Metal Detecting in Virginia: A Complete Guide for 2022

If you are wondering how to start your metal detecting quest in Virginia, you have come to the right place.

Metal detecting is a hobby where one detects precious and rare metals like gold and silver using a metal detector and sells them to make money. This hobby has been around for a long time just as a recreational activity. However, not until recently, has it become a great way to go for a treasure hunting adventure whilst making money along the way. Thanks to the technological advancement of metal detectors, detecting these rare metals has become incredibly easy give you find the correct spot.

Virginia 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. Furthermore, the beaches, rivers, lakes, and streams add to the thrill of metal detecting in this state. The experience is so thrilling and you never know whether you find jewelry, coins, civil war artifacts, or even gold nuggets. However, it is important to do your due diligence and understand the state and federal laws regarding metal detecting in The Mother of States.

Metal detecting laws in Virginia

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 Virginia 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.

Metal detecting rules in Virginia are rather straightforward. All you have to do is remember not to metal detect any historical sites in Virginia. This means that metal detecting is strictly forbidden on any public lands with a past. As a result, proceed with caution when digging native mounds, burial sites, or earthworks.

Keep in mind that metal detecting on Trust’s property without a permit is illegal in Virginia.

If you’re metal detecting in Virginia on a state or federal land, don’t dig anything you suspect is an artifact or anything older than 100 years. If you dig up and retrieve a historical relic, always tell officials so they can properly care for it. Metal detecting is also illegal in Virginia State Parks without valid permission. You might get lucky and get permission to detect metal in these sites, but it’s highly rare.

Overall, it is vital to understand and follow the rules when metal detecting in Virginia. Breaking these rules will result in severe penalties, including fines or, in the worst-case scenario, jail time. It’s a good idea to contact local, county, and state officials if you want to detect a new site in Virginia to ensure you’re following all applicable requirements.

Related: Dumpster Diving in Virginia: A Comprehensive Guide

Is it legal to metal detect in Virginia?

In Virginia, metal detecting is completely lawful. However, the legalities have limitations. Without the consent of the appropriate authorities, metal detecting is illegal on historic sites, state parks, and federal lands in Virginia. If you use common judgment and simply look for jewelry, money, and gold nuggets on lands, you’ll be alright. If you wish to metal detect at a historic site, however, you should always call the local county office and ask about the rules and laws.

Where can you metal detect in Virginia?

Despite the fact that Virginia’s restrictions have made some of the state’s historic metal detecting spots unlawful, there are plenty of other great places to go metal detecting in the state.

If you are from Virginia, one of the first places you should go metal detecting in Virginia is your hometown. Knowing the history of the area will not only save you time but will also allow you to look for incredible riches. What you unearth and how valuable it is will be determined by the sites you pick to metal detect, as well as the history of the location. Overall, metal detecting with historical studies will yield better results than detecting in random areas.

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

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

Is there any buried treasure in Virginia?

Virginia is a beautiful state with stunning scenery, as well as a long and illustrious history. Virginia possesses a significant amount of buried riches from the 1800s. Pirate lost treasure, revolutionary war stockpiles, and personal buried riches are among the hidden treasure. There are still some out there to be found! Despite the fact that many of these claims are unfounded, treasure hunters and metal detectorists remain optimistic that they will locate it soon.

The following are some of the most popular stories of buried or lost treasures in Virginia:

The Shenandoah Caverns Stolen TreasureLarge sums of unprocessed wealth and valuable artifacts may be hidden in the Shenandoah Caverns after raids on white communities in the area. The caverns are located on Route 11 in Shenandoah County, about five miles north of New Market.
Bureau of Engraving TreasureThe Bureau of Engraving Treasure is a cache containing $31,000 in fresh paper currency and a set of twenty-dollar bill printing plates hidden in a leather pouch. They were allegedly discovered near a creek bed on Route 11 just north of Warren in Fauquier County.
Hog Island Bay Pirate TreasuresHog Island was one of the popular places for pirates back in the day. There are rumors that Island Bay may hold pirate treasure worth millions in today’s market.
Cape Henry Crash TreasureA fleet of 24 British ships carrying hundreds of thousands of pieces of eight, gold coins, and freight crashed upon the Cape Henry coasts in the early 1700s. It is a great spot for metal detecting as people have regularly found gold and relics.

Metal detecting on Virginia Beaches

Virginia has a shoreline of 7213 miles which includes hat includes the edges of land and water for the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, and tidewater rivers. Metal detecting is ideal for recovering lost jewelry and coins on Virginia Beaches. As a result, you’ll see a lot of fellow metal detectorists traveling to the Virginia beaches late at night for their metal detecting experience.

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

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

  1. Chincoteague Island, Eastern Shore
  2. Ocean View Beach, Norfolk
  3. Chesapeake Beach, Virginia Beach
  4. Jamestown Beach, Williamsburg
  5. Cape Charles Town Beach, Cape Charles

Metal detecting in Virginia Rivers

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

  1. Big Reed Island Creek (Carroll and Pulaski Counties)
  2. Bullpasture River (Bath and Highland Counties)
  3. Catoctin Creek (Loudoun County)
  4. Clinch River (Russell County)
  5. Coan River (Northumberland County)
  6. Covington River (Rappahannock County)

Metal detecting in Ghost Towns of Virginia

Hundreds of ghost towns can be found throughout Virginia. 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.

All of these small, abandoned villages and cities in Virginia are called ghost towns. These communities add to Virginia’s fascinating heritage. Keep in mind that metal detecting in Virginia’s ghost towns may require permission from the local government. Ghost towns in Virginia will undoubtedly 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. Additionally, finding a coin spill, beautiful jewelry, or other valuable artifacts in these Virginia ghost towns is not uncommon.

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

  1. Lignite, Botetourt County
  2. Ca Ira, Cumberland County
  3. Portugee Road
  4. Wash Woods, Virginia Beach

Metal detecting clubs in Virginia

One of my favorite activities is metal detecting since it allows me to reconnect with old acquaintances while also creating new ones. If you want to make new friends and go on a metal detecting adventure with them, I highly recommend joining a metal detecting club in Virginia.

Metal detecting has grown in popularity in recent years, and numerous municipalities have started metal detecting groups. The club’s members are active and supportive of one another. Once a month, members of these organizations get together to show off their treasures, plan where they’ll go next, and talk about how to determine the variety and value of their finds.

Metal detecting clubs may provide a wealth of information and help you discover new sites to detect. As a beginner, you’ll probably have problems setting your metal detector for a specific location. A smart approach to cope with this problem is to join a metal detecting club.

In Virginia, there are numerous fantastic metal detecting clubs. Metal detecting groups in Virginia can help you improve your skills whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hunter.

It is not necessary for metal detecting groups to have an online presence. Facebook groups are a great way to meet other metal detectorists in Virginia and share your skills and expertise.

Some of the best Metal detecting clubs in Virginia are:

  1. Central Virginia Historical Recovery
  2. Hanover Metal Detectors Club LLC, Ashland
  3. Northern Virginia Relic Hunters Association, Clifton
  4. Hampton Roads Recovery Society, Hampton
  5. Rapidan River Relic Hunters Association, Unionville
  6. Tidewater Coin & Relic Club, Virginia Beach

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

  1. Metal Detecting Finds and Advice
  2. Metal Detecting Group
  3. Detecting Group for Virginia Beaches
  4. Metal Detecting Finds and Sales

Final Thoughts

Overall, Virginia is an excellent area to satisfy your metal detecting appetite. Nature, history, weather, and permissive legislation all contribute to the enjoyment of this hobby in Virginia. Just make sure you’re familiar with Virginia’s metal detecting regulations before attempting it in public. If you’re on private property, be sure you obtain the landowner’s permission first, otherwise, you could face trespassing charges.