Lets keep it simple from the start. First of all there are numerous areas around where you live that are good areas to detect. I would first start out with your local park or school. If it's a county park, you will need a metal detecting permit from your local county parks & recreation. I have found lots of great finds at parks & schools. Not necessarily always old, but of some value. Some of these items include tax tokens, old railroad trolley tokens, Indian head pennies, wheat back pennies, mercury dimes, buffalo nickels, rings, charms, necklaces & many other items.
In case anyone might misunderstand, there is nothing wrong with hunting parks, playgrounds & schools. Good coins & artifacts are still being found in such locations. Old, valuable coins & jewelry still turn up in parks & such places that are supposedly "hunted out".