Metal Detecting in Rhode Island: A Complete Guide for 2022

You’ve come to the correct place if you’re looking for a guide for your next metal detecting adventure in Rhode Island.

Metal detecting is a lucrative hobby in which you find valuable metals such as gold and silver and sell them for a profit. Metal detecting has been around for a long time, but it has only recently gained popularity as a money-making side job. Furthermore, the thrill of detecting and digging up anything from hundreds of years of buried soil is a fascinating way to explore and exercise while also making money.

When it comes to treasure hunting and metal detecting, Rhode Island is one of the top places. The weather is ideal for metal detecting, and the area is rich with gold and undiscovered riches. The adventure is fascinating, and you never know if you’ll uncover jewelry, coins, artifacts from the Civil War, or even riches.

However, it’s critical to do your homework and learn about the state and federal rules governing metal detecting in The Ocean State.

Metal detecting laws in Rhode Island

As much as we would like our hobbies to be unregulated by the government, the government does have a responsibility to preserve historical objects located in their territory. This is why each state has its own set of metal detecting rules and regulations on public lands.

Rhode Island’s metal detecting laws and regulations are governed by the state. However, the Archeological Resources Preservation Act, or ARPA, is a federal law that controls metal detecting activities on federal lands.

Keep in mind that metal detecting is only permitted on public or federal property under ARPA or state legislation. Metal detecting is fully allowed on private property with the written consent of the landowner or lessee.

Rhode Island’s metal detecting rules are rather basic. All you have to do is remember not to metal detect on any of Rhode Island’s historical sites. This means that metal detecting is strictly prohibited on any public lands having a historical history. As a result, think cautiously before excavating aboriginal mounds, burial sites, or earthworks.

Also keep in mind that without an authorization, metal detecting on Trust’s property is unlawful in Rhode Island.

Don’t dig anything you think is an artifact or anything older than 100 years if you’re metal detecting in Rhode Island on state or federal land. Always notify officials if you dig up and retrieve a historical artifact so they can properly care for it. Furthermore, without a valid permit, metal detecting in Rhode Island State Parks is prohibited. You might be lucky and be granted authorization to detect metal in these locations, but this is extremely unlikely.

Overall, while metal detecting in Rhode Island, it is critical to understand and observe the regulations. Breaking these regulations will result in harsh consequences, such as fines or, in the worst-case scenario, jail time. If you plan to detect in a new site in Rhode Island, it’s a good idea to contact city, county, and state officials to ensure you’re following all applicable regulations.

Related: Dumpster Diving in Rhode Island: A Comprehensive Guide

Is it legal to metal detect in Rhode Island?

Yes, metal detecting is entirely legal in Rhode Island. The legalities, however, have limitations. It is prohibited to go metal detecting on Rhode Island’s historic sites, state parks, and federal properties without the permission of the appropriate government. You’ll be fine if you exercise common sense and only search for jewelry, money, and gold nuggets on lands. However, if you want to metal detect at historic places, you should always phone the local county office and inquire about the regulations and restrictions.

Where can you metal detect in Rhode Island?

Even though Rhode Island’s regulations have made some of the state’s historic metal detecting areas illegal, there are plenty of other fantastic places to go metal detecting.

If you live in Rhode Island, one of the first areas you should go metal detecting is your hometown. Not only would knowing the history of the location save you time, but it will also allow you to hunt for tremendous treasure. The locations you choose to metal detect, as well as the history of the location, will determine what you uncover and how valuable it is. Overall, when compared to detecting on random lands, metal detecting with historical studies will produce better results.

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

  1. Abandoned Buildings and Structures
  2. Abandoned Parks
  3. Old Trails
  4. Abandoned Churches
  5. Rhode Island Beaches, Rivers, Lakes, and Creeks
  6. School yards
  7. Ghost Towns

Is there any buried treasure in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island has a lengthy and famous history in addition to being a beautiful state with gorgeous surroundings. Rhode Island has a large amount of buried treasure that dates back to the 1800s. These buried treasure consists of pirate lost treasure, revolutionary war caches, and personal buried treasure. There are still some waiting to be discovered! Despite the fact that many of these claims are unsubstantiated, treasure hunters and metal detectorists are optimistic that they will eventually find it.

Some of the most common stories on buried or lost treasures in Rhode Island are:

Hope Island Treasure ChestA fisherman in 1923 located hundreds of gold and silver Spanish coins from the 1700’s from Hope Island. It is strongly believed that a lot more from that treasure chest is yet to be discovered. This island is situated in the west side of Prudence Island in Narragansett Bay.
Pirate’s Cave Hidden TreasureThe infamous pirate Captain Kidd is said to have buried an enormous amount of good and silver coins in Pirate’s Cave. The Cave is situated on Conanicut Island.
Sandy Point Treasure FindsThe Sandy Point situated in the northern end of Block Island is notorious for having old coins and relics. Thousands of detectors get lucky in this location every year.
Point Judith Hidden TreasureThis location is famous for discovery of artifacts from old ship wrecks. As a result metal detectorists are certain on the good possibility of Spanish coins being there. Point Judith is located near the mouth of Narrangansett Bay.

Metal detecting on Rhode Island Beaches

Rhode Island is home to 400 miles of coastline that runs through the Narragansett Bay in the Atlantic Ocean. Metal detecting on Rhode Island Beaches is perfect for finding lost jewelry and coins. As a result, you will find a lot of fellow metal detectors flocking over the Rhode Island beaches in the evening for their metal detecting adventure. 

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

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

  1. Goosewing Beach, Little Compton
  2. East Beach, Watch Hill
  3. Mutunuck Beach, South Kingstown
  4. East Beach, Charlestown

Metal detecting in Rhode Island Rivers

Rhode Island is also rich in rivers and creeks along with the shorelines. 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 Rhode Island, some of the best rivers for metal detecting are:

  1. Buckeye Brook Stream, Kent County
  2. Chipuxet River, Washington County
  3. Wood River, Washington County
  4. Pawcatuck River, New London County

Metal detecting in Ghost Towns of Rhode Island

Hundreds of ghost towns can be found throughout Rhode Island. 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 Rhode Island, all of these small, abandoned villages and communities are designated ghost towns. These communities add to Rhode Island’s extensive history. Keep in mind that metal detecting in Rhode Island’s ghost towns may necessitate obtaining authorization from the local authorities. Ghost towns in Rhode Island will quickly become one of your favorite metal detecting destinations 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 Rhode Island ghost towns.

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

  1. Hanton City, Providence County
  2. Napatree Point, Washington County
  3. Ramtail Factory – 1

Metal detecting clubs in Rhode Island

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 club in Rhode Island if you want to make new friends and go on a metal detecting expedition with them.

Due to the surge in popularity of the metal detecting pastime in recent years, numerous towns have formed 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 which places to investigate next, and discuss how to determine the variety and value of their finds.

Metal detecting groups may provide you with a wealth of information and assist you in finding new places to detect. You’re likely to have trouble adjusting your metal detector for a specific area as a beginner. Joining a metal detecting club is a good way to deal with this problem.

There are plenty of wonderful metal detecting clubs in Rhode Island. Metal detecting clubs in RI can help you improve your skills whether you are a novice or an experienced metal detectorist.

Metal detecting clubs are not required to have an online presence. Facebook groups are a fantastic way to interact with other metal detectorists in Rhode Island and share your knowledge and talents.

Some of the best Metal detecting clubs in Rhode Island are:

  1. RI Treasure (Charlestown, Rhode Island)
  2. Discovering Rhode Island Treasures (Charlestown, Rhode Island)
  3. Southern New England Treasure Hunters Club (Providence, Rhode Island)

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

  1. RI Metal Detecting Finds
  2. Central RI Metal Detecting
  3. Metal Detector Finds and for Sale

Final Thoughts

Overall, Rhode Island is a great place to go metal detecting. The natural beauty, history, weather, and relaxed rules of Rhode Island make this an extremely enjoyable hobby. Before you try it in public, be sure you’re aware with Rhode Island’s metal detecting laws. If you’re on private property, be sure you get permission from the owner first; otherwise, you could be charged with trespassing.