Geocaching is a fun and modern twist on a scavenger hunt. It’s a fun and easy outdoor activity for kids and adults.
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International Geocaching Day is the third Saturday in August every year, but you can get started hunting for hidden treasure any day of the year! Geocaching is a fun hobby for adults and kids.
It’s a fun way to get out and explore your community, get in some physical activity, and have fun together as a family. Plus, you don’t need much to get started.
Learn the basics of geocaching and everything you need to start this fun activity with your kids.
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What is geocaching
Geocaching is a fun and easy outdoor activity that’s fun for kids and adults of all ages. Treasure hunters hide caches around the world for other hunters to find using a GPS or other navigational tools (such as a compass and map).
It’s kind of a combination between a scavenger hunt, a puzzle, and a hiking activity! Geocaching started in the early 2000s as a technology-loving variation on letterboxing.
Basics of geocaching
Download the geocaching app or sign up on the official geocaching website to get started. Use the app to find a geocache hidden nearby. There are millions around the world! When you find the container, it may have a message inside, a logbook for recording your visit, or a treasure.
There may be a lot of new words involved in geocaching, but don’t let that discourage you! Here’s a quick summary:
- Geocaching – The hobby of searching for a specific hidden treasure using a GPS.
- Geocache – The hidden treasure, usually a small weatherproof container that contains a logbook and sometimes small items like plastic toys or party favors.
- GPS – Global Positioning System, used for tracking latitude and longitude around the world. Your mobile phone uses this for maps and other apps.
- Swag – Small trinkets and items included in a geocache that you can take with you. Not all caches contain swag, so make sure you read any included notes. It’s also important to remember that if you take something, you should leave something behind.
- Pathtags – A small decorative coin hidden with some geocaches to act as a signature item. They’re collectible and tradeable.
- Geocoins – Trackable coins hidden with a geocache and assigned a tracking ID. Usually, you take this with you from one geocache and leave it at the next one you find.
How to find a geocache
1. Choose a cache
After you download the app and create an account, look through nearby caches to find an easy geocache near you for your first treasure hunt.
It may be in a natural area, park, or urban area. It will probably be well hidden, but not buried. Some are easily accessible in public areas; others are on private property. (Make sure you follow local laws and common sense when hunting!)
2. Start searching
Use the GPS to track the cache and find it.
When you find the container, it might be metal, wood, or glass and shaped like a tiny tube, a larger box, or even a fake rock. Open the container to find out what’s inside.
It will likely include a letter and instructions, along with a logbook to write your name and the date. If there is swag, make sure you follow the rules for taking and leaving treasure.
3. Record your find
Sign the logbook, snap a photo, or keep your own records of the adventure! Be sure you put the geocache back where you find it.
You may also want to share your experience online. Being part of the community is half the fun! The geocaching app and website have places for you to keep track of all your finds.
4. Hiding a geocache
You can definitely just search for caches hidden by other players, but it’s fun to create your own too! For the best experience for everyone, it’s a good idea to have found several and make sure you understand the guidelines on the geocache website.
You’ll need to not only choose a location and create the cache but also share your coordinates with the community and maintain it afterward.
Geocaching kit supplies
You don’t need much to get started with geocaching. You can do it for free with your phone! A few supplies, both physical and digital, will make your adventures even more fun.
- Pen – For writing in the logbook.
- Backup charger – For your GPS or smartphone.
- Swag – If you take something leave something of equal or higher value.
- Flashlight – Handy for peeking inside a tree hollow before sticking your hand inside.
- Good shoes for walking
- Bottled water
- Sunscreen/bug repellent
- First aid kit
- The main map in the geocaching app.
- Geocaches hidden on Google Earth maps.
- Local area maps, for example, the Texas geocaching trails maps.
- Geocaching Adventure Lab – A new way to play that includes puzzles, indoor coordinates (when a physical cache can’t be hidden), and more!
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