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Places to metal detect without permission

Places to metal detect without permission

I’ll share with you five places to metal detect without permission. But, before we start, please note:

  • This article is for informational purposes only and not for providing legal advice.


  • Even if the place is open for detectorists without a permission, it’s a good idea to get one just in case.


  • Be responsible, dig small and clean holes and fill them back again after you recover the target. Irresponsible detectorists are making things harder for the rest of the community. If you leave a spot with many holes, the city council may decide to require permission and may even ban metal detecting.

So let’s go back to the famous question: where can I detect without permission? And here’s where you can enjoy your freedom.

Your Yard

The most obvious place where you can metal detect without a permission is your own yard!

If you’re a beginner, this is the best place where you can practice using your metal detector, pinpointer and dig neat plugs.

If your house is old, you may find interesting coins lost by the previous owner. So don’t underestimate the potential of your yard.

Be careful, dig safely and don’t hit utility lines.

City Park

You don’t need a permission to metal detect in a park. But, to be sure, you should check the local laws before detecting. Every park, city, and state has its own laws.

If there’s no clause allowing or prohibiting this activity in parks. You can ask the parks and recreation department.

You should ask in an intelligent way. Instead of saying do you allow metal detecting in parks, ask them if there are any laws or ordinances that prohibit metal detecting in parks.

For the first one it’s an opinion it’s up to the agent to let you do it or not. He can simply say No because some reckless detectorists ruined the parks and left holes in it like a minefield.

But for the second, he has to stick to the laws and he can’t lie. And since mostly there’s no law that forbids detecting in parks, you’re ready to go.

A permission is good for a second reason: if a cop, the groundskeeper or some intrusive shows up, you just let him know that you have a printed permission.

Don’t use a shovel to dig holes. This will draw public attention. Use only a trowel. It should be a dedicated hand digging tool, not a knife.

You don’t want to draw a knife in a park. People may freak out and cops will be called on you.

Please remember to dig small holes and to cover them well. Don’t damage the grass. And make them look as if nobody was detecting there.

Don’t be the person that causes the city council to ban metal detecting in public parks.


Playgrounds are a good spot where you can find a lot of coins lost by kids while playing. And you don’t need any permission just like parks.

Look near the swings, slides, and sandboxes. Sand is easier to dig and you can cover the holes without a problem.

If you want, you can take your kids with you. Let them play and go metal detecting.


If it’s a public school, then it’s a public property. You can metal detect in the schoolyard without a permission only outside school hours.

Because parents don’t like seeing a stranger near their kids and the school principal will certainly ask you to leave.

So, it’s better to go during the weekend, holidays and of course during the summer vacation.

Metal detecting during school hours is a bad idea. You will draw the attention of hundreds of eyes from the school.

Kids may gather around you to see what you’re doing (you know how curious kids are). They will start digging holes.

The schoolyard will become a mess. And you know what would happen next.

There will be fences around the school perimeter and a big no trespassing sign…

If you come at the weekend and some people asked you about what you are doing, be friendly and show them how useful the hobby is.

For example, you can show them the nails and the metal debris you recovered that could eventually hurt the kids while they are playing especially if they are near the surface.

Some of them will like the idea and may invite you metal detect and to help them find their lost items.


Sidewalks belong to the city. So because they are public property, you should be able to metal detect the grass strips (between the sidewalk and the curb) without asking for a permission.

However, there are certain things that you should keep in mind. Every city has its own laws considering sidewalks.

In some cities, the homeowner is responsible for the sidewalk maintenance and repairs. In others, cities have to take care of that. And in some cases, they both share the responsibility.

So, maybe because the owner of the house adjacent to the sidewalks is responsible for the maintenance you have to ask for a permission.

Second, many people don’t like seeing someone digging in front of their houses even if the sidewalks are a public property (you can wear a green or an orange safety vest to look like surveyor).

The wire mesh in the concrete will interfere with the search coil. So pick a small one. You won’t find rebar in all the sidewalks.


Now you have a lis of five places to metal detect without having to ask for a permission. If you have any other good spots, please share them with us in the comments below.

But, as I already noted, it’s better to get a permission just in case. And always dig neat plugs and fill them. Don’t ruin the hobby for the rest of the detectorists community.

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