It’s summertime! Luckily for us the weather is gorgeous with a vast array of sunny days ahead. Now is the time to explore some outdoor activities, take that long-awaited vacation, or spend time with friends and family doing backyard barbeques, and other fun get-togethers. But in the wake of COVID-19, your summer plans might be a little different this year due to social distancing practices still in place all across America. That’s okay though because we have a fun solution.
Do you know what’s the perfect hobby to explore with your family this year? Geocaching. It’s otherwise known as treasure hunting. If you haven’t heard of this activity, it’s definitely one of the best activities for summer 2020 that pairs well with a road trip or even just a day trip. Let’s explore exactly what this exciting activity entails, and why geocaching needs to be your new “socially distanced” summer hobby.
What Is Geocaching?
Geocaching is an outdoor activity that allows people to use a GPS navigation system on an app to treasure hunt containers or “geocaches” that fellow participants leave in hidden areas. There are all kinds of fun baubles, trinkets, toys, and even cash that you can find in one of these containers. It’s pretty random what you can discover in a geocache. Geocaching was created in Oregon back in 2000, so people have been enjoying this hobby for 20 years.
How Do I Start Geocaching?
The app is just simply called Geocaching, which is also part of Geocaching.com. You can download the app on the Google Play Store for android users or through the Apple App Store, as well, for iPhone users. To begin your geocaching journey after you have downloaded the app the next step is to create your profile, and then you’ll be ready to open up the map. Since it’s based on a GPS (Global Positioning System), the app can tell where you are in the world by pulling up a map of the area with your exact location. Then looking at the map you can see little green indicator flags of where each treasure location is hidden around the area you are in.
Once you pull up a potential location for a geocache, you can click on it to find out more information, including how difficult that particular geocache is to find, the type of terrain you’ll be traversing, the size of the container, the last people to have found it, and the best way to navigate to the are going from miles down to a few feet away.
The size of the container can be anywhere from micro, small, regular, to large. This can help you gain a better understanding of what you are looking for size-wise.
There is also a hint button within a specific geocache description that will help you find it easier. Don’t get too confident thinking it’s going to be a snap to find a number of geocaches. They can be pretty tricky to locate. That’s all part of the fun.
Once you do find the geocache, there is usually a logbook to sign. There is some etiquette about what you should take when you find a geocache. If you are going to take something out of the geocache, it’s nice to leave something in its place for another person to find on their own geocaching treasure hunt excursion.
Keep in mind that it’s a family-friendly event game, so don’t leave anything dangerous, like knives or lighters, or food-based items because animals will destroy the geocache trying to get to the food. Then just make sure to leave the geocache in the exact place that you found it so others will be able to locate it on future treasure hunts.
Finally, you’ll also want to record your experience on the app and go to the website to talk about your experiences geocaching for other people to get excited about.
The Right People for Geocaching
This is a great activity for couples or friends to do together. It gets you out in nature because many times these geocaches are located in state parks, national parks, near the beach, or along hiking trails. The container might be up in a tree, hidden by some rocks, or even underwater! You just never know where one might be hiding for you to find.
Families with kids that are a little older are also going to enjoy geocaching together. It’s the perfect summer day trip for kids ages 8 and up. Younger children might enjoy it as well on some of the geocaches that are easier to find on the difficulty scale that goes from 1-5. 5 is the hardest, with a 1 being a “cache” you can find within 10-15 minutes.
Where Most People Go Geocaching
The coolest part about geocaching is that there are geocaches located all over the world. So if you are planning a road trip or day trip somewhere it’s easy to pull up that location to see how many potential geocaches you can find.
Make a day of it by setting a goal for yourself and your group of finding 3-4 in a day. This is definitely an outdoor activity of treasure hunting that people get addicted to because the allure of finding all sorts of neat things is hard to beat.
Plus, with trying to practice a socially distanced summer, you’ll be outside in many different areas where you can easily avoid being around large groups of people. These geocaches are hidden in some pretty obscure places, so you can tailor your trip with how difficult you want your own hunt to be. Start with some easier ones to get your confidence going, and then work your way up to more difficult hunts when you become more skilled at finding them.
Geocaching is truly the largest treasure hunt going on right now in the world. Becoming a part of the geocaching community is a hobby that you’ll soon become passionate about. As a way to have fun and get outdoors with the people you live with this summer, there are bound to be more and more people taking part in geocaching. Happy geocache hunting!
Kelly Reising is a former beauty editor and author with a long history of articles in print and online. Travel writing is one of her passions, but she is also considered an expert on beauty and style topics. Her book on makeup tips is called “Lifetips: 101 Makeup Tips.”