We’ve all heard the stories about treasure hunters going on escapades to find their much-beloved treasure. There have even been books were written and movies created about them and their adventures. But is it all true, you ask yourself? Are there really people out there who dedicate their whole lives to finding the elusive treasure?
You can be forgiven for being a little skeptical, but trust and believe that yes, it is true. Professional Treasure hunters are not just from fictional stories. There are actually people who go out their ways to find buried fortunes in the different corners of the earth. A few of them have been lucky and hit it big. German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, is often referred to as the father of modern treasure hunting. He made the career discovery of a lifetime by finding “Priam’s treasure” – ancient Trojan jewels and gold. Another treasure hunter worth mentioning is the Floridan diver, Mel Fisher, who discovered a shipwreck that had jewels and gold worth an estimated $450 million.
So are there any more treasures and can the regular person go out there and make some discoveries and hopefully some coins? The answer to both those questions is yes. A treasure hunter is able to hunt for treasure as long as they respect and comply with the laws of the country they are hunting in. They are generally required to ask for permission to do research and also sign an agreement of sharing the treasure with the landowner of the site.
If you’re into the adventure of possibly making millions, here are the 20 places treasure hunters are currently targeting.
20 Oak Island, Nova Scotia
If you’re a huge fan of treasure hunting and follow all the latest in terms of where a treasure is commonly found, then you would have most probably heard of Oak Island. So legendary are the stories attached to the place that even a tv series was made from it. The island is privately owned and is on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada.
Rumor has it that tons of treasures are buried on the island and for centuries, hunters have been trying their luck at finding it. Recently, a brooch that had a 500-year-old gemstone, and what was believed to be a military cuff button dating back to 1780s was found. The best part about this island is that there are tours available where anyone can go to try their luck.
19 Santa Fe, Mexico
All the way in Santa Fe, Mexico is a supposed treasure chest filled with all sorts of jewelry, rare coins, gold nuggets, and gemstones. The treasure chest is said to be worth $1 to $3 million. The exciting thing about this particular story is that it is more modern than the other stories on our list. The treasure was hidden by Forrest Fenn, just in the year 2010. And how can you find it? By piecing together his suggestive poem. Apparently, his poem “The Today Show” left clues to where he found hid it. So if you’re great at piecing together puzzles, perhaps you can find the treasure of a lifetime.
18 Axum, Ethiopia
Axum is an important city not only to the people of Ethiopia but the whole African continent at large. It was the first African city to manufacture its own coins and/or currency. The treasure here is not like the other types of treasures we’ve already mentioned. Nope. The treasure in Axum, Ethiopia is rumored to be the Ark of the Covenant, which is supposedly held at a church there. The church also claims to have Aaron’s rod as well as a piece of manna from the desert. So, this one on the list isn’t opened to hunters but we just thought to include it as the “treasure” here is priceless to the billions of religious people out there.
17 Golden Beach, Folkestone
3 people recently discovered 24-carat gold buried on the beach in 2014. The treasure is part of 10,000 pounds worth of bullion buried by artist Michael Sailstorfer. BBC News highlights how the moment was when the people discovered the treasure. “Kevin Wood, his partner Kirsty Henderson and her sister Megan found a 500-pound gold bar in Folkestone after digging for an hour at low tide.” The fact that regular people have been able to find themselves some treasure on this beach sure gives the rest of us hope that indeed, it is possible to strike it lucky out there.
16 Franklin, North Carolina
For all the ruby lovers out there, you’ll be glad to know that Franklin has tons of this precious stone. What’s probably even more incredible is how you can also get other natural occurring gemstones such as the moonstone, garnet, and sapphire. The mine in Franklin allows treasure hunters out there to arrive and dig for all these stones by themselves. Visitors can find the digging equipment right by the entrance of the mine and luckily for those who are not quite clued up on what exactly they should be looking for, there are professionals on site to help guide people.
15 Kanab, Utah
So, apparently, the long-lost gold of the Aztecs can be found here. How much is it supposedly worth? Well, there are different opinions on this but most experts agree that the treasure buried here is around $3 billion. That’s a whole lot of money and that’s probably why many hunters have spent years trying to find it. The hunting started all the way back in 1914 when Freddie Crystal arrived determined to find the riches. 6 years later, he discovered tunnels that he believed led to the treasure. Searching has been ongoing ever since, although nothing has been found so far.
14 Hiddenite, North Carolina
The Emerald Hollow mine is the perfect place for treasure hunters in North America to go digging for this gemstone. Why? Well, it’s the only place that openly allows visitors to come and try their luck in finding it. There are many emerald lovers out there and we’re pretty sure they will appreciate such a place. Other precious stones such as tourmaline, topaz, sapphires, aquamarines, garnets, and amethysts can also be found by lucky diggers. This wide variety of stones and the fact that a special fee, visitors can get digging, is the reason why treasure hunters from far and wide are often spotted here.
13 Peter Island, British Virgin Islands
This is a luxury resort that is nestled in the Caribbean islands. You might be forgiven for thinking all there is to the place is swimming, snorkeling, and the other cool activities that one can get up to when on a luxurious island. Although many people go there to enjoy their vacations, others go to find the treasure of a lifetime. There is supposedly hidden pirate treasure all over the island. A long time ago, when pirates used to get their hands on treasure, they used to make sure that they hide it well from their enemies. Peter Island was supposedly a popular island for pirates to hide their treasures.
12 Pine Grove, California
Gold has for centuries been a much-loved and valued natural resource. This particular place in Pine Grove was founded in the 1850s. Any visitor who is interested at trying their luck at finding gold is welcomed here and for those who aren’t so lucky, there are plenty of other activities to keep them entertained such as, fishing, swimming, rock climbing, and hiking. One can also head out there with the family to enjoy looking at the crystal waters while having a barbeque. The place is always packed with families who are just there to enjoy the leisure activities so you can be forgiven if you've forgotten how much treasure (in gold) can possibly be found there.
11 Crystal Coast, North Carolina
If you’re a true follower of legendary pirates and their history, then you’ve probably heard of Edward Teach or as he was famously known, “Blackbeard”. While lots of his treasure can now be found at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, legend has it that his long lost treasure that is supposedly worth much more than imaginable, is still out there, waiting to be found. Fox News highlights that “the southern end of the Ocracoke Islands are the rumored locations where he may have buried his riches”. For any lucky hunters out there, this will be the discovery of a lifetime.
10 Bedford County, Virginia
A small pamphlet from 1885 revealed that there was lost treasure, buried near Bufords, in Bedford County, Virginia. The pamphlet reveals that a man named Thomas J. Beale had discovered lots of lost treasure while on his escapades. Beale had planned to return for his gold but he never did as he passed before being able to do so. The interesting aspect about this story is that many adventurers have tried to find the treasure, using clues from the pamphlet. Some skeptics have highlighted how it doesn’t make sense for this to be written down but hey, the treasure hunters out there are always feeling optimistic on finding it.
9 Murfreesboro, Arkansas
Going to this special place in Arkansas can be a trip of a lifetime. Why? Because it’s the only place in the world that allows regular people to dig for diamonds. Yep, you read right. We all know how diamonds are often referred to as a “girl’s best friend”. Well, here you can dig for it all on your own and find as much as you want of this incredible natural stone. The best part is that you can go home with whatever you find. Vacayholics highlights coolest part is “the fact that there are no restrictions on how much ‘treasure’ a visitor is allowed to carry with him, is evident from the policy of the park itself that says, ‘finders keepers’.”
8 Coastal Louisiana
If you are truly into treasure hunting and all the epic stories attached to it, you may have heard about another famous pirate – Jean Lafitte. Well, legend has it that he actually buried his treasures in Coastal Louisiana. The area used to be a famous hiding place for the pirate and his band of buccaneers. Gold and silver is believed to have been buried there. Fox News adds that “another legend holds the treasure sits under giant live oaks on Jefferson Island, an area that now houses a home and garden. There are stories of gold coins, doubloons and even a chest uncovered throughout the area.”
7 Catskill Mountains, New York
Dutch Schultz was a well-known wealthy man. After dying, people have been trying to discover where all his money went as it is believed that he buried a lot of his money and his most prized possessions. By the Catskill Mountains in New York is where legend says he buried this treasure although the exact location is yet to be uncovered. His treasure is said to have jewels, cash, gold coins, diamonds, bonds. Treasure hunters far and wide have been trying to get their hands on this amazing “treasure chest” that is sure to make anyone who finds it rich.
6 Yamashita's Gold, Baguio Philippines
This is, perhaps, the most valuable treasure anyone stands to win. This treasure is said to be as much as $100 billion! Yamashita’s gold was buried in Philippines by General Tomoyuki Yamashita in different parts of the land. Life of Adventure explains that “legend says that Yamashita broke the treasure into many smaller stashes that were hidden along the line of retreat, the bulk of his stashes are said to be concentrated in the mountainous area.” Researchers are under the impression that a portion of the treasure has already been found but considering how much it actually is, it seems like there’s still loads more to be discovered.
5 Superstition Mountains, Mesa Arizona
With a name like “Superstition Mountains”, you know that the islands hold a whole of legendary tales and mystery so it was no surprise to find the treasure stories attached to this place. These mountains supposedly house the lost treasure of Jacob Waltz. You may also know him as the “Lost Dutchman”. The story is that Waltz discovered a gold mine on the mountains in the 1800's but never told anyone where the location was. Many modern treasure hunters have made their ways to the mountains in search of this gold. Although there have been many clues, no one has found its exact location.
4 Treasure of San Miguel
All the history lovers out there will know that the San Miguel is a ship that sank all the way back in 1551, off Santo Domingo. Well, legend has it that the San Miguel is one of the richest treasure-filled ships to ever sink. Cool Interesting Stuff highlights that “Largely due to the efforts of Kip Wagner, a marine treasure hunter, ships have been located but only a small percentage of the treasure has been discovered. The San Miguel has yet to be found”. Treasure hunters out there are still hard at working out where the San Miguel treasure really is.
3 Jade Cove Beach, California
It seems like California also may have some deep buried treasures so this is a pleasant surprise to many who may live there. Jade Cove Beach is just by the California coast and visitors can head out there in search for jade. Jade is a hard and mostly green (sometimes purple, blue, black, white, red, pink, yellow, orange, brown, grey) stone that is often used for ornaments. It also consists of the elements jadeite and/or nephrite. This is one of the places on our list that is perfect for some fun family treasure hunting time and we’re sure that the kids will love discovering this precious stone.
2 Kruger Gold Stash, South Africa
In 2016, a diver unexpectedly found treasure in a dam in South Africa. It was the biggest ever found treasure in Johannesburg, South Africa and it is believed to be part of Kruger’s gold stash. Northcliff Melville Times explains that “history revealed that President Paul Kruger took two million British pounds – colloquially known as the Kruger Millions – with him when he escaped to Europe in 1900.” If you follow world news about countries that have a lot of natural stones and resources, you will know that South Africa has always been a country associated with a lot of gold, diamonds, and many other precious stones, so there's definitely more where that came from.
1 Phillipsburg Montana, The Gem Mountain
It isn’t called the “Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine” for nothing. This mine is loaded with sapphire and people have for years been heading out there to try their luck at finding this precious gem. For you to try your luck, a certain entrance fee is required. Considering the possibility of actually finding yourself this sapphire, we’re pretty sure you won’t mind separating with a dollar or two. This fee will afford you not only entrance but also the digging equipment required to get to work. Professionals are also present and are there to guide you and advise if what you find is truly anything special.