generations. None have been discovered yet.
Beatties Ford RelicsA Revolutionary War battleground lies somewhere along the Catawba River, a few miles north of Cowan’s Ford Dam. British General Cornwallis’ soldiers beat the Patriots in this area on January 31, 1781. If the location is discovered, it may include several relics.

Metal detecting on North Carolina Beaches

The state of North Carolina has 322 miles of ocean Coastline. Metal detecting on the beaches of North Carolina is ideal for recovering lost jewelry and coins. As a result, you’ll see a lot of other metal detectorists traveling to the beaches of North Carolina in the evening for their metal detecting adventure.

Metal detecting is permissible on public beaches in North Carolina as of the time of writing. However, if you discover anything of archaeological significance, the state of North Carolina has the power to seize it.

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

  1. Hammocks Beach
  2. Kitty Hawk Beach
  3. Carolina Beach
  4. Kure Beach
  5. Topsail Island

Metal detecting in North Carolina Rivers

North Carolina is rich in coastlines and beaches as well as rivers and creeks. It is an excellent site to go metal detecting because it has multiple rivers, creeks, and streams. When detecting in rivers and streams, make sure you have adequate waterproof metal detectors. In NC, some of the best rivers and creeks for metal detecting are:

  1. Ararat River, Surry
  2. Barnes Creek, Montgomery
  3. Big Laurel and Puncheon Fork, Madison
  4. Big Mountain Creek, Richmond
  5. Black River (Pender, Bladen, and Sampson Counties)
  6. Cane Creek, Alamance County

Metal detecting in Ghost Towns of North Carolina

Hundreds of ghost towns can be found throughout North Carolina. These are the towns where mining used to be done and the residents simply abandoned it when the ore ran out. There are countless other old cities where residents have left for a variety of reasons.

In North Carolina, all of these small, abandoned villages and communities are termed ghost towns. These communities add to North Carolina’s extensive history. Keep in mind that metal detecting in North Carolina’s ghost towns may require permission from local officials. Ghost towns in NC will undoubtedly become one of your favorite spots to go metal detecting once you determine whether you require a permit and obtain one if necessary.

These ghost towns may contain a variety of historical treasures. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to find a coin spill, beautiful jewelry, or other valuable goods in these North Carolina ghost towns.

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

  1. Brunswick Town, Brunswick
  2. Buffalo City, Dare County
  3. Averasboro, Harnett County
  4. Portsmouth, Carteret County
  5. Wayensborough, Wayne County
  6. Smokemont, Swain County

Metal detecting clubs in North Carolina

Metal detecting is one of my favorite activities since it allows me to reconnect with old friends while also making new ones. I highly recommend joining a metal detecting group in North Carolina if you want to meet new people and go on a metal detecting trip with them.

Metal detecting has become increasingly popular in recent years, with various localities forming metal detecting clubs. Members of the club are involved and supportive of one another. Members of these organizations meet once a month to show off their finds, plan their next adventure, and discuss how to determine the diversity and value of their finds.

Metal detecting groups may be a great source of information and can even help you find new places to detect. You’ll probably have trouble configuring your metal detector for a specific spot as a beginner. Joining a metal detecting club is a good way to deal with this problem.

There are various wonderful metal detecting clubs in North Carolina. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hunter, metal detecting groups in North Carolina can help you improve your skills.

Metal detecting clubs are not required to have an online presence. Facebook groups are an excellent way to connect with other metal detectorists in North Carolina and share your knowledge and talents.

Some of the best Metal detecting clubs in NC are:

  1. US Artifacts Recovery Association, Charlotte
  2. Southeastern Treasure Hunters Society, Charlotte
  3. Metal Detecting Association Of The Carolinas, Charlotte/Matthews
  4. Blue Ridge Coin & Relic Club, Hendersonville
  5. Old North State Detectorists, Jamestown

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

  1. Metal Detecting Facebook Group
  2. N.C. Metal Detecting
  3. Carolina Metal Scene

Final Thoughts

Overall, metal detecting in North Carolina is a fantastic experience. North Carolina’s natural beauty, history, weather, and lenient laws make this a very delightful hobby. Make sure you’re familiar with the metal detecting rules in North Carolina before trying it out in public. If you’re on private land, make sure you ask permission first; else, you could face trespassing charges.