This page lists a few of the many thousands of places that detectorists can hunt
in central Texas and a few where they cannot or should not. It does not attempt to
list every possible place you can hunt, nor every place where you shouldn't. However,
this page should get you going in the right direction.
Disclaimer: The information presented here is believed by the authors to be
correct. However, neither the authors, nor the AMDC will accept any responsibility
for it being wrong in the past, present, or future. Your use of the information on
this page is conditional on your acceptance of this disclaimer.
It is always the responsibility of the detectorist to know and obey all
applicable laws. Please refer to the ethics page of this website for a more
complete list of detectorist's responsibilities. It should also be noted that
there will be exceptions to this list to accommodate lost item searches with the
appropriate authority's permission and prohibitions where posted as such.
A few common sense suggestions: Schools should be hunted only when classes are not being
held and few, if any, faculty members are present. If an area is fenced and the gates are locked,
stay out. If an area is posted as 'No Tresspassing', stay out. Do not hunt after dark. If
a grass patch looks manicured, it's best not to dig it.
Hover on the underlined entries for more information.
These items have additional explanations.
Detecting is allowed
- Austin schools
- Bee Cave city parks
Where to Detect? (from a back issue of our newsletter)
This is probably the most burning question we all have! Where Oh Where can we go detecting???
Here are a few ideas to keep you hopping! Be mindful of gaining
permission if there is any indication it might be private land.
(1.) Check alongside boat ramps. Whether you have a water detector or not,
there are frequently many coins, knives, rings etc. lost as folks are
launching and retrieving their boats. Check alongside the ramp as it
goes down and even on shore. A kid came up to me and said he saw a
gold ring in the water at the boat launch.
(2.) Detect around your motel/cabin. If you travel, detecting on the
grounds of your motel/cabin can produce many treasures! If you have
the opportunity and time - select older units to stay in when you travel.
I have located Barber dimes and turn of the century coins at these older
motel sites, as they often have never been detected!
(3.) Be visual. We can’t use metal detectors at Travis County Parks, LCRA parks, or
state parks, but we can visually scan for treasure! If you are at the
water’s edge, look for dark circles. Both coins and silver rings look
black in the water. You can also find paper money and items to turn
in i.e. lost keys that fall out of swim trunks! Pick up trash and
dangerous items as you go. Everything positive we do helps us promote
the hobby and show that we really are “good guys!”
(4.) When detecting at an old school yard, church or the like... check
the edges of the sidewalks very carefully... I have found many old
coins right up against the sidewalk at these sites that are supposed
to be hunted out!
(5.) Review old maps for the surrounding counties and villages. First,
look for and mark the old schools, churches, railroad stations, parks
etc. to actually go locate and verify. Sometimes they still exist which
is great and sometimes they are now a vacant field which is BETTER.
Remember to seek permission on private lands.
(6.) Look at road names as you are going through towns i.e. Church Street,
Railroad Ave., Old Bridge Rd, Academy St., Grove St. Along these roads
is likely the site of an old depot, bridge, school etc. the road was
(7.) When scanning fields and empty lots, look for rows of trees, flowers
or shrubs that may have been planted years ago. This could be the site
of an old home. Anything that does not appear to be “natural” may be
the sign of some good detecting possibilities.
- Buda schools
Burnet city schools and parks
When asked, a Burnet city parks department employee reluctantly
admitted that there were no regulations prohibiting metal detecting.
Camp Ben McCulloch
Camp Ben McCulloch was organized in the summer
of 1896 at Driftwood, Texas.
- Cedar Park city parks and schools
Gulf coast beaches
Most coastal beaches are huntable, unless they are
within the boundary of a state or county park.
Jim C.'s tips
Around any resort area
Children's summer camps
Old home sites
Old military bases
Old school sites
Recreational vehicle parks
Roadside produce stands
Sand, dirt, or grassy parking area
Small circus grounds
Stock car speedways
Swimming areas such as lakes and rivers
Under ski lifts
- Kyle city parks and schools
- Lakeway city parks
- Lampasas city parks
- Liberty Hill city parks
Generally, any public navigable waterway in
Texas is usable for recreational purposes, which the author interprets to
include metal detecting. See If A River Runs Through It, What
Law Applies? at https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/nonpwdpubs/water_issues/rivers/navigation/kennedy/kennedy_faq.phtml
for a more thorough discussion and some legal references.
Many subdivisions have constructed neighborhood
parks and operate them independently of the surrounding city. Often these
can be hunted even if the city prohibits detecting. Pay particular attention
to the posted rules at these sites.
Schools, city parks, curb strips and vacant land owned
by the city are all huntable.
Sanborn map tip
Complements of Thomas N Kelly Wyatt on Facebook.
These are my main tool for hunting. Texas has thousands of old creek crossings
lost to time. Use the maps to narrow down your search areas.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes
The swim beach and designated swim area of
these lakes are normally OK to hunt. It may also be possible to hunt other
developed areas of the park - IE volleyball court, picnic areas, etc. if
you request and are granted explicit permission from a park ranger.
Detecting is not allowed
Although the following locations are not normally huntable,
it may be possible to hunt them if you get explicit permission from the owner
or operating authority.
Austin city parks
A special permit must be obtained from the park
to conduct a lost item search. No hunting is allowed otherwise.
- Buda parks
In many cases, cemeteries are public spaces and therefore
'technically' legal to hunt. However, NEVER HUNT A CEMETERY because of
how it would look to the general public. It would give the impression that
you were robbing the graves.
- Historic sites
LCRA owned parks
Some LCRA parks are operated by contractors
and city governments.
- Leander city parks and schools
- National parks
- Seguin parks without a permit
Texas state parks
Many states allow some hunting in their parks with ranger
permission, but not Texas.
Travis and Williamson county parks
In fact, there are no known county parks in Texas where
detecting is permitted.
The Water-Oriented Recreation District of Comal County
manages Canyon Swim Beach #1 (former Canyon Beach) on Canyon Lake and does not
permit metal detecting.