Beach Detecting Success: How to Read the Beach

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Metal Detector being used at the beach.

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Metal Detector being used at the beach.

We’re right in the middle of prime beach detecting days, so get out there every chance you get! New hobbyists often ask, “with miles of beach in front of me, where do I begin?” This is a good question, because there are definitely secrets to beach-hunting success with a metal detector. Seasoned detectorists study wind, moon phases and tides to plan their beach trips. This is because the moon dictates the rising and falling of ocean tides. Tides and moon, along with currents and wind move the sand on the beach to uncover jewelry.

Where Do I Begin?

We talked about “reading the beach” in previous articles, but it is worthy of mentioning again! Whether you’ve arrived at an ocean or freshwater beach, the first thing to do is analyze the sand and surf in front of you. Look for low lying areas (or pockets) where sand has been recently removed by wind and tides. This is where jewelry, coins and other metal items accumulate. Also look for sloughs (small water channels or cut-outs in the sand) and scallops (humps on the beach). These are all hot spots for treasure on the beach. Searching after a storm, when the sand has been blown and tossed around, is another expert tip!

Detect Where Beach-Go’ers Frequent

Increase your find by searching the “activity centers” of a beach. Where are the crowds gathering? If there are volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and frisbee areas, these are the places to detect. The maximum potential for your beach depends on where activity is happening most. The towel line is where people place their belongings and put on sunscreen. Detectorists find coin spills, rings, necklaces and sunglasses in this area. Restrooms, sand spray-off areas, concession stands and beach entrances should be on your to-do list. People lose items when they are rinsing off, eating, etc. At the exit and entry area, beach-go’ers stumble to grab last minute items or need to adjust what they’re holding. Items are always dropped here and get buried.

Get a Beach Detector – Get Lucky!

Shop our Beach Metal Detectors if you are looking for a detector this summer. There’s still time to get out there and get lucky! A female detectorist who hunts the beaches of New Jersey recently cashed in on gold she’s found for $1,300. Detectors are the most advanced they’ve ever been, and there’s much more treasure to be found. You can only find it if you’re searching!

Related Links:

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach

Life’s a Beach- Just Bring Your Metal Detector!

Fall is a Great Time for Beach Treasure Hunting

Grab your metal detector and head for the beach this fall!

Grab your metal detector and head for the beach this fall!

The hot summer sun may be fading, but the beach is still a lucrative detecting destination in the fall. Traditionally, Labor Day weekend and the last hot summer days bring tons of visitors and vacationers to the beach. When the crowds head back to school and work, it’s time to search the sand for lost valuables! To make the most of your detecting time, experts advise learning how to “read the beach.” This means looking for areas where coins and jewelry might have accumulated. Here are likely spots to find metal treasure.

How to Read the Beach Before You Start Detecting

Before you ever start swinging your detector, locate the highest point on the beach. From this vantage point, look for holes, pockets and low-lying areas that look like sand has been removed. These are good indicators of where targets may have settled. The best beach spots for treasure are:

  • Sloughs:”  A slough is a trough (water indentation) that runs parallel to the beach- with the beach on one side and a sand bar on the other. People walk and play in this area, which is visible during a negative tide. Heavier items like watches and phones are often found here.
  • “Scallops:” These are humps on the beach with high and low sections. The low sections act to funnel waves and they also capture metal items.  
  • “Pockets:” Low-lying areas in the wet or dry sand. You will be able to get the depth on your metal detector as much as 4-5 feet deeper than normal.

Look and feel the sand: What is the beach consistency… does it sink in mush or is there resistance? This will determine how deep the targets are and how much sand is covering them up. Hard-packed sand, shells or rocks are a good sign. Gold sinks quickly. If the sand is really soft, gold rings and bracelets will sink through it at a faster pace. If the sand is hard-packed, it takes gold longer to sink to a harder layer. Eventually, gold settles until it hits a layer that is too hard to get past.

Beach Detectors and Sand Scoops
Speed up your treasure recovery with a sand scoop.

Speed up your treasure recovery with a sand scoop.

The two types of detectors best suited for the beach are VLF detectors and  Pulse Induction (P.I.) models. VLF detectors are affordable and ideal for freshwater beaches. If you will be hunting saltwater beaches, a PI detector is best because they ignore salt and offer deep-seeking capability. With that said, there are a number of modern VLF detectors that  may be used successfully on the salt water beach. VLF units will have target identification features that P.I. detectors lack. Shop and compare Beach Metal Detectors. You can narrow your search by detector type, price, operating frequency, search coil size and much more! The second most important tool when beach hunting is a durable sand scoop for recovering your targets. Shop all  beach scoops held, from hand to long-handled styles.

Related Links:

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach

Life’s a Beach- Just Bring Your Metal Detector!

Beach Hunting: Dry Beach or Wet Sand for Most Success?

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure of course!

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure with a metal detector of course!

Summer is an exciting time of year for detectorists, because beaches are in full swing. Crowded beaches equal more success finding treasure. It’s also the perfect time for beginners to get excellent metal detecting experience. Beaches are chock full of coins and lost jewelry, so this is the place to get your feet wet. Dry beach is typically easy to dig, while wet sand can yield lots of treasure carried in from the tide. So, when you get to the beach with your metal detector, where should you begin?

Beach Layout and Best Treasure Hunting Areas

Here are the spots most beachcombers visit: the “dry,” the “wet,” the “towel line,” the “water line” and if you get lucky- the “coin line.” The dry beach can yield lots of trash, but look for activity centers like volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and other places where sports are played. Try to get to the beach early, before these areas are populated. The “wet” is the wet sand area that is exposed during low tide. Many beach hunters swear by the low tide line as it can be the most productive for gold jewelry. If the tide is low for most of the day, most of your good items will be at the low tide line. The water line is where the water meets the sand. When the tide comes in, it pushes a lot of items with it—the moving water is what carries everything. It also tends to bury heavier objects, (gold as an example). The towel line is where everyone sunbathes and lays their belongings, so this can be productive. And a “coin line” is a line of coins that runs parallel to the beach. This is due to physics and how the tide pushes objects of similar weight together. Where there are lot of coins, there may be jewelry.

Beach Detectors and Sand Scoops

For dry sand metal detecting, most beginner metal detectors will perform well and display probable targets on your screen. For wet sand detecting on a salt water beach, a Pulse Induction (P.I.) unit may be the way to go, as VLF detectors can tend to get erratic.  If the water line and shallow water detecting are your niche, check out underwater metal detectors.

Keep in mind, you will also need a sand scoop or digging tool. Find a great assortment of beach scoops, from hand held to long-handled scoops with buckets at

Look for our upcoming article about learning how to “read the beach” for even more valuable tips!


Related Links:

Popular Beach Hunting Metal Detectors

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach

No Time for Swimming When Metal Detecting the Beach!

For REAL Fun at the Beach, Bring Your Metal Detector!

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure of course!

What could be better than simply enjoying the sun and the sand while on vacation? Finding treasure of course!

Hello summertime! What’s not to love about sunny days, flip flops, barbecues, star-gazing and campfires? For metal detectorists, summertime means longer days and more time for treasure hunting. If you’re new to the hobby, you picked the perfect time to get started. This is the ideal season to find treasure at the beach. Forget about swimming and surfing…the real fun happens on the beach! Wait ‘til you find a platinum ring or a historical coin buried in the sand.

The best thing about metal detecting the beach is that no matter how many detectorists preceded you, there is always more treasure to be found. The movement of the tide carries objects from the water to the sand. It also places metal items at different depths, and replenishes the sand with new lost items all the time. There’s a reason detectorists are out in full force at the beach—success!

Best Beach Hunting Times

The best time to detect largely depends on the tide; this does change based on the season and the moon. If the tide is high for the majority of the day, you’ll be able to find good targets on the beach when the tide goes out. If the tide is low for most of the day, search the low tide line for treasure. When the tide comes in, it pushes a lot of things with it; it also tends to bury heavier objects. Knowing this will help you determine where to hunt on a particular day. Some beachcombers swear by the high tide line. They say it produces everything—from trash, to rings, coins & other trinkets.

After it rains, head to the beach! Rainfall helps pull lost items to the surface of the sand, making  it easier to find valuables. During beach erosion is great time for detectorists. This cycle takes place because of the changing tides, too. When the sand is being eroded because of increased water activity, jewelry, coins and other items are being pulled to  the surface.

Typical Treasure Finds at the Beach

What can you find on the beach with your metal detector? The better question is what can’t you find? Long-time hobbyists say that coins usually fill their pockets—the majority of finds. You can find clad (modern) coins, historical American coins and plenty of foreign coins, too. Some Florida beaches are known to produce valuable old Spanish coins. Jewelry is very often found at the beach, and it can be extremely valuable! Treasure hunters find wedding rings, rings with precious stones, watches, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Don’t throw anything away until you carefully examine it at home. One detectorist thought he found a smashed up piece of costume jewelry. He later discovered it was an antique platinum ring with over 2 carats of diamonds. A jeweler informed him that the ring was from the 1900’s or earlier. Sometimes, it pays to have a professional look at a piece you are unsure about.

Don’t Forget a Sand Scoop & Find’s Pouch

Besides your metal detector, you will need a sand scoop or digging tool. Most beach detectorists carry a plastic sand scoop and a long-handled scoop. The plastic sand scoop is great for shallow targets; because it’s made of plastic, it won’t cause metal interference. The long-handled scoop cuts through the sand easily for retrieving deeply buried items and saves your back from constant bending. There are a wide variety of sand scoops available— from hand held to long-handled scoops with buckets. A find’s pouch or belt pouch is an efficient way to separate your recovered items. They typically have zippered areas or pockets for putting smaller and more valuable items like gold jewelry with precious stones.

Treasure on the beach awaits, so be sure to hit the sandy shorelines this summer!

Related articles:

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach

Life’s a Beach: Just Bring Your Metal Detector


What to Look for in a Good Beach Hunting Metal Detector

Metal detecting on the beach can be a fun and rewarding way to enjoy the hobby.  The sand, sun and surf are beautiful, and people lose a lot of things including money and jewelry at the beach.  If you’d like to head to the beach for some metal detecting you’ll want to be sure to choose the right machine.  The saltwater creates an environment where all of the signals the minerals in the soil give off are magnified.  This creates a lot of unnecessary chatter from an ill equipped metal detector and can make treasure hunting down right frustrating.  The best beach hunting metal detectors have ways around this.

PI and VLF Metal Detectors

For successful beach hunting choose a metal detector that features Pulse Induction circuitry.  PI metal detectors as they’re also known are able to essentially ignore the effects of these minerals.  However, they’re not good at discrimination so are unable to differentiate between trash targets and treasures like other metal detectors can.  The other option for beach hunting is a very low frequency (VLF) metal detector with a manual or preset ground balance control.  This will allow you to adjust your machine to the level of mineralization present in your current search environment, including the beach while maintaining the discrimination features as well.

You should also select a beach hunting metal detector that offers at least a waterproof search coil so you can search a wider area.  If you plan to also wade in the water you’ll want a machine that’s submersible.  After you’ve chosen your metal detector you’ll want to invest in a sand scoop and carrying case for your treasures.  Metal detecting headphones are also advantageous as you search since the beach can be a loud, real loud! Hearing your target with the noise of wind, waves and people just having fun is what a metal detecting headphone is made to do. A headphone is the number one item to grab after your metal detector.

Related Articles:

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach?

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Metal Detectors as Christmas Gifts for Her

Yesterday we posted, “Metal Detectors as Christmas Gifts for Him.” But how about the ladies in your life? Many women are discovering the hobby of metal detecting, so today’s post is all about Christmas gifts for women – detector style!

The Perfect Gift for Women from your Holiday Gift List

Ready to start your Holiday shopping?  The perfect gift idea for all the ladies on your list may just be a metal detector.  Often thought of as a hobby for the guys, more and more women are getting into metal detecting – and for good reason.  Metal detecting is a fun and exciting pastime that gets you up and outside for exercise, helps you learn more about your area as well as history in general, and, makes it possible to find priceless treasure.  With all this to offer, why not introduce your wife, girlfriend, mother, daughter, or granddaughter to metal detecting this Holiday season by giving her a metal detector or accessory!

If the woman you’re shopping for hasn’t been metal detecting before, there are a variety of metal detectors that are ideal for new users.  These machines feature easy to use, “turn on and go” technology; which means you can begin using the machine right out of the box without knowing much if anything about metal detecting.

Some metal detectors we like to recommend for new users include:

Bounty Hunter Legacy 2500
Bounty Hunter Platinum with 8″ Search Coil
Fisher F-2 Go for either the Pinpointer combo or Search Coil combo kit
Garrett Ace 250
Teknetics Delta 4000
Tesoro Silver uMax

If you’re Holiday shopping list includes a woman who is already into metal detecting, there have been a lot of interesting developments recently and she might appreciate a new machine.  Most newer metal detectors have incorporated recent advances in technology to provide users with an enhanced experience.  For example, companies like Bounty Hunter, Garrett, and many others are including large LCD displays on their newer models to show users a variety of information about the target that’s under that ground, including it’s depth, and shape.  You’ll also find new metal detectors weight less than previous models, and, they’re easier to use as well even when sporting an advanced feature set.

Some of our favorite metal detectors for more advanced detectorists include:

Bounty Hunter Platinum Pro with 11″ DD Search Coil
DetectorPro Headhunter Underwater
Fisher F-19 in Pink Camo or Green Camo Colors
Fisher F70
Garrett AT Pro for all-around unit or Garrett AT Gold for Gold Nugget Prospecting
Tesoro Vaquero
XP DEUS Top-end, Lightweight and Completely Wireless

Don’t forget metal detecting tools and accessories either.

Whether she’s new to metal detecting or an experienced pro, the ladies on your Holiday shopping list are sure to appreciate a new digging tool, carrying case, headphones, sand scoop, or other metal detecting accessory.  Be sure to look for high quality brands like Lesche, Treasure Products and Garrett to name a few so your Holiday gift is sure to give her many memories as she uses it over the years.

There’s no reason to drag yourself all over town trying to give her yet another pair of earrings or that mug or pair of slippers you give her every Holiday.  Instead, give her a metal detector and you’ll give her a gift that will offer years of excitement, activity, and maybe even treasure!  If you have any further questions about which metal detector to go with, please contact us or review the buying guide articles found in the Learning Library.

Metal Detecting Resources for Women:

Dirt Girl Unleashed Blog: Whit & Her Metal Detector
Detecting Diva Blog: Because women detect too!
Join a Metal Detecting Club