Geocaching is something we’ve done with our kids since they were young! Let us help you understand what it is, and we’ll guarantee you’ll love it as much as your kids do.
ge·o·cach·ing — ˈjēōˌkaSHiNG
It occurred to us one day while speaking with someone that many people still don’t know what this incredibly fun activity is. And the most fun part is, in these unpredictable times of 2020 and 2021, you can absolutely get out and do this while social distancing.
What is Geocaching?
“Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices (or phone – though I have confirmed the phone is not as accurate and can make this harder). Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.” There are millions of geocaches hidden around the world—there are probably some near you right now. You probably walk right by them every day. Which is the object of this! They are hidden and unless you know they are there, they are not seen. Sometimes under a rock, inside a tree, under a bush, inside a bird feeder, or under a bridge. The possibilities are endless.
How We Got Started
We started Geocaching when our youngest daughter was about 5 (she is 24 now). Our girls didn’t spend much time in front of the TV, and video games were pretty expensive. I (Stacy) was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, and funds were limited, so we learned about Geocaching. A free worldwide scavenger hunt. Who doesn’t like a scavenger hunt? It gets you outside exploring new and different areas. With the technology the way it is today, it’s gotten much easier for families to join, and yet so many of our friends look at us funny when we say we went Geocaching for the afternoon.
There is a lot of information out there about this fun activity, but basically, you sign up on their website. It’s free, but they do have a $30-a-year premium membership you can purchase. Which gets you even more caches in your area. You can download their free app on all phones and enter your current location and search. Try it … just for fun, to see how many caches are in your area! Chose any geocache from the list and get information on that cache. If you want to search for it, you would enter into your GPS device the location coordinates, and your handheld GPS (or phone) will lead you to the cache. Our family likes medium, large or extra-large caches. These are typically Tupperware containers or ammo boxes full of “stuff” If you take something, the rule is to put something inside. There is always a logbook to sign and date, and make sure you “log our find” so the owner of the cache knows who was there. You physically sign the book and then log your find electronically online.
What Are Trackables?
aka: “Travel Bugs” A trackable is a sort of physical geocaching “game piece.” You will often find them in geocaches. Each Trackable is etched with a unique code that can be used to log its movements on Geocaching.com as it travels in the real world. Some of these items have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles thanks to geocachers who move them from cache to cache!
They can be coins, dog tag types, or connected to a particular item like a key chain, small stuffed animal, etc. These are our favorites. Because we traveled so much in the military, we loved to take them from one state and move them to another.
Here are a few supplies we have. But really, just keeping a bin of fun little items is a great way to share the surprise!
- The Basics of Geocaching
- The Garmin GPS (but you can usually use the app on your phone too!)
- Mini Glass Trading Stones
I could go on and on about Geocaching, but there is much more information online for you. Go to www.geocaching.com to find out more. Get your kids involved! My kids are 33 and 24 and we still involve them in this fun outside activity. Now my oldest is a mom herself and loves Geocaching and soon my granddaughter will be running around looking for fun caches everywhere!
So get out! Download the free app on your phone and enjoy your time exploring!
Here are some more fun blog posts we think you’ll love!
- Off the Beaten Path in Every State! Hidden Secrets in the Lower 48!
- The Best Places to Visit in Seattle, Washington
- Kayaking to Shoshone Falls
- RV Accessories for the Kitchen
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11 thoughts on “Geo-What? What is Geocaching, and How Does it Work? Bringing Free and Family Fun Together.”
We love geochaching! We are in the planning stages of full timing and will join the ranks next summer!!
It has been a great way to get the kids active and outside. And now that we are traveling the country we hope it will help lead us to some out of the normal travel destinations.