Have you heard of geocaching? I hadn’t either until a few years ago, and now my family is hooked! With two boys (three if I count my hubby) who love adventure, anything outdoors, and a good challenge, geocaching is a great family activity that is also easy on the budget!
So what is geocaching you ask? Well in layman’s terms it is basically like the modern day version of a treasure hunt. Instead of a treasure map you use a GPS to guide you on your adventure, and in place of gold you may find a cache filled with trinkets to trade and a log book with all of the treasure seekers who have come before you!
Getting started is easy! Head on over to geocaching.com and sign up for a free membership. The website is full of information including several great video tutorials. You can search for geo cache locations and print the coordinates directly from the website, or download the app to your mobile phone which makes searching for geo cache locations even easier! The website is very user friendly and I love that you can look up cache locations based on search criteria such as level of difficulty, terrain, or even which are the most kid friendly!
Once you have the coordinates of the geocache location the hunt begins! All you need to do is plug the cache coordinates into your GPS, or select a location from the app, and follow the directions to the location. Once on location you may need to look around a little more which only adds to the excitement of the hunt! A cache can be hidden anywhere! We have found them in old tree stumps, in a bush near a restaurant, underneath a picnic table and in an old water barrel! Once you get hunting you will be shocked at all of the places people have hidden these little treasure boxes!
Seeing what is inside is even more fun. Small cache boxes may only contain a log to write your name on but larger cache boxes contain all kind of treasures (including plastic chickens!) As long as you bring a treasure to trade you are allowed to take anything but the log book. We of course made it home with the big chicken from this cache but we did leave a toy car in its place for the next geocacher!
Here are a few simple tips to get you started:
- If this is your first time out make sure to search for the easy locations. You don’t want to frustrate your children by trying a difficult hunt the first time out.
- Find locations close to home especially if you have small kids. I learned this the hard way our first time out and my kids got very restless driving to each location.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Sometimes you need to walk a little ways and on uneven terrain especially if you are searching in a wooded area.
- Bring items to trade! Some geo cache boxes contain little trinkets left by others. The rules are if you take an item you are supposed to leave an item.
- Many times the cache will contain a log book to sign so bring a pen with you.
I love geocaching because it is something our entire family can get excited about and that is not always easy to do! I also love that it is very budget friendly! Other than a GPS device or phone it is a free activity, and if you don’t have either of these check with your local library as some will have geo cache kits and gps equipment to loan. It is a great way to try out this activity with no investment!
So what do you think? Will you be giving this activity a try? If you are an old geocaching pro what are the coolest items you have found?
By the way, I am in no way officiated with geocaching.com. We just love this activity and I thought you would to! :)
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