Geocaching 101: Why You Should Give It a Go

Right now, wherever you’re reading this from, there’s a good chance that within a half a mile radius a treasure is hidden somewhere.

Actually, the odds are pretty good that there are many treasures close by, just waiting for you to find them. Okay, the term “treasure" might be a stretch—but geocaching enthusiasts have hidden containers of all types and sizes around the globe, and many are filled with cool, interesting, or just plain old weird trinkets.

Grab your phone and download the geocaching app—you’ll soon discover why this is an activity well worth checking out.


Geocaching is hardly a secret—more than 4 million people have taken part in the fun worldwide—yet many are still discovering it. The concept is simple: all over the world, people have hidden tiny treasures in all kinds of hiding places. It could be a jar tucked into a tree, a pencil case hidden inside a birdhouse, a film canister squeezed into a rocky crevice—the possibilities are truly endless. Some are easy to find, others require major sleuthing skills.

Using GPS coordinates (and a little help from the app), you’ll be lead to the right location—then, it’s up to you to look high, low, and into every nook and cranny until you find what it is you’re looking for.

The prize? Well, you don’t get to keep it—but most geocaches contain neat things, including a log of others who have found it before you. The idea is to leave a little something behind and see what other people have left, too.

The Essentials

It’s easy to participate in geocaching—all you need is a GPS-enabled device. As long as you have cell service, your cell phone should do the trick.

Next, head to the official geocaching website to learn where you need to go to find your treasures. An app is available for download, which is the easiest and quickest way to take part in the fun.

Bring a pen or a pencil to sign your name in the log (this is sometimes, but not always, included in the cache). You can also sign the log electronically on the app.

Finally, bring a little something to leave behind. This can be almost anything—a stamp, a patch, a book, a homemade craft, or even a gift card! The sky is the limit.


Start Here

Once you’ve downloaded the app, scout out an easy-rated geocache nearby. Ensure your phone’s battery is loaded, grab a friend (it’s more fun with others), and start scouting! If you have trouble locating the cache, check the app—there may be hints and clues in the comments.

Depending on where you’re headed, use common sense and prepare accordingly. Your item may be hidden just a few feet from where you parked your car—or you may need to go into the forest or somewhere a little more rugged to find it. Always stay safe and be prepared in your geocaching adventures.

Once you’ve tackled easier finds, challenge yourself by seeking out trickier ones. You’ll be a geocaching whiz in no time.

Practice Good Etiquette

Geocaching works because participants know to follow etiquette. Never take a cache with you—always return it to its hiding spot and leave it as you found it. For instance, if it was buried under sticks and leaves, cover it back up.

Second, do not take a trinket unless you’re leaving one behind. The rule is that if you take something, you have to leave something of equal or greater value in the cache.

Sign the log or leave a note on the app—this can be helpful even if you weren’t able to find it.

Finally, clean up as you go. Do your part and pick up any trash you see along the way.

Discover Your Surroundings

Once you start geocaching, you’ll never look at your surroundings in quite the same way. There’s a good chance you’ll discover cool new places in your very own neighborhood! Geocaching is fun at home, on a road trip, when visiting friends—it’s pretty much fun everywhere.

Go on, give it a try. You’ll see what we mean.

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