Geocaching: a Tech Family Friendly Sport

Geocaching in Jones State Forest, The Woodlands, Texas

 

Our kids really enjoy adventure movies like National Treasure with Nicholas Cage, so when friends introduced us to Geocaching they were thrilled. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Moreover, Geocaching  is the perfect sport to play with the whole family on a beautiful weekend. Parents like Geocaching because it gets the family out of the house and unplugged from their individual technology.  The children like it because they can “keep” something from each treasure (cache) found and leave something of theirs behind for the next person. The above video gives you a sense of the fascinating sport.

The sport combines technology with adventure, a combination that some people didn’t think was possible. The core of the sport consists of using a hand-held GPS receiver unit/or a smart phone with the App to guide you to a destination, where a hidden container (or “cache”) is stored. Once found, you log your visit in an included logbook, and optionally trade one of the many contained “goodies” for one of your own.

English: A Geocacher finding a Virtual Cache a...

English: A Geocacher finding a Virtual Cache at McMurdo Station, Antarctica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Geocaching is everywhere:

Geocaching is everywhere so no need to go to Antarctica like the above photo. You can find this fun activity in your own backyard.  Geocaching.com is the world’s largest location based gaming portal. Hardcore insiders, claim that Geocaching comprises a billion dollar industry worldwide. More than 1.4 million Geocaches have been hidden, and found by more than 4 million people worldwide.

Geocaching 101:

Geocaching is available for iOS and Android. Here are some easy steps to get started on this wonderful family friendly game:

  1. Download the App
  2. Register for a free Basic Membership or you can pay $9.99 for a step up or even more for premium treasure hunts. This price is still less expensive than a movie for a family of five
  3. Set up your family team name
  4. Click on “Find Nearby Geocaches”
  5. Select  the hunt closest to you or the cache “name” you like best
  6. You can navigate to the cache location either by the map or the compass.  Our team found following the compass arrow to be the easiest way to discover the treasure
  7. Use the clues and the description of the cache size so you don’t wander around aimlessly in the brush like we did because usually caches are hidden inside a tree, nestled in a tree branch, on a bush etc. Caches can range in size from a tool chest, to a lunch box or a pill bottle
  8. When you open up the cache, you will usually find trinkets and a log book
  9. Log your name in the book, trade trinkets and leave the cache as you found it so other explorers can enjoy the fun
  10. Log your find in the App and make a comment on social media

Geocaching Supply Check-list for Your Family:

Once you have the App downloaded, your cell phone charged, you need to pack a few supplies for your adventure:

  • Dependent upon the geography: wear jeans/pants  (caches are normally well hidden in the brush)
  • Wear hiking boots or tennis shoes to protect your feet
  • Sunscreen
  • A Hat/cap
  • Water
  • Bug spray
  • A snack because you know the kids will get the munchies
  • A pen (to sign the logs) preferably with a string to attach to a backpack
  • Your “trinkets” (to leave in the caches)
  • Chapstick
  • Mini safety whistles for the kids in case they get lost
  • Have each child carry a mini backpack with their own supplies
  • Make sure you have a fully charged smart phone or GPS device

Our first cache discovery, strangely named “the President is close”,  was a tiny magnetic box that fit only a small notebook inside. We were glad that our friend had brought a small pen that was tied to her backpack so the children didn’t drop it in the brush. The children had so much fun finding the first treasure in five minutes flat that they raced off to a 2nd course. You should be able to complete at least 4-6 hunts over two hours. Also, for extra excitement you can take your pets along and even make them trackable.

 

 

geo-c2

You can attach “trackables” to moving objects and pets. If someone sees them and recognizes the logo, they can “log the find”.  Above is a  picture of our friend’s Rescue pit bull Lily wearing her “trackable” collar. Be sure to like her on Facebook and help her promote awareness that pit bulls can make nice pets.

geo-c

 

Finally, to make your adventure complete ,you must make a reservation or a plan to hit a nearby family friendly restaurant or ice cream shop for a treat and a cool drink. This plan can play back up when one of your little ones starts dragging and may be too big for a long piggyback ride back to the car.  As you can see from the below photo, we went to a wonderful mexican restaurant that featured the best kind of horseback rides!

We highly recommend that you try Geocaching with your family.  The sport provides excellent lessons for your children on figuring out how to navigate, understanding technology and experiencing the usefulness and beauty of nature. Happy Geocaching!

 

Montgomery-20130525-00692-1

 Better than a Piggyback Ride!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Send to Kindle
Email Author Meet TechandTravelmom:

Suzanna Keith is an experienced marketing professional who believes in leveraging revolutionary insights and ideas to grow extraordinary brands. Her expertise includes researching consumer insights and building on these insights to drive long-term strategic direction in all aspects of brand management. read more

Read other posts written by ! → Twitter | Facebook

If you like, please share via the buttons to the left, leave a comment or Subscribe to the RSS feed and/or mailing list to have future articles delivered. Thank you!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Bibbins June 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

My husband and 13 year old son have been ego aching for several years now! It is great fun and whenever we go on vacation, no matter where we go, they check out the local caches!

Reply

Suzanna Keith June 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Sue any favorites you recommend? or a photo you want us to include. So fantastic to see you at BMC this weekend

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: