Metal Detecting – A Great Treasure Hunting Activity for Seniors

It is important to stay mentally sharp and active, particularly for seniors, in order for them to stay involved and keep their brains functioning well. Investing in a hobby that you enjoy is one of the best ways to stay mentally sharp and as well as enjoy your everyday life. A lot of seniors take up various hobbies, such as cooking, stamp collecting, and gardening, to name a few. There is also a stigma that seniors only like to embark on simple activities like sitting at the bingo hall or playing card games. Though these are fun activities, there are many other exciting hobbies out there that the older generation may enjoy.

If you are a senior and searching for a new hobby that you can do outdoors, one of the best ones you can consider is metal detecting. It is an activity that can stimulate the brain, and it can also give you loads of fun, especially when you find cool treasures throughout your journey. Metal detecting can be great for seniors because they have a lot of time to learn new things and take up new hobbies. 

If you are interested in learning more about metal detecting for seniors, we are here to help you. In this post, we are giving you more information about metal detecting and how it is a great treasure-hunting activity for seniors.

What is Metal Detecting?

a ring found through metal detecting

Metal detecting is a fun hobby where an individual uses a tool called a metal detector to search for valuable items in public places, such as parks, beaches, and other historical areas. Metal detectors are tools that can detect frequencies or anomalies underneath the ground. It alerts the user, and the user then evaluates the area and determines if he or she should dig to see what is underneath the ground.[1]

Metal detectors work by conveying an electromagnetic field from the search coil into the ground. Any metal objects within the electromagnetic field will be energized and retransmit an electromagnetic field of their own. The search coil of the detector receives the retransmitted field and alerts the user by making a target response.[2]

To make it simple, metal detecting pertains to the search for valuable objects using a metal detector. Metal detectors may come in different configurations for use on land or underwear. Most of the time, valuable objects that can be found when metal detecting include antiquities like coins, gold, relics, jewelry, and other artifacts. The best thing about metal detecting is that it can be suited for anyone, especially seniors who have a lot of time for their hobbies.  

Things Needed for Metal Detecting

a metal detector on the lawn

If you have just retired from your work and are thinking of trying out metal detecting and treasure hunting as your hobby, it is very easy to start with it. In fact, there is not much basic equipment needed to get started. Below are the simple things that you need to start your metal-detecting journey:[3]

  • Metal Detector
  • Digging Tool
  • Headphones
  • Equipment Carry Case
  • Pouch to Hold Treasure and Trash

If you are looking for more in-depth information about metal detecting, it is also a good idea to acquire a detectorist manual or guidebook. These usually include tips and tricks for metal detection and various information about the different metals and relics that you can find.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, metal detecting involves taking your metal detector outdoors to an area with a high probability of having valuable objects. If you’ve never used one before, it usually gives off a sound when it detects something. Different metal detectors will give various sounds for finding different objects. For example, it may have unique sounds if it detects iron, gold, copper, and more. To start, all you need to do is to have a simple handheld metal detector.

Also, if you have mobility issues, you may benefit from using a walker when you go metal detecting. For recommendations, you can check out our list of the Best Walkers for Elderly.

Benefits of Metal Detecting for Seniors

man using a metal detector

If you are getting bored of joining bingo sessions or completing puzzles at home, finding a new and exciting hobby is a great idea. It is better to find a hobby where you can get the right balance of exercise and engagement while enjoying it. That is why metal detecting can be a great hobby for seniors. Below are the different benefits that seniors may get from metal detecting:

Excellent for the Mind

If you are looking to get involved in activities that will keep your mind engaged through learning new things and overcoming challenges, metal detecting can surely provide you with that. It is interesting to learn about the tools and find out more about the hobby. It is very engaging and fun, as it requires problem-solving, patience, and perseverance. These make metal detecting a brilliant workout for seniors that will prove to be rewarding in the long run.

Brilliant Exercise

In addition to being engaging, metal detecting also gets seniors on their feet. The activity offers a slow pace, and it can be done wherever you wish. With this, it provides the needed low-impact exercise for most senior citizens. If your goal is to get a short amount of exercise every day, taking along a metal detector with you can make it a lot more inviting. It also breaks up the monotony of the same routine every day. Aside from that, metal detection also does not have any time limit or expectations. It can be done by seniors at their own pace.

Nature Appreciation

Getting up and about in the great outdoors is good for the physical health of a senior. But aside from that, being out in nature is also beneficial for their mental and emotional well-being. In fact, even just viewing scenes of nature has been proven to reduce stress, anger, and fear while creating pleasant feelings. Metal detecting is among the best activities for seniors that can make them get closer to nature. Being exposed to nature can also reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension.[4]

Encourages Social Interaction

Metal detecting can be a solitary activity only if you want it to be. But if you want to socialize with people, partaking in the hobby as part of a group is a good idea to add to the enjoyment. Loneliness can often become a sad reality for many elderly people. Therefore, any opportunity to interact with others and make new friends should be welcomed with open arms. Also, metal detecting is an appealing hobby to kids. This means that seniors and their grandchildren may also go on a treasure-hunting adventure together.

Travel Opportunities

Since metal detecting can be done anywhere, a lot of people enjoy visiting new locations to search for treasure. This makes it a great hobby for seniors who have the time and resources to travel to different places and use metal detecting as a way to explore new areas and make new discoveries.

Connect with History

A lot of metal detectorists enjoy learning about the history of each place they visit, as well as the objects they find in those places. Metal detecting can be a really interesting hobby for seniors who have a lifelong interest in history.

Environmental Awareness

It is part of being a responsible metal detectorist to leave the areas they search in better condition than they found them. Therefore, seniors who are passionate about the environment can use metal detecting as a way to give back to the planet and promote environmental awareness to other people.

Best Places for Seniors to Metal Detect and Treasure Hunt

metal detecting by the beach

When looking for a place to go metal detecting, it is important to ensure that there aren’t any restrictions. These are places where you can keep your findings as your own. Luckily, most public areas do not have such restrictions. Below are some examples of the best places for seniors to treasure hunt:


If you live in a community or village with a playground nearby, it is great to do metal detecting there. It’s because playgrounds have been a great spot for finding coin spills and little trinkets as children play around them. Also, digging in playgrounds can be easy as a lot of these areas are wood chips or pea gravel. If you are going to metal detect in playgrounds, make sure to check under and around swings, under the monkey bars, and at the bottom of any slide.

Public Parks

Seniors may also go metal detecting and treasure hunting in public parks. People have been gathering in these parks for many years, and it is possible to find a lot of items here, such as modern coins, silver or gold rings, and old copper coins. In old public parks, you may even find civil war buckles and buttons. Also, a lot of diggers like to keep a low profile while digging in public places. Therefore, it is better to bring a small digger rather than a large shovel and make sure that you take care of the turf.

Beach – Dry Sand

For beginners in metal detecting, the beach can be the perfect beginning spot to metal detecting in public. It is also great for seniors because it is sand and very easy to dig. It is also relaxing to spend a day at the beach. There are a lot of items that may disappear quickly when dropped into the sand, particularly coins and rings. Items centuries old can also be uncovered here. A lot of diggers also bring a sand scoop when treasure hunting at the beach as it helps them dig down and sift out the sand, leaving only shells and their new treasure in the scoop.

Your Own Yard

This is probably the best place to treasure hunt for seniors. It’s because, in your own yard, you always have permission to dig. By allotting plenty of your time to dig at your leisure, you can find various things hiding under the ground. And even if you do not find anything amazing in your own yard, it is a good way to practice using your metal detector. This way, when you take it out in public, you can be more confident in your skills and digging techniques.

There are also some people who travel cross country to a gold mining town to treasure hunt using their metal detectors. But if you do not have the resources to travel that far, a garden can be a good place to start as you practice using your metal detector. If you are strong enough and adventurous, hiking trails are another fun place to go metal detecting, particularly if you can go with a group of avid walkers.

Tips for Seniors on Getting Started with Metal Detecting

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to starting a new hobby. These include the type of metal detector that you should buy, where you should go metal detecting, how safe the hobby is, and how much you need to start. To help you with these, below are some of the best tips that we can give:

Join a Local Club

For senior citizens, it is better to join a local metal detecting club if there is any in your area. Joining a club can make it easy to find details of amateur metal detectorists in the local area, and they are also a great source of help when you are beginning.

Attend Group Treasure Hunts

If you are looking for socialization, attending group treasure hunts is a fun idea. This will allow you to stay social and join in on the excitement of an organized hunt. It is a fulfilling way to meet new people and enjoy the hobby. Some experts may also give you advice when it comes to metal detecting.

Buy a Reliable Metal Detector and Accessories

You won’t be able to start metal detecting without a metal detector, and it is important to find a reliable one. There are a lot of options to choose from, but for seniors, opting for lightweight ones is a good idea, as they are easy to carry. There are also options for all budgets. You don’t really have to spend a lot to get a good metal detector. You just need to find one that will suit your preferences.

Aside from buying a metal detector, it is also important to buy accessories like headphones, digging tools, and scoops. These things can make metal detecting a more enjoyable and satisfying hobby. It is also essential to invest in care and cleaning accessories to get a clearer look at the treasure that you will find.

Bring Essential Supplies

If you are going on a metal detecting treasure hunt, don’t forget to bring other essential items with you, such as sunscreen, a water bottle, snacks, knee pads, and a detector harness. These things will keep you safe as you enjoy your new hobby.


Retirement is indeed the perfect time for new beginnings and exploring new interests. While a lot of seniors may feel like they have done it all, there is always one hobby out there that they can try, which can provide endless excitement and fun, just like treasure hunting using metal detectors.

Metal detecting is a perfect hobby for seniors who are looking into going outdoors to discover many things, as well as to meet new people. Just keep in mind that, as with any hobby that you pursue, there is etiquette to follow to make sure that you are respecting your community and other hobbyists. Ensure that you always ask for permission and avoid invading the privacy of others as you go on with your metal-detecting journey.

If your senior loved one with dementia love to stay at home, he or she may like these Best Activity Books for Dementia Patients.


[1] Fresh Hobby, E. (2020, May 4). Metal detecting: A beginner’s guide. Fresh Hobby. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from

[2] Minelab, E. (2020). How Metal Detectors Work. StackPath. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from

[3] Bernzweig, D. (2022, August). Why metal detecting is the perfect hobby. Metal Detector Specialists Since 1983. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from

[4] Turrell, P. (2020, August 6). 6 reasons why metal detecting is the perfect hobby for seniors. LP Metal Detecting. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from