Metal Detecting In California in 2023 [Maps, Laws and More]

California, with its various landscapes and rich history, provides metal detectorists with a wealth of intriguing spots to unearth buried riches. California has something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned detectorist or a newbie with a passion for history.

This state is also known as the Golden State, which has such a rich history of exploration and discovery that it’s hard to tell where California begins and ends. To give you an idea of what’s offered, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite places to hunt for treasure in California.

In this tour, we’ll look at some of the top metal detecting in California, each with its distinct appeal and possibility for uncovering amazing items.

Metal Detecting In California

Metal Detecting on California Beaches

Metal detector aficionados can find missing things, sunken treasures, and antiques from ancient times throughout California’s wide coastline.

Coins, jewels, and even historical items have been found on popular beaches such as Huntington Beach, Malibu, and Gold Bluff Beach. The sands reveal secret riches waiting to be unearthed as the tides change.

Ghost Towns:

California has a rich history of gold rushes and mining activity, which has resulted in the formation of several ghost towns. Metal detecting activities may be had in places like Bodie State Historic Park and Calico Ghost Town.

Ghost towns are rich troves of historical relics, providing a look into the lives of individuals who formerly lived in these now-deserted locations.

Historic Mining Sites:

Explore historic mining sites in the heart of California’s gold country. Gold reserves are well-known in areas such as the Mother Lode region, Plumas County, and the Sierra Nevada foothills. Metal detecting in these areas may turn up Gold Rush antiquities such as antique coins, mining tools, and equipment.

State and National Parks:

Metal detecting is normally forbidden in many national parks. However, it is permitted in several state parks in California. Before detecting, always check and follow local restrictions. Parks such as Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park and Columbia State Historic Park allow visitors to explore items from California’s gold mining heritage.

Historical Battlefields:

For those interested in unearthing war relics, California includes historical battlefields that might provide intriguing results.

Buttons, bullets, and other relics relating to the state’s military history may be found at Fort Tejon State Historic Park, where military activity took place during the nineteenth century.

Historic Fairgrounds and Amusement Parks:

Throughout California’s history, there has been a bustling entertainment scene with historic fairgrounds and amusement parks.

These places may have forgotten riches such as coins, tokens, and antiques from the golden period of the entertainment business.

Campgrounds and Recreational Areas:

Campgrounds and recreational areas have long served as meeting places for people, making them ideal for metal detecting. Look for locations around popular camping grounds, picnic areas, and hiking paths where people may have misplaced or forgotten belongings.

State Capitol Building:

The state capitol building in Sacramento may seem like an unlikely metal detecting site. Though it is not permitted, some people have managed to sneak a detector inside the historic building.

The capitol’s first floor has a large fountain, and many metal detecting enthusiasts have found coins in this area.

Historic Buildings:

California is home to numerous historical buildings that reveal their past through old coins and other remnants of bygone eras.

For instance, the Pacific Telephone Building in San Francisco was built in 1915 and is decorated with a beautiful granite facade featuring unusual designs. Inside the lobby, visitors can see antique telephones and old coins embedded into the floor tiles.

Metal detecting laws in California

Check out the link for Metal detecting laws in the California Archeological Resources Preservation Act


California’s diversified terrain and rich history make it a metal detectorist’s dream. From sandy beaches to ancient ghost towns, the state provides a plethora of opportunities to discover hidden gems.

Before you begin your metal-detecting adventure, make sure you get all the necessary permissions and follow local restrictions. Good luck with your hunt!

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  • John Steele

    I started Metal Detecting hobby back in the early 89's. My first detector was a Whites 5900 DI.. I am fully dedicated to the art of detecting and always feel great pleasure in sharing His knowledge an...