Looking for Treasure? Try a  Metal Detecting a Freshwater Beach!

When most treasure hunters think about beach hunting, they think about ocean beaches. But what about treasure hunters who don’t live near an ocean?

Well, freshwater swimming holes, just like the one down the road from your house, can give you more good finds in one day than a popular ocean beach can in a year of treasure hunting.

I personally feel that some of the freshwater sites hold more potential than most of the saltwater ones. I can typically find gold the first time I go out to any freshwater beach on a weekend.

I grew up in New Jersey, not far from the East Coast and popular ocean beaches like Atlantic City, Wildwood and Ocean City. In five years of metal detecting those beaches, I found only 10 pieces of gold. This was primarily due to my inexperience and knowledge in where goodies deposited on the specific beaches. Local beach hunters that get out here every day get to know the beach like a book and can do much better. But, for most of us that only get there once in a while, we don’t have that knowledge.

I try to find small community public beaches. I often stop and ask a local where any beaches might be. Unlike an ocean beach, where the search area can cover thousands of square yards, lost valuables at a freshwater beach are concentrated in certain areas.

With a roped-off swimming area usually only 30-50 yards wide, a diving platform, maybe a water slide and a dock, it’s easy to read where the most treasure will be found at local swimming holes.

Even if I’ve never hunted a beach before, here’s the diving platform, here’s the boundaries on the beach, here’s the concession stand. The stuff is right there. These beaches are much easier to read than ocean sites.

Unlike the ocean, lost valuables in freshwater lakes aren’t moved about by currents and storms making their location much more predictable. In freshwater lakes, valuables tend to stay where they were lost.

Furthermore, you can hunt a freshwater beach any time of year and probably be successful. In contrast, the most productive time to hunt a saltwater beach is right after a storm, when new items have been uncovered by the moving water. Hunting a saltwater beach at any other time rarely brings success, unless an item was recently lost.

I like to draw a crude grid map of the beach and record which areas I’ve already hunted. A map will let me quickly determine where my finds are coming from.

One of the best places to check, an area often overlooked by other treasure hunters while metal detecting lakes, is right near the shoreline where mothers often sit with their babies in the water. Some of my better finds, in terms of diamond rings, have come from that area. You’ve got the mother playing with her baby, the wedding ring, the oil–all the right conditions.

So the next time you drive past an old community swimming hole, try to visualize all the old coins, gold rings, and other valuables that are waiting there.


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