Geocaching 101: A Low-Cost Family Adventure

Geocaching is the perfect activity for family adventure. Young and old alike can enjoy this "treasure hunt" together, seeing new places and new things in old places.

You can geocache while traveling to new places or you could find one less than a mile from your home. Geocaching is an engaging adventure that combines technology, the outdoors, treasure hunting and exploration!

The Game

Geocaching has evolved over the past nine years. There are over 1.2 million caches hidden around the world. Chances are that you would not have to go very far to find a cache and finding that first cache is usually not very difficult. The first step is to go to and use the search function to search for caches in your area. It is simplest to use your zip code to begin your search.

The search results will be a list of caches in the chosen area. Click on one of the links and the cache page will load. The cache page is where you will find all the information you need to find the cache, tell you what kind of cache it is, and the logs of other cacher's that have found the cache.

The GPS coordinates are at the top of the cache page. You will have to create a free account to see the coordinates and other cache information. Then, it is simply a matter of entering the coordinates into your GPS receiver and finding your way to the hidden cache. Sounds simple, but many times getting to within 5 or 10 feet of the cache is not the end of the story. Many caches are cleverly hidden, making the hunt even more challenging.

After you find the cache, you will find a logbook inside, at a minimum. Additionally, you may find any number of other items, commonly referred to as SWAG. Cachers will leave "trade-items" as well as "signature-items" in caches. Feel free to take things out of caches that you find and replace them with new trade-items. Most cachers will try to "trade-up", making the cache better than they found it.

Geocaching History

Geocaching started in 2000 when a GPS enthusiast, Dave Ulmer, posted the coordinates on the Internet for a container hidden near Portland, Oregon. Within a few days two individuals had read his post online and went looking for the "cache". Over the next few weeks, others who were interested in the new technology and the exploration hid their own containers, posting their coordinates. It became a mailing list type of bulletin board and by September of that same year, was launched.

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