50 Exciting Metal Detecting in Georgia Tips You’ll Love
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50 Tips to Enhance Your Metal Detecting Experience in Georgia

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Discover some great tips and facts about metal detecting in Georgia

Georgia, a populous state with a rich history, offers abundant opportunities for metal detecting enthusiasts. From Native American artifacts to European colonization relics, the state’s long and diverse history means countless treasures await discovery. In this article, we’ll explore 50 exciting tips for a successful metal detecting adventure in Georgia.

1. Uncover Georgia’s Historical Legacy

With centuries of Native American and European colonization history, Georgia is teeming with artifacts waiting to be found.

2. Follow the Law

Remember to adhere to Georgia’s specific rules and regulations for metal detecting to avoid any legal repercussions.

Make sure to be aware of all metal detecting laws

3. Respect State Lands

Keep in mind that it is illegal to metal detect on state lands within Georgia.

4. Federal Land Permits

If you wish to metal detect on federal lands in Georgia, it is essential to obtain the necessary permits.

5. Private Property Permissions

Metal detecting and artifact collecting are allowed on private property if you have written permission from the landowner.

6. Waterways and Beaches

When detecting in waterways or on beaches, always determine the landowner and obtain proper permissions beforehand.

7. Consult the Georgia Archaeological Site File

Check with the Georgia Archaeological Site File to identify known archaeological sites and plan your metal detecting locations accordingly.

8. Report Archaeological Finds

If you discover any archaeological artifacts while metal detecting, it is important to report them to the appropriate authorities, such as the University of Georgia Laboratory of Archaeology.

9. Exemptions for Professional Archaeologists

Professional archaeologists with the proper permits and permissions have certain exemptions from restrictions when using metal detecting equipment.

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10. Seek Expert Assistance

If you need help identifying an artifact you’ve found, reach out to a university anthropology department, the Society for Georgia Archaeology, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, or your local library for guidance.

All of the metal detecting treasure you can find can be very exciting

11. Check with Local Authorities

Always check with the relevant town, city, or county authorities to ensure you have the necessary permits and permissions for metal detecting.

12. Explore City Parks

Many city parks in Georgia offer excellent metal detecting opportunities. Remember to obtain permits and follow all park rules and regulations.

13. Surface Finds Only

Note that digging tools are not allowed in city parks, limiting your search to surface finds only.

14. National Forests

Consider exploring Georgia’s National Forests. While certain areas are off-limits, there are still plenty of land areas available for metal detecting.

15. Join a Metal Detecting Club

Joining a metal detecting club in Georgia can provide valuable knowledge, guidance, and a supportive community to enhance your metal detecting skills.

16. Understand Georgia’s Soil Composition

Georgia’s soil contains clay, sand, silt, and loam. Many locations in the state are highly mineralized, so ensure your metal detector compensates for soil mineralization.

17. Detecting Near the Ocean

If you plan to metal detect near the ocean, use a metal detector that is water-resistant or waterproof and specifically designed to counteract the effects of saltwater conductivity.

Metal detecting for gold in Georgia can be exciting

18. Investigate Iffy Signals

Don’t disregard brief signals; they may indicate deep or small treasures worth exploring.

19. Gold Prospecting in Georgia

Consider using your metal detector for gold prospecting in Georgia, as the state was once the largest gold producer in the country.

20. Discover Lumpkin County’s Gold

Try metal detecting in Lumpkin County, where gold miners and treasure hunters have found gold nuggets.

21. Rivers Rich in Gold

Explore rivers like the Etowah, Little, Chattahoochee, Tallapoosa, Chestatee, and Nacoochee, known to contain gold. Remember to obtain permissions before detecting on these waterways.

22. Gold Mines and Tailings

Visit old gold mines and check tailings piles for gold nuggets and remnants left behind by previous gold seekers.

Gold nugget found from metal detecting

23. Find Native American Artifacts

Georgia is an excellent place to find Native American artifacts, as the state holds a rich cultural heritage.

24. Uncover Spanish and English History

Discover early Spanish and English artifacts scattered throughout Georgia, providing a glimpse into the state’s colonial past.

25. Civil War Relics

Unearth Civil War relics, including bullets, which are commonly found while metal detecting in Georgia.

26. Explore Historic Homes

Seek permission from landowners to metal detect on the properties of historic homes, which are abundant in Georgia.

27. Legendary Lost Treasures

Explore the legends of lost treasure in Georgia and embark on a quest to find these hidden riches.

28. Lost Silver in Mule Creek and Okapilco Creek

According to stories, French explorers buried 2700 pounds of pure silver along the north forks of Mule Creek and Okapilco Creek in the late 1700s.

29. Union Troop Treasure in Kingland

Legend has it that Union troops buried $2 million in gold and silver coins near Kingland in 1865.

30. Jefferson Davis’ Gold

Enduring myth suggests that Confederate President Jefferson Davis buried millions in gold somewhere in Georgia.

Metal detecting for coins can be fun and exciting

31. Buried Gold near Chattanooga River

During the Civil War, it is rumored that $100,000 in gold was buried near the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railroad track in Cobb County.

32. Treasures of Savannah

Discover the tales of millions of dollars in buried treasure in Savannah, rumored to have been hidden by citizens before the arrival of Sherman’s troops.

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33. Unearth Old Coins

Old coins are frequently found in Georgia. One pair of detectorists even uncovered a 1772 – 1789 Carlos III ½ real minted in Mexico for Spain.

34. Dig Every Target

Don’t ignore uncertain signals; dig deeper to uncover potential treasures.

35. Embrace Trash and Treasure

Remember that while metal detecting, you will likely encounter more trash than treasure. Nevertheless, the thrill of finding treasures makes it all worthwhile.

36. Detect After Rainfall

Metal detect after rainfall to take advantage of the improved conductivity of freshly moistened soil and the possibility of new treasures being unearthed.

37. Stay Hydrated

Bring plenty of water, especially during the hot and humid summer months in Georgia.

38. Research and Learn

Conduct thorough research before embarking on your metal detecting journey. Familiarize yourself with local history, laws, and regulations to make the most of your experience.

39. Be a Respectful Detectorist

Always be courteous and respectful to those around you while metal detecting.

40. Leave No Trace

Pack out any trash you find while detecting and leave the area as undisturbed as possible.

41. Report Historical and Archaeological Finds

Remember to report any significant historical or archaeological finds to the appropriate authorities.

42. Choose the Right Detector

If you are new to metal detecting in Georgia, select a metal detector that matches your skill level and capabilities.

43. Enjoy with Your Kids

Bring your kids along for a fun-filled day of metal detecting amidst Georgia’s beautiful landscapes.

44. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Always pay attention to your surroundings and stay safe while metal detecting.

45. Fill in Holes and Preserve the Environment

After digging, ensure you carefully refill all holes and leave the area as you found it to minimize environmental impact.

46. Have a Blast!

Most importantly, have fun! Enjoy the thrill of metal detecting in Georgia and cherish the memories created along the way.

Metal detecting in forests, streams, and rivers can be exciting and fun

Metal Detecting Laws in Georgia

Georgia has specific metal detecting laws that regulate and, in some cases, prohibit artifact collecting on state, federal, and private lands. While artifact collecting itself is not outlawed, several restrictions should be noted.

State Lands

Metal detecting, digging, or surface collecting is illegal on state land, including Civil War sites. This prohibition covers state parks, historic sites, wildlife management areas, recreation areas, forests, state highways, navigable rivers and streams, and the coastline up to three miles.

Metal detecting in forests, streams, and rivers can be exciting and fun

Federal Lands

On federal lands in Georgia, metal detecting, surface collecting, and digging are generally prohibited without a federal permit. Federal lands in the state include Army Corps of Engineers lakes, United States Forests, National Parks, National Wildlife Preserves, and military bases. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act and the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act protect archaeological materials on federal lands.

Other Lands

Metal detecting and surface collecting of non-burial-related artifacts are permitted on private property in Georgia with landowner permissions. However, metal detecting and digging on private land archaeological sites require written permission from the landowner and notification to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources before digging. Disturbing human burial sites, except for legitimate archaeological excavations, is strictly prohibited. Any suspected human remains must be protected and reported to local law enforcement agencies.

Waterways and Shorelines

Metal detecting and artifact collecting are legal with landowner permission on privately owned waterways. However, removing artifacts from the bottom of state-owned waters is illegal. When metal detecting on beaches, it is crucial to determine landownership and obtain the necessary permissions from private owners or government agencies. Contact the DNR Law Enforcement Region VII Office in Brunswick for information on landownership.

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Professional archaeologists, working under the National Historic Preservation Act, have some exemptions but still require landowner permission and proper permits to work on state or federal lands. The Georgia Archaeological Site File, located at the University of Georgia in Athens, serves as a repository of archaeological sites. You can report archaeological finds and sites to them via their website, in person, over the phone, or via email.

Metal Detecting in GA State Parks

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, metal detecting is strictly prohibited on any state property, including state parks and historic sites. The state is dedicated to preserving artifacts, wildlife, plant life, and natural or man-made features found within its protected areas. However, there are numerous opportunities to seek permission and metal detect on privately owned lands throughout the state. With over 1.7 million acres of public land, make sure to obtain the required permits and permissions before metal detecting.

Best Metal Detecting Places in Georgia

Let’s explore some of the best places for metal detecting in Georgia.

National Forests

While metal detecting is restricted to certain areas within national forests in Georgia, there are public land areas where metal detectors can be used. Developed campgrounds, swimming beaches, and other recreation sites are usually open to metal detecting unless historical or archaeological resources are present. If you encounter such resources, leave them undisturbed and promptly notify a Forest Service office.

Consider exploring the following districts within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Georgia:

  • Blue Ridge Ranger District: Boggs Creek, Brasstown Bald, Deep Hole, and Toccoa River Sandy Bottoms
  • Chattooga River Ranger District: Andrews Cove, Lake Russell, Low Gap, Oakey Mountain, and Wildcat Creek
  • Conasauga Ranger District: Hickey Gap and Jacks River Fields
  • Oconee Ranger District: Lake Sinclair, Miller Lake, and Oconee River

City Parks

Many Georgia cities offer metal detecting opportunities in their parks. Ensure you obtain the necessary permits and adhere to city regulations. Central City Park in Macon is one such park that allows metal detecting. Contact the Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation department for more information and a list of parks where metal detecting is permitted.

West Point Lake

Certain areas designated as “open” around West Point Lake allow metal detecting. However, any identifiable items like rings, watches, wallets, or archaeological and paleontological items must be surrendered to a Park Ranger. Use of digging tools is limited to hand tools in specific areas such as Earl Cook Recreation Area, Hardley Creek Park, Anderson Park, and R. Shaefer Heard Day Use Area.

Old Buildings and Grassy Areas

Explore towns and cities in Georgia for old buildings, meeting places, churches, and park areas. Always obtain the necessary permissions and permits from local authorities before metal detecting in any city, town, or county.

Metal Detecting Clubs in Georgia

Joining a metal detecting club is a fantastic way to enhance your metal detecting experience. Georgia boasts several metal detecting clubs with experienced members who can offer valuable insights, tips, and information on metal detectors, accessories, and locations to explore. Consider joining one of the following metal detecting clubs in Georgia:

  • Dixie Relic Recovery Club in Ringgold
  • North Georgia Relic Hunter Association in Marietta
  • Georgia Research and Recovery Club in Marietta
  • Stone Mountain Treasure Hunters in Lawrenceville
  • Weekend Gold Miners Prospecting Club in Dahlonega
  • GPAA Augusta Chapter in Augusta
  • GPAA West Georgia Chapter in Buchannan
  • Georgia Relic Hunters in Jefferson
  • Georgia Gold Prospectors Association in Acworth
  • Coastal Empire History Hunters Association in Savannah
  • Georgia Treasure Seekers in Dallas
  • Georgia Historical Artifacts and Research in Hampton
  • NW Georgia Recovery Club in Lafayette

Despite the restrictions on metal detecting in Georgia, the presence of numerous metal detecting clubs across the state demonstrates the enduring popularity and enjoyment of this hobby. So, gear up, join a club, and start exploring the metal detecting opportunities that Georgia has to offer.

Happy Hunting!


Q: Do I need a permit to metal detect in Georgia?
A: Yes, most areas in Georgia require permits for metal detecting. Failure to obtain the necessary permits can result in fines.

Q: Why are there so many laws for metal detecting in Georgia?
A: Georgia’s long and rich history, coupled with its desire to protect culturally and historically significant sites, has led to the establishment of numerous laws and regulations surrounding metal detecting.

Q: What is the best metal detector for Georgia’s soil?
A: Given the high clay content and soil mineralization in Georgia, it is recommended to use a metal detector with good discrimination capabilities to filter out interference. The Garrett ATX, Nokta Makro Simplex+, and Minelab Equinox 800 are excellent choices for gold-rich soils.

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