Metal detector in the woods.
Man metal detecting.
Man metal detecting outdoors.
Woman metal detecting.
Metal detecting on the beach.

Metal Detecting

Searching for valuable objects with a metal detector is a fun, easy outdoor activity. Metal detecting is permitted at more than 30 state parks throughout Washington.

Metal detecting areas vary in each park. Some parks allow detecting in developed public-use areas and unoccupied campsites, while other parks allow detecting in specific areas only.

Rules & safety

Please follow these rules while detecting in state parks. This will ensure that parks remain open to hobbyists and facilities and resources are protected. Contact park staff for additional information.


Users of metal detectors must register first with Washington State Parks and comply with posted regulations. The registration form, rules, and a list of parks that allow detecting may be found below in the Metal Detecting in Washington State Parks brochure.

Complete the online registration form here.

Limited areas

Metal detecting is permitted only within specified portions of approved state parks (check park pages for maps of metal detecting areas). Parks that permit metal detecting will have maps and registration information posted at the park; if no information is posted, the park does not permit this activity.

Metal detecting in camping areas is permitted only in unoccupied campsites

Objects of historical or archaeological significance

Any find that appears to have historical or archaeological significance may not be removed from where it was found. Report all findings immediately to a park employee. Do not pick up or move any artifacts and do not further disturb the area.


Properly dispose of all found or recovered litter.

Group metal detecting events

Group-detecting events require a special recreation event application (PDF).


Getting started with Metal Detecting

Metal detecting is a fun, easy outdoor activity. To get started you may need a few tools such as:

A detector

Different landscapes require different detectors. Salt water? Gold? Ask a local retailer for guidance. Don't forget to bring tools to help dig up your finds.

The right clothing

Sturdy boots and gloves are a good idea, along with protective knee pads for kneeling. Keep an eye on the weather and make sure you're wearing the right clothing.


Metal detectors are noisy so try to spare your fellow parkgoers from the repetitive beeps and boops. Headphones can also help save your metal detector's batteries. 

Metal detecting code of ethics

It's a good idea to keep in mind the metal detector's Code of Ethics, especially if you're new to the activity:

  • I WILL always check federal, state, county and local laws before searching.

  • I WILL respect private property and do no metal detecting without the owner's permission.

  • I WILL fill all holes and excavations.

  • I WILL appreciate and protect our heritage of natural resources, wildlife and private property.

  • I WILL use thoughtfulness, consideration and courtesy at all times.

  • I WILL leave gates as found.

  • I WILL remove and properly dispose of any trash that I find.

  • I WILL NOT litter.

  • I WILL NOT destroy property, buildings or what is left of ghost towns and deserted structures.

  • I WILL NOT tamper with signs, structural facilities or equipment.

Map & visitor guide

Use the Find a Park Page to see maps and visitor guides for a specific park.