Where to Look For Coins With a Metal Detector [11 Expert Tips]

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Cory Haasnoot

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Metal Detecting is a fun exciting hobby to get into. Many people love the allure of the hunt for treasure. One of the most sought-after items to find while metal detecting is coins. Old coins, new coins, ancient coins you name it, coins have been lost for thousands of years or better yet buried by pirates and looters alike.

There are hundreds of stories of people finding old caches of coins buried all around the world. Will you be one of those lucky people that finds a lost hoard of silver or gold coins? If you are at the right place with the right type of metal detector you just might get lucky!

There’s no telling how many coins are buried and lost to time around the world. So a question many detectorists ask when starting out is where do I look for coins with a metal detector? Well, I have compiled a list of some of the best places to look for lost coins and some expert tips to go with them.

You will learn what features to look for in a metal detector that you plan on using to find coins. I have also included reviews of 3 of the best metal detectors to use for coin hunting.

Where to Look For Coins With a Metal Detector?

Places to Search For Coins With a Metal Detector
Old Homesteads
Church Yards & Cemeteries
Foreclosed Homes
School Property
Parking Lots
Fishing Spots
Hiking Trails

These are just a few but you get the idea. Pretty much anywhere people congregate you will find lost coins and jewelry as well. Keep in mind the laws in the area you are metal detecting at. If you are on public land you will probably still need permission. 

You will definitely need permission before you metal detect on school property or foreclosed homes. So do your due diligence before metal detecting in these areas.

Best Places to Find Coins With a Metal Detector

Now I will walk you through each of the best places to find coins and add a few tips along the way.

Old Homesteads

Old homestead in middle of a field.

First on our list is old homesteads. Most old homesteads will still be owned by someone so you want to find out who the owners are first and ask permission to metal detect on their property.

You can usually find out who owns the property by checking with the local courthouse clerk. They probably will be able to steer you in the right direction.

Old homesteads have been around for a hundred years or more and with the amount of foot traffic they have seen through the centuries, there is bound to be old coins scattered about. Check out well-trodden footpaths around the property as well as any fence. There might be some old coins that the people putting the fence up might have lost.

Expert Tip – If the buildings are still safe to enter metal detect around the floorboards. Many times coins will have fallen off tables or out of pockets and get lodged in the floorboards.

Churchyards & Cemeteries

Another place you will find old coins would be churchyards and cemeteries. People congregate for funerals and weddings and many times they end up outside. People also go see their deceased loved ones and may drop coins along the way.

The older the church and cemetery the better chance you will have at finding old coins. Make sure to ask the churches permission before metal detecting on these properties. Many times they will let you as long as you share any significant finds you may come across.

An excellent time to look for coins at a churchyard is after an outdoor wedding. You will have a good chance at finding coins there.

And make sure you don’t metal detect and disturb people that might be there. Also anywhere you dig make sure you cover your holes back up. That’s proper metal detecting etiquette.

Expert Tip – Look for well-worn paths. Here you will have your best chance at finding coins. Also, check around any picnic tables that might be there.


Man kneeling in the sand with a metal detector and a coin.

Beaches are another excellent source to treasure hunt for coins. Millions of people visit beaches every year and they lose a lot of coins. You could also find old coins that have washed ashore from shipwrecks.

You will probably find jewelry as well at the beach which is another plus. Make sure you bring along a good sand scoop. Having a good scoop and sifter will make life much easier and will help you cover more ground faster.

Make sure you have the right metal detector depending on what type of beach your metal detecting at. There are two types of beaches:

  1. Freshwater beach
  2. Saltwater beach

Target discrimination is important because you will probably find a lot of junk strewn about at a beach. Good target discrimination will help you tell the junk from the treasure. You of course want to make sure your metal detector at least the search coils are waterproof.

Ground balance is important if you are searching for coins at a saltwater beach because of the salt in the sand. If your ground balance on your detector isn’t set right you will get a ton of false readings and your metal detector will start acting crazy.

Small search coils work best at beaches because the shifting sands make it hard to keep your target in your sites with larger search coils. Small coils can hone in on a target much easier than a large coil.

You will want to have a good set of headphones because beaches can become noisy if there are a lot of people around and by the ocean, the sound of the waves can be deafening. You can cover more ground at the beach if you detect at low tide when the water has receded. Just make sure you know when the high tide is coming so you don’t get caught in the water.

Expert Tip – A great time to go metal detecting at the beach is right after a storm has come through. Wind from the storm will disrupt the sand bringing items that are lost below closer to the surface.

Digging Deeper: Beginners Guide to Beach Metal Detecting

Foreclosed Homes

Foreclosed home

Hunting for coins with a metal detector at foreclosed homes can be lucrative. Just make sure that you get the bank’s permission before you go hunting. You never know how many people walked on the property in the past losing coins along the way.

Hud home property is another piece of real estate you can try your luck at finding coins. HUD homes are owned by the government. So make sure you get permission before detecting there. You can ask your local municipality office for information on how you go about getting permission.

There are websites you can look up who owns property in the United States two websites you can check out are, Reonomy and Landgrid. Doing a search on these sites should help you find the owners of the properties you’re looking to metal detect.

Expert Tip – Look for foreclosed homes that have a lot of trodden down grass indicating where people have walked a lot or places people might have gathered in the past.

Digging Deeper: Can You Metal Detect Foreclosed Homes?

School Property

School property is yet another great place to find coins with your metal detector. Can you just imagine how many students and teachers loose change on a daily basis? You could make a small fortune just metal detecting around school property.

Like with any other property that is not your own you need to make sure you get permission to metal detect there. You probably would have to get a permit but at the very least ask the principal or superintendent for permission.

If you find jewelry or personal belongings make sure you try to find the owners of the property before keeping it. And always leave the property the way you found it. Doing this ups your chances of being allowed back.

Expert Tip – Focus your metal detecting activities on the walkways to the main entrance and the parking lots.

Digging Deeper: Can You Metal Detect on School Property?


Fairground parking lot.

If you get a chance check out any fairground in your area. State fairgrounds are the best for finding coins with your metal detector. You also can try local county fairgrounds. With all the people that come to the fair each year, you will definitely find a huge amount of lost change.

Imagine all those people doing financial transactions when buying tickets for rides or buying food and playing games. There will be a significant amount of coinage laying around for you to find with your detector. 

Fairgrounds usually have committee members or some kind of organization in charge so make sure you find them and of course, ask their permission before entering the fairgrounds. A Google search on fairgrounds in your state or county should get you the committee you need to talk to.

Expert Tip – The best place to find coins at a fairground would be the carnival areas where the rides and concession stands are located.

Parking Lots

It is estimated that there are 2 billion parking spots in the United States! That’s a lot of parking lots that could fit all the 2 billion spots. And in all those parking lots around the U.S., you will find a fortune in lost change.

Every business has parking lots and every city has a place to park on the main street. So if you haven’t gone metal detecting in a parking lot do yourself a favor and take advantage of this opportunity to find coins.

If it’s a private business’s parking lot make sure to get the permission of the business before detecting there. There’s no telling how many coins you can find and with 2 billion parking spots you’ll have plenty of areas to choose from.

Expert Tip – Dirt parking lots are probably the best to find coins because they don’t get cleaned by a street sweeper.

Public Parks

Public parks can hold an enormous amount of coins. Many people enjoy free public parks around the United States each year. They go to parks to have picnics family reunions or to just go for a stroll.

With all those people enjoying the park you will definitely find lost change. If you are lucky enough to have old parks in your area you will more than likely be able to find old coins that have been lost over the years.

According to a 2018 poll conducted by the National Parks and Recreation Association (NPRA), Americans visit a park or recreation area about 27 times a year. Now that’s a lot of visits and a lot of people.

Not all parks and recreation areas allow metal detecting so you will have to check by state or county to find out if you can get a permit to metal detect in public parks. The best person to ask would be the park superintendent if that park has one.

Expert Tip – Metal detect around any picnic tables, parking lot, or bathrooms. Detecting around these areas in a park you will find you the most coins.

Fishing Spots

Fishing Pier

Fishing spots are an excellent place to find coins with your metal detector. Talk to anglers in your area to get an idea of where some of the best fishing spots are. Some places to metal detect would be under bridges where people fish or if you’re near an ocean or one of the great lakes you could detect along the piers.

Anglers sometimes throw their spare change in their tackle boxes and if they spill the tackle box there go the coins just waiting for you to find them!

You probably will want to get out and detect when there isn’t many people fishing. You don’t want to disturb them while they are enjoying their favorite pass time.

Expert Tip – Don’t forget to detect for coins around boat launching sites. There’s bound to be lost coins from people going in and out of the boat.

Hiking Trails

According to the American Hiking Association, there are approximately 1,244 National recreational trails in the United State. That’s a lot of miles that you could go hunting for coins with your metal detector.

Millions of people go hiking on these trails every year and the amount of lost change from these hikers would be staggering. There are around 24,000 miles you could be searching. So get out there. You will be able to metal detect, get exercise, and enjoy nature all at the same time.

Expert Tip – Don’t just metal detect on the trail but go off the trail a little bit because people might swing their bags along the way losing coins.


Another spot to find coins with your metal detector would be inside alleys in your town. Many people walk the alleyways going in and out of businesses. Of course, some of those folks will lose change from holes in their pockets or purses.

There is no shortage of alleyways. There’s at least one in every town. The best time to metal detect is when there isn’t a lot of people around maybe in the early morning or at night. It all depends on the businesses that are by these alleys.

Expert Tip – Metal detect for coins in alleyways where there is a bar entrance. You will find coins from inebriated people that leave the bar. Those folks are always losing money lol!

Key Features to Look For in a Metal Detector For Coins

There are a few features you will want to look for in a metal detector that’s used for finding coins. These features will make your hunting for coins much easier and will provide for a more enjoyable hunt.

Target Identification

You will want to look for metal detectors that offer target identification. This feature allows you to see in a meter or digital display what the target is before you dig it up. Some high-end models will let you know the approximate size of the target and if the object is coin-shaped. 

Target identification saves you time and wasted effort digging up something other than what you are looking for. If you are a visual type person this feature will appeal to you.

Audio Identification

Certain metal detector models will have certain audio tones associated with the target. Although this is a good way of finding coins in the ground you will need to have excellent hearing.

Each beep or succession of beeps refers to something different so there is a slight learning curve to audio identification. Each model of metal detector is different so you will need to refer to the owner’s manual or website to learn what the different sounds indicate.

More and more metal detectors are going wireless and some have both a plugin and wireless headphone features so keep that in mind when you are looking for a metal detector.

Ground Balance

Ground balance is important if you are detecting in areas with high ground mineralization as you would find at a beach. So consider this option if you plan on hunting for coins at the beach or in areas that have high iron deposits.

There are three kinds of ground balance that a metal detector may have they are:

  1. Automatic 

This type of ground balance is already set in the metal detector these types are very accurate if you are detecting on the type of ground that it’s set for.

2. Manual

Manual adjustment gives you more freedom than automatic. You can fine-tune the ground balance adjustment depending on the type of ground your detecting on.

3. Tracking

With tracking ground balance the metal detector automatically changes the ground balance settings as you search. This allows you to have perfect settings at all times. Great peace of mind while hunting.


Frequency plays a crucial role in the search for coins. The best frequency for finding coins is 15 kHz or less. So if you are hunting for coins a VLF or very low-frequency metal detector is best. Some more expensive metal detectors offer multiple frequency detection that will help you pinpoint your targets to greater accuracy. But starting out, a metal detector that offers a single frequency will do just fine.

Frequency is one of the most important points when purchasing a metal detector so do your homework and learn about metal detector frequency before buying a metal detector. This will ensure you get the right metal detector for what you are searching for.

Search Coil Size

Coil size is an important option to consider when metal detecting for coins. If you are searching for coins that are close to the surface like 2 inches or less you will want a standard or medium-sized coil.

Large coils work best for objects buried deeper than 2 inches.

Small search coils work well for objects that are located close to one another. They can more easily isolate the targets.

Digging Deeper: How Search Coils Work

Best Metal Detectors For Coins

There are many metal detectors on the market and some are better than others at finding coins. So if you want to metal detect for coins you’re going to want a metal detector that has a coin locating feature on it so that you have the best chance at finding coins.

Above I have explained some of the features you should look for in a metal detector that is used for coin detection so you have an idea of what to look for in a metal detector. Below you will find 3 of the best metal detectors for coins.

I have compiled a list of some of the best metal detectors for finding coins. I also have a short review of each of these metal detectors. Get one of these metal detectors and you will definitely find yourself some coinage.

Best Entry Level Coin Detector

Fisher F22

The Fisher F22 is one of the best entry-level metal detectors you can get for metal detecting for coins. This metal detector has 4 modes one is specific to coin hunting. You have a frequency of 7.69 kHz which is optimal for finding coins close to the surface.

Both visual and audio target identification is included in the Fisher F22. It also has iron discrimination and ground balance.

Best Mid Level Coin Detector

Garrett AT Pro

Garrett makes excellent metal detectors and the Garrett AT Pro is a great metal detector for hunting for coins. It has all the features you need to find coins with ease.  You get your own coin mode and it will show you how deep the coin is that you are targeting.

You can adjust the iron discrimination to 40 different levels which allow for ground balancing that is needed if you are searching, high mineralized grounds.  There are a ton of great features necessary for a professional coin hunt.

Best High-Level Coin Detector

Minelab CTX 3030

If you are looking for the best of the best in high-end metal detectors for coin hunting you will want to opt for the Minelab CTX 3030. This metal detector has everything you need and more to make your coin hunt a successful one!

You get excellent ground balancing with great target identification on its full-color LCD screen. The CTX comes with two search coils a 17″ smart coil and an 11″ DD smart coil.

There are wireless and plugin headphone audio options. You also get GPS locating so you know where you have already searched and Waypoints so you can mark areas of interest.

If you can afford the hefty price tag the Minelab CTX 3030 is a must for the professional coin hunter. Check out the Minelab CTX 3030 review for more information on this powerhouse of a metal detector..

Conclusion – Where to Look For Coins With a Metal Detector

There are many places you can go to metal detect for coins. The world is full of lost coins from centuries ago to this day and age. Although with the use of credit and debit cards not as many coins are being lost. If you search in the right areas you definitely will find coins from the past that people have lost along the way.

It’s important to have the right metal detector when coin hunting so check out the examples of some of the best coin metal detectors that I showed you earlier and you can’t go wrong. These detectors will give you a better chance of finding lost coins.  You will be surprised at what is buried beneath your feet.

So to reiterate where to look for coins with a metal detector.

  1. Old Homesteads
  2. Church Yards & Cemeteries
  3. Beaches
  4. Foreclosed Homes
  5. School Property
  6. Fairgrounds
  7. Parking Lots
  8. Parks
  9. Fishing Spots
  10. Hiking Trails
  11. Alleys

3 of the best coin metal detectors are:

  • Fisher F22
  • Garrett AT Pro
  • Minelab CTX 3030

If you have experience in coin hunting let us know in the comments what are some of your favorite places to go metal detecting for coins. We would love to hear from you! Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting or should I say coin hunting!

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Author: Cory Haasnoot

Cory Haasnoot is an author, entrepreneur, metal detecting enthusiast, antique, coin collector, and founder of Treasure Seekr.

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